Team dZi may be the most active team on Zwift, organizing events, racing as a team and helping to get the word out about the dZi Foundation they support.
Here is an interview with Hugo Vegter, who (as you will see below) is just one part of this very active team.
Tell me a little about yourself–how long you’ve been riding, what sort of riding you do, when you discovered Zwift, where you live, etc.
I’m a single father of two boys (18 & 14) and still live in Leiden (Netherlands), the city where I followed my university education in the Social Sciences. At this moment I work for the Province of North Holland which is based in Haarlem. Regularly I commute this ride by bike because it’s a perfect 30 km / ~ 55 minute ride. Further I’m a WAHOOLIGAN and proud member of their Beta test team.
I bought my first race bike at the age of 18, mostly for summer holidays with friends and an occasional ride. When I became a father I started riding more frequently and for 8 years now I have been riding more seriously after joining the local club (LRTV Swift) and riding with a social group (De Roode Speer). Swift (almost the same 😉 ) organises a weekly evening criterium that I sometimes join. In the beginning I was happy I could follow the big pack now I try to get in a break. As on Zwift, I can’t depend on a strong sprint. Riding these races still scares me today because of the accidents that happen so often. In this I’m really happy with Zwift, no risk on falling!
My change in cycling came about two years since I first experienced the Wahoo KICKR which I could use from a friend of mine who’s the retailer of Wahoo in the Low lands (Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands). I immediately started to train more specific and loved to race on Kinomap or use the TrainerRoad workout modes. In March last year I’ve got my own KICKR and joined Zwift. From day one I was hooked by riding on Jarvis but also soon after by the friends I made within the community on Facebook and in game chat. Meanwhile the Zwift effect happened. Instead of riding 5-6 hours outside I added easily 5 more hours to my program and some of them where more intense than I could do outside on the road.
At the moment Watopia opened, riding on Zwift got a new dimension, the weekly race season opened by the races Christian Wiedmann and James Gill organised on Tuesday and Thursday. As an almost regular to those races, the after race chat on Facebook was almost as important as the race itself. In the chat with Frank Garcia, James Gill, Chris, Kevin Conners, Francois Coppex and some others the idea launched to see if team tactics could have its effects on Zwift. Just by random choice I joined Kevin’s Team dZi, otherwise it would have been Team X.
What was first an experiment soon became serious and a team identity really has grown.
I know “Team” dZi isn’t just you. Who else makes up the team, and what roles do they play?
Team dZi on Zwift is part of the (real-world) cycling teams that ride in the USA and UK with the dZi Foundation logo on their kit.
dZi Foundation is an American-English charity organisation that offers help on demand of vastly remote communities in Nepal.
Our team consists at the moment of 19 riders of whom Cassy, Frederic, Bruno, Jernst and me operate as regular ride leaders for Zwift events.
When we started as a race team we wanted to have visibility of the Team dZi: Riding for Nepal in every race category but also if possible have the power to be dominant in those races. Our most prominent racers in the A category are without a doubt Jernst Tempelaar and Alexis Louge and our big talent Christopher Durham backed by the very strong Peter Klein and Kevin Conners. In the B race we have Matt, Charlie, Frederic, Cassie. In C Mogens and Stewart play a big part.
Besides being prominent as event leaders for Zwift and being visible in the races we also want to be visible as Team dZi: Riding for Nepal on the platform and in the community. We do this by organising our race events but also by trying to protect sportsmanship within the community. At this moment we focus on delivering one quality race event a month with Prizes that are supplied by our sponsors Marmot and Le Col. As support to our events and races we recently launched a website www.teamdzi.org. The team behind the website and also the race results are Bruno (B.R. in Zwift), Frederic (F.J. in Zwift) and Jodie. Kevin (K.C. in Zwift) as founder of the team has strong relations with our sponsors and we play the role of team captain or domestic, what suites best at the moment of need. We try to keep the pack together and aim for the highest visibility of our team.
How would you describe your team’s philosophy as a race organizer? What is most important to you when organizing Zwift races?
Inclusion and sportsmanship are most important to us. This means that for our main event: The Nepalese Summit Event, the race must be accessible for all that want to race. Especially with bringing prizes in the game, the discussion about the reality of a performance is always there. By awarding in different categories but also by giving random prizes based on attendance we try stay out of this discussion. Furthermore we try to encourage riders to choose for the race category that maybe is just to hard than to play it safe.
The dZi Weekend Competition is part Zwift event and part dZi race event. The Zwift part is the fast paced group ride for about 45 minutes. After three rounds of a consistent high pace between the 3,5 and 4 w/kg the last lap or a part of it is a race to the finish. You can recognise the events by the event tags: AWR, OSS and WGR.
As it is with our name giver dZi Foundation (they travel days on foot through to mountains to assist remote communities), we believe personal improvement and strength is also achieved by setting your personal bar high. We succeed in our events when riders are pushed to their limits and return to our events because they feel it helps them in getting stronger. And of course we are very happy if the name of dZi Foundation and the work they do is spread and the Zwift community actually visits the dZi.org website and leaves a contribution to the charity.
Except for the races we are also proud on our new event the Breakfast and Tea (B&T). The B&T group rides take place on Tuesday and Friday morning for Europe and afternoon for Eastern Asia and Down Under. These B&T are medium paced with some small intervals called off by event leaders Bruno and Frederic.
What race(s) are you currently organizing on Zwift, and how long have you been doing them? What makes these races different than other Zwift races?
The Nepalese Summit Event started with the release of the Epic Mountain route.
The dZi Weekend Competition started in February and our ride leaders helped Zwift out with their events since autumn/winter 2015.
The Weekend Competition races can be best compared with your local cycle club competition or criterium. Because you start as a group ride and the race part is short, the fun factor is high. We see that we have a very loyal riders group joining these rides. These riders follow each other on Strava and chat during the group rides. After a few races they know perfectly well which riders to follow and to beat and you see most of them develop tactics to beat their closest rivals this time.
The Nepalese Summit event is different because it’s only organised once a month. We want to make it something special for the riders if you compete in the Nepalese Summit Event.
In a short time Team dZi will release with the help of Zwift HQ something special for the riders which join our events. Check our website regular for updates on our events and maybe for a surprise. Next to that “special” we will shortly announce our collaboration with a former world class pro and now a world class cycling coach. His advice and views on specific power training will be introduced in our group events.
What suggestions would you give to someone interested in joining your races for the first time?
Our events are not about ranking but are there to encourage you set to your personal bar high. Our events are social, feel free to ask for assistance during the ride by using the in game chat or directly to the event leader. If you have questions before or after the race you can always ask us by mailing to firstname.lastname@example.org or me or Frederic personally on email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the folks at Zwift HQ could add one feature to Zwift to make your job easier, what would it be and why?
We are very lucky with our collaboration with Zwift HQ in the attention we’ve got from them with our events. The first impressions of the Event Module are good but we need more time with it to see if it really works well. As a race leader we would like to have more tools to validate the performance of the individual riders during a race and also to track the individual position of the riders on the circuit (this will also help in broadcasting the race).
A welcome addition for event leaders would be that you can select multiple riders for a message instead of just one or the total group. Even better if it has an audio option to for the event leader.