Virtual rides - the Gain Train

Join the Hotchillee Gain Train

What is it?

The Hotchillee Gain train is a weekly Zwift ride that was born out of lockdown and is now the must-do Hotchillee virtual event of the week. Read about the history of this below!

A brief history

It all started in Lockdown One when we were putting together a virtual ride schedule and Hotchillee Team Member Nik Cook offered a virtual chain-gang Meet-up with the aim of cracking 40km in under an hour. On the first ever one, it was just Nik, Hotchillee Ride Captain Rachel Przybylski and one other brave participant. They just failed to make the goal but managed it the next week and continued to lift the bar.

It grew steadily and then Hotchillee Ride Captain Paul “Axel” Foley came up with idea of adding some steadier paced groups and, joining First Class, we now had Second and the Buffet. We settled on a Hare and Hounds format with the Buffet setting off first and the other classes in hot (chillee) pursuit. 


The evolution

The next stage in the evolution of Gain Train was going from a Meet-Up to a private Zwift Event which gave us far greater functionality, choice of course, no other riders on route and less technical glitches.

We then got Gain Train accepted on the public Zwift calendar and welcomed the world to the Hotchillee party. We’re now regularly seeing over 500 riders across the three classes.

Why should I do it?

You’ll get a perfectly and predictably paced workout (NOT A RACE!) that’ll hold you just below your limit for about 60-80 minutes. Keep coming back and the gains are guaranteed. 

When the different classes merge – this is planned, if you’re feeling strong, you can upgrade or, if you’ve been hanging on by the skin of your teeth, downgrade for an easier roll-in. You’ll always find a wheel to follow.

If you’re lucky, your Ride Leader (Engine) may also throw some intervals or sprints into the mix. 

With about 3km to go, the Ride Leaders (Engines) will give the Go! Go! Go! shout and, if you fancy a burn-up, you can go for it. 

Completing one is also the only way to unlock the Hotchillee kit on Zwift. 

How do I know what class to join?

The Ride Leaders (Engines) set the pace and, up to the 3km Go! Go! Go!, will ask for pulls on the front of:

First Class (B): 3.5 w/kg to start and averaging 3.7 w/kg

Second Class (C): 2.5 w/kg to start and averaging 3.1 w/kg

Buffet (D): 2 w/kg to start and averaging 2.4 w/kg

You’ll need to know your Functional Threshold Power (FTP), divide it by your weight to get w/kg and see where that figure puts you. 

Remember, those are the paces at the front of the bunch, if you sit cleverly in the wheels, you should be able to average at least 0.5 w/kg lower.

We’ll see you there!

Just like an IRL chain-gang, it’s supposed to be a “sustainably hard” effort and there’s no shame or failure in getting dropped – that just means you’ve pushed to your limit.

Come back the next week, hang on a little bit longer and that’s how you make the gains. 

How do I join?

The Hotchillee Gain Train rolls every Thursday evening from 1830. 

Find it on the Zwift calendar, the Rides and Activities page or keep your eyes on the Virtual Ride channel on the Hotchillee App for the join link each week.