Ep 91: Insight on the Pacer Bots from HQ, Ray Maker on indoor cycling and the gigantic success of WTRL + all the Zwfty chat

As the world waits - and much of Europe closes its doors - Simon, Shane and Nathan try to be upbeat in trying times and consider the Two Big Hits in Zwift right now.

Pace Partners, or pacer bots, are a big success with Zwifters and senior games guy Wes Salmon, from HQ, talks to Simon about scope for development and some ideas being tossed around to make Coco, Dan and their pals even more bestie friends for Zwifters. The podcasters chuck in a few of their thoughts.

Ray Maker, or DC Rainmaker, is one of the most respected voices in sports tech and Simon pulls out two big talking points around indoor cycling from Ray’s annual keynote address to the industry. The Zwftcasters have their say too.

And whilst the success of the WTRL racing series may have been predictable, it’s made it no less overwhelming for the organisers. Simon talks to part of the leadership team, Martin Carew, about the headaches as well as the benefits of the TTT event that’s taking Zwift racing by storm.

There’s just time for a bit of Zwift-related banter and as ever, the Zwiftcasters take up the challenge.

We hope you enjoy listening!


Episode 90: Zwift CEO Eric Min discusses 2020 and Zwift’s new thinking

Zwift CEO Eric Min guests on the Zwiftcast on Episode 90 to discuss some of the big changes that 2020 has brought to the platform.

In an interview which is focused on this tumultuous year and on the consequences of the big new fund raise, Eric explains some company thinking.

A flood of new users as the pandemic hit has caused Zwift to accelerate its plans to simplify the platform for new users. Simon grills Eric on what the consequences of this policy may be for existing users.

Eric also discusses the decision to place Rowing on pause and his thinking around pricing. Eric also talks about what new investor Ilkkaa Paanen, the CEO of games company, Supercell, will bring to Zwift.

Simon, Shane and Nathan reflect on Eric’s thoughts and speculate on how the new thinking may be implemented.

Elsewhere there’s an interview with Zwift’s Jacob Fraser talking about the new Zwift Racing League.

Oh, and swooping Australian magpies!

We hope you enjoy listening.


Ep89: The big catch up! Steering, PacerBots, all new Academies, the eWorlds, The Fence and more

The Zwiftcast is back from its summer break - with a huge catch up as Simon, Shane and Nathan reflect on recent developments on the platform.

Steering is the headline grabber, with a number of respected voices in indoor cycling describing its arrival on the roads of Zwift as a game-changer. Are they right?

The arrival of the long-awaited Pacer Bots are welcomed by Simon, Shane and Nathan, who are all anxious to see more of them, more often and doing more stuff!

The Academy programmes have just launched and with a big change to how they’re run, plus the addition of a Run Academy, Simon talks to the new coaching company devising the programmes and the associated supporting content.

The e-Worlds will happen on Zwift and the Zwiftcasters have a wide-ranging discussion, taking in the undoubted huge publicity value of the e-sports events while addressing concerns from both the wider and the racer community.

Would Shane and Nathan make it as recruits to the new Zwift ambassadorial programme which pays experienced Zwifters to solve other Zwifters’ tech issues? The boys play a silly game to find out.

We hope you enjoy listening!


Ep 88: La Belle France and the Tour virtuel + all the Zwifty chat

La belle France est arrivee! Simon, Shane and Nathan  celebrate the arrival of brand new roads in Zwift.

The inaugural Tour de France Virtuel, itself a landmark in the history of the platform, has co-incided with lots of new Tarmac - always a good moment for Zwifters.

The Zwiftcasters pick out their favourite bits as well as giving their overall impressions of the new roads to ride.

We have an interview with Zwift marketing grand fromage, James La Londe to get some insight into the importance of the vTDF and later in the episode, ASO, the owners of the Tour de France talk about why this deal made sense to them.

Simon, Shane and Nathan play a silly game - assigning marks to the various new road painted slogans that have sprouted in Zwift - with the award of a Yellow Jersey and a Lanterne Rouge.

And we have an interview with Freddie Ovett, the Israel Start Up Nation rider who has lit up the racing so far in Stages One to Four. Getting the narrowest of second places on St 2 and a great win on St 4, Ovett discusses Zwift, Power Ups . . . . and his dad.

The Zwiftcasters chew over the big improvements in race coverage, with new broadcast tools getting their debut in the vTdF.

And of course there’s always room for more teasing of Simon over his continuing Tron Bike Fail.

We hope you enjoy listening.


Episode 87: New Roads to Ride? TdF on Zwift and all the Zwifty chat

Could we be about to get a series of new roads to ride? Simon, Shane and Nathan assess the impact on Zwifters of the (as yet officially unconfirmed) news that Zwift is to stage a virtual version of Le Tour de France, complete with the IRL planned start and finish stages in Nice and Paris.

Perhaps more excitingly, there is speculation that the talk of a “marquee climb” may be a new TdF climb, rather than the existing recreation of L’Alpe D’Huez.

If so - and it’s still an “if”, which one might it be . . .Simon boils down the likely choices and the Zwiftcasters decide which one of those candidate climbs it might be.

Taco Cat has made a name for himself with his occasionally bizarre, and very frequent, posts in the Zwift forums online . . . .Simon tracks down Taco Cat to his lair to find out more about his owner, Craig Hulce.

Despite an uninvited guest in the form of a large and very noisy jackhammer directly outside Zwiftcast Central, the podcasters push on to discuss the recent Race for Heroes and how successful and entertaining the charity event was. Could this be a pointer towards the chase format figuring more strongly in Zwift racing?

Zwift CEO Eric Min has been named as the 30th most influential person in cycling . . . . did Cycling News’ Power List get this right?. . . . .the Zwiftcasters discuss.

Pride Month has seen a whole series of events across the platform spreading the inclusivity message and Zwift has backed the initiative with a substantial donation to Athlete Ally, an advocacy group. Simon talks to the organisation’s executive director Hudson Taylor.

Finally the Zwiftcasters wrap up the episode with a tech round-up, including a plea to Strava to sort out the “long straight line” quirk which would, for example, make linking rides in Paris and Nice not possible on Zwift.

We hope you enjoy listening.


Episode 86: Game Updates, the massive success of Team TT and all the Zwifty chat

The Zwiftcasters are back - coinciding nicely with a game update and Simon, Shane and Nathan have lots to discuss.

Simon chats to Steven Milliken, one of the founders of the WTRL race series which is making team time trialling into a massive thing on Zwift. The promoters’ difficulties with data privacy have now been resolved and Steven discusses how the small team manage the huge demands from Zwifters wanting to time trial together.

The Zwiftcasters follow up Steven’s interview with discussions on how people who donate large amounts of time to the community may be able to get their costs covered.

We have a new Power Up in game - the Steam Roller and the chaps discuss how this might best be used.

Simon talks to Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, the standout rider from the Tour For All race series. Ashleigh has some fascinating thoughts on how Zwift racing can advance the cause of women’s racing.

In a fun spot, Simon asks Shane and Nathan to turn interviewers and find out why he’s spent the last few weeks stranded in Girona. The role switch experiment is not entirely successful!

In the final feature Simon talks to Tri coach Phil Ellison about how changes made to the coaching regimes as a result of Lockdown are likely to become permanent because they’ve been so successful.

There’s a few other bits of Zwifty chat - including the continuing saga of Simon’s lack of a Tron bike.

We hope you enjoy listening.


Episode 85: Zwift beyond the crisis; Private MeetUps and Boost Mode plus all the Zwifty chat

Simon, Shane and Natahn return for more chat on the latest in Zwift.

This epsiode, Steve Beckett, Zwift's Chief Marketing Officer, is a special guest, with lots to say on Zwift during and beyond the crisis, plus thoughts on Family Subs, Club Functionality and community racing.

The podcasters range across the new Boost Mode in game; how Private MeetUps could be revolutionary and the current Tour For All.

There's also an interview with Guy Voisin, the head of cycling at Eurosport on what changes he'd like to see in game to make racing  a more appealing TV proposition.

We hope you enjoy listening.



Episode 84: Celebrating the Zwift Community

A special episode featuring the very best of the Zwift Community in these lockdown times.

Simon talks to BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin about the overwhelming response to her charity ride on behalf of the NHS. Louise tackled an imperial century - in the company of more than 1,500 other Zwifters.

Simon also chats to Jason Dyck, the Canadian coach who organised what’s thought to be the first ever group ride for para-cyclists on Zwift. It was a resounding success and will now become a weekly fixture.

And finally Simon gets to know a little bit more about Netto Smith, the South African Zwifter who’s become a bit of a star because of his joyful videos riding Zwift in Lockdown.

We hope you enjoy listening.


Ep 83: Pro Riders on Zwift, the good and bad; Monica is the Route Hero and the Pants Podium!

Simon, Shane and Nathan reconvene for Episode 83 - and to celebrate a minor victory; the return of the famous First Attempt Very Intens Strava segment on Zwift. Simon has a little insight into how it happened.

Lionel Birnie, one of the co-hosts of the popular Cycling Podcast joins Simon for a chat about the recently updated Meetups in the game and to discuss what the prospects may be for a return of IRL bike racing this year.

The Zwiftcasters spend a few minutes riffing on the behaviour of pro riders in Group Rides on Zwift, ranging from the exemplary . . . to the not so good and the chaps have a few thoughts on how things may be improved.

Monica Schlange, writer for Zwift Insider, is recovering after her monumental Route Hero achievement. Simon talks to Monica about the best bits and the hardest bits.

Do we even need to see The Fence back? Simon, Shane and Nathan discuss whether self regulation on Group Rides has settled into something acceptable.

And the podcasters round off this episode with awards made on the Zwiftcast Pants Podium . . .jeans, track pants and all day pyjamas . . . . who’s wearing what and why?

We hope you enjoy listening


Episode 82: Anti Sandbagging “catches’ the boss! The Ineos Weekend and Cops called to Zwifter!

Simon, Shane and Nathan are back with another of the weekly round-ups of all matters Zwifty

The podcasters kick off with a brief discussion on the Ineos Weekend - and the loss of the legendary First Attempt-Very Intens Strava segment, thanks to the ride logging app’s clean-up.

Owen Newbury talks about his awesome scheme to project Zwift on the side of his house, then the chaps have a light hearted discussion on whether Zwift CEO was “caught” sandbagging before Zwift Insider’s Eric Schlange gives his reaction to the early tests of the measures.

There’s further discussion of the Ineos events and streams before an interview with Keith Jardine who was taken by surprise when the police were called to him Zwifting in his garden shed.

Finally Simon talks to acclaimed ride leader Sharron Yaxley on passing her 100,000kms on Zwift milestone.

We hope you enjoy listening

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