Not Quite Like Real Life.

Since all of my riding for the last few months has been on the trainer, I've spent quite a bit of time on Zwift. It's provided the extra motivation to push harder (in some cases too hard) when the couch and mass quantities of Goldfish crackers beckoned. My well-worn stack of northern Classics DVDs, the go-to motivational tool of the last few years, has pretty much remained untouched.
Zwift is a quantum leap forward for me, but it doesn't hold a candle to reality.
This clearly demonstrated the other day when I logged on, noticed Chris Knott was riding, and tried to link up with him. Despite the program placing me at his current location, he blew by me like I was standing still (because I was, literally and figuratively). I charged after him, hoping he wasn't doing anything structured and would be willing to play.
In real life I could through out a sarcastic comment between gasps or choke down the vomit long enough to get my point across. Not so in the virtual world of Zwift. Communication in this environment is through short text messages displayed globally or through applications that allow you to use microphones. My typing is horrible in the best of circumstances, and it doesn't get any better when I'm flailing away at 350W. The best I can manage is one of the pre-programmed comments that never seem to convey what I mean.
When I finally caught him, he rode in my draft for 30 seconds, dropped off to drift back down the nearby riders board, and then disappeared completely. I figured he was doing intervals, so I went ahead and did my own thing. I didn't want to interfere, because I know how hard it is to resist the urge to chase and burn energy when you're supposed to be doing something else.
After my trainer dungeon session was done, I contacted him through Facebook and learned he had recently broken a couple ribs. What would have been plainly obvious in the real world was concealed by how fit his avatar appeared. What could have been expressed in a handful of words went unsaid. I would have likely ridden along and swapped pulls with him if I realized the situation. Instead I rode off solo.
Zwift may be a lot of things, but it isn't a substitute for the real world.


  1. Laughter is not the best medicine in this case, Mike. Your killing me here!

    1. Part of my master plan to neutralize the competition. I'm going to shape the Masters 45+ field into a broken-down collection of geezers that will provide me with a 50/50 shot at breaking the top 5.


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