ZWIFT Cycling program

Having always been enthusiastic about cycling, I decided in the early summer of 2020 to finally give in and buy a new bike. The modern racing bikes have some features older bikes do not have: disk brakes, shifters in the handle bars, easier on the “old” legs front gears (50/34 vs 52/44) and 11 gears (vs 6) in the back, which make the whole experience more enjoyable. Because of the Covid situation, the delivery of the bike was postponed until October.

By the time I received my new bike, Fall had arrived, with it’s many rainy days. Having a huge aversion to biking in the rain and on wet roads, I looked for a bike trainer for my old Koga. I wanted to get a trainer that can be used with the ZWIFT program, but none of these trainers could be used with the “outdated” 6-gear shifter of the Koga. In addition, even if I wanted to buy one of those new trainers, they were not available at all, due to manufacturing delays caused by Covid. After complaining about this to my nephew Sander, he suggested I try a trainer he had gotten from his parents. This trainer did fit my old Koga, and I was in business!! For 3 months I happily used this trainer in our small storage unit on the ground floor of our building.

In February of this year, I was talking to my old biking friend Harry Boek, who mentioned he had just bought a Wahoo bike trainer which he connected to the cycling program ZWIFT. When I told him I had been looking for such a trainer but could not find one for sale anywhere, he advised me to call the store where he had bought his, and lo and behold they had ONE! I did not hesitate and bought it on the spot!! After my initial euphoria, I realized that in order to use the trainer with ZWIFT you need both power and an internet connection. Not having either one of these in the storage unit, I had to bring both the bike and the trainer into our apartment, where Teresa now graciously puts up with my sweaty self!

Using the ZWIFT program has changed my biking regimen tremendously! I now try to bike every other day, not having to deal with the weather. ZWIFT also has 80 different routes you can bike, from easy relatively flat level 1 rides, to extremely hard level 5 mountain rides. It also lets you compete in races with other riders, as well as join a large number of events they organize. Lastly you can set up your own training program. So far, my goal is to ride all of the 80 routes they offer in the program. The rides take place in different “worlds”. One of them is Watopia, where you ride through desserts, jungle, mountains, etc. Others take you to various parts of the animated real world: New York, London, France, etc. All in all it is soooo much fun, I may never bike outside anymore…..

MARCH 10, 2021. 

After a month of using ZWIFT, I reached the half way point of the 80 routes in the program, most of which were the easy peasy level 1 rides.  The hardest ride was the climb up Alpe Du Zwift (D'Huez), a 12 kilometer slog up the most famous mountain in the Tour de France.  (Route #70).

MARCH 21, 2021.

A week and a half after reaching the half way point, I hit another mark: 50 routes completed.  Five of them were roller coasters in New York Central Park, with some short stretches of 15% - 17% inclines!  The others included some fun rides in Innsbruck and London.

APRIL 8, 2021.

With the weather still not being cooperative, i.e. the temperatures still way below comfortable for outside biking, and getting daily amounts of rain, snow, and hail,  I keep on ZWIFTING, and have now completed 60 routes.

APRIL 14, 2021.

Today, I finalized the NEW YORK routes, and removed my bike from the Wahoo trainer, since it looks like the temperatures and sunshine are finally getting to where biking outside is the way to go!  I have really enjoyed riding with ZWIFT, and completed 80% of the routes they offer, leaving the 16 hardest routes for later this year. 

MAY 8, 2021.

Well, I was wrong about the temps and sunshine!  It has been and still is quite cold for the time of the year.  In addition, we are getting a lot more rain than is normal.  Even the large tulip fields have delayed showing their flowers due to the low temps!  There have been a few "good" days where I was able to bike outside, and even did a nice organized tour in Brabant.  This week has been pretty horrible again, which resulted in me putting the bike back onto the trainer.  My first ride was up Alpe du ZWIFT, but after I reached the top, my phone battery died, so I was not able to record the ride.  Today, I finished by 65th ride, and with the weather not improving it looks like I will complete a few more rides this month.

JULY 4, 2021

A week ago I was involved in a bad crash, due to a cyclist who came from the opposite direction veered into my lane.  I was not able to avoid him and hit him  hard with my left shoulder.  The result was a bad crash where my whole right side got badly bruised, my right knee and arm became a bloody mess.  After several minutes of laying on the ground, I slowly got back up and after making sure I had no major broken bones and my bike was in one piece, I decided to bike back home. 

At home, I cleaned myself up, and for the next few days experienced some serious soreness of my body and right shoulder.  I also got an ominous looking  large bruise on my lower back side.  On Wednesday, after getting pushed by Teresa and my Sister, I saw my Doctor, who determined that I had been very lucky since nothing major was broken or worse!  He told me the scrapes and bruises should heal in te next few weeks, and advised me to keep biking! 

So, now that it's a week later, I decided to get back on the horse (bike) and continue with my ZWIFT rides, before going back outside.  ZWIFT added a new WORLD: Makuri Island, with 8 new routes, giving it a total of 88.  Because these new routes are all level 1 rides, it will give a me great opportunity getting back into riding again.

DECEMBER 4, 2021.

After several months of NOT biking, and getting advise from my physical therapist to get back on the bike in order to strengthen my wrist after a bad fall in the mountains of Andorra, I re-installed my bike on the home trainer.  During the summer, ZWIFT added 12 more routes to the Makuri World, bringing the total number of routes to 100.  Fortunately all of the route additions fall in categories 1 and 2, so I should be able to check these off quickly!

On the last day of the year, I ticked off the last of the normal Makuri routes.  ZWIFT decided to add an "Event only" route to the badges, so I do need one more ride on Makuri Island.  Don't know when this will happen.  ZWIFT also added two more Watopia routes, bringing the total routes to 103.  This way I will never catch up! 

After searching on the internet to find a way to ride this last route on Makuri Island, I completed this short ride On New Year's day.

 JANUARY 14, 2022 

Completed several routes during the last two weeks.  I finished all the category 3 routes yesterday.  ZWIFT added two new Category 1 Makuri Island routes, which I rode today.  What is left now are the HARD category4 and 5 rides, which will  have to wait until the Fall.  My next adventure will be several bike rides on Tenerife.  Will see how that goes, since all rides on the island involve some very serious climbing.

FALL 2022.

Zwift added several more routes,  and now has a total of 120 different routes to be conquered.  After a few weeks of completing all the added routes of the first three categories, I am back to having to ride the hard category 4 and 5 routes.  With a few more weeks to go this year, I will start tackling them...    December 16: Zwift added 4 more routes, so back to the drawing board and work on the added category 1 and 2 routes, before I can concentrate on the hard ones.                                      

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