Let's Ride: My Story on Getting Started on Zwift

Let's Ride: My Story on Getting Started on Zwift

I have a few goals in life. I won’t go into any of them, except the one applicable here: to maintain fitness into my later years.

Generally it gets tougher as you get older. You have to have focus and have discipline to ensure as your metabolism slows down, that you stay active. Well the end of 2017, I noticed my weight creeping up into the mid to high 170s! EEK! I was 150 lbs my senior year of high school and I was starting to feel it in my clothes and overall feeling of tiredness at work. Generally cycling for fun with friends and commuting to work had kept my weight off through my bad eating habits. But life is busier than ever with three kids and the youngest with autism, as well as a full time job on top of Chief Cyclery; plus trying to keep a happy marriage! (I also have a couple of other side things that eat my time away but those details are for another time).

I decided 2018 I need to re-focus on ensuring I stayed fit with a few goals:

  • Eat healthier, less portions, less sugar, no snacking after 8pm

  • Dedicate more time to fitness: running and cycling

    • The focus here was carving out lunch time for a run or short spin on the bike

I started 2018 off to a decent start. I was meeting my diet goals and started to enjoy running as a quick excercise. But my active fitness took a hit as my body wasn’t used to running and I begin having hip pain. I pivoted back to more of a focus on cycling, but taking my bike to work and ensuring I could carve out a lunch spin was extremely difficult without a structured work schedule. Meetings kept creeping over my lunch break which didn’t allow me the time to consistently stay on the bike. With summer quickly approaching I knew that there would be another obstacle to lunch workouts. Living in AZ we get to enjoy beautiful winter weather, but it is a playing with fire to try to get a day ride in during summer months of 110+ degrees.

In 2017, I had a buddy move out of state and he recommended I try something called Zwift. What is Zwift? Zwift is an online cycling game where you ride your bike on a trainer and you power an avatar through a virtual world.

I had used a trainer in the past, and hated it! But I was willing to look for ways to keep my fitness up on the bike. I had tried to use a blackburn wheel on trainer in the past and the feel was terrible. So sluggish and boring! I decided if I was going to try Zwift I needed a direct drive trainer and started researching Cheap Budget Zwift setups (where i was first turned on to Shane Miller as GP Lama)! I even found great deal on a used Lemond Revolution Trainer (Review link coming). I bought all the gear to start setting up my zwifting in the winter of 2017…and never got around to setting it up. I even bought a new computer in early 2018 with an upgraded graphics card to ensure I could run Zwift smoothly (later to find out Apple TV was a much cheaper solution!)

It costs $15 a month for membership (It was $10 in 2017 when I first started doing my research) but they do allow you a 7 day free trail period. Although the monthly membership price seemed a bit steep, as cycling out doors was FREE, I decided I had nothing to lose to at least try the free 7 day trial period.

Suddenly, it was June 2018! The summer heat was upon me and I needed a fitness solution! I had just finished building my first bike with a Power Meter from parts I had built up in my collection running Chief Cyclery . I had everything I needed to get going on Zwift. I got the Lemond Revolution set up and signed up for the trial period. I decided if I liked it the cost to benefit ratio of my health was definitely worth it. Much cheaper than a gym membership that I would have to commute back and forth to. It was a small price to pay to try something out.

After 7 days of free trial I had logged over 80 miles! I was hooked. I even tried my first Zwift Race! It was interactive, it was convenient, it was fun! Did it compare to riding outdoors? No, I still missed being outdoors but it changed everything from a convenience and fitness standpoint.

I plan on posting a 6 month review and will update the link here