Zwifting is a very fulfilling and entertaining experience 99% of the time. However, when you have a low moment, it is a reaaaaaaally low one. One of those times when you feel so miserable that you remember it forever.
Here is the list, in no particular order, of my lowest moments while Zwifting.
#1: Day 1: All By Myself
First race on Zwift, a week after I joined. I am a D rider, signed up for a 30km race including Titans Grove. I am immediately dropped and get to race the equivalent of a 30km individual TT. All by myself. I cross the finish line 102nd out of 105 (last 3 certainly abandoned) and 8 minutes after the small pack of 5 before me. Two choices: I cancel my Zwift subscription to avoid further humiliation, or I study.
The very same day I discovered Zwift Insider and read all the existing material related to race tactics etc. I started my PhD in Zwiftinsiderism a few weeks later.
#2: Sweat Me a River, the Trilogy
During summer, it is not uncommon for Madrid to be 40 degrees celsius more. Therefore you have two alternatives:
Wake up at 4am to start pedaling at 5am and be back at 11am before you reach Death Valley temperatures (we even have vultures in Madrid’s surrounding mountains to make it even more real)
Today it’s Zwift time. It’s the day you have your VO2 workout, which involves 2x 20-minute threshold efforts. So the workout is easier to perform indoors.
5 minutes into the first threshold interval, the first drops of sweat appear in my skull (I am awfully bald), threatening to roll in my face and ultimately soaking the rockerplate.
Variant Number 1: Without watching, I mechanically extend my arm to grab the towel I always place in the stand to my left and… my hand explores and moves but… nothing. I forgot to place the towel in the basket!!! Still one hour to go into the workout, and there is no way I will pause the workout! It goes against my most basic instinct but also against my religion!
Variant Number 2:This time the bottle of isotonic drink is missing. The difference is that without water I may die. So there is more pressure to pause the workout. Nevertheless, I prefer dying standing for my values and beliefs than living compromising them!
Variant Number 3: The fan decides to die in the middle of the workout. It happened, for real. That is the reason I have 4 now. Not joking.
#3: Update Before a Race
ZRL race day. You arrive just in time because you crossed your boss leaving the office and he had to give you this major update on the most important project in the world nobody gives a shit about.
Plus traffic jams. Arrived just in time, thank god the SSD hard drive loads in 10 seconds, click Zwift icon and BOOM. Massive 7GB update launches. In such moments, the life expectancy of my laptop dramatically decreases.
#4: No “Join Event” Button
ZRL race 4 season 2. 25 minutes before the start of the race, I log in to Zwift to be able to join the pen and… no button to join the event. No matter what I do, restarting, resetting, relogging: NO JOIN THE EVENT BUTTON!!! In normal circumstances, in an average Marvel movie, Iron Man would come to rescue me and build a Join Event button out of the blue. But nothing. There is no Avenger hero available in such a dramatic and serious situation. They are all up to save the world, but the join event button is missing and no one shows up to help.
#5: The Shadow Ban
This one not many of you have experienced I hope. Imagine you open your email and discover you have been shadowbanned as a result of a misunderstanding with Zwift HQ. That is what happened to me on February 24th with the #freeLuciano aka Lucianogate saga. A hashtag was created on my name, and many influencers and cycling magazines described me as a cross between Robin Hood and Judas following the disclosure of an exploit in the game.
I am none of them. If anything I am the closest thing to Benny Hill in this story. I felt alone and extremely supported at the same time. It was a schizophrenic low and a high moment. Being a ghost still haunts my nightmares from time to time. By the way, what happened to the bug bounty program? 🤐
#6: FTP Lower than Expected
6 weeks into FTP Builder you feel you are going to be the king of the world. Nothing less than 5 W/kg is acceptable. You have invested around 55 hours of your time to methodically complete all the workouts of the training plan. It’s scientific, your FTP is going to skyrocket.
But no. Because when the ramp test finishes you have just decreased your FTP by 5 watts.
#7: HR Monitor and/or Amanda Go “no signal”
When trying to pair Amanda (my trainer) or in the middle of a race when I get the “no signal” message, I take it personally. It is more or less like denying the existence of a member of my family. Nothing is more infuriating than struggling for 10 minutes resetting and restarting all the devices to get them recognized by Scotty.
#8: The Lag in the TTT
This happens when you enter a TTT and there is a lag between what you see on screen and what others see on screen, or between what you do with your legs and what happens on the screen. And it gives the following kind of Kafkaian dialogues:
Christian: Luciano, your time to pull in 5, 4, 3, Luciano!!! Pull!! Luciano Pull!!!!
Me: I am pulling my brains off!!!! I am first, you are all in my draft!!!
Christian: Nope, you are fourth.
Me: I am first for fuck sake, it’s in my screen, I am first!!!!!
Christian: Nope, you are fifth now. Does not matter, Luciano, leave it, Josh you pull. Luciano, too late, drop at the end of the queue. Luciano!!!!! Drop at the end, you are disrupting the entire thing!!! Luciano drop!!!!
Me: I am at the end!
Christian: Nope you are first now. Stop pulling!!!!
Me: Noooo!!! I am at the end!!!!
The team all together: You are first!!! GO TO THE BACK OF THE LINE ONCE FOR ALL!!!
#9: The Pisa Tower Effect
I slingshot on top of the Titans Grove climb to fill the gap with the small group just two seconds before me and BAM!!!!! There is the sound of a small explosion under my feet. I immediately feel something is wrong and the left side of my rocker plate is almost touching the ground. One of the inflatable suspension balls has popped, and I become like the Tower of Pisa, inclining to one side and about to fall off my bike.
#10: Rate Your Ride
True story. November 15th, 2022, and the reason why I started this post in the first place.
ZRL TTT. Nightmarish start. 4km into the race we are only 4 left because two riders had technical issues. Having to pull more than a minute at 410w every 2 minutes and 30 seconds destroyed me. I don’t even know how we managed to reach the end in one piece. Everything hurts. Even the hair I don’t have hurts. Needless to say I am not psychologically available for any jokes. But Zwift, once more, is going to stab me big time as the following pops onto my screen:
Really Zwift? What’s the need to beat my pride that way when I am the weakest?
Where is the “Go to hell, I feel like crap, I will never do this again” option?