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How to set up your Zwift pain cave – GravelBikes.Online

This piece was made in partnership with Zwift.

Getting the most out of Zwift isn’t just about power and improving your watts per kilo figures.

Just as crucial is a good pain cave. The place where all suffering is removed, a place where energy is released and a place where virtual dreams come true.

It might just be your spare bedroom or garage, and the humidity levels might be more representative of Southeast Asia than Southeast England, but pain caves are part of the identity of ‘a modern cyclist like his bikes and achievements.

So what should every Zwifter have in their pain cave?

First, don’t worry about not having the space in your home. Gavin Dempster, one of the UK’s biggest figures since the dawn of online e-racing, had to adapt whatever little space he had to set up his cave of pain.

(Image by Alessandra Bucci)

“I don’t have a huge house, so I have my turbo permanently installed in the downstairs bathroom!” he laughs “It’s basically half in the toilet. It’s part small bathroom, part laundry room.

“It’s actually the best and most useful setup I could have wished for, as I can fill my bottles in the sink directly from the bike. And that becomes very useful on races longer than three hours.”

Read more: A beginner’s guide to Zwift

Dempster’s mini-dungeon will be much smaller than many, but he’s prioritized the essentials: “I have two fans in there at all times and can squeeze in a third if needed,” he adds.

Aim for fan discussion, the most essential piece of gear for any Zwifter setting up their own pain cave. Don’t skimp on a fan, whatever you do.

Indoor training is a hot topic, and without the natural coolness of a walk outside, the room becomes increasingly humid, sweatier and stickier, and a fan is needed to regulate body temperature central

(Image by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

“It’s absolutely essential,” says successful off-road rider and trainer Ben Thomas. “I have some athletes who have recorded temperatures of 20-25 degrees indoors and that’s too warm as your heart rate goes up and your power levels go down.

“You can train outside in these temperatures as there is cool airflow, but you can’t go indoors in these conditions without a fan for extended periods. About 15 degrees with some airflow is the optimal condition

“You have to keep the temperature down and the way to do that is to have a fan to push the cooler air over you, as well as keep the doors and windows open.”

There are other must-haves for any Zwifter: towels are considered crucial to help wipe up all the sweat that falls (it’s even possible to buy specially adapted frame towels), as well as a rubber mat to sit under the bike for keep things from moving. . Likewise, make sure your WiFi connection is stable and not prone to dropping out, as there’s nothing worse than a stuttering channel.

Back in Dempster’s downstairs toilet he doubles the use of his washing machine. “I have my laptop and a second monitor on top, so I have a lot of interaction to look at.”

How many monitors a Zwifter needs is a personal choice, but it’s generally accepted that a reasonably sized screen is adequate. However, GravelBikes.Online has heard stories of riders using up to four monitors, because, as many Zwifters will attest, they crave all that simulation.

(Image by Alex Whitehead/SWPix.com)

Regardless of how many screens you have, using a stable counter (including a washer) should be prioritized. Italian coach Ian Jenner says: “If you’re using Zwift with a TV, you need to make sure it’s easily viewable.

“You can be clever with your setup; you don’t need to buy a specific table, for example. I have athletes who put their table in a music hall. But there’s no point in trying to balance a table where you can’t reach it or where you drop it. Make it practical.”

A useful table or counter will also have space for water, food, maybe even a gaming keyboard for those looking to up their social game, and a speaker “though that depends on your relationship with your neighbors,” laughs Thomas, who adds “Headphones are just as good, but the music definitely helps.”

Read more: Why Zwift is synonymous with socializing

One last thing to add to your pain cave shopping list: “In Zwift, you’ll spend more time in the saddle because you don’t get out of it as much as you do on the road,” says Jenner.

“So having really good cycling shorts with better chamois padding will be very beneficial. As will a base layer that will help wick away sweat faster and comfortable shoes. Try to be as comfortable as possible and you’ll enjoy it more.”



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    • While the great outdoors can be exhilarating, lets not underestimate the benefits of a pain cave. It offers a controlled environment for focused training and consistent progress. Embrace both worlds and unleash the beast in all terrains. #BestOfBothWorlds

    • Sure, you can ride outside and enjoy the real world. But dont dismiss the benefits of a pain cave. Its a controlled environment that allows for focused training, regardless of weather or safety concerns. Each has its own merits, so lets respect everyones preferences. Happy riding!

    • Setting up a pain cave isnt just about screen time, its about dedication and discipline. Its a space where athletes push their limits and achieve their goals. So yes, its necessary for those who are serious about their fitness. Stop undermining others commitment.

    • Sure, riding outside and enjoying nature is great, but lets not dismiss the benefits of a Zwift pain cave so quickly. It offers convenience, safety, and the ability to train in any weather. Its all about finding what works best for each individual rider.

    • While riding outside can be enjoyable, a pain cave offers convenience and control over training conditions. Weather, safety, and time constraints can limit outdoor rides. Lets respect individual preferences and remember that what works for one person may not work for another.

    • I get it, the thrill of the open road is hard to beat. But a pain cave can offer consistency, safety, and convenience. No traffic, no bad weather, just you and your bike. Give it a try, you might just change your mind.

    • Some people prefer the convenience and control of training indoors. Plus, not everyone has the luxury of ideal weather conditions year-round. To each their own, right? Happy riding!

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