Zwift just released the new Climb Portal. This feature lets Zwifters virtually tackle some of the most challenging and famous real-world climbs.
The Climb portal provides a different graphical experience, something else entirely. We’re talking about a whole new level of gamified graphics here. So, if you have been thinking that zwift has been looking a lot more like a game, Well, hold on to your handlebars because this Climb Portal is about to blast that game feel into the stratosphere.
Zwift’s Climb Portal offers a gateway to an ever-changing roster of famous real-world climbs, recreated with GPS accuracy. What really sets this feature apart is the distinctive ‘gamified’ look of the roads – they shift colors to mirror the gradient, and there are no lifelike environmental visuals crowding your view.
HOW TO ACCESS THE CLIMB PORTAL
Both Watopia and France have their very own Climb Portals. You can easily access these through the routes menu where you’ll find the featured climb of the day. But if you’re more of a free rider, you can also just ride over to the Climb Portals.
For instance, in Watopia, you can find the Climb Portal by heading towards the Volcano Circuit. As for France, you can find its Climb Portal by taking a left towards Mont Saint-Michel when you’re going around the main loop.
The Climb Portal route starts off with a brief flat stretch, around half a mile long, just to get you warmed up before you hit the climb.
When you approach the start of the climb, you’ll notice a vivid rainbow arch marking the entrance, complete with the climb’s name. Cross that line and prepare for a wild ride. Your avatar enters a game-like world where the roads appear to be floating and changing colors, reflecting the varying gradients of your climb. Even the background noise shifts to suit the ambiance.
You’ll also notice other riders sharing the climb with you. And here’s the interesting part – you’ll see everyone who’s currently making the climb, regardless of whether they started from France or Watopia.
Zwift has also added specific Heads-Up Display (HUD) elements that are unique to the Climb Portal. These include your time, remaining distance, elevation left, and your estimated time of arrival. These elements will be visible throughout your climb.
On the right side of your screen, you’ll see the route map and its elevation profile. While on the left, you’ll find ‘Portal Sections’ that display your progress, the average gradient, your average power for that section, alongside your average heart rate and time. As you complete each section, you’ll cross an arch displaying the section number.
The Climb Portal kicks off in July with the ‘Climb Portal First Ascent Challenge’. If you’re part of the challenge, you can access any of the 8 climbs anytime by just clicking on the challenge card at the top of your home screen. And the cool part is, each of these climbs is featured in July’s Tour de France and/or the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, so it’s extra fun to tackle them in-game.
As of now, there are 8 climbs in the Climb Portal library:
- Cote de Trebiac: 3.4 km (2.1 miles) with an average gradient of 5.8%
- Col des Aravis: 4.4 km (2.7 miles) with a gradient of 6%
- Col d’Aspin: A lengthy 12 km (7.5 miles) with a 6.5% gradient
- Puy de Dome: 10.5 km (6.5 miles) at 8%
- Cote de Domancy: A short but steep 2.6km (1.6 miles) at 8.6%
- Cote de Pike: Even shorter 2 km (1.24 miles) with a punchy 10% gradient
- Col du Platzerwasel: 7.1km (4.4 miles) at 8.4%
- Col du Tourmalet: The longest one, a whopping 16.9 km (10.5 miles) at 7.4% gradient.
With this distinct visual approach, Zwift’s main goal is to really draw your attention to the climb itself. By paring down on the intricate graphics typical of other Zwift worlds, they’ve actually made a clever move that lets them churn out new climbs in no time. They can design these based on real-world elevation profiles without the painstaking effort of creating intricate visuals.
So, what do you think about all this? Do you like these new visuals or do you feel like Zwift might be overdoing it with the gamified graphics? I