The Zommunique logo June '23

Joseph Chudyk—A Grammy-Nominated Platinum Certified elite Cyclist? That’s a New One

An interview with Team USA and Turbo’s elite cyclist Joseph Chudyk.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where do you live, and what do you do? What do you like to do for fun? Family life, that sort of stuff.

Thank you for having me here, Chris! I really appreciate you for taking the time to share my story. I’m located out in the country just west of Rochester, NY. I’m a schooled jazz drummer (Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from UNLV) but work full time as an audio mix engineer specializing in Dolby Atmos & Apple Spatial Audio. 


I’ve mixed songs by Jason Aldean, Kane Brown, Elle King, Mitchell Tenpenny, Russell Dickerson, Ghost, and MxPx. I have a Grammy nomination this year and some platinum certifications. Beyond grateful for the people who trust me with their music. As far as fun?! That’s where Zwift comes in. It’s all fun there.


My beautiful wife, daughter, and I live on 10 acres and run a 501c3 animal sanctuary called Mockingbird Farm. We rescue neglected farm animals, rehabilitate them and take care of them for the rest of their lives. We are all vegan 🙂

Cyclist Joseph Chudyk and his family

What is your cycling story? When did you start competing, and what is your racing history? What is your most significant accomplishment racing on the road?

So cycling! In grad school, I was very unhealthy and found cycling as a way to commute from my apartment to school. I was addicted. I lived in Las Vegas then and once rode to Red Rocks and back in cutoff jeans and a t-shirt. It hooked me when I saw everyone on their shiny bikes wearing their fancy shoes. 


I bought an oversized Lemond road bike, shoes, and kit and joined some group rides. The weight came off quickly. I started racing, and bam! I got my ten races in as a cat 5, went to cat 4, won a few, and got my cat 2. 


By this point, I was back in PA. A friend of mine moved to Colorado, and I went with him. I got a job as a professional courier and unfortunately got hit by a car. I still can’t feel my hands when I wake up in the morning. That is when I found Zwift and Jarvis Island as one of the first invite beta users.

What is your virtual cycling story? How and when did you get involved in esports? What is your most significant accomplishment racing virtually?

When our daughter was born, I took five years off the bike and started running. Over COVID, I decided to hop back on Zwift, and it hooked me again. 


My first ride was up the Epic KOM, and I made it up in 40 minutes, lol. I rode every day, started racing, and went from a D to an A very quickly. I saw something about ZRL on the ZwiftInsider website and posted that I was interested in joining a team on the Facebook group. 


Alex TenElshof reached out, and I joined Finesse on the backup squad. I eventually worked my way up to the main team. We won ZRL and made it onto the Premier Division team. 


I got my “you know what” handed to me there. It was time to figure some stuff out. That’s when I really started training with Alex almost daily. He’s a beast, and I look up to him immensely. He’s the reason why I’m where I’m now, fitness-wise.

Tell us about your esports team. How has racing with your team prepared you for this moment? Is there anything unique about your team that has contributed to your success?

TURBO is back!!!! It’s now a small group of riders that like to punish each other while riding. If we smash, it’s fantastic! If we can’t, it’s still amazing. It’s all cool with no ego, ever. 


We ride for each other every day. Alex and I train and recover seven days a week over the winter season on Zwift. We are usually up and riding by 6 am—race recon, race sim, intervals, races, group rides, recovery, etc. 


Everyone on the team is involved in everything each one of us does—no pressure to do anything, either. You can’t ever be too serious; otherwise, it’s not fun anymore.

For a frame of reference, how tall are you, and approximately how much do you weigh in competition? What is your indoor PB for Peak Power, 15-second, 1-minute, 5-minutes, and 20-minute?

I’m 165 cm and weigh between 58 and 61 kg. 15 wkg is about my peak 15 seconds, but that’s disappearing fast, 10.3 for 1 minute, 6.8 for 5 minutes, and 5.6 for 20 minutes.

Cyclist Joseph Chudyk

What type of rider are you? Has your riding style evolved as you become more involved and successful in esports?

I’m a workhorse now. I’ll lead out or set the pace on a climb. I enjoy working for other riders. When I was racing in PA outdoors, I had a 17.0 W/kg for 15 seconds and 7.0 for 5 minutes. My 20-minute was like 5.0. 


When I took those five years off and returned to Zwift in pancake flat WNY (Western New York), I focused on my 20-minute power. Now my sprint is a joke, and my 20-minute power is solid. 


I also look like a different person. My body composition has completely changed. I think for the better. But a lot of my success on Zwift is race instinct. Alex and I can work as a team without even talking to each other. We both race/raced a lot IRL and have those instincts built in between us.

What is your go-to training workout, and why do you enjoy it so much? Has your training emphasis and philosophy changed to make you a more successful eracer?

Full gas up Epic, and do it again and again. Recovery ride? Easy up Epic. Epic Mountain is the cheat code. We train harder than we race. I may not be able to dish out a 6.0 20, but I can do 5.2 for 20 3x in a row on a cup of black coffee. And that, I owe to Alex.

What are your short and long-term esport goals? Do they involve becoming the UCI Cycling Esports World Champion? What does that mean to you?

Esports World Champion? Heck no. Leading out the Esports World Champion? Heck yes. The USA has a stacked squad of extremely aggressive riders, and I will fight to the end to ensure the last rider has the greatest chance of success. The team is everything.

You have accomplished so much in esports. What is it that sets you apart from other virtual athletes?

Nothing. I’m just a dude on a bike with hairy legs that loves riding. I’m lucky and grateful to be where I am. And very thankful for the background in elite racing in my 20s. By the way, I’m 37 now. Hopefully, I have a few more years left in me to smash at this level.

Cyclist Joseph Chudyk Zwift avatar

How much do you factor in the gamification side of esports? Is there a learning curve that you must master? How vital are PowerUps and other things unique to virtual cycling?

Oh yes. Understanding the game is everything. How the draft works for you is especially important. The least amount of work for most of the race can get you very far. But the same with the opposite of that. Working hard to make a break stick and knowing what you need to do to make that happen is also very important. 


Speed and WPKG all vary at different raw watts and heights, and understanding how you fit in that formula is the key to success. As far as powerups go, I’d say do without them because I’m always unlucky and get EXP 9/10 times, haha.

Do you feel cycling esports will ever gain acceptance as a trusted discipline and gain popularity as a unique discipline? What challenges does it face?

It is becoming more and more trusted every day. But it depends on who you ask. Do you ask the elite Zwifters? Or do you ask the audience? The same goes for IRL. Are you polling the peloton or the audience? 


The challenge lies in technology. Zwift is code. People code, riders code, and who codes better? It’s a tough one. Is it a priority for Zwift and smart trainer manufacturers? I don’t think it is, making it even harder to legitimize. It’s all on us racers. We determine our own future.

Tell us about your setup. Where is it located, and what do you use? What steps do you take to verify your accuracy?

I set up in the living room! I use a Wahoo Kickr V5, Tickr Fit HRM, Garmin Vector 3 dual-sided pedals, and a Garmin Edge 130. I’m on a 2018 Canyon Aeroad. I use the SLF Motion pulley system, their bottom bracket, and a waxed chain. I zero out the PM and dual-record every ride. Dual recorded races are posted on my ZwiftPower page. I’ve been verified by Zada 3 times.

Bike on an indoor trainer

Some cynics and detractors don’t trust the legitimacy of esports. What do you say to those who question the integrity and ability for a level playing field between competitors? What challenges does esports face in becoming recognized as a trusted competition venue?

Esports? How about cycling? But that’s for another conversation. Keep questioning us, pushing us to do more to be more transparent, and making Zwift more transparent.

Many of your fellow elite eracers have been publicly critical of the lack of standardization in esports. What is your view on the topic?

At the highest level, I think we are in a good spot. For Worlds, everyone will be riding the same trainer and have done a ZADA test, etc. I believe manufacturers should align and create some standards and sign for the data transmissions to Zwift and certain features become disabled for elite racing events. Otherwise, there is a loop hoole for riders to gain an advantage.

You are deeply involved in cycling and how it relates to the elite esports scene. How has the landscape changed during that time, and where do you see it going?

No clue. The elite scene is new to me. I don’t even consider myself elite. I just hope it stays fun, exciting, fair, and honest.

Cyclist Joseph Chudyk racing outdoors

What is esports' future amidst the multiple-platform landscape, and where would you like to be positioned?

Zwift feels the most natural to me, so I’m sticking with it. Who knows what the future will hold though?

What is your opinion of the new race formats being used during the Zwift Grand Prix and the World Championships?

Amazing! Keep changing it up, Zwift! End the sprinter’s rule of Zwift 🙂

Esports has come a long way in a short time. What do you envision it will be like in five years and further into the future? What will it take to get it there?

There are big plans for AR and VR. It’s going there fast. In 5-10 years, the tech we rely on today might not exist.

Okay, I need a juicy exclusive. Tell us something about yourself that none of your fellow racers or fans know about you. Please?!?

Hmm, I don’t listen to any music while I ride or race, in or outdoors. I sit in my own thoughts. I’ve always been this way.

The floor is yours! Is there anything you would like to say?

Ride On!! Connect with Joseph on Strava, ZwiftPower, and his site,

Thank you, Joseph!

Anything you’d like to ask or say to Joseph?

Ask away. Comment below! I’ll see what I can do.

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