Old Dog, New Tricks image

Old Dog, New Tricks

VeloPro + Zwift Cure My Winter Training Blues

They say by your 30’s, you’ll have life figured out. And although some things have fallen into place—a great job, a cute little house, a dashingly handsome fiancée, and friends galore, I’m quickly learning there’s much left to learn in this world.

Insert VeloPro! As a lifelong distance runner, I was looking for a fun challenge and challenge I have found. And although some things are consistent between marathon training and century training, some things are vastly different.

Immediately I noticed that sticking to a training program was going to be pretty difficult. February in Oregon is dark, cold, wet, dank. S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is real my friends especially when it’s dark when you leave for work, and dark when you leave to go home. I couldn’t figure out how to get in saddle time when it constantly looks like the scene of a horror movie.

After struggling and lagging behind on my VeloPro plan, I invested in some fun (spendy!) new tools! Insert my Wahoo Snap and Zwift. It’s no mistake both Zwift and Zeus start with the same letter, this program has been a literal Greek Godsend. For those not in the know, Zwift paired with a smart bike trainer, allows users to ride their various courses (or upload custom workouts) in a virtual world in real time with other people throughout the world. Pretty dope if I do say so myself.

Now instead of not riding outside, I opt inside in my ironically also dark, cold, wet dank basement and crank out the miles in my personal cycling studio complete with boxes of holiday decorations, a roaring furnace, and the light scent of tide laundry detergent. Zwift transports me to exotic lands of London and New York to get in those miles and motivates me with add-ons for my avatar like a Rapha custom kit, and colored socks. Zoinks!

Never in my life have I categorized myself as a gamer, or as a cyclist for that matter, but here I am a level 5 Zwift rider with 100 virtual miles under my belt (and counting). Although the Strawberry Century is quickly approaching, perhaps faster than I’d like, I’m well on my way to crushing this goal like a fine strawberry jam thanks to my new-found tech toys.