Virtual competition proving popular

The races are continuing but from the comfort of home.

In this age of modern technology, cyclists can get on Zwift and compete in races.

Zwift is an online cycling and running programme that enables users to interact, train and compete in a virtual world.

Cycling Otago usually organises races for Monday night, mainly on the Taieri plain. But with the Covid-19 lockdown in place, racing has now gone online.

They have proved popular, attracting dozens of riders, and Otago has combined with Cycling Southland to run more races during the week.

Ella Harris, back from training in Spain, said it was a good training tool and, with limits on how far a cyclist could go on a training ride outdoors, the zwift option was fast gaining in popularity.

The cyclist mounts the bike, hooks up the training machine to a computer and the software, and shortly afterwards the racing is on.

It is based around how much power a cyclist can generate and has become quite popular. There are various courses the cyclists can use.

One course is based on the Yorkshire roads used for last year’s world road championships while roads in Richmond in the United States and Innsbruck in Austria are also used.

Harris said it was so much better for motivation and they could become real races with some really tough competition taking place.

She had risen at 6am on Tuesday morning to be part of her Canyon-SRAM team in a 25km race which was up and down hills and finished with a hill climb.

She ended up third, just 30sec behind winner Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, of South Africa.


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