Getting dropped over the top of climbs

This is starting to spoil my enjoyment of racing. On any climb, no matter where I am in the group it seems, once I reach the top and try to push over the top I am getting dropped not matter what I try. If I sit in and draft I get dropped, if I power through the front to lead over the top I get caught and dropped. I try to keep the power on, shifting back up to the big ring if necessary, but my power seems to drop no matter how hard I go. I can be pushing 400W+ at the top but as soon as I go over my power seems to drop to around the 150W mark, which doesn’t seem to be reflected by the other riders. I’m using a Direto X trainer. Is it just me, bad timing, poor race technique or what?

HI may be worth re calibrating your trainer again before racing or joining a ride. I find when climbing with group put down the power before the top and keep it going until road tilts down, if you are pushing over 400 w to keep up i suspect it may be a calibration issue

You’re probably falling victim to Zwift’s Trainer Difficulty setting. Since I’m not a racer and I enjoy riding Zwift as a cycling simulator I set my Trainer Difficulty to 100%. When I crest a climb the resistance on my Tacx Neo drops off just like riding outdoors when you start a decent. Dumping a bunch of gears and spinning like mad only gets me to 2.5w/kg while other riders fly past at 3+w/kg.

The default Trainer Difficulty value is 50%. For racing you may want to set your Trainer Difficulty in the range of 20% to 30% to minimize the resistance change as you push over the top of a climb. With a minimal change in resistance from your trainer you can continue to push big watts on the decent.

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yeah, as the grade flattens out the trainer eases up on you,

you have to shift to a harder gear as the grade reduces in order to keep throwing down power

people with “dumb” trainers don’t have this to fight with, so typically dumb trainer users scoot away when the grade gets easier… it’s the same reason that people with “smart” trainers tend to gain on the group initially when the road turn upward

This is some very good information. I have been wondering about the “top of climb effect.”

Happens to me too. I’m at 100%.

I frequently ride on Zwift while doing workouts in erg mode on TrainerRoad, and I can see this effect all the time - it’s effectively as if my difficulty setting was at (really) zero. Since I’m riding at constant power, I tend to get dropped when climbs start (other riders react to the increased resistance by pushing harder and increasing power), then claw back if the climb is sustained (other riders realize they can’t maintain that increased power for ever), and then I pass them at the top of the climb (other riders reduce power as the resistance drops).

The top-of-the-hill situation exists in real life as well, it’s often a good place to attack as riders reduce power as the slope reduce.

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