Fitness for Nerds: Numbers that matter Pt II

Jul 29, 2021

A couple of months ago, I wrote about Zwift and said I'd expand on the most important tip ever and a few of the terms and acronyms that the platform uses.

So what's that tip then?

Lets not beat about the bush.   Pretty much anytime you are on Zwift you see other riders on a cool glowing neon bike and wonder "How do I get myself one of those?"

Games? You want games, I'll give you games.

This is the "Zwift Concept Z1" known as the Tron Bike.  A quick google tends to lead to the answer "you get it after doing 50000m of vertical climb".   All well and good - but you need to have signed up for the Everest Challenge first for it to start counting!

The 'net is equally as full of "I have done 50000m climb and still haven't received my Tron Bike?", Imagine having to start that Challenge again.  So the best beginners tip is to sign up for that challenge as soon as you start, and every meter you climb from then on will count to your goal.

Zwift support says you will get asked to start a challenge when  you first log in, but most folks when starting don't want challenges or are unaware for what this means.

So from the Menu, select the Challenge Window. Yep, it's not labelled.

Select the Everest Challenge

That's it.  Now every meter you climb counts towards unlocking the Tron bike.   Not just the 8848m to reach the top of Mt. Everest, keep going all the way into the Stratosphere.  You will get there eventually.

Tip #2

When I first started on a few group rides in Zwift,  I was getting confused on the sprint.  It's easy to see when a sprint or KOM finishes, there is a big banner.  But where do you start?

Ride leader may call to get ready or go, the sprint leaderboard may appear on the left sometime before the start. But there must be something else.  There is...

Look for the Green or Red roadside markers.   These are the official sprint segment starts.  You'll get to learn where these are.  If you want a fast sprint time, don't start at the marker, you need to be full speed at the marker and hang on to the finish.  

You may even get a fabled Green Jersey

For a short time, you may be the fastest on s sprint section

What do all the other terms mean then?


In group rides the fence is a marker that the ride leader sets to a number of seconds in front of them.  If you are in a group ride, it is not a race.  The fence is a reminder to ease up and return to the ride group

Don't get too close to the Fence. Stay in the Blob!

If you get ahead of the fence, not only will you incur the wrath of the ride leader, you will get a nice message to Return to Group!  Ride off too far (a Flier)and you may get zapped and removed from the group ride.


Let's get Blobby! Blob Up!

The drafting/aero impact in Zwift seems significant compared to the real world.  If you are in a group you go faster.  And the bigger and fatter that group is the bigger the aero advantage and speed.  In Zwift speak - a large group is referred to as the Blob.

So group rides like to travel in the blob, racers go faster/easier in a blob.  If everyone is strung out in a long line, then everyone works harder and travels slower.


This one is not unique to Zwift.  Smart trainers have 2 main modes.  First is simulation, so in Zwift it gets harder to pedal when you go up hills in game.  The second is ERG mode.

ERG mode is a setting - especially in workouts - where Zwift holds your trainer at a specific power output regardless of your cadence (how fast you are pedaling).  Don't pedal too  slow or you may enter the erg spiral of death.   This is where your pedal speed (and thus power) drops, so the trainer makes it harder, if you are tired or can't keep the output, you slow more. And the trainer increases the resistance more, and you get slower etc etc until you just grind to a stop.


King/Queen of the mountain.  Fastest rider (current or all time) on a segment/section/course.


In Real Life.  Cos Zwift is just a game right?

Phil Snowdon

Phil is the Technical Operations Manager at vBridge. Loves all things infrastructure. Network/Security/Storage/Compute and Virtualization.