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Zwift is launching all kinds of updates for summer 2024

New climbs, HUD refresh, training plans to spice up your indoor riding experience

Gone are the days where Zwift was simply our saving grace for riding through the winter months. Past the point of being a winter sport, more and more people are using Zwift daily as a core element of their year round training and fitness, and these upcoming features and content developments are designed with that in mind.

The Grade – summer 2024

Kickstarting with the Grade; a strategic climb that should take between 10-25 minutes to complete and provide you with a shiny new FTP. Taking the critical power curves provided by hundreds of thousands of FTP tests that have been completed to date, Zwift has designed ‘the Grade’ to determine a riders FTP as a result of the time taken to complete climb. Rolling out in June 2024, the grade will open up a window of opportunity to shorten the length of time required to suffer through the FTP test – assuming you can get up the climb in less than 20 mins, of course.

The Grade remains pretty steady, albeit rather steep (approx 10-12 per cent), throughout the main part of the climb from Ciudad de La Cumbre. It then offers a brief plateau before progressing into the switchbacks which connect Watopia’s southern coast with the backside of the Epic KOM and become steeper in turn, 9 per cent, 10 per cent, 11 per cent, etc.

The prediction is that most riders will encounter the Grade as part of a regular loop as opposed to solely using it for their FTP test. As such, the expansion will open up 10-12 new routes over the summer and Zwift has ensured the ability to ‘cruise’ up the Grade without jeopardizing your current FTP. Naturally, like myself, a lot of Zwifters will be excited by this interactive FTP test format. That said, some users will race the Grade, others will use it for training.

HUD refresh – summer 2024

Zwift’s heads up display has been around for the last 7-8 years and it’s about to get more than just a new lick of paint. This sweet spot, of intentionally creating room for individual tailoring without adding too much complexity, offers Zwifters the information they need, as, when, and where they need it. As such, the HUD update will allow users to customize the display to show information that is most relevant to them; speed, average power, W/kg, cadence and heart rate.

In addition, and in response to one of the top three requests, Zwift will be introducing the new dynamic elevation ‘Climb Mode’ display. Traditionally, the thumbnail display indicated the immediate gradient, but the new update will enable a ‘smart-gradient display’ that will provide information for the next kilometre as and when needed, and hide when it’s not.

Hand in hand with the gradient display, the zone distribution bar will provide Zwifters with a visual account of the time spent in each zone. The distribution split across the horizontal bar will change over the course of the ride. It’s a small but powerful accountability tool that will help avoid maxing out for longer than intended and give you a gentle nudge on slower days.

Zwift also plans to add an energy count to the top bar which will display calories/kilojoules used. They believe this is an important metric for all, but especially for those starting out on Zwift who are less focused on FTP gains and more set on getting in shape and/or losing weight. Zwift intends to use this metric to recommend the workload but acknowledges that people have differing relationships with calorie counts and as such they have suggested they will consider making this an optional display.

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Lastly, the updated mini-map will sit on the right hand side of the screen to reduce information cluttering and will offer greater clarity on course progression, elevation and such. The map will also provide a better overview to better facilitate course selection.

My List – spring 2024

Speaking of course selection, I am especially excited about the updates we will see on Zwift companion, the go-to for discovering and signing up to events. Free from any complex procedure ‘My List’ will enable Zwifters to queue up to 25 workouts and rides in advance of their workout. Simply browse the library of workouts and routes and add those you want to your list. The list will then show up on your home screen when you next log into Zwift. This will maximize ride time and reduce browsing, facilitate ‘badge hunters’ in their quest, and help keep riders accountable for the nagging task that they need to do but keep putting off. It’s no surprise that this was one of the top requested features from Zwifters.

Training Connections – early summer 2024

On a similar note, Zwift’s new training API connection will give users greater flexibility on how they want to train on Zwift and will prove to be especially useful for those with specific, structured plans. The new API will behave like existing 3rd party connections, such as TrainingPeaks, and enable these accounts to populate Zwift’s “for you” carousel with a week or month of upcoming workouts – depending on the external platform.

They are currently in the early stages of integration and are using a few existing partners to iron out any bugs but the intention is to allow other platforms to use Zwift’s open API. To date, there’s a waiting list of 35 additional partners that want to be involved, so watch this space. This time next year, I would expect complete connectivity, and the world of drag and drop to disappear.

Spring Training – spring 2024

Two weeks in and four remaining, Zwift’s Spring Training is underway. This communal program of workouts and experiences has been designed specifically to build endurance and prepare you for longer summer outdoor rides. There are a variety of 30-50 minute workouts to choose from and 100’s have been joining in already. If, like me, you are a little late to the party, you can join for the remaining four weeks and catch up on any you have missed from May 27 – June 3.

Tour de France – summer 2024

Last year, Zwift signed up with ASO as the Official Training Software partner for the Tour de France and launched the Climb Portal, which populated the platform with a selection of climbs from the TdF, just in time for the event. Zwift specifically chose the climbs that would likely change the face of the race in real time or those most sought after by cyclists around the world to ride. To say it was popular would be an understatement – 1/5 Zwifters rode a TdF climb on Zwift within the month of July.

This year, naturally, the aim is bigger and better. Zwift will give the platform a lick of yellow paint for the duration of the Tour and provide us with a month of themed content. The campaign will focus on eight iconic climbs in the Tour and for the first time this year, Zwift will also host portal events that finish at the top of those climbs.

Watch the Femmes – summer 2024

Watch the Femmes started as a call to action and mission to grow the sport and has since turned into a movement and focuses on elevating women’s cycling by inspiring women and building a community of participants and fans. Zwift continues to provide a platform to unite cyclists globally around the event with a fun and progressive spirit.

August 12 marks the start of TdF Femmes and the first time the race will start outside France, in Rotterdam. Zwift’s campaign will run through the month of August and will challenge riders to climb the height of Alpe d’Huez. In addition, RoboPacer events will take place every 2 hours up Alpe d’Huez from August 18-25 as a nod to the final stage on August 18. Zwift will further celebrate with weekly workouts inspired by TdF Femmes avec Zwift contenders throughout the event.

Whether you are new to Zwift or you have been Zwifting since the beginning, it is pretty clear the platform continues to evolve and build excitement. For those who come to train, those who come to race, and those who come seeking a more community based option for keeping fit, we can expect to see so many more routes, features, and extensions over the next few months to keep us engaged throughout the upcoming season.