Just finished the Gran Fondo, I nearly killed myself at 3:53:25 and PR’ed the epic KOM. Good stuff, but it left me wondering some things.
I use a Cycleops H2 trainer and have the trainer difficulty at 100% because I want the most ‘realistic’ experience.
However, what are the riders around me experiencing? I’ve read that its common practice to lower it, but the total watts required are the same (this could be totally wrong but Ive read a lot of conflicting explanations)
Im not here to race because I am terrible, however its almost instinct to compare yourself to the riders around you, both during and after the event. So if someone is riding at a lower difficulty, what does that translate to in terms of a trainer like mine? (I dont have any roller experience so Im clueless as to what that would be like)
If you reduce the difficulty, then the trainer will reduce the resistance for a given grade, which translates to lower watts output at a given gearing and cadence. So the experience would be perhaps less effort, but the in-game speed would also be reduced.
IT’S NOT ABOUT GRADIENT … forget it at all …
… IT’S ABOUT YOUR VIRTUAL GEARING
Probably the best explanation here … (just my humble opinion)
btw … I have set my difficulty at 100%, … but just because of I have my trainer bike equipped with 52/36 x 11/32 gearing … if I have another gearing, I will set my trainer difficulty to different-more reasonable level …
Don’t make it so difficult with terms like virtual gearing. It is just gearing. If you go up a climb the resistance will go up and you will gear down like in real life too. Just find the proper gearing in all situations, like you would do outside too.
The trainer difficulty is just a tool to simulate lower gearing on your indoor bike on which you Zwift.
Example: If your lowest gearing on your normal bike is 34x32 and your lowest gearing on your indoor bike is 39x30, then set trainer difficulty to 80%. And in case you want your training to be harder or more relaxed, just change this percentage accordingly.
However, there is just one downside to a lower percentage of trainer difficulty. You will have less experience in sudden small grade changes. But anyway, since it is to compensate your bigger gearing the differences between the gearing steps are also bigger.
I just take it as gearing. There is nothing virtual in there unless you are calculating the numbers while you ride. Once properly set up, it is just a matter of shifting up and down without any notice of the gearing.
Take a look at Fulgaz. Over there you are able to simulate lower gearing by adjusting your wheel size.