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Virtual Versus in the North West’s Interclub Zwift Racing


Virtual Versus in the North West’s Interclub Zwift Racing

Pairing clubs up for short 10-mile Zwift races, the North West region’s interclub races pit teams of eight against each other, awarding points on a scratch race system that sees the first five finishers from each team scoring to determine the total points.

Event organiser, Brad Lincoln, explained: “Currently we have nine teams from four different clubs participating, with Rossendale, Rochdale, Rivington, Manchester Tri the key protagonists. Others are invited and welcome to join, the more the merrier.

“Club members have loved it. It’s given everyone involved a reason to come together when the prevailing lockdown conditions keep everyone apart. For some it has provided a little extra motivation and we have reports of a few FTP [functional threshold power] increases as a result.”

Lincoln, along with Senior Series Coordinator, Ian Mostyn recognised the need for more social activity amongst clubs throughout the lockdown and saw Zwift as a perfect way to deliver upon this.

“It has been especially good to see participants at all levels and abilities get involved. The style is friendly and while people are clearly giving it all they have during the races, it’s great to see everyone having a go,” said Lincoln.

“While the more Zwift-obsessed members already engage in a range of Zwift-based races and events, it has brought many others into the world of racing and lifted a little of the monotony that comes with solo training.”

Clubs are rewarded with more points the more often they race, with fixtures being organised by the coordinator in order to encourage different clubs to mix with one another and combat the isolation brought about through lockdown.

“The absence of events means that not only do people miss getting together with fellow club members, but they now are isolated from the thrill of racing and the fun in meeting people from other clubs and areas,” said Lincoln.

Mostyn added: “From a committee point of view, I think we have discovered that lockdown is difficult, but it is that social contact that we need to maintain, more so than the actual physical training.

“We have a nice balance of friendly rivalry and my club members try very hard to not let their club mates down. It has definitely fostered a club atmosphere in a difficult time without races or training to bring that bond. When the clubs can't get together, I've tried to concentrate on maintaining the social aspect and whatever the result of the racing, that social interaction is for me, the key thing.”

Early last year, the committee had relaunched its race series, emphasising wider participation and encouraging more regional triathletes to join their local club, with Mostyn saying: “The atmosphere that you get at races is helped massively by having clubs involved rather than just as a group of individuals and we wanted to spread that atmosphere.

“As soon as the government rules and British Triathlon guidance allows, we will be back, spreading the message that triathlon, our clubs and races in the North West are probably the best in the world.”

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