Apologies - I have posted about this before in someone else’s thread - but I do need some clear guidance from others before I go back to Wahoo for help (or not) and I’d like some thoughts please.
I ride on Zwift using a 5-month old Kickr Core, latest model at the time (20 edition?). For all other context, I run Zwift on a basic Android device, Samsung A20 (which works just fine). I am a bigger than average rider - 84 kgs - but when I started riding at Christmas I was 97 kgs. My FTP is 315w.
That’s all the context out of the way.
The problem I have got is that - perversely for a bigger rider - I find it so much easier to put power out going uphill than on the flats, and I find my best performances are on AdZ rather than Tempus Fugit.
I can bust out a 50 minute Alpe ascent, but I get dropped from the Bs all the time on the Champs-Elysses. Even at 97kgs, I’d be more likely to be dropped going downhill than uphill.
The reason for this is why I need the help. I think something is wrong somewhere:
The biggest gear on my bike is 50 x 13. This is the only gear I use on Zwift. If I use any smaller gear than I simply cannot generate the watts because there is insufficient resistance for me to push/pull against.
To be clear, there is still a decent amount of resistance, but the point I’m struggling to make is this.
Outside, in the real world, on the road, I will never be in my big gear. When cruising on the flat, sometimes I won’t even be in the big ring on the front! Pushing 50 x 13 on the road is virtually impossible for me; I just don’t have the strength to do it and if I do, I’ll be grinding away at 45 rpm. So, I ride in lower gears, as you would expect. The biggest gear is rarely used and only if I’m flying down a steep hill.
But on Zwift, those lower gears are just too easy for me in any sort of configuration. I am climbing 14% gradients in my 50 x 13 gear because that’s the only gear that gives me enough resistance to really push against. On the flats, it’s so hard to get the watts out even if my biggest gear because I feel like I should be a few gears up with more resistance.
So what I’m trying to work out is, is this normal or is something wrong here? Zwift is essentially a single gear experience for me, whereas I’m assuming I should be riding uphills in a smaller gear, changing into bigger gears when going downhill and so on (when not in erg mode). In over 5,000km of riding so far, 90+ races, I have not changed gear once.
Someone suggested workarounds involving setting headwind in the Wahoo app, but my assumption is that I shouldn’t need to workaround here.
I have posted about the ability to increase training resistance on the flats, but can I rule out something being not right either with my trainer or the app? It feels like I’m missing 2 or 3 extra gears, is what I’m saying, but 50 x 13 is not that small a big gear.
Or, conversely, can someone tell me this sounds entirely normal?