Zwift Community

Great Group Rides: Ascenders Team Social Thursday

on July 10, 2020
About The "Great Group Rides" Series

Zwift has always been about connecting cyclists from around the world, and since early beta days volunteers from the Zwift community have helped make that vision a reality by leading group rides on the platform.

Nowadays, the calendar contains hundreds of weekly events, but we still rely on community leaders to organize and lead most of the social rides.

One way to show our admiration for these tireless leaders is to highlight the great work they’re doing, week in and week out. And that’s what the Great Group Rides series is all about! Each post focuses on a popular, long-running group ride led by community volunteers. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into the stories and people behind the rides.

What started out as an Asia-Pacific group has turned into a popular social ride for Zwifters all over the globe.

Ascenders Team Social Thursday is set in the evenings in Singapore, but those in Europe or Africa can join in the afternoon, while the Americas get a nice morning ride. It’s a bit longer than many Zwift events, and two pace groups mean that a wide range of riders can enjoy it.

“The 90 minutes format is a great way to help riders build up their endurance for going further, stronger and still enjoy the fun company, engaging conversations and interesting jokes,” says Ascenders leader Patrick Tan.

Quick Details
  • Schedule: Every Thursday at 13:05 UTC / 09:05 EDT / 14:05 BST / 21:05 SGT
  • Length: 90 minutes
  • Pace: 2.5-2.7 w/kg (group C) or 1.9 – 2.1 w/kg (group D)
  • Routes: Watopia’s Waistband

Ride Feel

The Ascenders Team Social Thursday Ride attracts a wide range of riders thanks to its two pace groups.  Those who want a more casual social ride can join the D group at 1.9-2.1 watts per kilogram, while those who like the pace a bit higher can join the C group at 2.5-2.7 w/kg. In total, 300-400 riders usually join in each ride.

“Both groups are well-supported by regulars and friends from Zwift who have ridden with us for a very long time,” says Patrick. “By deploying these categories, we are able to meet the various pacing needs of our friends from the Zwift community.”

The leaders work to keep a stable and predictable pace. They also keep up friendly chat to “break the ice” and help people connect with each other.

Ascenders IRL and in-game

How It All Began

Here’s how the Ascenders leaders tell the story of the Social Thursday ride:

“This ride began on 1st November 2018 as Ascenders Team APAC Ride, started by our team leaders Patrick Tan and Benjamin Ho, both from Singapore. We targeted to rope in mainly Southeast Asia and Asian riders to bring in more Asian presence into the Zwift Community. This ride was then a D ride with a steady easy pace between 2.0-2.2 w/kg.

We decided to rename the event as “Ascenders Team Social Thursday” on 17th January 2019 to synergize with our growing Team’s vision of becoming a global and diverse group on Zwift.

Since then, this event has evolved into 2 categories within a social ride event to fit the pacing requirements of the participants. While some liked it faster and some simply wanted a chilled pace ride, the 2 categories are designed to meet these respective segments.”

Ride Leaders

From left to right: C group leader Peter McKenzie, deputy Jason Wagner, D group leader Bill “Buddy” Aislin (sort of), David Adams, and Patrick Tan

The “C Group” in the Social Thursday ride is led by Peter McKenzie and his deputy Jason Wagner. They are supported by Steve Cambria, the “Red Beacon” bearer in a sweeper role.

Bill Aslin, a.k.a. “Buddy the Elf,” is leading the more casual “D Group,” assisted by David Adams and Patrick Tan. Together they form the leaders of the casually-paced group favored by new Zwifters and novice riders.

About the Team

Patrick says: “Ascenders Team is bonded by friendships born of our cycling passion. Originally we were a small group of 10 cyclists based in Singapore. Since 2018 we have adopted Zwift to complement our passion for cycling. It has enabled us to connect with athletes across the world and made many beautiful friendships.

Our purpose has always been to bring a quality group ride experience to our community and we have worked tirelessly over the years for it. Our team currently hosts daily events for our Zwift community, led by our passionate and friendly leaders who share the same vision as our founders.”

Learn more about the Ascenders Team on their Facebook group.


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