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Getting started on Zwift (etc)

Have got my first 'smart' turbo, set it up and once my ANT+ dongle arrives, can connect to my laptop and off I go...but where to start? Hopelessly unfit after 3 months off with chronic chest complaint, so need to get back to fitness! Relatively experienced cyclist and have trained indoors before, but totally new to Zwift or whatever

It's just a hill. Get over it.

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  • Once you have connected your sensors and smart trainer to zwift you can then simply go and ride just to spin the legs, or choose one of the training plans, or enter a group ride or race, if you download the zwift companion app onto your phone you can select an event from there. if you do an ftp test from the programs this will give you a guide as to what level of event to enter, but first of all just ride and enjoy!
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  • Check to see if there are any software/firmware updates for your turbo through the manufacturer's app.

    Zwift free trial: Anyone automatically gets 25Km per calendar month, in addition to any other trial promomotions out there, for instance British Cycling membership did offer an unlimited 7-day trial (don't know if it's still running).

    https://zwiftinsider.com/ is handy for Zwift news/articles, including the details of Zwift's many official routes plus some "unofficial" ones done by deviating at junctions (tap the direction box on a junction approach that appears behind your avatar bike to then get more options of which way to go); best frames/wheels for different route types; the standard calendar world schedule; a simple "hack" tool to force a non-official world etc.

    https://zwiftpower.com/ if you fancy ranking point competition against fellow riders in races and TTs. Registration is a bit of a faff to get everything working, but worth it IMO. You can join races/TTs without registering here, but you are then ommited from results on this ranking site.

    Zwift Companion app is handy to have running on your mobile alongside running Zwift app on your PC/Mac.

    You can even run main Zwift app now on some Android mobiles and it's very useable if you don't have access to other ways to run Zwift.

    Make sure you pair up the correct power source; heart rate monitor; cadence sensor; and especially turbo source... "FE-C" means that when not in ERG mode (where Zwift tells turbo to adjust resistance to meet power demands, ignoring gradients), your turbo will emulate slopes.

    "Trainer difficulty" affects the slope emulation. Max slope in Zwift is 20% IIRC, not many turbos can emulate slopes steeper than ~15%, so on higher virtaul slopes you might not feel extra reistance. By default this setting is 50%, so a 10% incline will feel like 5%, so for any given gear/cadence you will produce less power, so your W/kg will be lower and so it will take longer to climb the incline. Basically, the closer to 100% you use, the more gear changes you are likely to make and the more virtual inclines feel like real outdoor inclines.

    ERG mode is great for training, especially when not trying to short intervals with big power numbers. Typically you use a central sprocket with the small chainring and let Zwift and your turbo do the rest. Given a few seconds (or so), resistance will change according to your cadence to meet the interval requirements eg. 150W moving to an interval of 5mins at 250W.

    Besides the races and Time Trials, you can "freeride" around courses solo (with some level restrictions and which worlds are available to you according to schedule or hack) or join casual group rides (that remove level restrictions). You can sign-up in game, but I find it much easier on the Companion app.

    The sooner you get a rough ballpark of your FTP, the more you can make better use of the non-freeride features. There's a short "ramp test" that takes under ~30mins, where ERG mode initially asks you to sustain 100W for 1min and then adds 20W every minute until you cannot turn the pedals.

    What a load of waffle... Sorry!

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  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,627
    Fantastic, thanks both

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,627
    Really, really dumb question - you're supposed to change gear with changes in resistance, right?

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 504
    Unless you’re using ERG mode yes.
  • If you want to keep the same watts at the same cadence, then yes you change gear, exactly like going up a hill.

    Like ibr17xvii says, if the resistance has changed because the target power in erg mode has changed (i.e. you are in a structured training session), then you need to put out more power. Changing gear should have no effect, as the resistance will change to try to keep you at the target power.
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,627
    LOL OK, did a first ride last night but didn't change gear, the hills killed me! Still, good training!!!!!!

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    If you didn't change gear - what's the point in a smart turbo ? You might as well have saved the dosh and bought a dumb one ?
  • Not really, the resistance will have changed. Like the equivalent of riding a single speed on the road.
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,627

    Not really, the resistance will have changed. Like the equivalent of riding a single speed on the road.

    This - hills were hard!
    Plus I did an FTP test last Friday, which I couldn't have done on my dim trainer, worked out wattage, etc.
    Really quite...depressing :s

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • Dorset_BoyDorset_Boy Posts: 3,387
    SecretSam - if you are free riding, racing, in a group ride then you need to use your gears. If you are doing a structured workout then you have the option of doing that in ERG mode in which case you don't change your gears, the trainer will adjust the resistance for you (but watch out for the spiral of death!!!) and you won't feel any of the inclines.
    Alternatively you can do a structured workout outside of ERG mode in which case you may need to use the gears to hit the targets for power & cadence.
  • If you are doing a structured workout then you have the option of doing that in ERG mode in which case you don't change your gears, the trainer will adjust the resistance for you (but watch out for the spiral of death!!!) and you won't feel any of the inclines.

    I had never heard that term before, but it's accurate. Describes what I got into yesterday in the third block of effort (of four). Struggling to hold power, so cadence automatically drops, resistance goes up and makes it harder again. I missed out the last few minutes of that effort and picked it up again for the final effort, but could have either reduced the required power in the app, or taken it out of erg mode for the rest of that block and got as close as I could manage.
  • LongshotLongshot Posts: 935

    If you are doing a structured workout then you have the option of doing that in ERG mode in which case you don't change your gears, the trainer will adjust the resistance for you (but watch out for the spiral of death!!!) and you won't feel any of the inclines.

    I had never heard that term before, but it's accurate. Describes what I got into yesterday in the third block of effort (of four). Struggling to hold power, so cadence automatically drops, resistance goes up and makes it harder again. I missed out the last few minutes of that effort and picked it up again for the final effort, but could have either reduced the required power in the app, or taken it out of erg mode for the rest of that block and got as close as I could manage.

    I hadn't heard that before either but it is a good description.
    You can fool some of the people all of the time. Concentrate on those people.
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,627
    I am now scared of the Spiral of Death

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • If you experience it, it means you have pushed yourself to your limit. I think it's a good thing to learn where that is.
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