Where are the Cyclocross Routes?

Average cyclocross route is 1.5 to 2 miles with mixed terrain in a circuit. I do not think this is hard to configure and would appeal to a great number of riders who occasionally road ride but are equally interested in gravel riding and mountain biking.

CX and mtb races and rides I do dont map well at all to Zwift (or RGT magic roads etc). Smart trainers need a generation or two of advancement before Zwift (and others) can start bring some of the niche biking markets into the fold.

If you want to see why, just import a CX or MTB race into a custom workout to see how poorly your smart trainer copes with it.

Quite honestly, cant see MTB being catered for for years - some of the best races I have I dont even peddle. How would that translate??

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My guess is there will be a lot more gravel options coming, and a short circuit with many gradient changes and plenty of surface to stimulate road feel (if your trainer supports it) is probably as close as we’ll see to a cyclocross route in Zwift in the near future.

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All you’re going to get from Zwift is fitness.
If you ride CX or MTB do high intensity repeats of varying duration.
Include out of saddle intervals.
This can be done 2 ways.

  1. You design or copy a workout and then ride any world, any route.
  2. Zwift designs some roads or paths that mimick this so people can free ride it.
    The draft really wouldn’t need to be included.
    Forget any skills gimmicks.
    Just fitness.

Would also need a treadmill or someway to record the non riding burst running efforts next to the bike on the trainer for a better CX simulation. Two deivces being used at the same time connected to zwift to make it work. Guessing It would also require work on the computer and program as well.

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I hope so, cyclocross and gravel riding is a clear source of growth in the real world. Zwift has to close the gap of simulation to real world experience. I think the IPO market has now closed, so the reality, intense competition for improvement with either a goal to ride out the long haul or acquisition. I do not think RGT Cycling will be the primary challenge. I think the primary challenge will be MyWhoosh which is free to ride.

Let’s do a thought exercise on what it would take to sort of replicate cyclocross…

  • A bike trainer and treadmill side by side.
  • No bike shoes/pedals, because you can’t run on a treadmill even in MTB shoes, right?
  • A route that forces you to switch from riding to running at various points in order to continue, and software to support that.
  • You leap from the bike to the treadmill and back again.
  • More interesting surfaces such as sand and mud (easy).
  • A short course with a lot of big gradient changes (easy).

It’s possible, but much of it is hard and would shrink the potential user base way down. To me that doesn’t sound like a popular feature worth investing in. Something easier would be a duathlon event where you ride a cyclocross-like gravel course for a while, then you do a another event that’s a run on the same route.

Paul,

I have a Trek 7.5 set up as on my Tacx Neo2. I have flat pedals and I wear Brooks Cascadia shoes. The research is extremely specific about in door training and also on bike training. In doors, the shoe needs to have a wider toe box for safety, and a stiffer sole. Flat bike pedals are useful to train on for fitness as they mobilize more muscle units. I have been looking for a treadmill, I was thinking the Assault Runner. This treadmill properly self accelerates and has great short course road feel. I was planning on doing a Sprint Triathlon next week, but it was cancelled due to construction at the reservoir.

The difference between Cyclocross and Triathletes, Cyclocross is more technical and more gritty. It is a different market. From my experience those into cyclocross and gravel biking are not obsessive. I generally use a heart rate monitor for fun, and I never review my data beyond the length of the ride and the vertical of the climb, and after a quick review, about 30 seconds, and a short discussion with my son or friend, I am done, and we are off to have a post ride Latte.

Cyclocross, no fun, no gain. Triathletes no pain, no gain. It’s a very different velo-philosophy, there is no right or wrong. What is right, making money for a software company. If you are going through a round of layoffs, it is time to seriously reconsider moving forward with modified model, it is called adapting to current business environments.

Gary

#whatpressureyourunning begs to differ.

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Leonard Zinn was into cyclocross and wanted to win races, so he was a good case study example. What he realized (after he developed exercise induced tachycardia), that most others were more interested in having fun. I am riding the Marin Century in August, and the only reason I am going, the event is just so much fun. The people are great, the routes are dramatic, some of the best road riding in the world, definitely in the top ten if not in the top five off all road routes, and then, when you are done, the BBQ is fantastic. The cost was $100, what a bargain. I remember the Sea Otter Classic was fantastic as well, just so much fun.

I don’t know if it is a NorCal culture, but most riders in Silicon Valley are more interested in fitness and finances than winning races. I purchased a used Santa Cruz Stigmata from an engineer in Dublin a month ago. He has small kids and simply felt it was more convenient to ride virtually inside.

Gary

Let me re-phrase that for you

Cyclocross, Go hard or dont bother

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CX will have alot limiting factors for all cycling training programs (Zwift, RGT, etc) to overcome no matter what just due to how CX is outside. To make it work the there would alot of programing to do and testing before releasing. Then people in their homes, sheds, etc would have to room to have everything set up right for which is can be a problem. If no treadmill then the footpods pace measuring devices. I do not run on zwift so do not know how part that works. If generally I want CX practice it is off to the local park with some varied terrain for skills and the rest.

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Yes, there are limiting factors. Ultimately, the Zwift team must innovate and move beyond training. Training is useful, but the broader market is about virtual fitness not only training.

A good article in Mountain Bike Magazine, June 2022, “The Secret History of Cannondale”. To quote, “There was quite a bit of industry ruckus when brands like Cannondale and RockShox went public: Well, for us, it was not a choice. We either had to go public or sell the company . . . at the end of the day, we build bikes for passion, but there is big money on the line. At some point, the man has to be paid back for money the shareholders have invested along the way”.

Innovation is not always about minor add on features or tweaking the platform, it is about internally or externally developing the next killer app. Sometimes a company moves in one direction, like hardware, they run into hurdles. The response might be negative, but its not the end users fault. Ask the innovator, and that person will tell you, well, we need this feature or that feature to make the killer app. It can be done, get the team together and rally the workforce and stop thinking about what could have been and make it happen.

That’s the mountain bike and gravel spirit. It’s not a race up the mountain, it’s about just doing it. A lot of ski companies have done remarkably well with that gritty attitude, not to be judgmental or a numbers watcher, just do it, get out their, jump off the edge and land it, try a new technique, see what you get, if you fall down, get up, brush yourself off, and try again, you can do it.

To quote the canonical cyclocross film (alongside Jacques Tati’s Jour du fête) Pure Sweet Hell, “It’s because it sucks the most.” Obviously there in climate-best-by-governent-test land you have to make do with what you have, but the main appeal of cyclocross comes from navigating varying types of technical terrain under less than hospitable conditions while severely underbiked. I have hard time seeing how any of this could be replicated indoors (and no, the sand-in-bearings Neo road feel does not help) but maybe something like the Wahoo Mudslingr will prove me wrong.

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There could be cross country routes offered every day. This was demonstrated recently in the gravel rides. I was discussing trainers vs e-bike sales with friends today. All trainer sales in US, about $80 million in 2021 and 2022, likely far lower. E-bikes are at about $2 billion. More e-bikes were sold than electric cars. Moving forward, the biking equation in the United States, then globally is predictable, Bike Sales = Fitness + Fun. Many e-bikes will function in erg mode moving forward with a Garmin like device to control the power of the bike for low level fitness training, and then you supply the difference. I am a purist, purely mechanical, but I validate the business model. Zwift needs to validate the business model as well. There is tremendous competition in on-line training software right now. American and Canadian markets are likely user maxed out. To sustain and grow the user base, you have to look for more varied biking preferences. I happen to love cross country mountain biking. I competed in the Sea Otter years back, and would have competed this year, but I was skiing for the week. Bottom line, all the major recreational industries are consolidating. Look at Skiing, Ikon pass, Epic pass, everyone else.