Zwift is transforming cycling indoors and helped prep one tandem rider for Ride the Rockies

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Jason Timmons knew that cycling on the pancake-flat, sea-level roads around Miami couldn’t truly prepare him for the 32,000 feet of climbing he and his son would encounter on their tandem bike during Ride the Rockies.

So nearly two years ago, he joined the growing community of cyclists on Zwift, an app that allows participants riding on connected indoor trainers to pedal through 3-D virtual courses and race, work out and ride in real-time with others anywhere in the world. In short, the London-based startup aims to make the mundane chore of riding stationary indoors far more exciting.

“This is how I keep in shape, this is how I’m getting ready to ride long hills,” Timmons said. “It’s my motivator to get the job done.”

It also makes sense for a serious cyclist with a young family in Florida.

“It rains during the summers, three kids, wife likes to go to the gym — so the time to train is early in the morning, before they get ready for school,” Timmons said. “And I don’t have the confidence riding at night anymore.”

Gabriel Scarlett, The Denver Post

Jason Timmons and his son, Logan, ride Day 2 of Ride the Rockies between Pagosa Springs and Durango on June 12, 2017. Timmons used a program called Zwift, which gamifies indoor cycling, to prepare for the ride.

Ask any cyclist facing the choice of a frozen forehead, iced toes and frigid fingers during a typical Colorado winter day or training indoors — and most will begrudgingly opt for the trainer.

Your speed through Zwift’s virtual courses is determined by the power (watts) you produce, adjusted for height, weight and the gradient of the road. The services’s more than 120,000 members have collectively pedaled 120 million Zwift miles. While the experience to pedaling outdoors isn’t the same, the company says pedaling a mile in the game is “comparable” to pedaling a mile in real life.

“We’ve always known that riding indoors is the most efficient way to train for a bike race; it was just never fun,” said Zwift CEO and co-founder Eric Min. “Zwift has made indoor riding fun, social, and global, without losing the elements that make up serious training — power metrics, structured workouts, competitive races, group rides, and general time in the saddle. It’s more relevant than ever as we face time constraints, safety concerns and weather restrictions but crave the timeless joy of a bike ride with Continue Reading      

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