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Climbing on Zwift

Old 01-11-21, 03:21 PM
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gthomson
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Climbing on Zwift

Does anyone have any tactics or techniques they want to share when climbing on Zwift? I'm not a big fan of hills to begin with, being 5'11" and 185 on a really good day, I am not fast up a hill and Zwift seems to punish me with no regret.

I tried climbing Mont Ventoux last summer and got about half way up and thought, forget this. I did Alpe Du Zwift a few years back during the original Tour Da Zwift and thought that was hell. The other night I thought, maybe I'll give this another try and so I chose. Sea to Sky route to challenge the mountain. Well about 50 minutes in I was only half way so I bailed.

Determined not to give up, I tackled it again on Sunday when I had more time and slogged my up. Finally finished it in 1:35 roughly and earned a blue helmet. I was soaked, my legs were toast and i was tired for the rest of the day. I had earned the Trek Emonda the first attempt, so used that for the 2nd ride, put on my Zipp 202 wheels but it didn't help much.

Anyone consider this fun?
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Old 01-11-21, 03:27 PM
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Eric F
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Like you, I am not one who loves climbing. I would rather hammer a steady tempo on Tempus Fugit or Tick Tock, or maybe attack the short hills of Sand and Sequoias or the jungle. I did the climb to the radio tower once, and am not too excited about doing it again. I haven't really felt the need to do the Alpe or Ven-Top. I pretty much feel the same about long climbs IRL, too. Not a fan.
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Old 01-12-21, 12:26 AM
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I live in a hilly area so when I started back riding bikes after my long hiatus I had to stick to MUPs generally. My first few rides on Zwift were cut short because I sucked so bad on hills and thought it no fun to punish myself in the comfort of my own home.

But for some reason couldn't leave it alone and one day about a month into my Zwift adventure I decided to see how far I could get to the radio tower. To my absolute amazement I made it all the way. Felt awful for a whole day afterwards but proud of my accomplishment. About 4 days later I did it again. A week later another. Then about two weeks after my first ride to the tower I registered for an Alpe race, had to race because i wasn't level 12 and then you had to be 12. Anyway after what seemed like an eternity cranking, the top finally came into sight.

So proud of myself, going from avoiding hills at any cost to riding the Alpe du Zwift. From my first ride up the Alpe to the beginning of the spring 2020 riding season outside I rode up the Alpe a total of 29 times, to the radio tower 11 times. Once outside I rode up IRL hills that I could never imagine I would ride as a regular thing, riding the hills in Zwift transformed my IRL riding. Two days before my 62nd birthday I did 3 Alpe rides in one day. For the year 2020 ( and nov-dec of 2019) did a total of 42 Alpe runs, 15 radio tower runs and 2 up Ven-Top.

I don't consider myself a mountain goat by any means. The first few times on the big hills in Zwift were misery and recovery was long. It wasn't until my 10th Alpe run that I finally thought confident that I would make it. Many times I considered quitting but just kept at it and happy I did.

In my opinion, the hardest part of the Alpe are the first two sectors, after you go around turn 20 it seems to lighten up some. From the foul line to turn 20, those are two long sectors and .steep. It is there where you have to find a cadence and gear that you can sustain all the way. After turn 20, the next few sectors are short, I just look at one at a time. Once you exit turn 10 you are half way up. Between 8-7 is long but offers the first slight view of the statue at the top. It's long, 3/4 mile but not as steep as the previous few sectors. 4 to 3 is long also the last long one. Between turn 2 to 1 kind of fools me because you see the communications dishes but the road has a dip which makes me think they are closer than they are. After turn 1 it is about a half mile to the spinner which is cruel but at that point who quits?

So my advice is take it 1 sector at a time. Unlike Ven-Top the Alpe is easy to put into compartments. Just keep going, after you do it a few times and are confident you will make it you just do it. I haven't been on the Alpe for about 2 months now and trying to make room in my schedule to ride it. I wouldn't call if "fun" but rather satisfying. There are some parts of the Alpe that are about 3% grade, short sections for sure and I think the steepest is about 9%. Compared to the bonus to the radio tower which is 14-15% but of course that is only a half mile. There is a section I think on Surrey Hills? where it is 21% for a very short time.

Good practice for working up to the Alpe is the Mountain route less the bonus climb to the radio tower. Do that once or twice a week for a few weeks then add in the bonus for a few weeks. Another good practice is the loop with Box Hill in London. I use the paint in the road as landmarks. But with anything hard once you do it a bunch of times and start to recongnise the landscape, the time goes faster. I'm not a honcho, my best time from the foul line to the spinner is 64 minutes, usually it takes about 75-80 minutes, After I finish the "Build Me Up" workout program 1st week of Feb., I'm going to do 2 or 3 Alpe rides a week and try to get a sub 60 minute run. I try to keep my heart rate to about 80% of my max, look for brief recovery periods at 70%. Some of the workouts in the build me up program are harder than climbing the Alpe because you exceed your aerobic threshold which you don't want to do on a long climb. One of the things I try to do is keep my gear as high as I can for as long as I can just gradually shift to lower gears keeping my lowest gears for the end and try not to use them at all. I have a triple CR and usually but not always able to have the small in reserve. Will power is the main thing.

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Old 01-12-21, 12:29 AM
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Two possibilities that I can think of...

1) If you're not a fan of climbing, and you are using a smart trainer at home, maybe you don't appreciate the trainer's gradient emulation and the need to push against stronger resistance when climbing. In that case, perhaps lower the trainer difficulty in Zwift's setting menu and see if you like that better.

2) Or perhaps the part you find unfun, especially if you are using a not-smart trainer or Zwift with lower trainer difficulty, is the apparent feeling of "not getting anywhere" as you slow down significantly on climbs without little to no physical feedback. If you're on a smart trainer you could try increasing trainer difficulty so that you feel more resistance as you do these climbs, for closer-to-realistic feeling. Also maybe put a riser block (well, more specifically a taller one) under your front wheel to get a closer feeling of actually climbing (and engaging the right muscle groups at the same time).
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Old 01-12-21, 05:21 AM
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I weigh 225, so not fast at climbing IRL or on Zwift but I actually enjoy it - more feet climbed definitely translates to me being faster on both the next climb and on flat rides. I tend to seek out hillier rides outdoors.

The obvious advice is that the more you do climbs the better you will feel after the next climb.

I also found high intensity interval workouts to be shorter workouts that translate into improving my climbing speed. Tabata intervals are really good - there are several in the standard Zwift workouts. There are also various group workout rides that feature intervals.

There are routes on Zwift that are fairly short but mix a few sprints with a few short but steep climbs - the London Loop, the NY Park Perimeter and others aren't really interval rides but give me a good mix of high power bursts.
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Old 01-12-21, 09:35 AM
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I'm the opposite. I've only been riding on Zwift regularly since November, but so far I'm loving the big mountain climbs. It's one of my favorite aspects of the game, actually. I live in a flat area so it's my only experience with extended climbs, outside of a couple of MTB trips to Colorado a few years back. The only time I ride the flatter routes is if I'm participating in a group ride or doing workouts (in ERG mode). I've only done the Alpe once but am already looking forward to doing it again, and will probably try Ven-Top soon. I love the Radio Tower climb, and especially the steep bonus climb.

The Alpe is a tough ride mostly because of how long it is. It's not as steep as other climbs, but it never really lets up. The day I did it, my total ride was 1:45 (1:18 on the actual climb, the rest being the ride in and the descent back down). I spent nearly an hour in Zone 4 or higher on my power meter. You can dial back the intensity by lowering your trainer difficulty, or just slowing down on the climb. I also see people running workout mode up the Alpe which (assuming ERG mode) which makes the terrain irrelevant in terms of effort. I'm not sure I see the point of that, but hey... whatever spins your wheels I guess.

Any tips from others on climbing Ven-Top? How does it compare to the Alpe? I've read that it's tougher and I'm assuming longer as well, so I'm saving that for a day when I have lots of time for riding + a nap.
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Old 01-12-21, 10:29 AM
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For me it is a mental task. You tell yourself you can not do it. There is a period of time when you first start riding that your legs are like jelly climbing a hill. But after a while your legs get use to being used to deliver power in cycling.
so it then becomes a struggle with your mind to over come the I can Not do it.
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Old 01-12-21, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
Does anyone have any tactics or techniques they want to share when climbing on Zwift? I'm not a big fan of hills to begin with, being 5'11" and 185 on a really good day, I am not fast up a hill and Zwift seems to punish me with no regret.

I tried climbing Mont Ventoux last summer and got about half way up and thought, forget this. I did Alpe Du Zwift a few years back during the original Tour Da Zwift and thought that was hell. The other night I thought, maybe I'll give this another try and so I chose. Sea to Sky route to challenge the mountain. Well about 50 minutes in I was only half way so I bailed.

Determined not to give up, I tackled it again on Sunday when I had more time and slogged my up. Finally finished it in 1:35 roughly and earned a blue helmet. I was soaked, my legs were toast and i was tired for the rest of the day. I had earned the Trek Emonda the first attempt, so used that for the 2nd ride, put on my Zipp 202 wheels but it didn't help much.

Anyone consider this fun?
It is fun when you can do it. We were all where you were once. i used to not like hills so much but now love them. most of my rides include climbing because it is a challenge. i can do the alpe in under 60 minutes now and that big hill in france in under 90. the hill in france is the only hill i ride now that makes me tired for the rest of the day.

were i you i would keep to zwift's KOM hills. either direction are not too bad. get those to the point where they are easy then go do the alpe again.

what i like about the new road added between teh two ends of the KOM route is that now i can take that short cut and go back up again. hit the tower once or twice and feel good about it in the end.

Last edited by spelger; 01-12-21 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 01-12-21, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post

.......................

Any tips from others on climbing Ven-Top? How does it compare to the Alpe? I've read that it's tougher and I'm assuming longer as well, so I'm saving that for a day when I have lots of time for riding + a nap.
As mentioned I've only done Ven-Top twice. It is a total of 5,000 feet of ascent and an additional 5 miles (or so) of riding to the summit. While the Alpe has 2-4 sharp turns every mile, Ven-Top has basically none. You just keep cranking along and there is not all that much to look at. Also no spinner or reward for the hard work except the satisfaction you get from completing the ride. I don't recall being any more tired after riding it compared to the Alpe but I was both times a bit sore in the seat. According to Zwiftpower, my first time on it took me 2 hours 14 minutes, second time 2 hours even. Lots of room for improvement. Still it's a must do for the climber in us!
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Old 01-12-21, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
I'm the opposite. I've only been riding on Zwift regularly since November, but so far I'm loving the big mountain climbs. It's one of my favorite aspects of the game, actually. I live in a flat area so it's my only experience with extended climbs, outside of a couple of MTB trips to Colorado a few years back. The only time I ride the flatter routes is if I'm participating in a group ride or doing workouts (in ERG mode). I've only done the Alpe once but am already looking forward to doing it again, and will probably try Ven-Top soon. I love the Radio Tower climb, and especially the steep bonus climb.

The Alpe is a tough ride mostly because of how long it is. It's not as steep as other climbs, but it never really lets up. The day I did it, my total ride was 1:45 (1:18 on the actual climb, the rest being the ride in and the descent back down). I spent nearly an hour in Zone 4 or higher on my power meter. You can dial back the intensity by lowering your trainer difficulty, or just slowing down on the climb. I also see people running workout mode up the Alpe which (assuming ERG mode) which makes the terrain irrelevant in terms of effort. I'm not sure I see the point of that, but hey... whatever spins your wheels I guess.

Any tips from others on climbing Ven-Top? How does it compare to the Alpe? I've read that it's tougher and I'm assuming longer as well, so I'm saving that for a day when I have lots of time for riding + a nap.
it is definitely tougher in my opinion. this is the first hill that i was happy to just be riding a 9 or 10% grade. there are a lot of 13 and 14% sections. have enough to drink when starting. you really don't want to stop just for a sip of H2O. based on my own times figure 1.5 as much time to do the frenchy french hill compared to the alpe.
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Old 01-12-21, 02:10 PM
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A relentless effort of 90 min or longer is going to be tough on anyone. Climbs like AdZ or Ventoux don't really let up, unlike flatter or rolling routes where you get the opportunity to recover by freewheeling. For AdZ, becoming familiar with it helps, as mentally knowing what to expect makes it feel so much less daunting. Ride it enough (it's great that there's a prize wheel to further incentivize doing so) and it'll eventually become no big thing. Those climbs are great for improving your sustained power.

There's also no shame in taking breaks when you're still new to long climbs. At least for me, I forget to do so indoors, but I was reminded of how useful a break can be on an outside ride last weekend when I stopped midway up a short steep climb that came soon after I finished a local Cat 2 because I wanted to snap a photo and also because I was winded. That minute or two made me feel amazingly fresh.
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Old 01-12-21, 02:49 PM
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Just lower the climbing setting from 50% down to 25% and see if you enjoy it more. Your little guy will ride faster and if that translates to you having more fun, then great.
I climb slowly and with a good bit of mashing in real life, and that translates to me climbing slowly on Zwift too. It is what it is- I dont expect to be a WorldTour pro on Zwift.
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Old 01-12-21, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Just lower the climbing setting from 50% down to 25% and see if you enjoy it more. Your little guy will ride faster and if that translates to you having more fun, then great.
I climb slowly and with a good bit of mashing in real life, and that translates to me climbing slowly on Zwift too. It is what it is- I dont expect to be a WorldTour pro on Zwift.
The difficulty setting in Zwift scales the resistance sent to the smart trainer on climbs (and descents), but not how much power is needed to move at a given speed. While it helps alleviate the situation where your trainer bike doesn't have a low enough gear, it doesn't affect to total amount of work it takes.
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Old 01-12-21, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
The difficulty setting in Zwift scales the resistance sent to the smart trainer on climbs (and descents), but not how much power is needed to move at a given speed. While it helps alleviate the situation where your trainer bike doesn't have a low enough gear, it doesn't affect to total amount of work it takes.
you are exactly right, and i think this is a key part of what a lot of people do not understand. work = power * time.

so, yes, resistance is reduced and so too will power be and consequently speed. it will just take more time to get up and like you said.
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Old 01-12-21, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
Does anyone have any tactics or techniques they want to share when climbing on Zwift? I'm not a big fan of hills to begin with, being 5'11" and 185 on a really good day, I am not fast up a hill and Zwift seems to punish me with no regret.

Anyone consider this fun?
Watts per kilo is watts per kilo. It is the great equalizer across all riders of any size, shape, or ability.

Flat land is all aerodynamics & some miscellaneous factors. Hills are raw strength & exercise capacity.

I don't know that anyone, besides a few masochists would call hills "fun." But they are the necessary work it takes to become a more capable cyclists.

There is no shortcut to fitness. You just gotta grin & bear it. It'll get better as you get stronger.

IRL, my wife & I ride in the Seattle area. When we went to Arkansas for a century ride, there was an 'iconic' climb that had a fair number of people walking & lots of pre/post ride chatter about it's toughness. My wife & I simply rode up it & didn't think much of it other than: "That was a bit steeper than usual." It was only after the ride we realized it was the hill all the locals were talking about.

My point is: Zwift seems to be pretty accurate in it's portrayal & there really isn't a tip/trick/hack/or other to fitness. I know my second year cycling when I got off the MUP was pretty humbling. If only Zwift existed then...

BTW: Ven-Top can go suck it.
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Old 01-12-21, 06:40 PM
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All sage advice and I feel challenged to improve. I really don't mind the smaller hills like Box Hill or Innsbruck (hate NYC for some reason) it's just the length in the saddle combined with the puddles of sweat everywhere when climbing the longer hills. Just remember, being heavier is a real crutch as the amount of power required to get up that hill is high. I'm riding in a race or group ride and on flats I can cruise around 3.0 w/kg, average speed35-40 mph so I feel good but as soon as we hit an incline, suddenly people start passing me and I'm now pushing out 3.8w/kg but I can't sustain that for very long so I go from 30th place to 100th place in a race with 400 riders!
Ah well, enough whining from me, maybe I should just cut out the carbs or something.
  • I like the idea of raising the front wheel blocker to feel like going up, that's good advice.
  • I've been on Zwift for for 4 years now so I can't use being inexperienced as an excuse!
  • I've ordered one of those bike sweat bibs so looking forward to saving a bit of salt acid from dripping on the bike
  • I do have a wheel on Smart Trainer which I've always had set to 50% difficulty level and my trainer has a 10% max gradient simulation so that makes me even a bigger suck ha ha
Peace out and maybe we'll ride by each other on Zwift one day?
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Old 01-12-21, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
The difficulty setting in Zwift scales the resistance sent to the smart trainer on climbs (and descents), but not how much power is needed to move at a given speed. While it helps alleviate the situation where your trainer bike doesn't have a low enough gear, it doesn't affect to total amount of work it takes.
Interesting. I figured with less resistance, one could spin faster in a given gear and therefore be faster.
The zwift scale with regard to smart trainers is constantly phrased as by default being 50% of actual climbing. So if a trainer can only simulate 10% grades for example, thatnisnt a big deal since that means 20% IRL. And a 10% grade on zwift is ridden like a 5% grade.

So the obvious conclusion is that if you increase the default 50% setting, the hill will feel harder(and you will go slower or have to put out more watts to go the same speed).

Your explanation is interesting because it conflicts with how most every publication describes the resistance setting. I'm not surprised there is a lot of confusion since so many publications don't describe it clearly.
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Old 01-12-21, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Interesting. I figured with less resistance, one could spin faster in a given gear and therefore be faster.
The zwift scale with regard to smart trainers is constantly phrased as by default being 50% of actual climbing. So if a trainer can only simulate 10% grades for example, thatnisnt a big deal since that means 20% IRL. And a 10% grade on zwift is ridden like a 5% grade.

So the obvious conclusion is that if you increase the default 50% setting, the hill will feel harder(and you will go slower or have to put out more watts to go the same speed).

Your explanation is interesting because it conflicts with how most every publication describes the resistance setting. I'm not surprised there is a lot of confusion since so many publications don't describe it clearly.
Realize that there's no way that the difficulty setting can actually change your speed, because people can race on Zwift with any difficulty setting they like.

As with most things Zwift, ZwiftInsider is the de facto resource to understand how it works: https://zwiftinsider.com/using-the-t...ting-in-zwift/
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Old 01-12-21, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I climb slowly and with a good bit of mashing in real life, and that translates to me climbing slowly on Zwift too. It is what it is- I dont expect to be a WorldTour pro on Zwift.
I am an absolute Zwift newb using a Zwift compatible dumb trainer. I, too, am a slow climber so the fast cadence I maintain throughout the whole 30min session in a high gear even on the 15% section in Yorkshire is totally counterintuitive to me. That's going to take some getting used to.

For those on smart trainers where the resistance is more like real life on hills, does it feel more natural?
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Old 01-12-21, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Any tips from others on climbing Ven-Top? How does it compare to the Alpe? I've read that it's tougher and I'm assuming longer as well, so I'm saving that for a day when I have lots of time for riding + a nap.
Here are the key differences that I have observed:

ADZ gives you around 5km of warm-up going through the Mayan Jungle route before the actual climb if you pick the Road to Sky route, whereas Ven-Top starts climbing almost immediately.

ADZ is approximately 12km with 1000m elevation, whereas Ven-Top is approx 20km with 1500m. While this makes it seem like ADZ is steeper overall, but Ven-Top is split into three general parts. The first approx. 5km of Ven-Top is only moderate levels of climbing. The meat of the climb is in the next ~10km, with some long stretches of double-digit grades to overcome. I remember one part leading up to a tunnel that stayed consistently around 12-13% until around halfway inside the tunnel before it finally let up by a little bit. Then the last approx. ~5km eases up and becomes a moderate climb again.

Last edited by atwl77; 01-12-21 at 11:42 PM.
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Old 01-12-21, 11:49 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
I like the idea of raising the front wheel blocker to feel like going up, that's good advice.
This is what I use when I plan to climb ADZ or Ven-Top exclusively:



It does feel weird when riding along the flat or downhill sections of Zwift though... but that is to be expected. I suppose this is where something like a Wahoo Climb or Wahoo bike comes in... but that's just too expensive for me.
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Old 01-13-21, 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by pennpaul View Post
I am an absolute Zwift newb using a Zwift compatible dumb trainer. I, too, am a slow climber so the fast cadence I maintain throughout the whole 30min session in a high gear even on the 15% section in Yorkshire is totally counterintuitive to me. That's going to take some getting used to.

For those on smart trainers where the resistance is more like real life on hills, does it feel more natural?
Absolutely, more natural.

Set the trainer difficulty (realism) to 100% for the most real experience. The trainer will grind even the most capable cyclist to a halt if the wrong gear is selected on a steep incline.

If you are spinning a weirdly high cadence on a 15% grade, there is something wrong somewhere & that is why people (myself included) spend the big bucks on a smart trainer. The best ones simulate a 20% grade or more.

The trainer difficulty is effectively scaling the "game" grade down to some percentage to a "trainer" grade & then the game calculates your avatars progress in the game world accordingly. Which can be useful in cases where your real world bike has a 32 cassette, but the trainer has a 28 cassette, you can set the slider to 85-90% & have a reasonably close approximation to the gearing on your real world bike.

What this also means is: If you have it set to zero difficulty, (ie dumb trainer) you are effectively on flat land no matter what the game world shows & you can spin ridiculously fast on stupid steep grades. Realism=0 That's not necessarily a bad thing. It can be useful in it's own right if you'd like to do a climb, but don't have the strength or fitness, or a disability (hand cycle) or appropriate equipment (like a 14-23 cob) but have lots & lots of time to do it.

Last edited by base2; 01-13-21 at 04:15 AM.
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Old 01-13-21, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
If you are spinning a weirdly high cadence on a 15% grade, there is something wrong somewhere & that is why people (myself included) spend the big bucks on a smart trainer. The best ones simulate a 20% grade or more.
In my dumb trainer Zwift setup, the program IIRC told me to set my trainer to level 3 (out of 5). Again, total newb question and sorry to hijack this post, but does this setting need to change depending on the course I'm riding or will it always stay there?

When I say hi cadence, I'm talking 80rpm (not high) but it would be weird/impossible for me to be doing IRL 80rpm on a 15% climb in the big gear. IRL it would almost certainly be small/big and me barely crawling along at 40-50rpm. Zwift had me going at 2mph last night. I'm not even sure I can stay upright on a hill at that speed.

Last edited by pennpaul; 01-13-21 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 01-13-21, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by pennpaul View Post
In my dumb trainer Zwift setup, the program IIRC told me to set my trainer to level 3 (out of 5). Again, total newb question and sorry to hijack this post, but does this setting need to change depending on the course I'm riding or will it always stay there?
Depends. If you have paired a power meter to Zwift, then you can freely adjust the trainer's resistance knob to anything you like. It's essentially a physical elevation control; for example, you could dial it up when you climb hills and lower it when you're on a flat or go downhill. But essentially you're just controlling how the ride feels manually.

But if you are just using a speed sensor for Zwift, then no, you are supposed to leave the trainer (resistance) level at the recommended setting and not touch it. This is needed for Zwift to be able to properly estimate your power output. Setting it to a more difficult setting is simply handicapping yourself, whereas setting it to an easier setting is essentially cheating (well, at least from an e-racing perspective).
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Old 01-13-21, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by atwl77 View Post
Depends. If you have paired a power meter to Zwift, then you can freely adjust the trainer's resistance knob to anything you like. It's essentially a physical elevation control; for example, you could dial it up when you climb hills and lower it when you're on a flat or go downhill. But essentially you're just controlling how the ride feels manually.

But if you are just using a speed sensor for Zwift, then no, you are supposed to leave the trainer (resistance) level at the recommended setting and not touch it. This is needed for Zwift to be able to properly estimate your power output. Setting it to a more difficult setting is simply handicapping yourself, whereas setting it to an easier setting is essentially cheating (well, at least from an e-racing perspective).
Pretty sure if you're paring to Zwift via compatible dumb trainer and speed sensor, the "trainer difficulty" setting isn't even available, since the trainer resistance can't be changed and is basically like running a difficulty setting of 0%. Also worth noting that even with a smart trainer, I think you do have to pause the game to get to that difficulty setting. So while you could change it up and run different settings for uphills and downhills, it would be similar to doing a bike swap in that you'd also lose a few seconds of time while fiddling with the setting.

When I used to ride Zwift with a dumb trainer (using my on-bike power meter), I could really haul ass on downhills because my trainer still had lots of resistance to push against, so it was easy for me to ride at 250 watts+ even at 45-50mph, where people on smart trainers would be spinning out. The reverse was true on uphills. I would quickly get dropped on rolling inclines unless I anticipated the grade changes and shifted into my hardest gears. I would imagine riding with the "trainer difficulty" setting at 0% would net similar results.

It is interesting to think that you could climb Ventoux or Alpe with a setting of 0% and just treat it like a flat road. This might theoretically be the fastest way to climb if you could hold a steady tempo at/near your FTP for the duration of the climb. It would remove any spikes or dips in power. I also know some people ride their workouts/ERG mode on routes like the Alpe (or Tower Epic KOM climb) so they can simultaneously rack up elevation (to unlock the Tron bike).
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