I am new to Zwift and getting ready for my first rides. I am using an Ant+ speed and cadence sensors along with a “dumb” Cylcops2 fluid trainer. Since the resistance I perceive will not be impacted by the terrain on Zwift island (dumb trainer), how best to we simulate climbing. Do we use a high gear (like 53-13) with a low cadence (counter intuitive to how we would actually climb) or a low gear (like 39-23) as we might actually on the road. I think I understand that Zwift using it’s Z-power curve will actually down grade my speed vs the actual wheel speed to simulate the impact of the terrain, but how best to match this up to my cadence.
For a dumb trainer (I have a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine with a Stages power meter), I do the counterintuitive thing - go to the big gear (53/13) and stand up and generate lots of power to go up the hill. You want to pay attention to your power output and not to speed when you are tooling around the island.
Zwift has a work around, they use watts/kg based upon your trainer curve to determine your speed on an uphill section it really kicks in. So absolute watts are important but your watts per kg will determine how fast you go. So though you do not get a change in resistance you need to generate the watts to go faster.
It really is up to you. If you want to practice low-cadence climbing, then shift to a harder gear. If you just want to spin up the hills you can stay in the same gear.
When riding without resistance changes, I generally pick my power (higher on climbs, lower on descents) and then shift to get the cadence I want. This does usually mean I’m in a harder gear going uphill than down - the reverse of real life.
watts are watts. Zwift handles your speed. Match your watts you want to put out to the cadence you normally climb with. That will equal the right gear. If you choose too big of a gear you will not work your cardio and you will tire out your legs quicker. The same as the real world. Just make sure your weight is correct in your profile. If you set it to low you will feel like a champ on ZWIFT Island, but get your butt kicked at your next race or group ride out in the “world”.
If I go up in gear and lower my cadence at say 75rpm @ 310watts Zwift make the speed adjustment then. So in the really world I would say be going 20mph hit the hill lose some speed to say 14 at the above Rpm and watts what is Zwift actual recommendation as to how to approach these said hills.
a. shift into harder gear increase watts and cadence
b stay as you are through the hill.
Once again. Watts are watts. ZWIFT uses your power output and weight combined with the conditions within the game to determine speed. With a trainer that uses the game data to dictate resistance you would have to shift gears to maintain your desired cadence and power number. Without this resistance (rollers, fluid trainer, etc.) you just do not need to shift to maintain the data. Your speed will just change in the game based on your watts per KG of weight. If you want to go faster just up your output in watts. This is done by pedaling faster or shifting to a bigger gear while maintaining or speeding up your cadence you were spinning going in to the hill. It is a simple as that. Cadence in cycling is usually recommended between 90-95 RPMs regardless of whether the road is flat or going uphill. Some riders perform better at lower RPMs or higher, but that is something you should figure out on your own to decide what works best for you. 250w at 70 RPM will be easier to maintain then 250w at 110 RPM because the lower RPMs will not tax your heart and lungs as much. However, this requires you to push a bigger gear so fatigue will set in quicker.