How To Race On Zwift Like A Pro | Tips From An Indoor Cycling Champion

How To Race On Zwift Like A Pro | Tips From An Indoor Cycling Champion


Interviewer: Custom kit, white shorts, national
champs bands. James Phillips: Hey, you’ve got to be a national
champ to wear that kit, good boy. [music]
Interviewer: You’re on Zwift and you’re fully set up. Now, how can you take your racing
to the next level? Coming up are the pro tips from James Phillips, the British national
Zwift champion. [music]
Interviewer: If I wanted to race Zwift and I wanted to take it to a next step, how do
I do that? How does it work with teams and qualifications for races?
James: Well, you’re just going to get set up, really. You need to [unintelligible 00:00:41]
yourself a Turbo trainer, some internet, and you can just play it out from your laptop
if you like. It’s just a case of just jumping on board, entering a few races, learning how
to use that draft effect, and practice at the end of the day. Then there’s lots of teams
on Zwift. Some teams are quite big teams. The team I race for is Canyon and they approached
me, and they wanted for me to ride on their team. They offered me a full setup, Wahoo
Kickr. We’re sponsored by Nuun Hydration. We get our Canyon bike. Yes, so I race for
them. Some of the bigger races are invite only, so just by being a part of that team
I’m able to jump into one of the bigger races. [music]
Interviewer: James, talk us through the start because that’s quite different in Zwift as
it is on the road, isn’t it? Because you’re obviously not standing still. You can warm
up and you can ramp your effort into it. James: Yes. It’s a bit like a cyclocross start,
to be honest. Five seconds before, I’d really be just ramping up my power up to five, six
hundred watts. I just know for that first 30 seconds to a minute, it’s full gas really.
Interviewer: Yes, so you’re really ramping up. Five seconds before, start building that
effort right to maximum, really- James: Yes, that’s it. Yes.
Interviewer: – and then try to hold it for that 30 seconds.
James: Yes, that’s it. I’ll just try and position myself 10th to 15th so that I’m not going
to be in any dangerous splits if you like. I’m in a good side with the split, and then
I’ll just look to use the draft and to maintain my position.
[music] Interviewer: Now for power-ups. Now, I want
to know which one’s best, which one to use, and when to use them?
James: You’ve got lots of different power-ups. For me, the best one’s the Aero, really. Whenever
I get an Aero, I’ll always look to save that for the end. The feather power-up, I’ll use
that on the climbs. If I’m going up past a certain gradient, I think it gives you 15–
I think it lowers your weight by 15 kilograms. You got the burrito look, so the burrito is
not draftable. Again, that would be quite a good one if you’re going on the attack.
If you’ve got an invisibility, so that’s a real good one. If you want to do an attack
and you don’t want anyone to come with you, you can pop that. You’ve got the draft, so
again, that could be a good one come a sprint if you haven’t got an Aero.
Interviewer: Would you say when to use them? Like when is best to use the Aero when you’re
coming in to the finish? James: It’s only 15 seconds, so a lot of the
sprinting in Zwift is quite a long sprinting, so it’s just trying to time that best you
can because some of the sprints can be 20 to 30 seconds long, and if that Aero’s only
15 seconds long, last thing you want to be doing is trying to push that Aero.
Interviewer: Yes, so there you have it. If you’ve got an Aero, then make sure you save
it for the finish. Don’t use it too early. [music]
Interviewer: Right, tell us a little bit about what best fitness works for Zwift, do you
know what I mean? James: Yes. It is like a time trial effort
with those short power efforts in between. Yes, you really got to look at your anything-below-five-minute
power. One-minute power, two-minute power up to five-minute power. If you’ve got that,
and a good 20-minute high power, I think you’re going to do quite well in Zwift.
[music] Interviewer: Big question. Can you make a
living off Zwift? James: Well, just over the last couple of
months, I’ve probably come back with about 2000 pounds’ worth just from jumping in my
garage and racing. Interviewer: Making money from in your garage.
That’s quite something James: That’s it, yes.
[music] Interviewer: Would you say it’s worth getting
better bikes and better kit through unlocking? James: Yes, the Tron bike looks cool, doesn’t
it? It’s all glowing up. One of the first things I did when I was on Zwift, I thought,
“All right, let’s get the Tron bike.” I set up the climb or whatever, number of feet it
is and, yes, six months later, eight months later I unlocked the Tron bike. I’m on level
46 at the minute and there’s 50 levels in total and I’ve pin on the game for the last
three years now. Yes, there’s lots of targets to reach.
Interviewer: James, you’re current Zwift National Champion, but what is the future of Zwift?
James: This year is the first UCI sanctioned World Championships. The goal for Zwift could
it be in the Olympics where you’ve got a stadium of people all watching virtual cycling. Surely
that’s going to be one of their goals if you like it. Who knows where it’s going to leave
[unintelligible 00:05:39]- Interviewer: Watch this space, I guess. Are
we going to see you in the World Champs rainbow jersey riding Zwift?
James: That would be the goal wouldn’t it? But getting there, there’s a lot of good competition
out there. Interviewer: If I’m wanting to ride the nationals,
how does that work? James: The way it worked out last year was
there’s a qualification race. It was end of February where anyone could enter and then
the top 10 were invited then to a live finals which was in BT Sport in London. The race
was an hour and a half over a particular course on Zwift. I think it’s the Watopia Hilly course.
I finished second in that race and I had my ticket to the live finals there.
Interviewer: There you have it. James, thank you so much for joining me, teaching me all
about Zwift, the ins and outs, the pros and the pro tips. I guess I should start having
a go at it- James: That’s it. Yes, you can jump on.
Interviewer: – and then get set up and then get racing.
James: That’s it. Interviewer: Hopefully, I would have got some
better results than my last few. James: That’s it.
Interviewer: Cheers to you. James: No problem.
Interviewer: Now, I hope you found this video useful. Thank you so much to James Phillips
for coming in and explaining all about the pro tips. Now, I guess it’s my turn to get
racing. Don’t forget, click on the screen now for another video? Here we go. Thumbs
up already. [00:07:06] [END OF AUDIO]