Sam is not a climber but she’s halfway to Tron

A person new to Zwift posted to the Ladies Only Zwift group on Facebook. She asked what she should do first. I loved the suggestions of the first person who responded. First? Join the Everest Challenge. It’s the biggest challenge on Zwift and it’s got a great reward. Second? Buy a really big fan!

I second both of these tips. I am now in the stage of wanting a remote control fan so I can switch it from low to high while riding. Someone on my bike team has figured out how to get Alexa to do that. But that requires a level of technology in my house that I start to have privacy worries about.

But back to the first tip and the reward. The reward is a Tron bike, those brightly coloured bikes you notice when you first start zwifting. See pics below. They’re not just cool looking, there are many reasons to want one.

To get it you need to sign up for the Everest Challenge and then you need to climb the height of Everest (roughly 8800 metres) and then an extra 42,000. In all, it’s 50,000 metres. You can see my progress above. I’m getting there.

This is notable for me. Hills are so not my friend. I’ve got reasonable long distance power and excellent short distance sprint power but my watts per kilo suffer because, well, kilos. You can see my Zwiftpower profile here. That means that I’m happiest, most in my element, on the flats but I find hills hard. Whenever I complain about my weight it’s in the context of power to weight ratio. See Fat, fit, and why I want to be leaner anyway, from like eight years ago. (Okay, also in the context of knee replacement surgery.)

So part of why I’m awful on hills is size. The other part of the story is that I do what we all do. I train at things I’m already good at and ignore the stuff I’m not so good at. BTW, this is where cycling coaches come in handy. They don’t let you do that.

Here’s where Zwift is helping. I now have an incentive to climb. I love that Zwift’s gamification features real rewards, nor just badges. I also love that you can’t just buy a Tron. The people who have them have all ridden the distance.

Zwift Insider offers some tips to get there quickly: “The Tron bike is the most prized ride in Zwift: it’s fast, eye-catching, and difficult to earn. So of course, you want it in your garage (where it’s called the “Zwift Concept Z1” by the way). But you also want to make obtaining it as painless as possible. There’s no getting around the fact that you’ll have to climb 50,000 meters to earn the Tron bike, unless you’re willing to cheat. But are there ways to do that climbing more efficiently, so your watts result in as much elevation as possible?”

Here are some of their tips.

Note not all of the routes they suggest are available to all riders. Some are only there once you’ve been riding for awhile. Now I’m more than halfway there I might give the dreaded Alpe du Zwift a try.

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