Author Topic: Zwifting - I think I need help!  (Read 1979 times)

Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2020, 12:52:43 pm »
Thanks for comments. When I saw two HRMs on Saturday, that's what I assumed, and that it didn't matter which I chose. But I haven't seen that before. So I'm kind of wondering whether I picked up my watch instead, as suggested - and that wouldn't be accurate, or why would we bother with chest straps?

I'm aware that the set-up is basic. I'm trying to avoid putting more money into this, when it's just a backup to proper cycling. Also, I'm using a patio owing to no available indoor space, so I don't really want to be running power out there and so on - I'm keeping it simple. I do have an offer of a power meter, but I'm hesitating over cost and complexity even to go that far. I should probably be borrowing a club-mate's set-up or something, to see what I'm missing!

I've checked and Zwift still has me part-way up the mountain, although obviously the event has ended. I'm assuming I can just continue and finish the ride. So, my plan is to do that as soon as I can find time, being more careful with the HRM pairing setting, and see if I suddenly get (a bit!) faster.

I do appreciate the comments. As I I think I said, it's like a whole new field of technology to learn!

Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2020, 01:04:56 pm »
Some smart trainers don't need to be plugged in (my Tacx one is self powered). But a PM will be much more accurate than a cheap smart trainer in terms of measuring actual power generated by you.  Power is useful (even outside) in the summer so you can have a fan to keep you cool. It's amazing how much more power you can generate when you aren't overheating!  If you don't have power, what are you running Zwift on?

Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2020, 01:11:23 pm »
A tablet. I finally gave up going up the mountain at 2-3mph on Saturday when the charge on the tablet ran out. It was good for over 100 minutes, even with the screen set bright to cope with sunlight, and that amount of time would normally be more than I'd want to do on a trainer.

Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2020, 10:43:30 pm »
A smart trainer eg Tacx neo includes a power meter so you do not need an extra one.

Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2020, 11:15:18 pm »
But I would need a suitable bike. I'm in the camp that uses an old, battered bike for this stuff. I don't have any old, battered bikes that would fit a Tacx Neo ;D

Sorry to keep raising obstacles. I'm genuinely aiming to stay low-end on this. I don't expect the same experience as with all the kit, but it's plenty good enough for me, except that question about the virtual speed seeming substantially off what I'd expect in reality. Which may turn out to be self-deceit :-[

Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2020, 09:13:47 am »
A Neo wouldn't work with a singlespeed without a fair amout of messing around and is proper expensive.  A wheel-on smart trainer like a Bushido Smart has a (less accurate) power meter, is self powered, will take any bike (I've used my fixie on mine), and could be found for around £150 secondhand before Covid. However, I don't think you are asking how to upgrade your setup for cheap, you are just asking why you struggle in Zwift with your current setup. There are 2 factors - your setup and your engine - how much each contributes is difficult to say but IMO the setup is a significant handicap.

Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #31 on: July 08, 2020, 10:09:02 am »
Trying to think of a quick analogy, it's a bit like saying that you are mowing your lawn with scissors and finding it slow and frustrating and don't know whether it is because the scissors are blunt or because your fingers aren't strong enough.

Then lots of people keep saying 'a half decent lawn mower wouldn't cost much, and then you would know if you have the necessary strength to use it', which is true, but irrelevant as it doesn't answer your very specific question!

Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #32 on: July 08, 2020, 10:37:27 am »
I realise that a dumb trainer is a limiting factor, but not sure about fixed. The gear I have on there matches the trainer well, and I'm not going to want to go faster than I can spin the gear. Gears would make sense on a smart trainer with variable resistance but, the way I look at it, without it I've got enough resistance under all circumstances that can arise.

On a smart trainer, in erg mode, you don't need gears. I have mine in one gear pretty much all the time. The only reason to shift would be to change the feel from a climbing feel (low gear, low flywheel speed) to a flat feel (high gear, high flywheel speed).

Mine is a semi-smart trainer that can tell Zwift how fast I pedal and that's it.  It's linked to my tourer at the moment and I stay in one gear nearly all the time. 

I bought the thing because of covid and it was the only one I could afford (there's no point in buying one if you are missing an arm and leg) but for the winter I will have the funds for a better one.

It took me three goes to get up the Alpe du Zwift due to inexperience but once I'd got the hang I did it in 74 mins.  My next challenge is the Zwift Ventoux.  I have done that climb so I am looking forward to comparing it and seeing some familiar scenery!  In real life I did the last bit standing on the pedals because it seemed to kick up rather nastily (and there were also spectators ;))

So far I am not hooked although I enjoyed it (recovering from injury at the moment); I am really looking forward to getting back on the real road away from the town. 







Sic transit and all that..

Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #33 on: July 08, 2020, 01:40:46 pm »
Trying to think of a quick analogy, it's a bit like saying that you are mowing your lawn with scissors and finding it slow and frustrating and don't know whether it is because the scissors are blunt or because your fingers aren't strong enough.
I see your point but I don't agree, because that's not my question. I'm not asking about getting the full experience; my question was that I'm getting what look like power readings that are not daft (and I'm not bothered about getting them exact), but they seem to be producing speeds uphill that differ substantially from what I'd expect in real life (i.e. barely moving when I'm expecting pretty slow). I was just testing the idea that Zwift is a bit hard on low-end riders, or of course that I might have missed something.

In summary, three-and-a-bit miles in nearly two hours on an output of around 1W/kg didn't seem right, but the output looks reasonable. It could still be self-delusion of course, and quite possibly is.

If I were right, then no set-up would necessarily make a difference to the effect. I've since done some more tests, and I'm not sure - I did the hilly loop and the results were not quite as bad (even when on gradients the same as on Muir and the Mountain). As a basic test, I'm noting power and gradient and sticking them into a cycling watts calculator to see if they're in the same ball-park.

For me, the benefits of a full set-up would be a rather separate question. I am actually unconvinced. What I do is to pedal a constant gear, with constant resistance, at a sustainable range of power, and let Zwift simulate the resulting way that speed varies with gradient. If I added a high-end set-up, the resistance would increase on virtual hills, and I'd compensate with gears to get back to my sustainable power range. So, if I imagine that pedalling just got harder and I just geared down, then everything including my cadence appears to be the same in both scenarios. Again, this is a different question, but I've not yet spotted what's different apart from my approach taxing my imagination a bit more ;D

No doubt the eventual way to resolve that one will be to borrow a clubmate's set-up, some time after social distancing rules allow riders into each others' pain caves. In the meantime, I think I'm stuck on my mild discomfort patio outside the dining room window!

Really sorry if my responses are making people feel that their efforts in commenting are unappreciated; they are not.

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #34 on: July 08, 2020, 01:49:20 pm »
Quote
What I do is to pedal a constant gear, with constant resistance, at a sustainable range of power, and let Zwift simulate the resulting way that speed varies with gradient.

That is effectively manual ‘erg’ mode, where you ride a specified power and let the sim work out what the appropriate speed is for the gradient you’re on and the weight you’ve entered. Erg mode is used for workouts, where the aim is to maintain specified power outputs for specified periods. Essentially, in this circumstance Zwift provides moving wallpaper that moves at a rate somewhat proportional to your power output. It’s not intended to be realistic or convincing, because what you are doing is neither of those things.

Zwift only becomes realistic (for a certain value etc) when the resistance you feel is controlled by the sim via a smart trainer. Without one, the experience will always be rather less than it could be.

gibbo

  • Riding for fun, cake and beer.
    • Boxford Bike Club
Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #35 on: July 10, 2020, 08:42:20 am »
Last night I went out on my MTB, the first time in ages, I got thoroughly soaked within the first 3 mins and my immediate thought was I could be in my garage doing a nice and dry Zwift session.

Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #36 on: August 17, 2020, 07:42:18 pm »
In the last couple of days I did the same ride that is supposed to simulate Mont Ventoux but only 45 mins out then I turn round and cycle back down again until I reach my starting point.  Both rides I gave it my best although on the 2nd I was trying to use a higher cadence although I produce more power pedalling slower.

The first ride I managed 20.2km in 55:40, elevation 644, 707 cals, 221 watts avg, max, 546, max speed 83.8, avg 21.7, cadence avg 69, max 159
The second ride I did      19.9         57:03, elevation 633, 669 cals, 204 watts avg, max 459, max speed 83.9, avg 20.9, cadence avg 71, max 150

The stats seemed remarkably consistent. 

Sic transit and all that..

gibbo

  • Riding for fun, cake and beer.
    • Boxford Bike Club
Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #37 on: August 18, 2020, 10:39:39 am »
Was going to try the Ventoux ride yesterday but realised after logging on to Zwift that it wasn't available so did the Surrey Hills ride instead.

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #38 on: August 18, 2020, 11:34:01 am »
I don't know how it compares to the real thing but I found it a wee bit dull (as well as, inevitably, a slog).

Most of the rest of "France" is quite pretty though.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

gibbo

  • Riding for fun, cake and beer.
    • Boxford Bike Club
Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #39 on: August 18, 2020, 11:39:41 am »
I've read a few reviews from those who have ridden both virtual and reality and they say time-wise it's reasonably accurate.

As you say fboab the rest of France is quite nice.

Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #40 on: August 18, 2020, 02:43:15 pm »
I don't know how it compares to the real thing but I found it a wee bit dull (as well as, inevitably, a slog).

It is pretty dull (from Bedoin). Most of it is through trees and unremarkable and you feel like you've been on the same bit of road for half an hour, probably because you have.

Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #41 on: August 22, 2020, 08:12:40 am »
I don't know how it compares to the real thing but I found it a wee bit dull (as well as, inevitably, a slog).

It is pretty dull (from Bedoin). Most of it is through trees and unremarkable and you feel like you've been on the same bit of road for half an hour, probably because you have. 

Did the Bedoin route in 2015 and would agree, especially having started early there was only one other cyclist who had a support vehicle! On the descent the other side there were hordes of ascending cyclists.

The zwift version gives me a bit of competition which makes it interesting. One of my 'rode withs' was many levels above me - literally and pointswise, a 1.95m tall American at level 17. I'd like to have seen the bike.

Does zwift do any rides around the Ecrins national park yet? 
Sic transit and all that..

Re: Zwifting - I think I need help!
« Reply #42 on: October 17, 2020, 11:43:42 pm »
I thought I'd update this because I've moved on a bit. I've found I'm using Zwift far more than I anticipated, to the point of getting hooked. I'm still simple-minded (and even more simply-equipped) about this, but I did accept the offer of a power meter from simonp, who had a spare one available. It's made a considerable difference, on the basis of tonight's first try.

The basics of the experience are the same, in that I'm still running single speed at constant resistance, but the power meter read about twice the watts that I was getting in virtual power. Obviously that made rather a difference to my progress! I'd say that, whereas previously I was going significantly slower in Zwift than in IRL, now I'm going rather faster. Fast riders still fly by, but I was now able to join groups and ride with people. And, when the banner comes up saying, "Close the gap!", pedalling harder actually makes a difference. Heck, I managed to outsprint someone at the finish today - I've never even had pedalling harder make a visible difference to my speed before. A small contribution came, I think, from taking the opportunity to gear up a notch (from 67.5" to 71" by swapping out my 20T sprocket for a 19T), but mostly it's the power meter.

So, if you're going slow on Zwift, if my experience is anything to go by, you should get a power meter. It's much less effort than trying to get fitter ;D