Hey all, I’m currently training for my first Ironman this July and have relied heavily on Zwift to give me the climb training I need to succeed. How much does the Zwift ride translate to the real world, I understand there will be handling differences in a real world ride but can I call 3700 ft gained elevation 3700 gained? Is it in many ways an identical representation of effort? As much as I love to ride outdoors I don’t have a power meter on my bike and my area is topographically challenged (eastern coast usa). I’m essentially banking on Zwift to provide me with the legs I need to conquer Ironman Lake Placid this July. I’ve read a couple articles on the climbs in Zwift and as far as I can tell the only thing that is different is the shifting of gears which comes into play. Any help or reassurance would be great.
It really depends on what you’re trying to measure. Regardless of whether you’re on a smart trainer or a classic trainer, climbing a hill is going to require the same amount of power to go the same speed, i.e. if 2 people are climbing at 200w, the smart trainer user may need to switch into an easier gear to keep his/her cadence up, but both will have to put out 200w to go the same speed.
If you’re concerned about how tough it feels , however, that’s a matter of assessing the trainer difficulty slider for smart trainers. By default, Zwift simulates 50% of the actual grade (the middle of the slider). All the way to the right bumps it up to 100% realism (up to the max grade your trainer can simulate).