The parallel universe where Zwift almost makes sense

It’s been six months since I last posted, my previous entry coming just before the arrival of our second child. It’s a bit of an understatement to say that the first 6 months is hard work. One of my survival techniques was to eliminate all non-essential activities such as blogging, seeing friends, sleeping and eating freshly prepared food. Cycling was the one thing I kept, not so much as a hobby but more as therapy.

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This one stays

I set myself the targets this year of cycling 100 miles a week and losing a few kg’s. In an ideal world, these ought to be relatively modest goals, however as my wife keeps pointing out we currently live a bloody long way away from an ‘ideal world’. Several universes away at least. In our parallel universe, where time and space no longer exist and the world is ruled by illogical infants, it is generally not possible to find 5 or 6 hours of free time a week as well as the discipline to avoid using food and alcohol as comforters after a tough day.

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Commuting remains the most efficient way to keep up the mileage

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Although cycling 100 miles at once is another method  (note – requires some bunking off work)

Despite initially being quite skeptical of Zwift and other forms of ‘virtual riding’ I have ended up quite enjoying the turbo trainer when combined with a screen. It’s similar to playing a computer game with your legs. I would still choose to ride outside in the cold, wind and rain over a virtual ride but it’s a great tool for Winter evenings when your day is wholly consumed by work or child care.

In previous winters I’ve only ever managed a small handful of turbo trainer sessions. The insanity of pushing yourself to the limit while staring at a wall for half an hour requires an elusive kind of willpower that is easily eroded by the battles of real life. I’m not sure I agree with the Zwift marketing spiel of it being a “sociable, online community of cyclists” but it has certainly turned the turbo trainer into something I now use regularly.

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“Don’t make me use the turbo trainer”

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Nothing will ever beat cycling in the real world

70 – 80% of my riding this year has still been outdoors and despite the most miserable weather seemingly coinciding with my cycling windows I’ve enjoyed the solace of cycling. Dare I say it but I also almost feel like some sort of form seems to be coming. Yesterday I set my fastest time in 4 years up my local, regular climb. I’m not sure whether this can be attributed to the gale-forced tailwind, the little bit of weight I’ve lost … or god-forbid the structured training I’ve been doing on Zwift. Whatever it was, it felt good to set a new ‘Dad-PB’. I’m looking forward to beating it next time.

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You can’t get Belgian tan-lines like these on Zwift

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11 thoughts on “The parallel universe where Zwift almost makes sense

  1. bgddyjim says:

    I wish I had zwift when my kids were little! Come to think of it, I didn’t even have a bike when my kiddos were little! We did one of those double running stoller/instant nap machines…

  2. Roady says:

    Great to see you post again & a good update! Had spotted you racking up the Zwift miles, kudos!

    I’ve had a bit of a revelation this spring by discovering Zwift racing, even more of a revelation is finding that I’m fairly competitive! I’ve always struggled to follow any structured training (even before Zwift), but being able to jump on and smash some other people/sprints while logging easy base miles while watching some TV is the current mix. It seems to be working for me!

    The convenience of Zwift (just jump on and ride) does mean I rack up some daylight sessions, even when the weather is nice. The bonus of being able to stop at any point or any reason (that she deems more important than cycling) being the main decider! The weekend weather also being pretty stinky the last few months hasn’t made me feel like I’m ‘missing out’ on the club ride quite so much… 😉

  3. asher says:

    That shot of your Belgian tan-lines is perfect! I keep thinking about giving Zwift a whirl, since my stupid respiratory system won’t let me ride outdoors in the cold anymore. Sounds like it might be a winner!

  4. tootlepedal says:

    I meant to say that inspired by your blog, I think that I cycled more than I drove last year, 4000 miles vs 3900 approx. That was more down to doing very little driving than a lot of cycling. Thank you for putting the challenge into my mind.

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