Triathlete Sophie Corbidge is loving racing against top international athletes from the comfort of her Hamilton living room.
The 28-year-old is competing in an online cycling series through Zwift, a gaming platform which doubles as a training app.
“It’s like a video game, but you are actually physically riding your bike so you’re exercising and keeping fit,” Corbidge said.
The app links to an indoor trainer (basically a bike hooked into a resistance trainer) with a screen in front, broadcasting the terrain you’re riding on.
It allows riders to compete and interact in a virtual world, replicating a real-life cycling experience.
“I race against other girls in the Tri NZ team, competitors overseas, New Zealand cyclists and even some rowers compete.”
The environment challenges riders to miles of uninterrupted segments, consistent pedalling (no freewheeling), and a conspicuous lack of stoplights.
“You also don’t have the real elements of wind or things that cool you down, so it can get quite hot, so most of us ride with fans in front of us, it’s a great workout.
“You do get sucked into this world and you want to cross the line first or finish as close to the top as you can.
“It definitely brings out the competitive side of people.”
The triathlete is enjoying the program so much, she plans to incorporate it into future training plans.
“I’ll be in New Zealand through winter now, which is unusual because I usually travel overseas to warmer weather, so I will definitely be using the app as the conditions outside become less desirable.”
Although she misses training outside Corbidge is fully supportive of New Zealand’s lockdown measures.
“One of our close family friends in the UK passed away last week due to coronavirus. It was a real shock and definitely put things into perspective.”
“You realise the world is a lot bigger than us and our sport and I think it is hard to remember that sometimes. We’re very fortunate to live in such a great country.”