Group workouts: to ERG or not to ERG?

I’ve done a couple of group workouts on ERG mode recently, and I like the fact I can stay with the group. But ERG bounces my wattage all over the place, even though I concentrate on keeping a steady cadence (usually 92-95). The ride leader today suggested turning ERG off. Does having ERG off affect the ability to stick with the group? I love shifting, but I don’t want to get dropped in the group workout.

If your cadence is steady, your wattage should be relatively steady as well during an interval. When you say it is “all over the place”, how big of a +/- swing are you talking about?

Are you doing group rides or group workouts? Although a group ride can provide a great workout, it is not the same as a group workout in Zwift. Most if not all group workouts will have “rubber-banding” which keeps everyone together regardless of wattage. You could be doing 50W while the person next to you is doing 300W and you would still stick together in the group.

You could do a group workout with or without ERG mode. As long as you keep pedaling, even if you are below the target power, I believe (have not personally done a group workout w/the rubber-banding) the “rubber-banding” will keep you with the group.

I won’t use ERG in regular group rides - I want the “realism” of the road. The 2 I tried ERG on were structured group workouts. I’d almost prefer to do my own shifting and cadence modulation, but I thought ERG would help me hang with the group better. The “swing” variance can be significant - ie, if the workout calls for 80 watts during the rest phase, I might be as high as 120 but trying to back off the pressure. I don’t want to slow cadence because I know about the “spiral of death”. Almost seems like I’d be better to go SIM mode, shift way down, and keep cadence up.
Thank you for the feedback.

The ERG “spiral of death” :grin: is real and unpleasant :sob:

You are probably hitting the wattage floor of your trainer in that situation. As a result, while in ERG mode, you cannot get down to 80W. You can shift to a smaller gear during the rest portion which will probably will allow you to get to 80W while maintaining your RPM. Actually, if using ERG mode, you can do the entire workout in any gear w/out shifting. I typically ride ERG in my small chainring and mid cassette for straight chain-line. Avoids the wattage floor and since flywheel speed is slower, the trainer is quieter. Give it a try!

I have just used 53x16/17. I’ll try small ring. Thanks.

Nostalgia is just not what it used to be.


Give the small ring some love!

And you might want to remove your contact info from your last post :wink: