QCTF launches virtual cycling events programme
With all sports events cancelled and cyclists and triathletesincreasingly confined indoors, Qatar Cycling and Triathlon Federation,supported by Rasen Adventure Shop and Qatar Olympic Committee, isturning to technology to keep the nation’s cyclists active, but safelyindoors. From April, a series of challenges and races will be run on theZwift virtual cycling platform. The events are intended to inform,encourage and support riders to discover Zwift and come together as acommunity – to do online what we can no longer do on the roads.
Rasen Adventure Shop and the other specialist retailers have seenunprecedented sales of so-called smart trainers since the Covid-19crisis began. The cyclist’s own bicycle is mounted on the trainer whichwirelessly transmits their efforts to software, translating them intospeed, propelling an avatar around the virtual worlds of Zwift. Whatmakes a smart trainer truly smart though is that the interaction istwo-way; when riding uphill, the resistance of the trainer matches thetoughness of the gradient and things get easier going downhill or on theflats. Some of the high-end trainers even replicate the feeling ofriding over dirt roads and cobbles or alter the angle of the bike whentackling climbs and, with the computer or iOS/Android device hooked upto a big screen, it is easy to imagine yourself in the deserts, jungles,cities and alpine passes of Zwift – cycling through volcanoes, pastdinosaurs or along the elevated sky-roads of a futuristic New York. Mostcrucially, Zwift is social. All the avatars around you are powered byreal humans, not game generated and, with the current pandemicincreasingly affecting cyclists worldwide, Zwift has already hit a peakof over 28,000 concurrent users.
But even with no shortage of people to ride with, cycling is alwaysbest with friends or rivals. The sight of a Qatar flagged rider on theroad ahead of you is the best motivator to ride harder or pick up themessaging app to chat away the kilometers. The new initiative by QCTFseeks to encourage more of this by bringing new virtual cyclists fromQatar to the platform, introducing them to some features to fast-tracktheir discovery of Zwift’s possibilities. In the weeks ahead we willcongregate on group rides and training workouts. There will be a Rasensponsored challenge to complete the most virtual kilometres. Ultimatelythere will be races too, to replace those lost to the effects ofCovid-19. The success of the project will be measured by virtual cyclinggrowing in Qatar throughout the hot summer months, even afterrestrictions have lifted.
To get started with Zwift, you’ll need a smart trainer and a devicecapable of running the software. Optionally, another device can be usedto run the Zwift Companion App which enhances the Zwift experience byadding messaging, access to events, and remote control over routechoice. There is plenty of information on how to get started on www.zwift.com/get-zwifting and www.zwift.com/video/how-to-cycling
The QCTF events can be found on the events calendar and will be announced on social media.