Virtual doping

Back to Zwift riding with the Bernie Robo Pacer today; not gonna say it’s easy, but it’s more manageable than the Miguel Robo Pacer. I slept in a couple of hours this morning, and it felt great. Usually, I get up at 5:30 AM, but with this hand injury, I really need to let it recover, and sleep is probably the best time that’s happening. It was nice to wake up with the sun already up. That doesn’t happen a lot.

Read an article this morning about cheating in Zwift racing. It’s really easy to cheat on Zwift. One of the most common things is changing the rider weight you have entered in the game settings. The article profiled a Zwift customer who had gotten quite into it during the pandemic and raced a lot. Only to find out that many people were cheating in the races. This led to him getting banned from Zwift for a short time for sharing cheating techniques. After public outcry, he was allowed back on. But then he started getting death threats from cheating riders who didn’t appreciate him talking about their cheats online.

I’ve done a couple of races on Zwift and have placed in the top 20. Were there cheaters? Maybe, but more probably, I’m just not in that great of shape yet. The good news is I don’t take his racing too seriously. I’m not here necessarily to race but to get into shape.

However, I can see the competitive spirit getting involved and upsetting me about someone cheating. Apparently, some Zwift employees left and started a new virtual bike game program to eliminate cheating. It’s still in beta, so I haven’t been able to try it yet.

The catch here is that Zwift once customers. Most Zwift riders are not heavy-duty racers. Speaking of my own usage of Zwift, I would say 90% of the time, I am not racing, maybe even more. So, in the grand scheme of things, Zwift, the company, is OK with looking the other way if people want to cheat and win races. In the end, they’re still getting a subscriber.

With that said, Zwift hosts very high-end elite races; in those cases, they are more stringent about weight settings and equipment used to eliminate or reduce cheating.

The business of virtual indoor cycling. That was not a sentence I ever thought I would write in nonfiction.


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