Zwift launched its latest update this week. Its replica climb of the famous Alpe d’Huez used so many times in the Tour de France. They have called it Alpe du Zwift. I’ve been quietly very excited about this update since they teased us with it few a couple of weeks now.
Today was the first chance I got to ride it up and down.
For those familiar with Zwift, the climb is accessed from the Jungle circuit. As you hit the base of the circuit you turn right and begin the climb
To access the the new climb you will need to have achieved level 12 in Zwift
Having ridden the climb in real life and in real life videos on the Cycleops Rouvy platform. I was interested to see how it stacked up.
Well I have to say I am very impressed. The road itself and the gradient is very similar to the point I could visualise where I was on the actual climb. Obviously the landscape is nothing like real life as Watopia is a virtual world but the quality of the rendering as on the rest of Zwift is up to its normal high standard.
Alpe d’Huez is famous for its 21 hairpins that are numbered. Its no different here with Zwift counting them down for you and you can see them on the map on the right hand side of the screen too.
On my climb I started in sunshine with plenty of green, trees, grass and the occasional building but as you climb the snow takes over. In fact the snow line is very low in Zwift and is heavy two thirds of the way up as you ride through 10ft high drifts.
The snow eases as you climb near the top and you get above the cloud line
Other nice touches are the graffitti on the climb as you have in real life
My only complaint is the top is a bit featureless. Bit of an anti-climax to be honest. Simply an arch and a soul-less flat loop and then you begin the descent. I don’t know what I was expecting but I feel having done such a great job with the rest of the climb, they have short-changed themselves a bit with the top but hey, its the top of a mountain. What is there supposed to be?
My climb time was just shy of 47 minutes. In real life when I was fitter it took me 57 minutes. Factoring in Zwift doesn’t finish at the REAL finish, it only ends at the end of the street where you turn left and go through the tunnel in real life. I’d say I climbed Zwift 5ish mins faster than I would normally. But this doesn’t matter as IT IS NOT REAL!
The descent was REALLY fast. I just kept my power on. The corners were very unreal as ZWIFT doesn’t brake as you would normally but once I hit the bottom I was happy with my ride and what I saw.
In all I give it 9/10