Zwift is a massive, multiplayer, online fitness game/experience (MMOFG, or MMOFE) and that means it has achievements you can gain by riding, as well as through reaching milestones in-game. Some of these achievements will give you a boost or slow your 'opponents' down, so you can beat them to the line.
When you're riding and pass through the various arches on the courses, you'll hear a unique 'roulette' sound that indicates Zwift is randomizing through the various power-ups to select one for you.
The current Power-Ups available as earned achievements in Zwift are:
- Large Bonus
- If you get the "Large Bonus" power-up, you'll earn 250 XP, which is the same as you'd earn for riding about 8 miles of road in-game.
- It's a great way to leap forward to earning some new bikes or other kit without having to ride all of the miles that others ride to achieve them.
- Small Bonus
- The "Small Bonus" is similar to the "Large Bonus", except you only get a +10 XP gain. This is the equivalent of riding about 1/3 of a mile on any of the courses.
- Using the "Lightweight" power-up will visibly 'narrow' your avatar in-game, changing your frontal profile and reduces your weight by 15 pounds for 15 seconds of riding time.
- This can be a great power-up to use when sprinting up a hill for example when that extra weight matters most, where others without the power-up have to slog their entire weight up the hill for the same duration.
- Draft Boost (moving truck)
- If you're already in the draft of another rider, this will magnify the effects of that draft by 50% for the duration of the power up (30 seconds).
- It is timed, so use carefully! Remember too, the rider you're drafting (the "front" rider) also receives a slight draft benefit when you're behind them drafting.
- Aero Boost (TT helmet)
- This used to be a 'jet', but was changed to the TT helmet to reduce confusion.
- This power-up will make you more aerodynamic, which has the effect of basically reducing your CdA by 25% for the duration of the power-up. If you use the "Aero Boost" power-up, it just means you'd have the aerodynamics of a rider in the drops with his elbows bent for 30 seconds or so.
- This is mostly useful for unlocking some of the high speed achievements on the big descents in Zwift. You could plan a Peter Sagan style full-tuck escape from the peloton with it, for example.
- The best time to use the "Aero Boost" power-up is when you're going as fast as you can down a hill, so you're maximzing your aerodynamic efficiency, and then layer in the 25% boost on top of that.
- CyclingPowerLab has a great article describing the science behind CdA and why it matters.
- Breakaway Burrito (deprecated on 2015-03-12)
- The Burrito power-up was designed to shake a drafting opponent/opponents from behind you as it makes you completely undraftable (much like the TT bikes are today), but most riders who recieved it would just burn it in order to get rid of it quickly, rather than tactically use it to their advantage.
- It is rumored that it may make its appearance again in power-up enabled race events and it's a good way to drop an opponent at a key time, but as Jon Mayfield says: "I wouldn't hold my breath...", so to speak.
Power-ups do come with some rules, however. If you receive a power-up through one arch and don't use it when you pass through the next arch, you won't receive a new one. You'll continue to hold onto the power-up you already have for the duration of your ride, or until you use it.