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There are big changes happening on the Zwift platform over the next few months, this includes new roads and consequently routes to ride.  There are changes to how information is displayed in-game and a new way to schedule your rides.  That’s not all, Zwift who are the “Official Software Providers” for the Tour de France are updating their popular “Climb Portal” with the climbs from this year’s Tour de France, so we can tackle them, alongside the pros.

Let’s look in more detail at what Zwift have in store for us.  

Watopia Expansion: The Grade

Zwift’s main map is expanding and at long last, a new climb is being added, which they are calling “The Grade.”

This is due to be launched in June and it will start in Watopia’s Southern Coast, from the buildings of “Ciudad de La Cumbre” which is the Spanish for “Summit City.” Zwift have noted that it will take a “direct, very steep passage from Ciudad de La Cumbre to the top of Epic KOM.”  Looking at the map of Watopia, this looks to be a large distance so hopefully this climb will last 20-minutes to enable an FTP test. 

As a consequence of these new roads, there will be additional routes to ride and race in Watopia. 

Climb Portal Expansion

To celebrate Zwift’s partnership with the ASO and being their “Official Software Provider,” Zwift have expanded the climbs available in the Climb Portal and they are including those from this year’s Tour de France, allowing you to compare your times up the mountains to the pros.  Also one of the big things is Climb Portal events.  As Zwift have stated “For the first time this year, Zwift will be hosting Climb Portal events, bringing another dimension to this popular feature.”

The climbs coming to the Portal this summer, at the same time of the Tour de France are:

Week 1:

  • Côte des Forche – Stage: 1, Elevation: 159 m, Avg Grade: 6.3 %, Distance: 2.5 km
  • Col du Galibier (Lautaret) – Stage: 4, Elevation: 563 m, Avg Grade: 6.6 %, Distance: 8.6 km

Week 2:

  • Pas de Peyrol/Puy Mary – Stage: 11, Elevation: 628 m, Avg Grade: 6.9 %, Distance: 9.2 km
  • Pla d’Adet – Stage: 14, Elevation: 873 m, Avg Grade: 8.2 %, Distance: 10.7 km 
  • Col de Peyresourde (Avajan) – Stage: 15, Elevation: 555 m, Avg Grade: 7.7 %, Distance: 7.2 km 

Week 3:

  • Isola 2000 – Stage: 19, Elevation: 1157 m, Avg Grade: 7.1 %, Distance: 16.2 km
  • Col de la Couillole – Stage: 20, Elevation: 1145 m, Avg Grade: 7.2 %, Distance: 15.9 km
  • La Turbie/Col d’Eze – Stage 21, Elevation: 616m, Avg Grade: 3.1%, Distance: 15.9km

HUD Refresh

The Head Up Display (HUD) is getting a makeover.  The key feature is that you will have the ability to customise it in the settings menu.  Zwift notes that you “will be able to choose from Speed, Average Power, Power-to-Weight Ratio (W/KG), Cadence and Heart Rate.”  It will effectively be like having your own Bike computer. One observation is that it would have been even better if it had an additional two fields, in that way you could see more essential information, such as average heart rate.  

Zwift are introducing a ‘Climb Mode’ dynamic elevation profile display.  Basically, it tells you the gradient of the climb, allowing you to pace your effort, and it uses the same colour coding found in the Climb Portal.

The mini-map is getting a long overdue refresh and it will provide a greater level of detail.

My List

The first update people will see will be in the Companion app.  You will be able to organise your weekly rides using a function called “My List.”

This enables you to structure your training in an easier way by effectively planning what you are going to do.  Zwift explained that you will be able to browse the full library of Zwift workouts and routes and add them to your list.  This is ideal if you are following a training plan as you can organise the sessions.  Similarly, if you are trying to work through all the routes and collect the badges, you can line them up, effectively planning your rides in advance, depending on your schedule.

Training Connections

One of the things that have has been a challenge over the years is creating structured training plans. Zwift is developing a new training API Connection providing better integration with other platforms and coaching services, hopefully improving this aspect as your custom plans can be more easily imported. 

 As Zwift explains “Functionally, this new API will behave much like existing third-party connections on Zwift. Once the API Connection is set up and approved, workouts built outside of Zwift will pull directly into the Zwift platform and show in the Custom Workouts folder.”

The workouts from the new Training Connections API will pull through to the “For You” carousel on the home screen.

Summing up

Without doubt, the highlight from Zwift’s update has to be the addition of the new climb, which is probably long overdue.  I’m hoping that there is a nice blend of switchbacks and longer straighter sections, to provide variety. 

The updates to the HUD give Zwift that competitive advantage over other platforms who have not adopted this dynamic approach to letting the users display the information that is relevant to them.  It’s such a minor detail, which will have a big impact and will be like having your own Bike computer, I would like to be able to customise more than 4 fields and am hoping that Zwift look to expand this feature in the future. 

“My List” will be useful, allowing you to plan your rides, especially if there is the additional functionality of allowing you to include events from the calendar – currently it doesn’t appear that it is possible, but let´s go step by step.  Allowing for more integration with other coaching platforms is a good thing as it will hopefully allow more and different training sessions to be created. All-in-all, there are improvements in the pipeline that will be beneficial to all.