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Women’s Virtual Cycling Tips for Zwift!

Virtual cycling eSports platforms like Zwift have been a tremendous space for gender parity in bike riding, racing, coverage, and generally great for getting more women on two wheels and into the sport of cycling! The indoor cycling scene is also a safe, friendly, and an empowering platform that can really boost your fitness too!

Here are a couple great tips & resources for finding women-specific teams, communities, races, and generally having more fun on your bike!

  1. ZWIFT COMPANION APP (TO FIND RIDES, WORKOUTS, and TTs!)
    With the Zwift Companion App, click on the EVENTS menu and then FILTER. Select the Women’s gender icon under GROUP and it’ll filter all Zwift events to show you events that can also be filtered by group rides, time trials, workouts, and races that are women-specific.

    And if you’ve never tried a group ride, group workout, or time trial consider experimenting and join one of each as your first week’s “homework project” to develop a great starting experience to explore what Zwifting is all about before you join an official race. Group rides and group workouts are very beginner-friendly places to start and will help you learn more about Zwift in general… but time trials are great for establishing your baseline fitness level too!
All About Zwift's New Time Trial Mode - Zwift Insider
Photo from ZwiftInsider.com
  1. ZWIFTPOWER.COM
    If you’re really into data, with websites like ZwiftPower.com you can filter races and events by a wide variety of variables. Select FILTER and search for WOMEN events. If you select RANKING you can also see which races have the lowest (most competitive) race ranking scores, or simply look for the events with the most registered riders as this is where you’ll find more women!
  1. ZWIFTHACKS.COM
    Similarly, ZwiftHacks.com Events page has a “FILTERS” section but if you click on the “MORE FILTERS…” button that’s where you can select “LADIES ONLY” to see womens rides:
  1. WOMEN’S e-RACING TEAMS!
    There are many women-specific virtual cycling teams, groups, communities, and programs out there, but finding them can be tough! If you want to find the bigger teams and top teams, go to ZwiftPower.com and simply look for the top ranked teams! Go to RANKINGS->TEAMS and then click on “FEMALE” to see the top ranked teams. Click on any team name and then go to “ABOUT US” to find team information… most teams will post their websites and information on how to join here!

  1. RIDE WITH THE PROS & eRACERS!
    Know of any famous women’s cyclists? If not, look up the UCI leaderboards or the ZwiftPower individual rankings and then search for some top female cyclists on the web or even within Zwift! You’ll likely find that many of the top female cyclists have great website resources, and many ride on Zwift!

    Once you have a few top names in mind, simply click on FIND ZWIFTERS in the ZWIFT COMPANION app to find and follow them. Pro cyclists will have an ORANGE “PRO” jersey next to their name and Pro triathletes will have a GREEN “PRO” jersey if they have verified professional athlete status setup it Zwift to make them easier to find! You can click on the “+” icon to add them to your followed athletes list and click the star icon to mark them as a “favorite” if you want to track them when you’re Zwifting! You can then filter events by “ONLY ZWIFTERS I FOLLOW” to find what group rides and workouts they lead… or maybe even join them in a race!

6. JOIN A TEAM OR COMMUNITY!
Start with the “ZWIFT LADIES ONLY” facebook group and start exploring other women’s teams and programs, such as:

  • USA CYCLING (league)
  • FrenchyFuzion 
  • Bad Ass Moms (BAM) 
  • Team Fearless 
  • OdivaZ 
  • Velocity Vixen 
  • BRT Hellcatz 
  • Coeur
  • Betty Designs

Have any other tips? We’d love to hear them! Email us at coach@4starendurance.com or visit our Chicago Virtual Cyclists (CVC) community on facebook!

5 Great Virtual vEveresting Tips

This is a copy of Coach Chris’ blog post from June 27th, 2020 after his first ever Virtual Everesting (vEveresting). Scroll below for the 5 key tips that helped him complete this epic challenge!

THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!

What an adventure Virtual Everesting was… climbing up over 29,029 feet (the height of Mount Everest) in a single 13-hour bike ride across 140+ miles! Best of all we exceeded expectations with some great money raised for Hope for Justice – not bad for going out on one little impromptu bike ride up the equivalent of Mount Everest!

LIVE BROADCAST CLIPS:
In case you are wondering what this event was all about, here are some links to video clips that feature a few of the moments HOPE FOR JUSTICE connected with me & Shelley during the live broadcast… these include some great videos during the commercial breaks that talk about the charity & cause behind this crazy event:

(where they first chat with me 5hrs in and then tell me I will “pay for it later” as I’m “destroying the hill” and “showing off for the world”! ;-P):
https://youtu.be/Vz9OahbMKmY?t=34050

(where they chat with me again): https://youtu.be/yND73ispg48?t=2494

(another chat, where Shelley decides to sign up!): https://youtu.be/yND73ispg48?t=5368

(final clip, where they cheer on Shelley for being the final sign up!)
https://youtu.be/yND73ispg48?t=7337

MY EVERESTING – BY THE NUMBERS (for the data geeks):
I rode 141.5 miles in Zwift, virtually climbing a total of 29,170 feet. I simultaneously had my power data feed into ROUVY to see how many “real world” miles I would’ve covered of “normal” flat/hilly terrain… and it ended up as over 202 miles of total cycling… I covered almost all of the new Ironman VR courses in one day! The actual, official “Everesting” attempt to hit 29,029 ft (8,848 meters) will show as 12 hours and 41 minutes. I rode a little extra just to make sure it counted fully, so I started at 7:27am and finished exactly 13 hours later at 8:27pm. This included about 2 hours of downhill, rest breaks, and the lead-up ride to the start of the climb.

I definitely could’ve tried to save a bit more time here and there cutting some of the breaks and lead up out, but my main goal was to do this “safely” as a bit of an experiment to see if I could “negative split” the 8 full climbs, which I managed to do (technically and barely)! The first 4 climbs took 5hr 2min, and the last 4 full climbs up the Alpe took 4hr 58 minutes. I knew my metabolic efficiency pretty well thanks to being a numbers-driven coach and certified Metabolic Specialist myself (I’ve done about 30 VO2 tests on myself in the last 8 years), so I was able to pace almost every climb split within about 2 minutes and actually paced half of them within just 7 seconds of each other by sticking to the plan! The only outlier was the final climb at about 5 minutes slower than the rest – and that was probably because I took a longer “real food” break and had some mac & cheese + mashed potatoes for my final fueling up!

My five biggest Virtual Everesting tips if you ever try this yourself in Zwift:

1. STAY DRY (KITS & TOWELS) + CHAMOIS CREME

Change into dry kits every 1.5-2hrs to avoid saddle discomfort (every 10min descent of the Alpe is perfect for this!)… and use lots of chamois creme!!! It was silly, but fun to actually use 9 different kits during this whole adventure – drying off completely after every “lap” and changing into a clean kit w/ chamois creme helped me feel “fresh” an re-energized every climb. I even had to do laundry twice during the ride in order to have fresh towels for drying off, and also for my bike – but it was well worth it!

2. SCHEDULE & PLAN EVERYTHING (FUEL, HYDRATION, HR and POWER)

Schedule out and stick to your fueling plan, break time routine, & have a clear negative split pacing plan! Resist the temptation to start faster when you’re fresh… always start slow and watch both power and HR! My plan was to keep HR between 60-70% of Max (based on LT at 90%) and Power 65-75% of FTP the whole time, and I also tried to negative split each of the 21 switchbacks on the climb (add 1 watt every switchback) to stay focused. The 13-15% grade sections are very hard when you’re 10+hrs in, so you need to save the legs for those last steep sections on your final climbs! For fueling I used primarily a combo of amino powder in 1 bottle and a second bottle of Tailwind (2 bottles total per climb), plus I had a 24g protein shake every 2-3 climbs (3-4hrs) in order to have regular “meals” that I could digest & absorb quickly. I had some other snacks too (chips, gummies, etc.), but my main, consistent fueling plan was Amino+Tailwind+ProteinShakes with about 24oz of fluid every 45mins.

3. TEAMWORK & A GOOD CAUSE HELPS!

Ride with other people for support… and a meaningful cause for motivation! Hope for Justice and the Hope Challenge 2020 crew did an amazing job getting over 150 riders to join in various capacities, with a 12+ hr Zoom chat and live broadcast to keep us entertained! It was also great to see Shelley, Jacquie, John, and several others ride with me throughout the day in Zwift!

4. TEST RIDE AT 100% TRAINER DIFFICULTY (RESISTANCE SETTING)

One of the “rules” of vEveresting is that in order to record an “official” result into the Hells 500 Everesting Hall of Fame you have to use a smart trainer that can simulate the hills at 100% difficulty to simulate the “real world” – basically you have to make it as hard as you can possibly make it in order to replicate what it feels like to climb Mt. Everest! I didn’t realize this until 2 days before, so quickly got in 1 lap of the Alpe the day before for simulation and it was an eye opener! So do at least one test run of your climb at 100% trainer difficulty and at least two or more “double” and “triple” Alpe rides to practice your pacing & fueling plan before attempting a full virtual Everesting – so you know what you’re getting yourself into! This video is a bit geeky, but gets into the science of figuring out how to be the most efficient you can be in terms of cadence, etc. based on how steep this type of climbing is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu0D0hyP9UY

5. WEIGH INS & TRACKING

Track your splits and weigh yourself after every climb to keep yourself accountable with the effectiveness of your hydration & fueling plan! I lost no more than 0.4 lbs per climb… starting at 163.6 lbs and finishing at 163.3 lbs, losing just 0.3 lbs overall from start to finish. This is definitely one of the reasons why I felt good from start to finish… and was even able to host my weekly “Endurance Sports Trivia Night on Zoom” during my final climb and celebrate with friends after instead of collapsing!

FUNDRAISER:
https://www.facebook.com/donate/659556367959821/10221493833347768/

STRAVA RIDE INFO:
https://www.strava.com/activities/3683702122

EVERESTING HALL OF FAME:
https://everesting.cc/hall-of-fame/#/hill/3683702122

HOW TO COMPLETE STRUCTURED WORKOUTS ON SMART TRAINERS

“Structured Workouts” are detailed workouts delivered through TrainingPeaks where every single interval is custom-tailored to you. These workouts can be designed off a wide variety of variables – such as your “Threshold” Pace, Power, Heart Rate, or your “Max HR” in order to ensure that you are getting custom-tailored workouts specifically designed and calibrated to your individual fitness level.

STEP 1 – SET YOUR THRESHOLDS & HR ZONES
Set up your Heart Rate, Power, and Pace “Zones” properly in TrainingPeaks under SETTINGS->ZONES (consult with a coach if necessary). The most common way to complete structured workouts for cycling is based on your Functional “Threshold” Power (FTP), while riding on a Smart Trainer or bike that has a power meter. Bonus: Consider joining our 4STAR CLUB to enjoy TrainingPeaks Premium as this will fully automate adjusting your zones automatically with notifications sent to you and your coach!

STEP 2 – AUTO-SYNC!
Many indoor and virtual cycling platforms and apps allow you to set up an “auto sync” and automatically import these structured workouts from TrainingPeaks to control resistance automatically on a Smart Trainer – using a PC/Mac, Phone, or even a Garmin bike computer or wrist watch as your “smart controller”. This allows you to complete workouts in one of the most powerful performance-improving ways…. using an ergometer (“Erg”) to automatically-adjust resistance in real time where there is no “cheating” as your trainer will adjust the resistance up or down if you’re going too easy or too hard, to ensure you complete your workouts precisely as designed by your coach!

Here are links to a few of the ways to enable “auto sync” integration with TrainingPeaks compatible apps. This is a great way to automate and streamline your training… so you can just hit start and do the workout!

ROUVY (go to my.rouvy.com and click on the SETTINGS icon, then CLOUD to enable the sync)
ZWIFT (go to my.zwift.com/profile/connections to enable the sync)
RGT CYCLING (in the phone app, go to MENU->SETTINGS->CONNECTED APPS to enable the sync)


VIDEO #1: WORKOUT CONTROL VIA GARMIN

This is how to use a GARMIN bike computer or wrist watch to control resistance on your Smart trainer… so you can ride in any virtual cycling platform such as Zwift, ROUVY, RGT, etc. virtually while doing your interval workouts with your Garmin controlling the resistance in real-time (without needing another app, device, or tablet): https://youtu.be/wg2-KT_fWsI


VIDEO #2: “ERG MODE” WORKOUTS IN ROUVY

This is how to use the ROUVY AR app + ROUVY WORKOUTS app with ERG resistance. You can basically ride any video course WITHOUT the need to shift gears this way, so you won’t feel the hills… but you will feel the intervals! You’ll have your app apply the resistance automatically in real-time as prescribed from the workout as a smart “ERG” (like having a coach by your side adjusting resistance perfectly in real-time every second!). The only thing you need to do is keep your cadence up and keep up with the interval “target” power numbers when the efforts ramp up! https://youtu.be/iDNH5ycunVc



VIDEO #3: “COURSE MODE” WORKOUTS IN ROUVY

This is how to use ROUVY AR + ROUVY WORKOUTS without ERG resistance. Basically, this is how you would ride a hilly course while shifting your own gears… or ideally the mode you’d want to use while completing a fitness test where you try to perform your best! This is also a good mode to experiment with when getting ready for outdoor rides & races where you might want to challenge yourself to manually control your gears, effort, and cadence as you would outdoors. In this mode, the intervals from the workout are just a “guideline” – apps like ROUVY AR will simulate the resistance of hills with an actual course video, but it’ll be up to you to adjust gears, pacing, and cadence to follow the intervals in the workout app as visual guidance: https://youtu.be/5ca4Nj4o1Kk

RunSmart Calculator + TrainingPeaks!

RUN SMARTER!
Trying to figure out what pace to aim for your (long) runs? If you’re training towards an endurance event, we recommend that runners consider pacing different weekly runs at different paces…. don’t always run the same pace! But the hardest thing to figure out is typically where to start – and in particular, what pace should I run for my long runs?

SHOULD I USE “HEART RATE” OR “PACE”?
Using Heart Rate is generally regarded as the “smarter” way to pace yourself for most endurance running purposes. But the best way to train is to be able to monitor both HR and PACE together. Specifically these are some reasons why HR is important:

  1. ENVIRONMENT – monitoring your HR will help you “listen to your body” and better adapt for your environment, including anytime you’re dealing with hills, wind, heat, humidity, etc.
  2. METABOLISM – You’ll be able to tailor your training towards your true metabolism to ensure that you can burn more fat for fuel in order to drop body fat more quickly by build endurance.
  3. FATIGUE / TRAINING STRESS – monitoring your HR both at rest and during workouts will help you gauge if you are recovering well or if you need to take a day off or simply go easier. Pace your runs and adjust your training based on recharging your “body battery” smarter!
  4. NEGATIVE SPLIT – less than 3% of marathoners are able to finish strong and negative split their races. “Bonking” is a common problem in endurance racing. Take this as a challenge in your next race to join the ranks of being a “smarter” athlete by practicing negative splitting your runs in training!
  5. INJURY PREVENTION – This is especially important when building your DISTANCE and VOLUME at the start of any training program. You can easily avoid injury by avoiding running too glycogen-depleted for too long (where muscles turn off and joints start taking too much load). Watching your HR is like having a car gauge “warning light” telling you when your tank is running low and overheating. Avoid having to take your engine into the shop!
  6. PERFORMANCE – if you have a time goal or “PR” focus and need to dial in an aggressive pace, you may focus more on pace, but you still want to watch your HR in order to optimize your performance by looking at your HR:Pace “Decoupling” factor. If your fueling, hydration, and effort level are all balanced, then your HR and pace will correlate. But when you start pushing too hard or your system becomes “off balance” you’ll notice your HR going up while pace stays the same (or pace dropping while HR stays the same). This is called “decoupling” and is a key performance metric to monitor in training and racing if you want to achieve your best!

STEP 1 – RUN A 5K!
You can determine run paces, using several calculators or estimations based on some “benchmark” runs like running a “best effort” 5k. Depending on your fitness level, build up to a 5k distance at a moderate pace first before attempting a “time trial” to benchmark your “best effort” fitness. The minimum should be to start running consistently for at least 1-2 weeks of training before adding any real “hard” efforts (and have clearance from your physician!). Generally speaking, your marathon or half marathon training pace should be about +2min/mile slower than your 5k pace, but there are more accurate methods to calculate with greater prevision.

HR TRAINING TIP: If you are in good heart health, run a 5k while wearing a HR monitor and finish with a “sprint” effort across the final finish line to help estimate your “Max HR”. Typically if you run for 15+ minutes at a progressively increasing effort and finish with a hard anaerobic “sprint” for at least 50 yards or more, you’ll likely get close to your true Max HR at the end, so this is generally a good way of estimating your Max HR! DISCLAIMER: ONLY PERFORM HARD EFFORTS IF YOU HAVE CLEARANCE FROM YOUR PHYSICIAN, ARE IN GOOD HEALTH, AND HAVE AT LEAST A WEEK OR MORE OF CONSISTENT TRAINING!

STEP 2 – CALCULATE!
Once you have your 5k run time, enter it into a calculator like the RUN SMART PROJECT’S VDOT CALCULATOR and click on the “TRAINING” tab to see the recommended paces for different types of runs! You’ll get guidance on both what your “EASY” training pace should be and what your “MARATHON” race pace might be. Generally, we expect to see someone’s marathon pace to be about 2 minutes per mile slower than their 5k time (but this might range between 1 to 3 minutes per mile slower depending on your fitness and how aggressively you plan to train). Other alternatives to the VDOT or similar calculators include “pace charts” like those provided by RRCA and RRCA certified coaches.

VDOT CALCULATORhttps://runsmartproject.com/calculator/

STEP 3 – UPDATE YOUR DEVICES & APPS!
If you use any fitness apps or devices (like a Garmin watch or TrainingPeaks?), make sure you update your “MaxHR” and “Threshold” Pace based on the numbers of your (5k) benchmark.

GARMIN CUSTOMIZATION – To customize your heart rate zones for a Garmin device:

  1. Go to “DEVICES” (icon of watch on upper right corner of screen when logging into the Connect.Garmin.com website)
  2. Go to “Device Settings” and then “User Settings
  3. Under “HEART RATE ZONES” select Based On… “Percent of Max HR
  4. Change your Max HR and it should recalculate your zones:
  5. Scroll down and select “SAVE SETTINGS” (don’t forget this step!)
  6. Sync your Garmin watch (via Phone, PC, or wifi)
  7. If you’re using TrainingPeaks make sure you “auto sync” with Garmin via the following link (https://www.trainingpeaks.com/garmin), then update TrainingPeaks zones via the additional steps below…

TRAINING PEAKS CUSTOMIZATION – Go into SETTINGS->ZONES in the TrainingPeaks phone app or on the web at app.trainingpeaks.com and then:


1) Under HEART RATE change the “Max Heart Rate” and then select the Auto-Calculation method of “Maximum Heart Rate” and “Sally Edwards (5)” and this will align your HR Zones in TrainingPeaks to the most common, traditional 5-Zone model that you’ll find similar to most devices such as Polar and Garmin heart rate monitors that use the 5-Zone model with each zone representing 10% per zone. Don’t forget to hit “SAVE“:


2) Under “SPEED/PACE” change your “Threshold” Pace for Running to the “Threshold” pace from the VDOT Calculator. To auto-calculate training zones, select the “Auto-Calculation” method of “Threshold Speed” and select “CTS for Running (5)” then hit “Apply” and “Save

NOTE: The “Threshold” pace should be approx ~30 seconds up to 1-2min/mile slower than your 5k pace. Do not use your 5k pace as your actual “Threshold” pace since “Threshold” pace generally represents what you could sustain for a full hour or consistent running (somewhere between your 10k up to half marathon pace).

GENERAL HEART RATE GUIDANCE: THE 4STAR +10% RULE
If you are looking for correlation of PACE and HR zones, and setting your zones to match your metabolic efficiency, we recommend generally estimating your lactate “threshold” to be right at 90% of Max HR as a starting point. We do conduct metabolic testing (VO2 Max or Blood Lactate) if you want lab-level precision, but if that’s not in your budget, the simplest way to dial in your zones is to find the highest average HR you’ve held for up to 1 hour, and then set your Max HR in your devices to be 10% higher…. we call this the 4STAR +10% RULE.

Yes, this might mean changing your Max HR “setting” in your apps and devices to be slightly above or below your “true” Max HR that you can hit, simply to ensure your zones stay accurate to your fitness level and metabolic efficiency over time. This way, you can follow these simple guidelines for 5-zone HR training zones to correspond to the same 5-zone PACE terminologies that you would find in the RunSmart Calculator. It might sound complex, but it makes training and using HR and PACE zones super-easy to follow and understand based on a percentage scale where the top 4 zones will each be 10% blocks that match the most common average metabolic efficiency we see in endurance athletes (based on research studies, and our own VO2, FTP, and Blood Lactate testing of thousands of athletes). This way your PACE and HR zones can correlate to a simple 5-zone model:

RED = up to 100% carb burning / 0% fat burning

YELLOW = ~75% carb burning / ~25% fat burning

GREEN = ~50% carb burning / ~50% fat burning

BLUE = as low as ~0% carb burning / 100% fat burning

Training Tip: Using Heart Rate Zones for Maximum Cardiovascular ...

“EASY” RUNS = “GREEN”
MAINTENANCE RUNS (HR Zone 3 = ~70-80% of MaxHR) – also, what to use for most “easy” paced long runs to build endurance and burn more fat.

“MARATHON” RUNS = “GREEN TO YELLOW” (Negative Split Pacing)
26.2 or 13.1 “RACE PACE” should be around this intensity where HR Zone 3-4 = 75-85% of MaxHR. If you’re staying “in the green” that will mean you’re staying balanced with your “metabolic efficiency” and burning about 50% of your energy from fat and 50% from carbs… the ideal sweet spot to build endurance is staying in the green!

“THRESHOLD” RUNS = “YELLOW UP TO RED”
TEMPO RUNS should be at this intensity (HR Zone 4 = 80-90% of MaxHR) ideally pushing the threshold in a mid to high yellow zone, but avoiding going red until the very end of your runs!

“REPETITION” or “INTERVAL” RUNS = “RED”
Conduct track run “hard intervals” allowing your HR to creep up into the red HR Zone 5 (90-95% of MaxHR) in order to work on your “VO2 Max” fitness!

Run Routes in Chicago

Here are some great neighborhood and “hidden gem” run routes in Chicago!

LAKEVIEW / UPTOWN:

1.55mi Graceland Cemetery Loop (2 loops = perfect 5k): https://www.strava.com/routes/28524984

3-mile Lakeview Loop: https://www.strava.com/routes/28230946

4-mile Lakeview Loop: https://www.strava.com/routes/28230946

LINCOLN PARK:

Lincoln Park 5k Loop: https://www.strava.com/routes/28277850

SOUTH LOOP / DOWNTOWN:

2.5-Mile “Roosevelt Hill” Loop: https://www.strava.com/routes/28371561

3.1-Mile Rose Garden 5k Loop (1.56mi Loop x2): https://www.strava.com/routes/27969308

3.1-Mile Prairie District 5k: https://www.strava.com/routes/28240718

4-mile First Chicago Marathon Miles: https://www.strava.com/routes/28244939

7-Mile 2nd Chicago Marathon Miles: https://www.strava.com/routes/28245245

10-Mile Chicago Marathon West Miles: https://www.strava.com/routes/28245343

11-Mile Chicago Marathon Final Stretch: https://www.strava.com/routes/28245464

14-Mile Chicago Marathon First Half: https://www.strava.com/routes/28245638

7-mile Final Chicago Marathon Miles: https://www.strava.com/routes/28244442

LOCAL RUN CLUB ACTIVITIES:

#Healthy4Healthcare

We all have friends in the healthcare industry who are helping to protect us and keep us all healthy by working on the frontlines in the battle against #COVID19. Let’s continue to show them our support to #TrainSafe and #TrainSmart in a #WorldClass manner by staying #Healthy4Healthcare!

HEALTHY 4 HEALTHCARE HUMPDAY!
Every Wednesday is “hump day” so during the #ShelterAtHome mandate, let’s make it a #HealthcareHumpday every Wednesday by posting a photo of something you do to stay healthy and show support for our Healthcare workers with hashtag #Healthy4Healthcare! Unite and band together to promote positive health and fitness during these especially challenging times and help the common good of our community!

#HEALTHY 4 HEALTHCARE
Mentally and physically, healthcare workers globally are battling and dealing with one of the hardest and scariest times of their lives (and ours!) due to the #SARSCov2 pandemic. While the weather is warming up here in #ChiTown, and there is now a monstrous temptation to stray from #SocialDistancing, let’s all continue to show our support for #HealthCareWorkers by 1) staying #Healthy4Healthcare ourselves and 2) promoting little acts of kindness that will help them stay #Healthy4Healthcare too!

Here are “4 tips” if you want to be a “4-star athlete” during these tough times and promote being #Healthy4Healthcare yourself and for the collective benefit of others:

1 – #PhysicalDistancing
Some call is #SocialDistancing, but we encourage staying #SociallyConnected (just from a distance), so simply practice #StayHomeSaveLives best practices and limit outdoor activities as much as possible. If you have to go out, limit it to no more than 1 outdoor workout or activity per day (workout or essential service) and avoid areas of large congregation. If outdoors, simply run or bike somewhere new and different – don’t think of it as a negative thing, turn it into a positive opportunity to explore a little!

If popular running trails are closed, explore someplace new as a #Healthy4Healthcare Runner. If running in a neighborhood that has narrow sidewalks, #TrainSafe and #TrainSmart by running in the street (if there aren’t that many cars out) and run opposite to traffic so you can see oncoming cars.

If you’re a cyclist, please consider being a #Healthy4Healthcare Cyclist by NOT riding outdoors (at least not frequently, if not completely for at least a little while longer). If you ride in the streets you might risk getting in a bike crash, and then you might end up going to the hospital which will increase the burden on healthcare workers and supplies – as well as increase your COVID exposure risk! For this reason, I created Chicago Virtual Cyclists (CVC) and I’m hosting weekly virtual bike workouts online for free through the #ShelterAtHome mandate… so come connect socially with us online instead! The excitement of focusing on new online workouts, races, and socially connecting on virtual group rides is a great way to have structure in your weekly routine, boost your mood with a little adrenaline rush, and something mentally and emotionally positive to look forward to by staying socially active!

We are all struggling with cabin fever, but we’ll get through this quicker with less impact by continuing #PhysicalDistancing best practices during these challenging times… even as the weather warms up!

2 – #StayAtHome #StayHealthy
Continue to both #TrainSafe and #EatHealthy, because you need to keep yourself healthy! Do something positive every day to help boost your health, fitness, and immune system while you #StayTheFHome – whether it’s making a healthier eating decision or working out indoors. #StayAtHome as much as possible but still do at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. Walk 1 mile, bike indoors, or follow a #TrainAtHome Instagram or Facebook Live workout… just stay active so you can maintain #HeartHealth and your #VO2Max lung capacity. Build your health up so that if you do catch COVID-19, you’ll be strong enough to hopefully defeat it at home and minimize the impact on our healthcare workers and supplies!

3 – #WashYourHands and #WearAMask
This should go without saying, but wash your hands often! Also, for the protection of others, please #WearAMask too – even as the weather warms up. When running, a great solution to consider is to get a “fandana” or “neck gaiter” made of light technical fabric… it might not be a 100% fool-proof, but it won’t cause you to overheat and it’s a practical solution that you can pull up when needed near others, and pull down to breathe better when you’re at an appropriate distance.

4 – #PayItForward
Do something to pay it forward for healthcare workers. Donate, volunteer, or find a creative way to simply show your support in an unexpected way to support our community and our #HealthcareHeroes! See below links for opportunities to donate, volunteer, or even buy a healthcare worker a free lunch to say THANK YOU!

#BeAHero
Feel free to pass these tips on to others and promote best practices by posting on social media anytime you do something #Healthy4Healthcare – let’s make it go viral and share your own tips your own way! #WorkTogether and we’ll get through this with #Teamwork!

MORE INFO
If you’d like to give back, donate, volunteer, want more tips, or to stay on top of COVID related updates, please follow these links and feel free to suggest more for us to add here:

CHICAGO VIRTUAL CYCLISTS (CVC)

Chicago Virtual Cyclists (CVC) Unite is a completely 100% free and open community for any and all Chicago area cyclists to unite and ride together online on various online virtual cycling platforms – founded in 2019 specifically to help us all survive the #SocialDistancing isolation order in Chicago with more #SocialConnecting fun online!

Do you ride a bike? Do you train indoors on any online apps & platforms such as Zwift, Rouvy, RGT Cycling, etc? Then we consider you to be part of our Chicago Virtual Cyclist (CVC) community!

Share smart trainer and home “pain cave” setup tips, organize virtual ride meetups, and unite to motivate & mentor other cyclists to have fun as one united Chicago-based community!

NEW BONUS: NOW SUPPORTING CHICAGO BIKE SHOPS!
As an added incentive to ride & race together, we now support local bike shops by purchasing gift cards as awards for virtual riders who earn the most total points (in any division!) at the end of each season of the Zwift Racing League (ZRL) while racing on any of our Chicago team rosters! Many shops have been hit hard by burglaries this winter, so we want to support them as best we can!!! Learn more about how to get involved with us in the ZRL at the bottom of this page!

“CVC” is rapidly growing, free, and volunteer-based… so join the group and share ideas to make the most of training and racing indoors together with fellow windy city riders!

Want to learn more about virtual cycling? Check out these blog posts:
Chicago’s Top eSports Racing Team on Echelon and RGT!
UCI eSports Worlds – Zwift Race Recap w/ Jacquie Godbe

See below for how to connect with us and get started!


CONNECT WITH US:

GET STARTED WITH CVC!

1. Find us on FACEBOOK @ fb.com/groups/chicagocyclists – engage, interact, ask questions, and organize meetups here!

2. You can also learn, ask questions, and chat with us on DISCORD as our “chat board” and team “race radio” for live chatting while riding @ tinyurl.com/ChicagoVC-discord (see below to see who’s online right now!). For other rides and events, be sure to check for additional Discord group channels, such as for our 8am Saturdays Team Ride with xXx Racing-Athletico (they also have a discord channel at tinyurl.com/xxxdiscord)

3. Do you Zwift? Join our team roster on ZWIFT POWER @ zwiftpower.com/team.php?id=7095
and if you’re affiliated with another Chicago-based team on Zwift, you can join multiple team rosters such as those of:

4. Get a free weekly workout via a free “CVC” TrainingPeaks training plan by following our quick start guide @ tinyurl.com/cvc-peaks

5. Ride and race with us on ROUVY, ZWIFT, and RGT CYCLING by promoting meetups checking our calendar for rides and recommended races on our TEAMUP calendar @ tinyurl.com/cvc-teamup

6. Want to get faster on the bike? Join our “Project ScaryFast” email list at tinyurl.com/scaryfast2021 (new 2022 season info coming soon!)

7. Looking for home “PainCave” setup & gear recommendations? Check out Coach Chris’ Gear & Tech recommendations at kit.co/ironmonster and subscribe to the 4 Star Endurance YouTube channel for video tips!

8. Join our Chicago Virtual Cyclists (CVC) STRAVA group to see where our fellow cyclists are riding virtually indoors, as well as outdoors at www.strava.com/clubs/chicagovirtualcyclists

9. Want to show support for Chicago Virtual Cyclists (CVC)? Consider purchasing a “Server Boost” for our CVC DISCORD server! Discord is free for us to use for video & voice chatting, but a “GIFT” purchase of Discord NITRO will help us upgrade our server and boost the audio and video quality of our “race radio” – a one time donation of $99 improves the riding experience for everyone in our group for a full calendar year!!! https://discord.com/nitro

10. Read up on some of our additional tips, resources, and “How to” articles:
How to get into racing on RGT and the Echelon Racing League
How to create routes on RGT
How to do structured workouts on ROUVY

QUESTIONS or SUGGESTIONS? Contact us at coach@4starendurance.com


ZWIFT RACING LEAGUE (ZRL)

To race with fellow Chicago cyclists in the new ZWIFT RACING LEAGUE (ZRL) – organized by the World Tactical Racing League (WTRL) to promote team time trials and tactical “points” based racing – please complete the following steps:

  1. ZWIFTPOWER.COM – Create a profile on ZwiftPower.com and race at least three “race” events in Zwift over 20km to get an A/B/C/D “race ranking” in Zwift to determine what category of competition you should be racing with. You can find your ZwiftID by watching this video: https://youtu.be/zeQ4gNlqFPY
  2. WTRL.RACING – Create a profile on WTRL.racing to link your Zwift profile with the WTRL racing league.
  3. TEAM ROSTER – Consider joining our “Chicago” team roster on ZwiftPower to share your results and familiarize yourself with other Chicago area cyclists/teammates at: zwiftpower.com/team.php?id=7095
  4. SPREADSHEET – Feel free to add your name and update your info in this spreadsheet (under the appropriate tab for the current ZRL racing season) to help track who is available to race each week: tinyurl.com/cvc-zwift
  5. WARMUPS – Use the Zwift Companion App to “Find Zwifters” and request to follow COACH CHRIS NAVIN to get invited to weekly team warmups on Zwift before every Tuesday night ZRL race – don’t forget to add a [CVC], [Chi], or [Chicago] tag to your last name so we remember to invite you (or a similar Chicago based team tag like [xXx] )!
  6. RSVP & DISCORD – Every week, look for an email from “WTRL RACE CONTROL” and RSVP via the “RacePass” link to join the correct start pen for your team (not necessarily your category ranking, but the ranking of your team which might be higher!). Post in our “CVC” Facebook group or any of the “CVC” Discord App channels if you have questions, need technical help, don’t see an invite, or simply to socialize while we train and race together! We’ll typically post the RACEPASS links in both the Facebook and Discord groups each week, then chat team racing strategies while we warmup and race!

CVC DISCORD APP

See who’s online right now:
tinyurl.com/ChicagoVC-discord


CVC EVENT CALENDAR

Or filter by virtual cycling platform at https://teamup.com/kspp95cr7d6on6c32y


STRAVA LEADERBOARD & ACTIVITY

www.strava.com/clubs/chicagovirtualcyclists


RIDE WITH CVC!

CVC was founded as a fun community outreach project through the volunteering efforts of coach CHRIS NAVIN who is a 3x TEAM USA qualifier, USA Triathlon (USAT) Level 2 Certified Coach, and Metabolic Efficiency Training Specialist (METS I-FCP). Coach Chris carried his coaching expertise into eSports to become ranked as high as one of the top 500 cyclists in the ZwiftPower rankings and has helped coach TEAM USA’s Jacquie Godbe to a top 5 at the inaugural UCI eSports World Championships.

Coach Chris organizes several of the CVC “Chicago” teams and roster in the Zwift Racing League (ZRL) and also helps coach the xXx Racing-Athletico professional eSports team in the Echelon Racing League (ERL).

If you’d like to join in this growing virtual cycling community for training or racing, simply follow “TriMonster” in Rouvy or “COACH CHRIS NAVIN” via the Zwift Companion app and add a [Chicago] tag to your name to join us for rides, workouts, and meetups to get started following the steps above.

Triathlon Clubs and Communities

Want to join a community of endurance athletes that are motivated to train smarter using TrainingPeaks premium? Consider joining our 4 STAR CLUB!

Looking for other endurance sports clubs and communities around Chicago? See below!

Also, don’t miss these great Chicago-area triathlon clubs and communities!

CHICAGO VIRTUAL CYCLISTS (CVC)
CVC is a community for cyclists who enjoy cycling indoors on Zwift, Rouvy, Wahoo RGT Cycling, and other platforms… and best of all, it’s a completely free community to connect and ride virtually with other Chicago cyclists and triathletes!

CHICAGO TRI CLUB (CTC)
CTC is one of the largest triathlon communities in the Chicago area. Join for the monthly socials and meetups to mingle with like-minded endurance athletes in the Chicago area! More info: chicagotriclub.com

Lakeshore Landsharks

LAKESHORE LANDSHARKS
Join one of Chicago’s newest triathlon and Swim-Run clubs – and host to a great indoor triathlon series of races! www.LandsharkTriathlon.com

IRONMONSTER
For triathletes looking for a fun community, join the IRONMONSTER triathlon club (IRONMAN TRI CLUB) for perks, challenges, and motivation to help you in your iron-distance triathlon journey. IronMonster is an open community for beginner to elite triathletes who enjoy living the multisport lifestyle to it’s fullest – and want to connect with fellow Chicago athletes on race day, especially across the world at various Ironman and Ironman 70.3 events!!

FOUR STAR CLUB
The FOUR STAR CLUB is an endurance sports club & community of endurance sports athletes and coaches who like to train smarter using advanced tools such as TrainingPeaks! Join the FOUR STAR CLUB to take your own training and education to the next level and follow the “four star” motivators to stay on track by PLANNING, TESTING, LEARNING, and INSPIRING. Become a “next level” athlete and world-class mentor for beginner athletes to look up to! Veteran endurance sports junkies who want to become smarter athletes, expert-level pacers for running clubs, or veteran triathletes looking to mentor and guide future generations… this is your community! www.4starendurance.com/club

LANDSHARK

SKYLINE SWIM CLUB & CHALLENGE
Do you swim at Ohio Street Beach and want to make some open water swim buddies? Become a Skyline Swimmer and complete the Skyline swim challenge to log 18.5 miles of swimming every summer! www.skylineswim.com

TRIMONSTER
Looking for a great beginner triathlon club? Learn more about Chicago’s 100% intimidation-free TriMonster triathlon training club community at fb.com/trimonsters and join the private member & alumni facebook group at fb.com/groups/trimonsters

VISION QUEST
VQ is one of the largest cycling and triathlon communities in the Chicago area. Join for world class workouts and programming led by a former pro cyclist! visionquestcoaching.com

DARE2TRI
The nation’s premiere paratriathlon club – race, celebrate, and volunteer with them! www.dare2tri.org

WELLFIT
Well-fit is one of Chicago’s largest triathlon training centers and triathlon communities! www.wellfitinc.com