Why this B.C. couple chose virtual bike racing over outdoor activities

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Stephanie Ossenbrink strove in bike races and triathlons — until she had children. Finding the time to carriage while trying to corral toddlers just wasn’t possible, until her silence, Björn, introduced her to the world of virtual cycling. 

Using an app called Zwift, Ossenbrink can now circle in the comfort of her home in Kamloops, on her old racing bike, while her kids are close to asleep. 

“Every night at 8 o’clock we’re on our bikes, Zwifting for an hour to two hours,” she bring up. 

“This opened up the door for me to keep being active and keep being competitive.

“I don’t have planned to schedule my days around going outside on a ride to do something for my aptness,” Björn added. 

The couple has set up a virtual cycling station in their basement, undivided with a projector, their bikes, and a fan to keep them cool. 

Zwift allows cyclists to elect courses in both fictional and real locations. It simulates outdoor swindling, increasing the resistance as the rider comes up on hills, and tracks their medico health and riding statistics. Those statistics can be viewed by other athletes from surrounding the world.

Why this B.C. couple chose virtual bike racing over outdoor activities
Stephanie and Björn Ossenbrink use a program called Zwift to carcass active and compete with athletes around the world. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

Aside from being competent to train whenever he can find time, Björn said one of the main emoluments of cycling like this is not having to deal with vehicles. 

“You can scarcely really focus on your workout,” he said. “It definitely opened up pattern to people who would not cycle before because they were terrified of going on the road.”

“This is hard,” Stephanie Ossenbrink said. “This is a veritable sport, it just doesn’t have the handling skills of what you do maximum.”

Why this B.C. couple chose virtual bike racing over outdoor activities
Using her old racing bike and a trainer, Stephanie Ossenbrink is able to rotation whenever she has some free time, regardless of the weather. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

Essential bike racing isn’t just for fun, or for a good workout — there are competitive families with prizes and titles to be had. In fact, Stephanie won Zwift’s Wild Chicks Racing Series in February. 

She cycled 29 kilometres in 43 littles and 28 seconds, a second faster than the second place cyclist.

Two weeks later, she went on to win the Canadian Native Championship for women, where she raced against fellow Kamloops cyclist and Olympic athlete Catherine Pendrel. 

She worn out the second place athlete, Janna Gillick, by just 0.211 ticks.  

“It was really good to see other fast riders race the race, and I couldn’t accept that I won,” she said.

“If somebody is afraid to ride on the road with transports or afraid to ride in groups … or has kids and can’t get out or works full chance … try it,” Ossenbrink said. 

“You will not regret it.”

When you head in to Stephanie and Björn Ossenbrink’s basement, the pre-eminent thing you notice are the bikes and the huge projector system that simulates pattern tracks from around the world. The Kamloops couple are part of an oecumenical community of riders who are riding in a virtual world and competing for real entitlements and prizes. Daybreak’s Jenifer Norwell stopped by to hear more. 6:24

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