Gone are the days when a session on the turbo meant trudging out to a cold damp garage and staring at the wall whilst you killed yourself on some tortuous interval session!
Over the past 3-4 years there have been a number of on line interactive ‘gaming platforms’ to make the experience more immersive. Simply all you do is connect your Smart turbo trainer, or power meter, or even just heart rate monitor and speed sensor to the software on your computer and you can be transported. Dependent on the platform you can be riding in real or imaginary worlds, up iconic real world climbs and courses or racing in the future in Zwift New York!
An example of some of the current platforms out there
ZWIFT Trainer Road Rouvy Road Grand Tours
All work on the same premise, Zwift is the market leader (and my own platform of choice).
What I like about is:
- Its truly interactive with 1000’s of other users on at any one time
- the ability to ride some interesting different courses (*although certain ones are less popular!)
- Ease of use
- The ability to download set training sessions and be prompted to work these through ‘in game ‘ – a great tool for a coach.
- The racing – sometimes!
So to CVR Cade, I managed to get very early access even before the current limited BETA testing release and I have been playing about on and off in it for a while.
– CVR Cade https://www.cvrcade.com/
The guys at Cade have looked at all the ‘best of Zwift’ and then aimed to not only replicate some features, but better it, and provide useful interactive tools for an even more ‘real life’ feel.
– All the same easy pairing options as Zwift
– Fully interactive and immersive experience
– Steering and braking – which are required so you don’t ‘crash’ – helping simulate the real life experience (*without the road rash!)
– Fully customisable with the ability to build your own tracks, your own events and races
– Its free! Zwift is subscription whereas Cade is totally free, although there will be options for ‘in game purchases’ replicating other successful video game formats
– Wind, drafting and echelons
– ‘Physical equalization – basically in a Zwift or in real life race even, the ‘strongest’ will be able to compete with each other, but (say) your Granny obviously couldn’t keep up. Simply physical equalization works on effort level, so your granny COULD race you in a realistic race & beat you!
Quite a coup for the new platform, is that the CVR World Cup will be run , early 2018, on Cade rather than Zwift as it has for (I think) the last 3 years. On the face of i a coup, but when you realise the guys who run the CVR World Cup are the same guys creating CVR Cade (*The clues in the CVR bit!), Then you see that from their point of view it makes absolute sense!
The world cup is where the best online racers in the world congregate to race on the platform, but together in one room, for some HUGE prizes. There is a rumoured $100k prize purse for this next one!
I was luck enough to race in Paris in 2017 and it was a fab experience, I even manged a top 10 finish in 6th place – not bad for an endurance guy & it was great to earn a good few $$ too !
Its not ZWIFT, the graphics (in BETA) are totally different and currently there is just one ‘world’ a futuristic alien world as in the picture below.
There will be new ‘worlds coming’ where riders can race Mountain bikes or on the road with realistic graphics and ‘humans’ riding the bikes
Its strangely addictive, trying to ride the course and NOT crash! I rode 11 laps on one of the bigger pre-set tracks, (Saturn) it took me 10 laps to get the hang of it, brake correctly and keep a good line!
This interactive ability is really different, and makes for the need to think and plan speed and lines into corners (as you would in the real world). What is good is that you can ‘brake’ but keep pedalling so if you are doing a preset or designed workout you can keep the power on.
The way drafting works is different to Zwift, one of the criticisms in Zwift is that the ‘draft’ is so strong, when racing you just cant ‘get a gap’ from a strong field, its almost impossible which can make some racing fairly predictable and all lead to a bunch sprint.
Other things missing in Zwift for example is the effect of Wind… we all know how this can truly affect a ride or a race, and the ability to have this factored into the whole experience makes for another interesting twist, and further enhances the realism.
Some great things I like and need to explore more:
- Track builder – you can build you own ‘world’ or track, as big, small as you want and make it however you want it to be.
- My understanding is that there will be the ability in future updates to ‘import’ a ride from say a .gpx or .fit file and build this in game. This will be massively helpful for those looking to target a specific race on a specific course, as you will be able to ride it in the most realistic way possible and truly prepare for it.
- The ability to build workouts is very important from a training and coaching side
- The ability for ease of creating an event or race will I think be really good for teh ‘community’ side of things
- The powerups are great, there is a real mix of them and when racing tactical use of , ‘uncrashable’, ‘weight lifter’ or ‘Corner caper’ will be key and make it much more than just a ‘physical experience’
- The ability to stream video directly in game is a great addition, it saves the need for alternate software and means you can ‘watch’ your competitors faces and not just their avatars – How are there racing poker faces?!
Clearly there will be more developments and enhancements as BETA testing progresses and will be interesting to see how these go – But as a starter we have another worthy addition to the interactive cycling market.