If you’re a cyclist or a triathlete confined indoors with all the sports events cancelled, you’ll be happy to know there’s an interesting virtual cycling challenge you can participate in and take a break from all the regular home workouts and fitness apps.
Qatar Cycling and Triathlon Federation, supported by Rasen Adventure Shop and Qatar Olympic Committee, is turning to technology to keep the nation’s cyclists active, but safely indoors.
Starting this month, a series of challenges and races will be run on the Zwift virtual cycling platform.
The events are intended to inform, encourage and support riders to discover Zwift and come together as a community – to do online what you can no longer do on the roads.
Rasen Adventure Shop and the other specialist retailers have seen unprecedented sales of so-called smart trainers since the COVID-19 crisis began.
The cyclist’s own bicycle is mounted on the trainer, which wirelessly transmits their efforts to software, translating it into speed, propelling an avatar around the virtual worlds of Zwift.
What makes a smart trainer truly smart though is that the interaction is two-way – when riding uphill, the resistance of the trainer matches the toughness of the gradient and things get easier going downhill or on the flats.
Some of the high-end trainers even replicate the feeling of riding over dirt roads and cobbles, or alter the angle of the bike when tackling climbs. And with your computer or iOS/Android device hooked up to a big screen, it is easy to imagine yourself in the deserts, jungles, cities and alpine passes of Zwift – cycling through volcanoes, past dinosaurs or along the elevated sky-roads of a futuristic New York.
That’s not even the best part. You’ll love the fact that Zwift is social. All the avatars around you are powered by real humans, not game generated and, with the current pandemic increasingly affecting cyclists worldwide, Zwift has already hit a peak of over 28,000 concurrent users.
But even with no shortage of people to ride with, cycling is always best with friends or rivals. The sight of a Qatar flagged rider on the road ahead of you is the best motivator to ride harder or pick up the messaging app to chat away the kilometres.
This new initiative by QCTF seeks to encourage more of this by bringing new virtual cyclists from Qatar to the platform.
In the weeks ahead, you’ll get to congregate on group rides and training workouts. There will be a Rasen sponsored challenge to complete the most virtual kilometres.
Ultimately there will be races, too.
The success of the project will be measured by virtual cycling continuing in Qatar throughout the hot summer months, even if the restrictions are lifted.
To get started with Zwift, you’ll need a smart trainer and a device capable of running the software.
Optionally, another device can be used to run the Zwift Companion App which enhances the experience by adding messaging, access to events and remote control over route choice.
The QCTF events can be found on www.qatarcycling.org/events.
For more workout ideas and other things if you can do if you’re home, click here.