Every Sunday at 10.40am UTC we are staging a new series of Zwift 6Points Mallorca Training rides. This follows the great success of our Glasgow Green Cycle Club GGCC rides we have been running for two years.
The aim is to showcase 6Points worldwide, and in particular Mallorca, on the rapidly growing Zwift platform for all (open-minded!) cyclists who need, for one reason or another, embracing injury or illness, family or work commitments, weather (not everywhere has such wonderful weather as Mallorca!) predictability and efficiency of time and fitness outcomes, or simply personal preference.
Bryan Visser, founder of 6Points Challenges https://6pointschallenges.com, asked me to deliver on my suggestion of a regular Zwift presence, organising a weekly group ride, led by a “beacon” leader, embracing sprints and a closing mini race as my rides usually do.
The rides are over a variety of seven courses, in rotation, including one or more from all of the Zwift “worlds” – 3 courses from Watopia (a virtual world and the most developed of Zwift’s worlds); Richmond’s UCI race circuit; London, inspired by the Prudential RideLondon 100; Innsbruck UCI race circuit (the InnsbruckRing); and Yorkshire UCI circuit, the most recent of Zwift’s additions.
Yesterday’s ride was over 3 laps Watopia’s Jungle Circuit, and participation numbers exceeded even my own expectations, even knowing, as I do, that most ride bookings come in the last few hours before the ride. But this ride was brand new, and had only been in the Zwift schedule since the Tuesday before. It helps that I am known as an organiser of well-led group rides (the GGCC series, 3 rides, a race and a TT every week on Zwift) and I was able to rely on the support of close friends and backup leaders Steven Smith and David Smith (no relations, one based here is Glasgow, and the other from Erie, Pa in the US).
The numbers were extraordinary for our brand-new 6Points Mallorca ride:
Once the ride had started, we could see that the start line was pretty busy, and Steven was holding the fort, promising my imminent arrival!
Since we had the Late Join facility enabled, that allows rides to join up to 1/2 hour later, after 30 minutes we could see that as many as 98 riders has started the ride at some point. In this image we can see that I (with the yellow beacon chevron over me) was “leading” from 41st position in a peloton of 98 who had started before the 30 minute Late Join cut-off.
The full Zwift Companion results for the ride show 58 finishers altogether, and note that my own watts/kg was 2.5 for the ride, exactly as advertised; 2 to 3 w/kg at a 2.5w/kg average. One has to be careful, as leader beacon, because on flat terrain watts (are a better predictor of speed in the Zwift physics model, and my average was 186w. A lighter rider would have to generate MORE watts to keep up. Downhill heavier riders have even more advantage; lighter riders only get help uphill!
More screenshots from the ride show what a great job Zwift have made of the virtual world imagery for the Jungle Circuit ride. All of their worlds have very high quality game graphics, because Zwift, although a cycling resource, is in “reality” a video game with cyclists at the protagonists! In one of the images, note the red transparent “fence” that keeps riders within (in this case) 5 seconds of the leader beacon, thus enabling a good “blob” peloton – not a “snake” – and fair stats for sprints and the closing minirace to the ride. As you can see, I can choose 2 seconds (rather short in my view), and 10 seconds as well (too long; 5 seconds is my “goldilocks” setting). I turn it off during the sprints and the closing minirace, and after the sprints I choose 10 seconds, and then back to 5. Riders get 60 seconds, if beyond the fence, to slow down and return to the peloton. As you can see, 2 have been removed – “zapped” – by the fence. They can continue to ride, but aren’t formally in our group any longer and aren’t in the results, unless we are inside 30 minutes, in which case they can stop and re-join.
Setting up this ride for 6Points Mallorca, and leading the first ride, with its very high participation numbers, has been a pleasure and I look forward to growth of the series over the coming months, and its demonstration to the 6Points Mallorca sponsors and Mallorca authorities (who also support 6Points Challenges) that 6Points has world-wide reach, and can, and does attract tourism to Mallorca from all parts of the world. Nationalites of our Zwift riders yesterday spanned all hemispheres – Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific, as can be see from the nation flags on this ZwiftPower results list