Zwift Launches New Course With Monster Alps-Style Climb
Zwift, the indoor-cycling gaming app, just unveiled a long-awaited Alps-style climb that promises to test the legs of even the fittest KOM/QOM chasers.
The new segment, called Alpe Du Zwift, soars 12 kilometres into the pixelated sky, gains over 1,000 metres of elevation by the time you reach the snow-capped summit, and grinds up and along 21 hairpins and switchbacks at an average grade of 8.5 percent.
Sound familiar? It should. The virtual course is modeled after the real-life Alpe d’Huez, a famous climb in the French Alps that regularly appears in the Tour de France. “The length, elevation climbed, distance between switchbacks, number of turns – all of it is near-identical to that iconic cycling course,” Eric Min, Zwift’s CEO and co-founder, told Bicycling.
Hardcore Zwifters had long asked for a monster climb, but the company was hesitant – mostly out of fears that it might suck to tackle an Alpine mountain, which could easily take some riders up to two hours, on your trainer. “We were hesitant just because a longer time commitment in the saddle may not be the best experience for everyone,” Min said.
So far, the new segment has been an enticing experience for plenty of users. Alpe Du Zwift saw 3,000 riders pedalling up the pass within the first 12 hours after its official opening.
The segment is part of Zwift’s Watopia Island course and can be accessed through the Mayan Jungle extension. Like the Jungle, it’s only open to Zwifters who have played the game enough to have racked up some XP (experience) points.
Specifically, Alpe Du Zwift is only accessible to Zwifters at level 12 or higher. (Currently the game has 25 levels; everyone begins at level 1.) But like the Mayan Jungle, you can join a higher-level friend to ride it. If you level up as you ride, you can access the climb mid-session.
To add to the challenge, Zwift has included the mammoth climb in several preset routes. That includes the 90-kilometre Four Horsemen, which has 2,111 total metres of climbing across the Volcano Climb, Hilly Route, Epic KOM, Radio Tower, Mayan Jungle, and Alpe du Zwift.
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