I figured I would give you my 2 cents worth now that I’ve gotten a few rides in.
First, the things I really liked:
- The first thing that I noticed was how easy it was to ride hard in Zwift. For some reason the interactive nature of riding with other riders and going for sprints makes it much easier for me to forget the pain on the trainer than watching a video. I was expecting this effect, but not the magnitude.
- Although it might eventually become a liability, I like that the shortness of the course means you often see other human riders as you ride. Even though I’m not actually riding with them it makes the environment feel more alive.
- I really like being able to upload to Strava and compare with others. I’m finding the 40K TT challenge to be very engaging as a result (as evidenced by my riding 40K attempts 3 out of my 5 rides so far).
- I’m enjoying analyzing my rides in Golden Cheetah to figure out how pare my lap times down to the minimum given my limited power.
Now the things that I didn’t like as much:
- Drafting in Zwift feels much harder to me than in real life. I think there are a few reasons for this. The windshadow seems too short (especially descending), the lag before changes in pedalling power result in change to simulated speed is too long and the edge of the windshadow also feels too abrupt to me.
- Related to drafting: the AIs seem to be unrealistically hard to catch onto when descending. If I drop out of the 3m draft, they just disappear into the distance even if I jump on the pedals right away.
- I would really like the option of using Kickr’s simulation mode to drive speed in Zwift rather than using the power output. I appreciate the difficulty of balancing the different models, but the feel of it is really a lot better (as I’ve experienced in VeloReality’s real-life video software). There is a lot less lag, and just more of a feeling of “connectedness” when riding in this mode. Of course I might regret the realism since my easiest gear is a 39x25, which would make the Col a lot harder than it is with the current model :).
Overall, I’m really excited about Zwift. I’ve had a lot of fun so far and I’m still looking forward to my next chance to ride.
Here’s my background to give some context about my perspective: I’m a software engineer, which probably explains why I love data so much. I raced as a Cat 4 for a few years in the mid-90’s. These days I ride on the trainer 90% of the time due to time constraints and convenience (3 little kids and it’s easy to hop on the trainer because I telecommute). Before Zwift, I typically rode either Trainerroad (for structured workouts, usually with Sufferfest videos or recorded races) or VeloReality real-life videos (for unstructured or recovery riding).