Zwift, my journey, my weight and my fitness.

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  • Zwift, my journey, my weight and my fitness.
  • There’s a route up Alpe Du Zwift that starts at Titans Grove, check https://zwiftinsider.com/ for route info and other stuff, such as we will have a new crit course very soon.

    Had my own sensor disconnect issues in the 1700 Bologna TT, just completed 6Km at low VO2 Max pace for me and then knocked the cable while desperately trying to turn the fan on, gave up trying to repair after ~1min!
    Then did ramp test to make up for not doing Bologna hill, just managed to complete 340W interval, which I could live with having just done ~10mins of ~295W at Bologna immediately beforehand.

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    James, that will get you in the top 25% in C, nowt wrong with that, a bit more power and you’ll easily see podiums.

    What do you need to know about the racing?

    Premier Icon Poopscoop
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    Thanks for suggestions guys. I’ll look into the route from Titans.👍

    Oh, took the Neo 2T back to Halfords today. No trouble with the refund. Second Core is working well so far so fingers crossed.

    Can’t get gears to index 100% on the bike though.😂

    Premier Icon jamesoz
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    I’ve only really raced downhill and Enduro (in a average at best way)so it’s all new to me, I have read a fair bit of this thread, is it critical to learn tactics so I don’t have a coronary in the conservatory? Not worried about where I finish, just sometimes I don’t know when to reign it in.

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    Tactics come as with outdoor racing, from time, experience and knowledge. You’ll learn what courses suit, which are best for your style, when to power, when to recover and occasionally when to allow yourself to be dropped and get the next group.

    Premier Icon Poopscoop
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    I can’t comment on racing but learning the importance of drafting was a revelation for me. It makes a huge difference and is a little tricky if only drafting one person. I’ve sort of mastered it whilst doing my free riding on Zwift.

    I’ve started doing occasional group rides too which are good for learning some of the peloton do’s and don’ts without getting off the bike and feeling you are going to throw up.😄

    tomlevell
    Member

    If you want to race jump straight in.
    It’s be worth doing a decent effort before to work out approx FTP.
    Ride up the epic KOM as it’s 25minutes to 35 minutes at a pace you think is sustainable and raise it after 15minutes if you can.
    Or do a ramp test.

    Sign up to zwift power for more meaningful results and info.

    Get in a race of a sensible length 30 to 45 minutes and knock yourself out.
    Go hard at the start to hang on with people and your body will tell you when you have to slow down :0)
    Take stock and link up with a group and work out how to beat them at the finish.

    Watopia flat and hilly are good courses.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
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    I can’t comment on racing but learning the importance of drafting was a revelation for me. It makes a huge difference and is a little tricky if only drafting one person. I’ve sort of mastered it whilst doing my free riding on Zwift.

    Huge difference.   It didn’t matter to my power-zone orientated ride today but I joined the ZHR 100 to get 1:40 of fasted z2 in.   I was in a group, looked down at my phone to see a text from the Mrs and answer it and in that time the group went up a hill and put 5 seconds on me.   I chose to stay in zone and hope my weight would bring me back up to the group on the flat, it didn’t and I never caught them again.   If that were a race I’d have been forced to bridge for a minute or two at 3-400w to get back thus spending a whole load of energy I didn’t have to.

    Premier Icon winston
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    Has anyone got the new update yet?

    Got as in downloaded? Yep, it was almost 600MB for the new Android app! Not used it yet, new gravel & mountain bikes, event only route (Crit City) and ANT+ support for HRM on mobile included.

    Premier Icon jamesoz
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    I had fully intended to get on it today but popped to the pub for a mates birthday, got home at 7 am, bike is still in the pub and I’m still drunk I think.

    Premier Icon winston
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    The mtb course is hilarious when you’ve had a few.

    bjj.andy.w
    Member

    @ kryton 57 I was on that ride this morning also. As you I wanted to do a mainly Z2 fasted ride so when, at 10 miles left there was a breakaway (even though it wasn’t supposed to be a race 😏) I just let them go and worked with another five people to the end. Quite enjoying my enforced time on zwift, I broke my shoulder blade (and had it pinned and plated) on my last race of the season at the end of October so riding outside is out of the question until after the new year.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
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    at 10 miles left there was a breakaway

    there quite often is.  I use these rides as a bit more interest / chat than riding a couple of hours solo on Zwift and it does annoy me when a group gets feisty and vanishes and leaves me solo.  On previous times I can see them disappearing at 3.5wkg but choose to stick in my Z2 hoping I get absorbed into the next group before being bored.

    On the plus side last week I pretty much towed a group of 4/5 for the last 50km and one of the chaps sent me a nice personal message thanking me for my consistency which was very nice, so there are upsides!

    good luck on your recovery Bjj Andy. At least you chose the right time of year!

    bjj.andy.w
    Member

    good luck on your recovery Bjj Andy. At least you chose the right time of year!

    Yeah it could’ve been slap bang in the middle of the race season so every cloud and all that. This time last year I was bang in the middle of my winter base phase, doing mile after mile outside on the TT bike in zone2 or doing tempo intervals. looking to do the National 12 in August next year so fingers crossed I’ll be back up to speed by then.

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    Fighting what feels like a losing battle of ‘resting’ today…

    Did Swinley on Saturday then a Herd ride on Zwift for 2hr15 yesterday with a mate… Legs are dying… but there’s a TT race on Fugit that has some unanswered questions for me just after 5pm today… I want to know how close i can get to 290w for the race distance.. but starting with knackered legs probably isn’t the best way to go… but still, tempting.

    Felt uncomfortably strange not doing any exercise activity whatsoever on Sat or Sun, apparently my first complete rest days since October 27th. I was paying the penalty from doing ~27 hours of riding over the past three weeks according to the Strava training log, from doing ~21 hours for the previous three… Dead legs and symptoms of overtraining including sleeping badly.

    Can’t decide what to do today, final day of my long weekend away from work, once I’ve popped out to get a few essesntial groceries. Part of me wants to unhook the road bike from the turbo and head to the hills between Warnford and Petersfield for the first time in over a month, albeit I’ll be stuck in 22T sprocket, but it would get me out of the house and give me a chance to try the new Magma jacket.

    But part of me thinks just get the groceries and then jump on the turbo this afternoon, that north-westerly wind is chilly and a bit gusty even here at ~200 feet, nevermind at ~600+ feet (supposedly feels like 1C and gusts of ~42mph on Butser Hill right now).

    Premier Icon jamesoz
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    Finished work early today, thought about an outdoor ride but I’m not keen on riding in gusty winds. Back on the trainer I think. Feels odd when it’s sunny out, getting cooked in the Conservatory.
    One thing I do need to work on is my left leg. Been getting a bit of right knee pain and a while back I did an F1 fitness thing at the British GP. The fancy bike they had showed I was really right leg dominant, probably due to a crash where I landed on the side of my left knee (red 15 Swinley) a couple of years ago. Couldn’t stand up for a bit after that one!

    Premier Icon Kryton57
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    Finished work early today, thought about an outdoor ride but I’m not keen on riding in gusty winds. Back on the trainer I think.

    That would be a good call.   I went out yesterday fasted.  Did 1:45 Northward and drained of energy turned into what felt the worst headwind ever to return home absolutely drained.    The continual roar of the wind felt like waterboarding to my ears – mentally draining!

    tetrode
    Member

    Tried a Neo 2T in meantime… Not impressed. Unit hits brake caliper. Floor board humming vibration….I mean REALLY bad and the cadence sensor is useless. That’s about to go back thanks due to distance selling regs. Have to say though, if it worked it would be great. Built like a tank and love the few degrees of side to side wobble. Road Feel was fun too.

    I know you’ve taken it back now but just to check – Did you install the spacer on the left side of the trainer first? It’s there so it can be compatible with disc brake calipers. I’ve got disc brakes and it fits perfectly with the spacer installed. Also, what about the cadence sensor did you find useless? Seems to work absolutely fine for me!

    Also I’ve got it on floorboards too and there’s no humming or vibration at all, it’s ridiculously quiet!

    Premier Icon snotrag
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    First post on this thread or subject.I just picked up locally a dirt cheap TACX smart trainer and ordered a blue tyre for my gravel bike.

    I don’t have an ipad or laptop – does the whole immersive experience thing work properly just with my phone propped on the bars? Do you need to ‘touch’ or control the device mid ride? (Ie does it need to be in reach?).

    I’ve dropped the gym membership as I only used it for spin classes, and even that took some commintment with time, booking etc. Plan is to use the bike in the garage and get some little+often winter training in – theres so much talk on here about Zwift making it bearable, enjoyable even that I thought I’ll give it a go.

    tomlevell
    Member

    @jamesoz advice from last weeks or the week before Trainerroad podcast was don’t worry about imbalance in leg strength. Worth a listen if you are bothered by it.

    dirtyrider
    Member

    treading water with fitness, just not had enough time to get on, so doubled up today, volcano climb race & Richmond UCI Hilly 1 Lap, so both short races, same tactics in both, get dragged as far as i could in the front group, hit the hills hard and try and maintain position

    small crowds in both, i guess due to 15 billion people doing stage 1 of London

    Premier Icon jamesoz
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    Cheers Tom I’ll take a look.
    Snotrag, I use an old iPhone Se plugged into a TV with a cheap adapter from Amazon. Just on the phone was a bit crap and the touch screen reacts to being sweated on

    I’d forgotten about the stage 1 London Tour, thanks for reminder @dirtyrider ! Turns out you can do an open “sportive” 1/3 lap version of Greater London Flat (~17.3/40.2Km); a “sportive” women only 2 lap (28.9Km); or a 2 lap “elite racing” men/women (28.9Km).

    Info above from Zwift Companion, Zwiftpower.com event details suggests 4 lap (52Km) is possible.

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    well i had the argument to settle with myself and the Tempus Fugit TT course today. Mrs Weeksy is cooking lamb so no time like the present. Plan was, going off hard and hanging on.

    Split 1, 309w
    Split 2, 295w
    Split 3, 265w
    Split 4, 271w

    End of race, got an FTP increase from 275w to 282w. Not sure where it will put me in the results, but there was honestly nothing left in the tank to give, maybe on a very very rested day if that ever happens, but i’m more than happy with that performance and increase.

    So so dead now.

    https://www.zwiftpower.com/events.php?zid=268971

    Well done weeksy, presuming Zwift gave you 282W as 95% of your best 20mins, 297W for 20mins is no mean feat!

    I decided to lower the standards of the 2-lap “elite racer” group in stage 1 of London Tour, mainly because I wanted to continue trying to improve my sustained 30min+ power. Found myself in a group of ~25(?) doing the 3-lap sportive where I was having to do ~275W to keep with them, initially I told myself to try and keep with them until 20mins;then 30mins; then until I had finished…
    Struggled at times during the second lap, then got fooled by the still incorrect distance countdown and ended up doing an extended feable MAMIL sprint, but pleased to average 285W for just over 39mins (pretty sure that’s a new pb).

    The drafting effect was massive compared to my normal rides, but then normally I get ditched and ride in solo, just over 28mph average. But then it’s quite a flat course and there were something like ~1400 riders in the event.

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    Well done weeksy, presuming Zwift gave you 282W as 95% of your best 20mins, 297W for 20mins is no mean feat!

    Yup. It’s a good figure and if I were 10kg less I’d be a decent racer lol. Sadly being a baby elephant means I’m just a decent C.

    I could do with a decent points score though so Weds evening I’m racing with the fast C’s in the BRT TT race. Some of the big hitters will be out looking at the list.

    tomlevell
    Member

    Which also suggests the result the other week wasn’t a trainer issue. Well rested meant you performed then and determination got that out of you this week.

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    Hmmm there’s a question Tom… any decent performances seem lucky to me at times LOL. I guess in a cycling perofrmance context i’m quite pessimistic which isn’t a normal part of my life. But i still think that one the other week was too high. For example my 1min power was 4.6w/kg… Which is over 400w. I just cannot do that day to day. No possible way. My closest has been 4.3w/kg on a 8km Volcano sprint race… But that was flat out, proper hard… On the ‘debatable’ ride i was actually cruising to a great extent for the 4.6w/kg… So i’m very much still thinking it’s a NO.

    But on the plus side, i think the training is all going pretty well at the moment, so the results are coming, slowly slowly. I’m picking up some rankings points and my performances are doing OK… but as i say, i need to find some more competition in the races i do. But then i look at the potential races like this.
    https://www.zwiftpower.com/events.php?zid=272039

    The BRT crew are popular and strong, it’s got some of the top Cs in the series i expect to enter, then i look at who’s in now and it scares me a bit. The 2 fast Cs currently in are both over 300w for their best 20 mins power and big strong boys… Can i out TT them on the Waistband course, sheesh i don’t know… but playing with the big boys is the only chance to find out 🙂

    Was watching some TT GCN videos about cadence and what’s ‘natural’ and what’s potentially optimal. On the ride yesterday i was doing 78-82, well, technically 82-78 as my cadence dropped as my fatigue increased. But i still wonder if fitting a larger front ring and grinding out even a low 70s may be ‘better’ for power and performance for a rider of my style on the flat TTs. But i’m struggling to actually make that work due to frame clearnace and chainline issues which i’ve not been able to work out why.
    Tonight though i’m not riding so may spend 30 mins in the garage with some spanners to get a resolution.
    I was even thinking of an SRAM Rival chainset but not sure the clearance will be there with a 42T even with other cranks. So going to see if i have a 1mm spacer for the BB in the spares box as that may give me JUST enough clearance to make it…..Maybe.

    Premier Icon jamesoz
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    Yup. It’s a good figure and if I were 10kg less I’d be a decent racer lol. Sadly being a baby elephant means I’m just a decent C.

    Would love to drop 10kg down to baby elephant!
    At my fittest in 2016, riding most days and actually making time and passing on pedally bits in races, I think I was 95kg.

    Alex
    Member

    I’m still finding the whole group ride thing confusing. The ‘Beacon’ is definitely putting out an average over the event of – say – 2.7 w/kg. Last night I was at 2.9 w/kg. Sure I finished a bit ahead of the beacon, but I’m sure there’s more to it.

    My hypothesis is:
    – I’m rubbish at riding in groups. Hills (up and down) still surprise me and I find myself working super hard to stay in the same group of riders. Sometimes I’ll shoot out the front as I’ve not worked out when to back off then…
    – .. I do back off and the whole group piles through like they’re being chased by bears. So I’m back to working super hard to get back to the group at which point it all starts again

    Because of this I don’t ride behind the beacon because I’m worried about being chucked out the back of the group. And I’d never get back as 2.9 w/kg is about my limit.

    I know i should read the map, look at the blooming screen even but at that pace I’m mostly trying to find enough oxygen to keep me going. I’ve ridden a 1000km on zwift this year, but aside from 5 rides thats’ been with ERG turned on.

    So my question is.. will I get better at it? Is it just ride more groups and work it out? Or am I missing something fundamental here?

    I know the trainer is okay (Tacx Flux S) and the WiFi internet speeds are good, so I can’t blame them.

    I did get an uptick to 231 FTP (from 227 but down from 246 in Feb) which I was feeling good about until I saw Weeksy’s post 😉

    Alex
    Member

    Oh and this whole ‘weapons free’ thing on the last lap/last climb was a bit of a shock as well. So the fence goes and I’m left between the really fast riders and the beacon. Which meant about 4km mostly on my own as I couldn’t catch the ‘stabbed rats’ and I didn’t want to slow down in case I got pitched out the back.

    I ended up close to death instead 😉

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    I’m still finding the whole group ride thing confusing. The ‘Beacon’ is definitely putting out an average over the event of – say – 2.7 w/kg. Last night I was at 2.9 w/kg. Sure I finished a bit ahead of the beacon, but I’m sure there’s more to it.

    The w/kg metric is misleading unless you weigh the same as the ride leader. It’s a stupid metric to use to run group rides unless the ride is steeply uphill. If I weigh 100kg – I don’t – and am putting out 3 w/kg on the flat and you weigh 50kg and are putting out 3 w/kg on the flat, then I am producing 300 watts and you are producing 150 watts. You will struggle to keep up even with drafting. We’ll go up a 10% climb at around the same pace, but on the flat, nope.

    You may have other issues as well, but I’d be wary of using w/kg as an outright measure of pace / effort etc, because it simply doesn’t make sense.

    Rides should be organised on the basis of pace rather than a power to weight figure.

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    I did get an uptick to 231 FTP (from 227 but down from 246 in Feb) which I was feeling good about until I saw Weeksy’s post

    I can’t push my figures like that uphill though matey…. I’m a one-trick Pony… Think of me as the Cancellara of C Zwift. Flat power, great… anything else…. rubbish.

    Alex
    Member

    @badlywireddog – okay that makes more sense. I see wildly fluctuating w/kg on riders near me and we’re all going the same actual pace.. I guess I’ll just have to stick with it as it feels like it’s doing me good. No way I’d go that hard on my own.

    Thinking about it tho, and following weeksy’s post ^^, losing another 5kg would be more beneficial on zwift than getting stronger. Let’s face of it, most of us could lose a bit of timber without it making us any less good at turning pedals.

    @weeksy – 🙂 I find the hills easier. Especially if it’s a constant gradient. Feels like ERG I guess.

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    Thinking about it tho, and following weeksy’s post ^^, losing another 5kg would be more beneficial on zwift than getting stronger. Let’s face of it, most of us could lose a bit of timber without it making us any less good at turning pedals.

    I guess that depends really on what courses… The strongest Cs who win the most races for example are all 95kg+ but putting out 300w. So they just hammer everyone else into the floor, especially in multi Cat races, they go off with the Bs at 350w for the first 3-4 mins and then just hang in as much as possible. By the time it gets tough, they’re 2-3 mins ahead of the bunch of Cs chasing them. I’ve used that tactic myself more than a few times, hang with the Bs till you die..
    But somehow you get C racers who even when it goes uphill still go really well at 95kg… me, i just die 1000 deaths then.

    The other one is surges of power, the ability to change from 220w to 450w time and time again, rest push, rest push, rest push… it’s very effective on Zwift…
    Try it tonight/whenever…. sit at a set watts of say 200, then ease for 1/2 a stroke and push hard on the next 2 strokes, as the flywheel slows and picks up, you get a 400w surge on the screen, which gives you a bigger kick than the figure you lost by easing slightly… . Does that make any sense ? it did in my head 🙂

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    @badlywireddog – okay that makes more sense. I see wildly fluctuating w/kg on riders near me and we’re all going the same actual pace.. I guess I’ll just have to stick with it as it feels like it’s doing me good. No way I’d go that hard on my own.

    @alex if you’re that way inclined, you can work out riders’ rough weights just by clicking on them on the list on the right of the screen. You then get to ‘watch’ them and you’ll be able to see their actual power output, cadence and HR if those are being recorded. Cross reference that with the w/kg figure and you’ll get an idea of whether they’re a big, powerful rider or a lighter unit.

    If the HR is displayed, you can have a very rough guess at how hard they’re working: someone at 200bpm is probably not just cruising along, equally someone at 100bpm and churning out 300 watts is to be avoided. You can also get clues from avatar build, but there are only three different sizes I think.

    Some people helpfully give their avatars grey hair or stick their age in their name tag, though gawd only knows why. As max HR generally falls off with age, you can also take that into account in your Machiavellian calculations 🙂

    Oh, and basically – just like in real life – if you weigh less, you go up hills faster, but it won’t make much odds on the flat where the main limiter is (virtual) wind resistance.

    Premier Icon nixie
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    Just catching up with the thread after moving house and the associated zwiftcation that forced. Sounds like some good efforts going on all round 👍.

    Thinking about it tho, and following weeksy’s post ^^, losing another 5kg would be more beneficial on zwift than getting stronger. Let’s face of it, most of us could lose a bit of timber without it making us any less good at turning pedals.

    Looking back at my own results I’m no more powerful now that I was as a B, in fact some of my highest raw power outputs are from B. However the 5-8kg weight drop and improved cardio fitness means I perform better.

    @weeksy what your suggesting sounds a bit like exploitation of the ant+ sticky bug!

    @alex When you power through the group and lift off your dropping your power and loosing the draft all at once. By the time the group behind catch you they will have a small (1-2km) speed advantage on you. This results in you very quickly passing through the group before you can increase your speed to match and hence you drop out of the back again. Its worse in smaller groups. Ideally you need to reduce power before you hit the front, or maintain power as you hit the front for the few extra seconds until the group swallows you again (as they are effectively all drafting).

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    what your suggesting sounds a bit like exploitation of the ant+ sticky bug

    I thought it was just flywheel momentum, think of then you leave the line, you hit 400w quickly due to the torque. Is it not that in effect?
    Maybe that’s what people do, or it seems that way. It’s impossible for me at the front of a C race as if I ease off I’m getting dumped out and don’t have the power to get back, hence me having the flattest power curve on the planet

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