Zwift Vs Road (longer slower rides)

(Aaron) #1

Like to know experienced Zwift users with their thoughts on riding road against turbo. Many say there is no substitute for the road but then some of the Elites are using Zwift most of the year round. It does become a little mind numbing if you plan to do a 3 hr ride. Thoughts?
Most of my shorter rides are on Zwift, but really need to get my bike leg to the next step on the ladder say 22-23mph avg - currently at 21mph avg on Olympic Distance.

(Gerrie Delport TeamODZ) #2

Hi Aaron:

It all depend on what you prefer. If it is a nice day and you have save roads then why not, go out side and have fun.

With my schedule I have to train early morning before work, so I train on Zwift that way I know if anything go wrong I am already at home. I do my long rides on Zwift Thursdays 5am - 9am, we are a bunch of friends that do it at the same time so we chat on discord and that way time fly by.

(Lin) #3

It’s not road vs turbo. It’s whatever you prefer, which is more time efficient, which is more convenient, which is more practical, etc…

There are plenty of group rides of varying intensity on Zwift that will go ~3hrs (e.g., Asia 120km, 3R Endurance 100km) If that isn’t an option, then maybe create a Meetup and invite your friends to ride w/you.

(Joe) #4

I’ll echo the other guys.

It’s not one vs. the other. You can (and probably should) do both.

Zwift Pros:

  1. Can ride any time, day or night, safely and conveniently.

  2. Can achieve a level of targeted training (power, cadence) that is often really hard to do on the road (with traffic, distractions, debris). Done well, this gives you a hugely efficient return on your training time ‘investment’.

  3. There’s no ice and snow on the Zwift’s virtual roads.

Zwift Cons:

  1. I start to reach my ‘sitting on the trainer’ limit at about the 2-hour mark. I can go longer, but I generally don’t want to.

  2. Virtual superbike is not my real bike.

  3. There’s no wind in Zwift.

take 2 & 3 together, and my average speed in Zwift almost always exceeds 20 mph and is frequently in the neighborhood of 22-23 mph on flatter courses.

In the real world, on my real road bike, riding solo? With wind and hills and real roads? If I sustain an average of 19 mph or better? That’s a GREAT day for me, and it rarely happens. ~ 18 is more common.

I tell myself that Zwift isn’t completely unrealistic. That if I a had a flat-rolling route around an island where the winds were calm & the asphalt was pristine, and I had a Cervelo with lightweight carbon wheels and perfect positioning in the drops? I probably could go solo @ 22+ mph average over 60 - 90 minutes.

And my average zwift speed is a lot closer to reality on the climbier routes, so there’s that.

But… it’s easy to get an inflated sense of what’s possible if you don’t do at least some of your training outdoors to keep things in perspective.

Using Zwift regularly will make you faster outdoors though, there’s almost no question about it. So, do both!

(Kris.I) #5

Hi Aaron!
I have a five hour ride planned for Sunday and it’s looking like rain, plus I live on Long Island in New York and traffic is always a concern. So it might be an inside Zwift day for me with early seasons of Game Of Thrones (I’m looking for clues for this finale.) I think the longest Zwift ride I have done was six hours while training for Ironman Boulder.
The replies I’ve seen here are spot on with the pros and cons.
Best wishes for the season!

(David) #6

I train exclusively on Zwift and I think it’s a great alternative choice for triathletes. I did a sprint tri recently without any specific training and averaged 32km/hr on the bike without too much effort despite not having ridden outside for 12 months.
I will probably do some outside riding if I do another IM but will still do the vast majority on Zwift. I used to ride with a group of roadies which was fun but every ride involved near misses or road rage incidents which I really don’t need. It’s not my job, it’s a hobby.
I swim in open air pools or the ocean and do my long run every weekend in the national park so I feel I’m getting my fair share of outdoor time.

(Cougie) #7

Blimey. That’s so sad that people don’t ride outside. I love Zwift for its efficiency and convenience but you can’t beat epic rides with your mates in the sunshine. And having laughs at the cake stop.

You don’t learn bike handling on Zwift or what kit you need for different weathers. My weekend rides are the highlight of the week. Scenery, adventures, getting out in nature - what’s not to love ?

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