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Zwift’s Leith Hill

Zwift’s Leith Hill

For those who have and or ride indoor trainers and also use Zwift, good news comes in the form of London’s Leith Hill.

At the end of 2017 I became a Zwifter ie someone who rides in the Zwift world.  Zwift is a virtual cycling world that integrates with bike trainers using bluetooth or ANT+ communication.  I have been testing out both the Tacx Neo and Wahoo KICKR in Zwift’s virtual world.  I have to say it has transformed my winter training.  I don’t have to worry about how cold it is outside, I just hop on my indoor trainer, open the Zwift app and ride away.

Zwift's Leith Hill

Zwift’s London Expansion: Leith Hill

The new London Expansion adds Leith Hill to the mix.  In Zwift there are currently 3 virtual worlds including Watopia, London and Richmond.  Depending on the day Zwift will dictate what world is currently available for people to ride in.

Leith Hill is considered the highest point in South East England, making it a perfect venue for cycling.

Zwift added 3 different courses that eventually take you up and over Leith hill.  All the courses have you start in the city and have you wind your way through the countryside.

I have only ventured on the Greatest London Loop, which is one of the 3 new courses and near the top was was getting pretty spent.

London Routes

  • Greatest London Loop – This 25.9 km (16.1 mi) roundtrip give you a majestic tour of London and the Surrey outskirts, with a 357 m (1,172 ft) climb.
  • Triple Loops – Round we go on this scenic 41 km (25.5 mi) trek with nearly 610 m (2,000 ft) of elevation gain.
  • Surrey Hills – Explore all new roads from both directions on this 41.5 km (25.8 mi) course into the hills. Climbers rejoice: just under 914 m (3,000 ft) will put your legs to work.
Leith Hill features long stretches with steep grades leading up to the summit of Surrey with some grades exceeding 10%.  As you ride the course you can expect an average grade of about 4% and a few KOMs (King Of The Mountain sections) thrown in to spice things up.  For those that like to do things in reverse, Keith Hill as it’s known has a steeper shorter backside.
To give you an example of what riding the Greatest London Loop looks like from my perspective.
Leith Hill Results
As you can see I was able to maintain a pretty good average speed on the loop, but it doesn’t show you some of the slower ascent figures.  Once you crest Leith Hill you have a pretty nice decent back into the city with a few kickers near the end.
I consider myself a pretty good climber in the real world, but in Zwift I find there are some serious cyclists that put me to shame.  It’s sort of a weird feeling getting crushed on a hill by someone when I think I am pushing it.  I often wonder if they are that strong or something wacky is going on with their wattage readings.

I do know for instance that the NEO feels harder to push the watts than the KICKR on the same course.  I have to wonder how accurate the trainers are with each other and power output shown in Zwift.  My guess is some of the riders that are passing me aren’t really that strong, but in the Zwift world they are.

London Leith Hill Zwift
Leith Hill
The 3 new Zwift courses coincide for those gearing up for the Prudential RideLondon.  Zwift is now the official training partner of Prudential RideLondon.

About The Author

Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about running, cycling and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of GearMashers.com, 10KstepsDaily.com, EndTheTrendNow.com, AntiqueOutings.com, MiniatureReview.blogspot.com and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day.

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