Technology’s impact on gaming and fitness is on the rise. eSports is a robust emerging industry and Zwift, an interactive platform that enables cyclists to ride and race with each other virtually is at the forefront in cycling bringing real athletes to a virtual platform. Sho-Air TWENTY20 participated in this historic event.
Last week saw the inaugural Zwift Kiss Super League pro women’s race. A virtual race series for UCI teams and the top Zwift community teams. Sho-Air TWENTY20 athletes raced their Felt bicycles from their homes in Florida, Alabama, Colorado and Arizona. Quarq power meters are paired with their Wahoo Kickr smart trainers for this data driven event. Riders are asked to create weigh-in videos before each event for performance verification, this ensures accurate power to weight data; watts per kilogram for more accurate racing.
Race #1 was held on the Watopia course; Watopia Flat is a favorite for racers who prefer a flatter route profile. While most races on this route end in a pack sprint, vigilance and sweat are required if you want to hang with the front pack over the bumps and false flats to the finish
Zwift KISS Super League Race #1
ROUTE: Watopia Flat
LAP DISTANCE: 10.2 km
ELEVATION GAIN: 61 m
TOTAL DISTANCE: 30.6 km
The Sho-Air TWENTY20 roster of four was Allie Legg (USA), Simone Boilard (CAN), Amanda Coker (USA) and Erica Clevenger (USA)
Seasoned Zwifters know that the starts of these races are notoriously fast and this was no exception. Sho-Air TWENTY20 showed up to the start line prepared. “None of our athletes had competed in a Zwift event before so we had no idea how things would shake down,” commended Nicola Cranmer, General Manager. “A couple of them commented about how nervous they were before the start, but as soon as racing started it was game on! It’s not an easy 50 minutes, you can compare it to a fast professional criterium. There is a lot of strategy involved and this includes course recon the use of power ups and drafting (yes the virtual drafting effect is strong). We had a successful first eSports race with Simone Boilard narrowly missing the win by 4/100th of a second and Amanda Coker finishing a strong 7th.
“Even if I am in sunny Tucson, Arizona, I still want to play bikes in the garage because Zwift is so fun and easy! Wherever you are, you can ride against some of the best cyclists by just connecting your Wahoo trainer to the world of cycling!” commented 2nd place finisher, Boilard.
7th place finisher and World Record Holder – 8,012 miles ridden in 30 days, World Record Holder – 86,573.2 miles ridden in a year, World Record Holder – 100,000 miles ridden in 423 days Amanda Coker trains on the flat roads of Florida and she sees this opportunity as a great top end fitness builder. “Racing for my team Sho-Air TWENTY20 in the first ever Women’s Zwift KISS Super League race was exciting! From the second the race started it was just like a real race with blasting power efforts, sprints, breakaways, and tactics, all the way to the finish. Being able to race alongside three strong teammates was great, Simone had a great race taking second for the day! I’m really looking forward to using this Zwift series to help me gain more race experience as well as improving my fitness.” said Coker
Clevenger set up Boilard with a late solo attack forcing the Swift All Stars, Canyon/SRAM and the Swift Academy Dream Team to chase while Boilard was tucked in drafting waiting for the opportunity to counter “I had a blast racing the first round of Kiss Super League today. It really reflected the feeling of being in a race especially with the Wahoo Kickr trainer. It was hard! You really need to use up your energy wisely. It is good for race tactics!” stated Clevenger
The team sits 2nd overall heading into next weeks race.
Zwift KISS Super League Race #2
ELEVATION GAIN: 72 m
LAP DISTANCE: 8.8 km
TOTAL DISTANCE: 35.2 km
DESCRIPTION: This course is fast and mostly flat with one short 8% climb each lap.
“My first Zwift race was a blast! It’s been fun learning how to navigate the virtual world and use things like power ups in a race. I even enjoyed watching the replay!” said Erica Clevenger, “I see esports as a compliment to live racing. It’s so accessible and yet still very exciting to follow. I can’t wait to tow the line again next week with my teammates on Sho-Air TWENTY20 now that we’ve got our first Zwift race together under our belts!”