Extreme Beginner Mode

Let me first state that I am not a “serious” bike rider. I ride recreationally - meaning that a 10 mile ride through a relatively flat park is my norm.

I have gone through 2 Zwift rides, and they are just way too difficult. For example, it is pushing me to go to 180W output, but my absolute max is only about 110. And then it wants me to go to 245, and I just sorta give up. So, I have a couple of questions:

  1. Is Zwift the right tool for me…I’m beginning to think it is not
  2. Are there true “Beginner” rides? I found “Emily’s Short Mix” which I thought was a beginner ride, but for me, it is not
  3. It may be my setup that is causing me issues as well. I am using an Echelon “spin” bike with an app on my phone (qdomyos) that reads the bikes power, cadence and resistance and passes it to Zwift through bluetooth. While my power output and cadence on Zwift match what the bike is telling me, my speed and total distance are only about 30% of what my bike says (if you’ve seen they guy going 2 mph…that’s me!).

Any advice on any of these questions would be greatly appreciated!


I would say just do Free Rides on Zwift and forget the workouts. I think you will enjoy riding and Zwift a lot more.


It sounds like your FTP is set too high. If you lower it then the workouts will be more in your range.


I agree that doing free rides at your own pace instead of workouts might be your best way to enjoy Zwift. There is a bit of a learning curve to figure out the game, that settings , and what you like doing.

As for the workouts:
If 110 watts is truly your max and “Emilys short mix” is asking you to do 245Watts, the your FTP is set WAY to high.
Doing the math, the highest effort Emily’s asks for is 115% of FTP, which means your FTP is set at 213.
I would re-set it to 90 or 100 and see how things go on the same workout. Zwift will increase your FTP as you improve or you can do an FTP test.

Good luck


Also, in free rides you can set the “Trainer Difficulty” to a lower setting. It defaults to halfway, and it’s the amount of “realism” in the simulated hills.

At “Max” a 10% gradient will feel like a 10% gradient.
At halfway, a 10% gradient will feel like a 5% gradient.
At “Off”, a 10% gradient will feel like a flat road.

Lowering Trainer Difficulty is effectively flattening the terrain and making all the hills feel less steep.

I was using a wahoo bluesc on a dumb trainer and barely breaking 140w ftp. Buy a wahoo kickr snap and suddenly I have a 190w ftp and broke 500w in a sprint. Given that I could sit at 200w in the gym I was surprised at how low the zpower calculation was. It didn’t bother me except that it kinda excluded me from riding with other people.

It may well just be that your correct power isn’t being fed into the app, certainly spending the money to get a more accurate power has opened up doors for me. I’m doing my first race tomorrow. Mind you, as probably the oldest and fattest guy in the race anything other than last place in the D cat will be a bonus.

Oh, and see that bloke you over took at 1mph… that was me😀

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