TWENTY24 Pro Cycling Race Report From Zwift’s UCI eSports World Championships

December 10, 2020

TWENTY24 Pro Cycling Race Report From Zwift’s UCI eSports World Championships

On December 9, the first-ever UCI-sanctioned eSports world championship road races took place via the popular Zwift virtual cycling platform. Several riders from the TWENTY24 Pro Cycling squad took part in the historic race, representing a host of countries in the truly international field. We caught up with American Shayna Powless and Canadian Georgia Simmerling to give us a first-hand account of what it was like to take part in the most prestigious virtual cycling race to date.

female indoor cycling

Even the pros say that virtual racing can be as hard—if not harder—than racing in real life. American Shayna Powless races for TWENTY24 Pro Cycling and represented the USA at the UCI eSports World Championship.

 

FELT: Tell us what it’s like racing on Zwift versus racing in the real world.

Shayna: Zwift is very different from racing in the real world and is very much a discipline of its own. On Zwift, you don't have to worry about outside factors such as weather, and you also don't have to worry about one-on-one contact with other riders—which is very convenient when it comes to avoiding crashes. The fact that there is zero one-on-one contact is also great since we can race risk-free and not have to worry about COVID precautions. Racing on Zwift is also extremely hard and many would say it's harder than racing in real life! You have to do a wind-up before the start of races so that you don't get dropped from the group right off the bat, and the pace is almost always consistently hard. The only time you would ever let up on the pedals is if you are supertucking. There are also video game-style power-ups you can get periodically after riding through different banners. The power-ups give your avatar an advantage of anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, and you have to be strategic about when you use them. This aspect makes Zwift racing very "game-like." The draft on Zwift is also very accentuated compared to in real life. If you lose the draft and get gapped, it's twice as hard to close that gap on Zwift compared to closing a gap in real life.

FELT: What made the Zwift worlds race unique compared to other virtual pro races?

Shayna: The UCI Esports World Championships on Zwift was so unique because it was a huge mix of both top virtual community racers and top professional racers. Our team had done some races earlier in the year that were mostly composed of professional teams, as well as other races that were mostly composed of Zwift community teams. The World Championships was definitely the most mixed event of the entire year. The other unique aspect was the amount of prize money offered for the top three finishers (much more than any other race this year).

FELT: Do you employ different tactics when racing virtually versus the real world?

Shayna: Since Zwift is a discipline of its own, there are plenty of tactics that are Zwift-specific compared to tactics used in the real world. I would say that, strategically, using power-ups to your advantage is the most significant tactic. There are several different power-ups that exist and it's impossible to predict with one-hundred-percent certainty which one you'll get at any given point during your ride. After getting a power-up, knowing when and where to use it is key. Another tactic that's different on Zwift is that you never want to coast unless you are doing a supertuck on a steep grade at a certain speed. If you coast for more than 1-2 seconds, it's much too easy to lose your speed and get dropped.

FELT: Tell us your favorite few things about racing on Zwift.

Shayna: One of my favorite things about racing and riding on Zwift is how convenient it is. You can race/ride from the comfort of your own home or anywhere you have a solid wi-fi connection and trainer access. You can also ride/race on Zwift 24/7 as there are constantly races, group rides, and workouts going on. The opportunities are endless. Another thing I love about Zwift is how much it's pushed me out of my comfort zone. Many of the Zwift races I've done have been among the hardest races I've ever competed in. I've really learned how to suffer in ways I never experienced before. Additionally, Zwift allows me to connect and communicate with friends and teammates around the world during a time when in-real-life racing, traveling, and events are basically non-existent.

FELT: How do you feel your performance at the World Championships went?

Shayna: The World Championships went pretty well. Team USA did amazing with 5 riders in the top 10 (including one of my TWENTY24 teammates!). I managed to make the early selection of front-group riders along with most of the other American women. From then on, it was all about conserving energy when possible, maintaining good position, and going all-out up the climbs. We gradually lost more riders from our group over time, but most of the group stayed together up until the final climb to the finish. I made sure to position myself well going into that last climb, but soon found myself slowly drifting backward as the grade got steeper. I continued to give it everything I had to the top and ended up finishing in 21st place, 17 seconds down from the leader. That was one of the hardest finishes I've ever experienced! Overall, I'm grateful for the opportunity to compete in this history-making event while representing the USA. Also, huge thank you to USA Cycling and Team TWENTY24, without whom I wouldn't have had this honor. I already can't wait for next year's races and World Championships!

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT SOME INDOOR TRAINER WORKOUTS

 

cyclist riding indoor trainer

Canadian Georgia Simmerling races for TWENTY24 Pro Cycling, and represented her home country at the UCI eSports World Championships.

FELT: What it’s like racing on Zwift versus racing in the real world?

Georgia: It’s been a learning curve for me, that’s for sure! And it is one that is definitely continuing to grow. Besides the obvious differences compared to racing in real life, Zwift is a video game you need to figure out!

FELT: What made the Zwift worlds race unique compared to other virtual pro races?

Georgia: Having the UCI run the event definitely has added an extra sense of legitimacy to the event.

FELT: Do you employ different tactics when racing virtually versus the real world?

Georgia: At the end of the day, you need to be at the front of the pack in order to try and win the thing, so keeping it simple is key And if you are there, then timing that power-up is critical!

FELT: Tell us your favorite few things about racing on Zwift.

Georgia: That I can hop on at any point of the day and find a race to enter!

FELT: How did the race ultimately play out for you?

Georgia: It was a super exciting event. To be honest, it didn’t play too well to my strengths due to the climbing that was involved, even though the climbs were pretty short, sharp, and steep. That sort of helped my style and energy system as an athlete with a lot of track racing experience. The peloton moved fairly slowly throughout the whole race, so I was able to recover after the climbs, which was key to staying with the main group. So it came down to that last climb and who was going to be at the top at the end of the race. A lot also came down to how and when you hit your power-ups. That last climb got very, very hard, and I did the best I could and ended up inside the top 20.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO SET UP YOUR OWN INDOOR CYCLING ZONE




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BIKE SIZING

Getting the proper size bike is key to comfort, performance, and safety. The world's best bike, if the wrong size for you, won't make you a better rider.
Our bike sizing guide is meant to give some general direction as to the best size to fit you based on your height. This is just one variable in a very complex system between rider and bike so keep in mind that rider proportions, fitness levels, and other aspects particular to the individual cyclist has a big impact on how you'll feel and perform on your new bike. Our size guidelines are not a substitute for a professional bike fit. If you have size questions, please don't hesitate to visit your local qualified bike fitter or reach out to us.

ROAD PERFORMANCE, ENDURANCE, GRAVEL & ADVENTURE MODELS | AR, FR, VR, BREED, BROAM

43cm 47cm / 48cm 51cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 61cm

RIDER HEIGHT
CM / FT

144.7 -152.4 cm
4’9”-5’0”

152.4 -167.6 cm
5’0”-5’5”

167.6 -172.7 cm
5’5”-5’8”

172.7 -177.8 cm
5’8”-5’10”

177.8 -182.8 cm
5’10”-6’0”

182.8 -187.9 cm
6’0”-6’2”

187.9 -195.5 cm
6’2”-6’5”

RIDER INSEAM
CM / INCHES Measured from crotch to floor.

67.3 -71.2 cm
26.5”-28.0”

71.2 -74.9 cm
28"-29.5"

75.1 - 76.2 cm
29.6’’-30.0”

77.9 -82.0 cm
30.7”-32.3”

81.0 -85.0 cm
31.9”-33.5”

84.0 -87.1 cm
33.1”-34.3”

87.3 -91.1 cm
34.4”-35.9”

TRIATHLON & TT MODELS | DA, IA*, B

48cm 51cm 54cm 56cm 58cm

RIDER HEIGHT
CM / FT

152.4 -167.6 cm
5’0”-5’5”

167.6 -172.7 cm
5’5”-5’8”

172.7 -180.3 cm
5’8”-5’11”

180.3 -187.9 cm
5’11”-6’2”

187.9 -195.5 cm
6’2”-6’5”

RIDER INSEAM
CM / INCHES Measured from crotch to floor.

70.8 -74.4 cm
27.9”-29.3”

74.4 - 77.9 cm
29.3’’-30.07”

77.9 -83.0 cm
30.7”-32.7”

83.0 -85.8 cm
32.7”-33.8”

85.8 -88.9 cm
32.7”-35.0”

*For additional insight on choosing the best size and set-up for your DA and IA models, please download and use our TRI/TT fit calculator.

CYCLOCROSS MODELS | FX

47cm 50cm 53cm 55cm 57cm 60cm

RIDER HEIGHT
CM / FT

152.4 -167.6 cm
5’0”-5’5”

167.6 -172.7 cm
5’5”-5’8”

172.7 -177.8 cm
5’8”-5’10”

177.8 -182.8 cm
5’10”-6’0”

182.8 -187.9 cm
6’0”-6’2”

187.9 -195.5 cm
6’2”-6’5”

RIDER INSEAM
CM / INCHES Measured from crotch to floor.

71.2 -74.9 cm
28”-29.5”

75.1 - 76.2 cm
29.6’’-30.0”

77.9 -82.0 cm
30.7”-32.3”

81.0 -85.0 cm
31.9”-33.5”

84.0 -87.1 cm
33.1”-34.3

87.3 -91.1 cm
34.4”-35.9”

TRACK MODELS | TK-FRD

52cm 55cm 57cm 60cm

RIDER HEIGHT
CM / FT

160.0 -167.6 cm
5’3”-5’5”

167.6 -175.2 cm
5’5”-5’9”

175.2 -180.3 cm
5’9”-5’11”

180.3 -187.9 cm
5’11”-6’2”

RIDER INSEAM
CM / INCHES Measured from crotch to floor.

75.1 -76.2 cm
29.6”-30.0”

77.9 - 82.0 cm
30.7’’-32.3”

81.0 -85.0 cm
31.9”-33.5”

84.0 -87.1 cm
33.1”-34.3”

FITNESS | VERZA

47cm / 48cm 51cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 61cm

RIDER HEIGHT
CM / FT

152.4 -167.6 cm
5’0”-5’5”

167.6 -172.7 cm
5’5”-5’8

172.7 -177.8 cm
5’8”-5’10”

177.8 -182.8 cm
5’10”-6’0”

182.8 -187.9 cm
6’0”-6’2”

187.9 -195.5 cm
6’2”-6’5”

RIDER INSEAM
CM / INCHES Measured from crotch to floor.

71.2 -74.9 cm
28.0”-29.5”

75.1 - 76.2 cm
29.6’’-30.0”

77.9 -82.0 cm
30.7”-32.3”

81.0 -85.0 cm
31.9”-33.5”

84.0 -87.1 cm
33.1”-34.3”

87.3 -91.1 cm
34.4”-35.9”

MTB FULL-SUSPENSION | Edict, Decree, COMPULSION

16" 18" 20" 22"

RIDER HEIGHT
CM / FT

158.4 -170.1 cm
5’3”-5’7”

170.1 -177.8 cm
5’7”-5’10”

177.8 -185.4 cm
5’10”-6’1”

185.4 -193.0 cm
6’1”-6’4”

RIDER INSEAM
CM / INCHES Measured from crotch to floor.

74.4 - 77.9 cm
28.0’’-30.7”

77.9 -83.0 cm
30.7”-32.7”

83.0 -85.8 cm
32.7”-33.8”

85.8 -88.9 cm
33.8”-35.0”

MTB HARDTAIL | DOCTRINE, DISPATCH

14" 16" 18" 20" 22"

RIDER HEIGHT
CM / FT

152.4 -167.6 cm
5’1”-5’4”

162.5 -170.1 cm
5’4”-5’7”

170.1 -177.8 cm
5’7”-5’10”

177.8 -185.4 cm
5’10”-6’1”

185.4 -193.0 cm
6’1”-6’4”

RIDER INSEAM
CM / INCHES Measured from crotch to floor.

70.8 -74.4 cm
27.3”-28.3”

74.4 - 77.9 cm
28.3’’-30.7”

77.9 -83.0 cm
30.7”-32.7”

83.0 -85.8 cm
32.7”-33.8”

85.8 -88.9 cm
32.7”-35.0”

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