Zwift’s Scary Halloween Ride Experience

This is my second Halloween on Zwift, and if I wanted a scary experience then I guess getting to be a paid beta tester for their shocking code is up there on the horror scale.

Frankly, this was an extremely disappointing and frustrating experience.

Billed as a special group ride using the pacer bot, the idea, as best I understood it, was to stick with the special pace bot to collect bits of the Halloween costume.

Of course, there was no description as to how this worked. You just had to figure it out. Or ask, I guess. Or watch an unofficial YouTube video.

I’m glad they fixed one of the most glaring issues – not being able to see the pace bot – but this bot just kept speeding up and slowing down, completely at random. It was billed as a 2.8w/kg to 3.1w/kg ride, but most of the time I was soft pedalling to try to slow down to let the bot pass me … it was annoying and frustrating, and finally I got magically dropped from the ride for no noticeable reason.

Absolutely terrible. If they wanted to scare me away from their product, they are doing a fantastic job of it. I’m currently strongly motivated to finish the Academy – for no other reason than to fill in this blog (I started, so I’ll finish) – and then drop Zwift and try The Sufferfest for a while.

About the only saving grace is I thought the costume we were trying to “win” was a bug (in viewing the screenshots I now think it was an alien). I genuinely thought someone at Zwift HQ had a wry sense of humour.

Anyway, after being frustrated for 10 minutes with the bot (after some initial problems with even getting on the ride), I decided to hell with it, and opted for a structured workout instead. I didn’t have long as I had the tea to cook, so a short workout seemed like a good use of my time.

Recently, Zwift have added a bunch of 30 minute workouts to the roster, so I was able to pick something new.

I opted for the 2 by 2 workout.

In short this is 4 repeats of 1 minute at 250w @ 90rpm, immediately followed by 1 minute at 295w @ 100rpm.

Foolishly, I didn’t think I’d have much difficulty with this one. Only 42 TSS… how hard could it be?

Given I’d done the bot ride for 10 minutes, and that I was running out of time, I skipped the warm up phase.

Straight into 2 minutes at 230w to kick things off. Easy enough, with a nice 2 minutes at 150w to recover.

No danger.

But then, wham, into the first interval. And I got a bit alarmed.

This was going to be harder than expected.

There were two difficult parts to this one:

The first one being able to keep up that 100rpm cadence at 295w for a minute, after already working hard for a minute prior.

But secondly, getting that heart rate down to something like normal in just 2 minutes at 150w to prep for the next interval. Oof.

After each 2 minute rest I had only managed to get my heart rate down to the high 150s, and by the final rest I was only able to get my heart rate down to 164bpm before having to go “on” again.

This was really tough.

I hit a max heart rate of 194bpm, which even by my standards is absurdly high.

Had this been for anything longer than a minute, I doubt I would have finished. And honestly, had there been a fifth interval to complete I could not have managed it.

This one absolutely thrashed me.

I think, tomorrow, I am going to try and do a Zwift Academy ride of some sort. At this point I want to push through and finish that before my next Zwift subscription period renews, so I can evaluate whether I continue or not.

Yeah, I’m that jaded with it.

Such a shame.

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