Advice for a Zwiftnoobie

I’ve had a smart trainer for just over a year but always used the Bkool sim software until recently. Have dabbled a little in Zwift these last few weeks but I keep running into the same issue that stop me from using it more than once in a blue moon.

When I ride outside I can ride for hours, in fact my longest ride was somewhere in the 7 hour mark, but on a smart trainer my internal heat levels get so hot I can’t manage much more than 6 or 7 miles in Zwift.

I have my trainer in the top room which is always pretty cool, I open both front and back windows, have a large fan right in front of my bike blasting at full speed, I wear my cycling top which after 1 mile normally gets zipped right down.

I get sweaty after just 1 mile or so just after starting the flat or hilly route. You could boil eggs on my forehead after 2 miles.

I would love to do longer rides, and eventually have a crack at some of the challenging climbs, but am a million miles away from being able to do that indoors.

Any other Volcano riders using Zwift have any tips?

Welcome to the forums. Indoors is definitely not the same as out—that’s for sure. Just out of curiosity (you say that the “upper room” is usually pretty cool, although generally speaking heat rises), have you measured the temp/humidity in your upper room zwift studio? It’s often good to have hard data to work with when tackling issues like these.

Fans are a must!

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You could try cooling towels in ice water, put them on your neck while you ride.

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I ride with no top only my heart rate monitor. One Kickr Headwind, it puts out a hurrican force wind, and another stand fan that has turbo mode. They both are turned on within two minutes of starting. My pain cave is usually around 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Temperature does rise quickly indeed, so I have a fan and a towel, riding without a shirt on. But what you describe is truly extraordinary…

Heat can be a problem. In the hotter days we had here in the UK recently I was riding topless, and still sweating a lot. What intensity are you training at? If high, then try a lower level, but longer. And you might need an active chiller device which helps to cool the ambient temperature, in addition to your fans. I’ve also heard positive things about the Kickr Headwind, although it’s quite expensive.

We haven’t had any heating on for quite a few weeks, and the top room is definitely the coolest room in the house, unless heating has been on.

I haven’t measured the temp or humidity there, all I’m going off is how it feels.

I saw someone selling some kind of towel that gets ice cold when you wet it, may have to invest in one of them.

Also my fan is a pretty generic high standing one with 3 large blades, I wonder if a Headwind would be better?

Both rides I have done on Zwift were Z4. I have an extremely high average HR when cycling, even outside. Even when I try take it easy outside my average HR is around 150bpm. So unless I barely try and pedal, the intensity is always naturally quite high for me.

last couple of rides outside to show HR -

https://www.strava.com/activities/3699145313
https://www.strava.com/activities/3664095201

If you get a chance, go buy a simple thermometer (or use one from the kitchen, if you already have one); thermometer + humidity is even better. Even if the top room is the coolest in the house (really want to take your word for that, since you live there, but it would usually be the other way around as heat rises), you might just be surprised how warm it is in there.

Another thing to keep in mind is that indoors it’s amazing how quickly the in-room temps will rise as a result of your own body heat and the heat of the trainer once you start riding.

A good fan is an absolute necessity. If you don’t want to shell out relatively big money for a cycling brand fan, I really like the Vornado fans (there are various sizes). Whatever the case, many people use multiple fans simultaneously.

If you aren’t already doing it, maybe switch your schedule so that you’re riding during the coolest part of the day (may as well maximize the benefit of the open windows).

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have you tried riding slower :smiley:
turn down trainer intensity in menu if you have to

I’ve had a look to see if maybe the bike was fitted too ‘hard’ on the Bkool - I don’t know if that’s even possible, as I do feel zero gradient feels harder than it does outside, but I can’t see anything wrong.

Have bought a thermometer, just waiting for it to arrive. Have also brought the Dyson fan up to aid the standing fan I used before.

Will give another go in next few days.

Well I put a thermometer in there for 48 hours and it registered low of 17 degrees and high of 21 degrees over the period. Humidity read low of 43% and high of 56%.

I always ride in the evening, don’t think I’ve used trainer before 9pm.

Just think I’m going to have to keep to less than 10 mile rides on it.

Not at all sure what else to say (?). Even your high temp is lower than my low temp (and your humidity numbers look good), but the only thing that limits my rides is how (un)comfortable my bum gets sitting on it for hours.

When you ride on the trainer, are you personally actually hot hot hot (as determined in some kind of objective way), or are you basing the idea of being hot on the fact that you’re sweating more than you do outdoors (which I think is normal and expected)?

I haven’t gone as far as using a thermometer on myself, but I do feel extremely hot. (as in hot, hot, hot!) within a mile of starting.

It’s interesting you say about the temps in the room, I do tend to wear short sleeve top and shorts when it’s 10 degrees outside and I see everyone else with arm warmers etc so maybe I just run very warm internally.

I don’t know. I can just about finish the hilly or flat route on Zwift, but anything longer I don’t think I could complete.

Maybe I will adjust trainer difficulty down to 50% or 0%.

As a thought, is it possible to fit the bike incorrectly to a Bkool trainer? As in wheel too close to the trainer itself? When I installed it it seemed to find its position naturally.

Thanks for the input anyway, guess I’m more an outdoor rider lol.

I am not a doctor but that heart rate is really high…you been checked lately? 11s under 111? Either your resting HR is way high or you started data collection late. Or you are 22 years old and your zones are just off. Even on the flats you running low watts and speed but high heart rate…

The whole point of sweat is to cool you off…either fan is too weak or you are hot and not sweating enough…When my wife gets hot she just turns pink and does not sweat much because she does not drink enough water…been hounding her for 20 years about it.

My HR has always (well, since 2012 when I started back on the bike) been quite high when exercising. Apparently it can be quite normal for someone of my age (46) to have an average HR of around 150-160bpm for a reasonably hard effort.

Obviously if I’m struggling indoors, the HR will probably reflect that effort I’m putting in. But yeah, indoors the effort I’m putting in doesn’t seem to actually end in high numbers in the watts or speed camp.

These are the two last Zwift sessions I did

Flat Route : https://www.strava.com/activities/3733783796

Hilly Route: https://www.strava.com/activities/3713640513

For the outdoor rides, I don’t have a power meter so I don’t know how accurate Strava is without one.

When I was 46 I was regularly doing 20-30 mile rides and I reached 155 only uphill (58 now) or when really hot (I live in Central Texas…running 105 F now at 6:30 pm). About that time my AT was measured at 148 but I am asthmatic and have abnormally low VO2_max / low lung capacity.

I am still leery of your heartrate…unless you have been cleared by a Dr.

Your wattage is much more reasonable on your Zwift rides. Are you riding faster/harder to get it over because of overheating? You can always try a slow, flat ride to see if the heat generates the same discomfort.

Otherwise, bigger fan. Your outside temps are awesome…send some my way.