Get to Know Zwift Grand Prix 2023/24 Elite Cyclist Oliver Dowd

An interview with Team Canada and Zwift Team Restart p/b Alex Coh elite cyclist Oliver Dowd.

Hey there! Thanks for the chance to get to know you a bit better. Let's kick things off with a little intro. Can you share a bit about your background—where you're from, what you do, and what lights your fire outside of cycling?

I was born and raised in the Toronto area, but I moved to Vancouver two years ago to pursue a more outdoorsy lifestyle. Outside of cycling, I enjoy walking in the mountains and camping.

Elite Cyclist Oliver Dowd hiking in front of mountain range

That's awesome! Now, let's dive into your cycling journey. When did you first hop on a bike competitively, and what's been your proudest moment on the road?

I started riding six years ago and entered the competitive scene three years ago. My proudest moment so far was beating Phil Gaimon’s time up one of the hills in Vancouver that he targeted in one of his KOM raids—Grouse Mountain.

Elite Cyclist Oliver Dowd cycling with friends.

Fascinating! Switching gears a bit—tell us about your transition into the world of virtual cycling esports. What got you hooked, and what's the crowning achievement of your indoor career?

Virtual racing hooked me early on because it offered a time- and cost-effective way to compete against others. My crowning achievement so far was earning a spot on the Canadian Esports team for the UCI World Championships two years ago.

Sounds like a wild ride! Speaking of rides, you're part of a Zwift Grand Prix esports team, right? How has being on a team shaped you, and is there something unique about your team that's led to its success?

I’ve been with Restart since its inception. We began as a group of six guys who met on Reddit, and we raced in the original KISS Community League together. Since then, the team has grown and continues to compete at the highest levels.

Great insights! For context, could you share some of your physical stats, like your indoor personal bests for various power intervals?

I may not be the strongest FTP rider, but I was thrilled to achieve 5.4 w/kg for 20 minutes this year. My main strength is that I can deliver 10 w/kg for one minute, even at the end of a hard hour of racing.

Elite Cyclist Oliver Dowd standing with other cyclists

Impressive numbers! Looking ahead, what are your esports goals, both short-term and long-term? Is becoming the UCI Cycling Esports World Champion on your radar, and what does it mean to you?

I may not be at the level to compete at the forefront of the World Championships, but I’d love to earn a spot on the Canadian team again this year.

Click here to learn more about Coach Alex Coh!

That's ambitious! How do you feel about the current multi-platform landscape of esports championships, both nationally and internationally?

Personally, my favorite platform is RGT. However, I feel that choices often come down to people voting with their wallets rather than logic.

Interesting perspective. There are skeptics who question the legitimacy of esports. What's your take on the challenges esports faces in gaining recognition and trust?

I believe esports can be more valid than outdoor sports if you’re purely looking to celebrate the fittest person. The indoor environment offers a more level playing field, assuming everyone uses proper power meters.

Well said! With multiple platforms available for esports, where do you see yourself fitting in? Do you race on more than one platform? Are there features on one platform that you prefer over others?

I race more on Zwift because it has the most competitive fields. However, I prefer RGT and the Echelon Racing League, which offer proper stage racing and magic roads.

Elite Cyclist Oliver Dowd riding indoors

Good to know! What do you think could make virtual cycling more engaging for spectators?

I think the formats they choose are too complicated and sometimes hard to follow, especially since live scoring isn’t always bug-free. I’d prefer road race-style events with a highlight package rather than a full race broadcast.

That's a thought-provoker! Looking into the crystal ball, where do you see esports in five years or even further down the line?

I believe esports will eventually become a proper Olympic sport and will shed its niche status.

cyclist standing on grass with his parents

Intriguing! Now, for a fun twist—give us an exclusive. What's something about you that even your mates don't know?

Well, most people in the Vancouver cycling community know this, but I lived out of a van for six months this year. However, winter is coming, and I need an indoor training setup, so I’ve moved back into a house.

inside of a van with a sleeping bag and a bike

Fantastic! Thanks for this enlightening conversation. Wishing you all the best this Zwift Grand Prix!

To subscribe to the Zommunique and receive more informative and entertaining articles like this one sent directly to your inbox, click here!

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Do you want to join the VVN team? Tap the logo for details!

Virtual Velo Podcast Ep. 34-WTRLs Martin Carew Talks Zwift Racing League
Check out Episode Thirty four here!

The Zommunique’ Community gets 10% off at with coupon code “TheZomm gives 10% off”   

Click to get your Zwift Hub smart trainer here and support our work.

Broadcast Partner to The Virtual Velo Network!

The DIRT Dad Fund

Contribute to a great cause!

The DIRT Dad Fund

Share the power of The DIRT Effect

Click to get the Zwift Cog & Click!

Jaclyn Long, MFT

Certified Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher

Marriage & Family Therapist in CA

Sports Anxiety Therapy

Purchase your Zwift Play controllers here!

Drink Coffee and Do Good!  

Click the Image and Shop now!

Related Articles

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x