Zwift How-To: Tips for Descending
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You may not need to worry about cornering or crashing, but there are some tricks to descending on Zwift. Here are a few tips to help you go faster as you get lower.
POWER OVER THE TOP
OK, technically, this is a climbing tip. But it’s also the key to starting a speedy descent! As the gradient begins to ease at the top of a hill, you’ll be tempted to let up on the pedals and rest. Not just yet! Shift to a harder gear if you need to and maintain power until you’re fully on the descent.
STAY IN THE DRAFT
Riding behind other Zwifters, or drafting, saves energy and helps you go faster with less effort. You get more help from the draft at high speeds. It’s less critical when you’re climbing, but very important going downhill. If you’re trying to keep up with a group ride or place well in a race, make sure not to lose the wheel of the riders just ahead of you. Falling behind at the top of a hill? A quick sprint to catch on now could save you a lot of effort later.
SUPERTUCK LIKE A PRO
It’s a risky move on real roads, but on Zwift there’s no danger in this super-aero position!
Your avatar will supertuck when you stop pedaling on a descent with a 3% gradient or more, and as long as you’re moving at least 36 miles per hour (58 kilometres per hour). This doesn’t just look faster. It is faster! You’ll get a sweet aerodynamic benefit while your legs get sweet relief.
But pay attention! Keep an eye on your avatar, your speed, and what’s going on around you. If you’re coasting and you lose speed, or the road flattens out, your avatar will come out of the supertuck and slow down. Even while you’re supertucking, other riders in a race may see that you’re not pedalling and try to drop you. Or a group ride holding a high pace might pull away. This brings us to our last point.
NO REST FOR THE QUICK
Sometimes, the best way to descend on Zwift is to pretend it’s not a descent at all. When others are putting on pressure, keep your power up and hold it steady.
This may be a challenge with a smart trainer. If you’re “spinning out” in your hardest gear, you can turn down your trainer difficulty in the Zwift settings menu until you have enough resistance.
See you on the next descent!