Zwift Holographic Replay. Image: Zwift

Zwift will let you race yourself with Holographic Replay

The ghost files are back.

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Our longstanding desire for indoor training Mario Kart took a small but welcome step toward reality this week as Zwift, the world’s most popular virtual training platform, announced a feature that children of the 90s will know as ghost files but Zwift is calling HoloReplay.

The concept is simple: You can now race a holographic version of your previous rides on Zwift.

Boot up Zwift, open up the HoloReplay option, and either a 90-day PR, your most recent data file, or both, are available as holographic options. Any of these options pops up as a ghost-like avatar and faithfully recreates that prior ride. You can chase, attempt to drop, or get dropped by your former self.

Holographic Replay is essentially a personalized upgrade on the existing PacePartners feature, which allows a rider to join a group ride at a set and predictable pace. For now, the feature will be part of Zwift’s FutureWorks beta program, but all Zwift users will have access to the update once it rolls out, set for sometime before the end of the year, while PacePartner graduates out of the FutureWorks program and will be renamed RoboPacers.

It is, of course, quite similar to a concept found in Mario Kart, which allowed you to save a race (on your cartridge, which you must blow on thrice for good luck) and play against it later. You could even download race files onto your cartridge and then share them. Perhaps that will come next: Send your own rides to your friends and let them race your previous rides.

Like those Mario ghost files, what you’re racing against is a true moment-for-moment replay of your previous ride. This separates the concept somewhat from Strava’s outdoor PR chasing function, which doesn’t use your GPS location but is basically just a speed-based countdown.

You can’t draft your ghost self, because it’s a ghost. It is ephemeral, passing through this virtual reality only to make you hurt.

While it’s in beta, Holographic Replay will only be available on segments that include a leaderboard. That means any QOMs or KOMs, plus a collection of full routes:

  • Innsbruck – 2018 UCI Worlds Short Lap
  • London – London Loop
  • Makuri Islands – Flatland Loop
  • New York – Park Perimeter Loop
  • Paris – Champs-Élysées
  • Richmond – 2015 UCI Worlds Course
  • Watopia – Hilly Route
  • Yorkshire – 2019 UCI Worlds Harrogate Circuit

Zwift’s original pitch, which continues to drive its success, is the gamification of indoor training. Make it fun. Make it competitive. Get faster without being miserable. Now we just need shells and bananas and maybe a bit of rainbow road.

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