Gravel Grinder Training Plan Bugs

I have been using the the Gravel Grinder training plan for about a week and while I like the plan I find it incredibly buggy. For instance. While doing an interval where my target is 250w I find myself peddling at 114rpms and only putting out about 193w. Conversely while trying to target 150w I find myself being slowed down to 30rpm and having to push 250w. I’m constantly being told to give more or less power and can’t give what being asked for. It appears the game is engaging the the ERG mode at the wrong time for the wrong wattage. I am running at Saris H3 and cannot calibrate with Zwift. However I have and can with the Saris app and am running the latest version of everything. I’m running the program on an Apple TV. Has anybody else had a similar experience? Is there anything I can do to fix it?

Hi @ripdogg_1, welcome to the forums.

Do you have the same experience if you choose a different workout that is not part of the training plan? Maybe @Gerrie_Delport can help, he has an H3 too.

My wife doesn’t seem to when she does her workouts. I can try another just to see.

I just hopped on and did the first half of Emily’s Short Mix. I pedaled at a steady low to mid 80s rpm and the tension increased appropriately.

So calibrating with the Saris app is the way to go. Keep doing that.

I use my H3 over Ant+ on Windows and don’t have a problem.

It can be that ERG disengaged during the workout, you can turn it off and on from the companion app. Or some other program took control of the trainer.

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The ERG disengages all the time because when I go from a threshold effort to lower effort it doesn’t seem to know I’m pedaling then it gets so hard I’m not able to pedal at all. I think the problem might be specific to that training program and maybe the Zwift app for Apple TV. As I said above, I hopped on for about half of Emily’s short mix and everything worked as it should. Maybe I’ll try to load the app on my iPad to see if it makes a difference. I’ll update here if it does. I like that training program so I hope it gets fixed.

What other program could take control of the trainer?

What gears are you using, Try a different gear combination. Is your FTP set correctly?

What was the specific workout, I will also try it.

Any app that you have installed that can control the trainer, like Trainer road or the Saris app. make sure all of those are closed.

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I’m in the big gear up front and about 4th up from the bottom in the rear. I took an FTP and have it set to that.

The session I did was 5x6 sweet spots in the gravel grinder training plan.

The only other app I could have had open is the Saris app but I’ll make sure that’s closed. Thanks.

BTW, I just watched my wife do a free ride and she noted she experienced greater resistance going DH.

I changed the channel on my router and moved it further away from my Apple TV :man_shrugging:t2:.
Thanks for the help!

Hi. I don’t want to assume anything about your experience with ERG mode, but just in case you have only recently started using it, it’s quite important that (a) when you move from an “easy” to a “hard” interval, you anticipate the change in the last second or two before the switch by really deliberately powering through the changeover–don’t wait to feel the resistance change and then try to react to it. At first, you’ll likely overshoot the power target for a moment, but you keep deliberately pedaling at the intended RPMs and let the trainer balance itself out. Then, (b) when going from a “hard” to an “easy” interval, do not allow yourself to anticipate the reduction in resistance and ease up on the pedals; keep deliberately pedaling at the “hard” resistance until the trainer actually releases the tension (which sometimes takes a second or two or three). If you stop deliberately pedaling, anticipating the reduction in tension, as your RPMs drop, the trainer will “grab” more resistance trying to maintain the target wattage, and it doesn’t take long before it could feel impossible to pedal (too few RPMs + too much resistance). If you haven’t already seen it, it’s worth watching GPLama’s ERG mode video. Maybe none of this is relevant for you, but if it helps, then great.

BTW, I just watched my wife do a free ride and she noted she experienced greater resistance going DH.

Some of this is psychological (since IRL we expect to be able to coast and feel the release of tension immediately, whereas more or less Zwift wants us to keep pedaling)–but yes, there does seem to be something real to this idea that there is more resistance DH for some reason; it’s not your system glitching.

Thanks for the insight. Yesterday, I had a great experience doing the Building Climbs workout. I pedaled ~86rpms and everything worked as it should. Previously, I was putting in more power in anticipation of the next interval or letting off when the interval was ending. The former would result in my inability to hit the target wattage no matter how fast/hard I pedaled while the latter would add so much resistance I would have to stand on the pedals just to move them. Is this the infamous “spiral of death” I’ve read about?

I ended up moving my router and modem away from my Apple TV and changed the channel of my router as suggested by Zwift as well as ensuring my Saris app was off. So, those changes may have had some effect as well. I’ll have to go back and do one of the workouts to see if it is still glitching or if it was all user error however it did appear to me that the workouts themselves were not sending the same signals to the trainer that I was seeing on the screen.

I just wanted to follow up here and say that most of the issues seem to have resolved. I think much of what was going on was probably user error. It took me a while to understand how the machine worked so when Zwift said to increase or reduce power I would press harder on the pedals (or softer) and I would trigger, what I imagine, is that “spiral of death” I’ve read about. I’ve learned just to keep a steady cadence and let the machine catch up. However, I still seem to have some trouble when I’m supposed to be matching higher cadence efforts. The cadence meter is all over the place. Otherwise I have come to find training and free riding on Zwift a very enjoyable experience.

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