Riding a bicycle outside during the winter months in Illinois can be a little trouble some. You might get a few good days where the temperature is just above freezing, the sun will be out, and the trail will be frozen enough where they are ridable. But usually, it’s way too cold, or everything has a sheet of ice over it. Or it’s raining, which is followed by cold temperatures, which then turns everything to a sheet of ice.
So, when I can’t get out I hop on a stationary bike that is hooked up to a mag trainer and run Zwift. Zwift is a virtual training program that you can down load to a computer and it will hook up to any speed and/or cadence sensor that is either bluetooth or ANT+ capable. Overall, it’s not horrible and it give you something to look at while you slogging along on a stationary bike. They have some workouts that are pretty good, but I mainly just like to ride a long at a casual pace for a bit in the morning. While I know that nothing is perfect and using Zwift is better than watching the morning news or starting at a blank wall, there are a few small things that I wish it did.
One thing is I wish the environment would match the time of day that you are riding. For example, you can select a variety of environment to ride in. As you ride along you could be cruising along within a town, or in an all out sprint heading up hill to make a checkpoint (for all you Strava heads out there). Overall, this is pretty cool but I feel that having the environment match the time of day you are riding would really bump up the physical feel of the ride. It’d be super rad to be riding along in the mountains with the sun coming up in the distance. They already sort of do this, but the exchange from night to day is kinda of all over the place that it feels that I lose a bit of the cohesion between the route and the ride.
The other thing is make ascents degrade your wattage output. The main reason for this is so I could really ratchet down and increase my output to push up the hill much like you would if you were actually climbing. It would force me out of the seat and then have it decrease your cadence so it like you are climbing. That way you don’t crank out like you’re in a sprint, but enough so you get a good burn.
Other than that, Zwift is a great training program to utilize in the off season when you don’t have the option to get outside that often.