One thing that really irks me about indoor training is that I have to ride a physical mountain bike, on a screen with a virtual mountain bike, but on a virtual road surrounded by 99.9% virtual roadies. Many of us mountain bikers don’t own a road bike, don’t ride one, and have no reason to pretend we do.
Zwift is the giant in the room, and they offer a few mountain bike avatars, which is cool, and years ago added one single XC type trail that required steering (can I shut that off please!). That’s it. There are plenty of dirt and gravel roads, but nothing dedicated to MTB riders.
Can you imagine logging in, and since you have a race coming up in a few weeks, and it’s been raining every day, or its 100 degrees and humid out (welcome to my world), you go right to the Leogang world cup 2023 and do a full 1.25 hour race at race speed. All the short power climbs, the coasting down the hills for a few seconds, the flats, everything a race has. You do that at race pace, you are sweating at the end, and you kind of feel like you raced a mtb. All while riding your actual mtb on the trainer. Add in the Kickr Climb that I have, and if you have the deluxe Move model trainer, you probably liked the whole thing. Then the next day, you do the Cape Epic, say, stage 4 super long ride. And on the screen you see only trails, and mountain bikers coming by you. Man, that would be amazing.
I’ve had a Zwift subscription off and on for many years. I go through periods mainly in the winter months where I ride it almost every day, and like the last few years, not so much. I finally cancelled it entirely when they raised the price recently. I did dabble with other platforms. MyWhoosh being the most recent, as it’s entirely free, and they finally released a working AppleTV version. It’s fine, if you just want to pedal on a road bike.
So Rouvy (a Zwift competitor) comes along and announces something very, very intriguing at Eurobike. The ability to not only upload your own gopro and GPS files to their system, but they will take those files and build a virtual world around it. Not just your video, but a complete new rendering. Then, they allow you to add things, like start arches, side barriers, even a helicopter overhead, and then open the whole thing up to anyone who wants to ride it. I won’t bore you with the details, other than it takes 25 hours to do this magic, but still. This is just the first attempt at doing something I’ve dreamt of since my first week on Zwift.
Can someone upload real MTB races and trail systems and end up with some type of virtual equivalent to ride anytime? Why on earth can’t the UCI get together with someone and upload a full World Cup XCO race courses? You wouldn’t see me cancelling that subscription, I promise you. I’d pay dearly for that. Real mountain bike virtual training, on real MTB courses.
One can dream I guess.