I would like to know if people lower the trainer difficulty for racing. I always ride at a 100%. I was wondering though if it would be easier on the legs to pace certain wattage without the feeling of “intervals” due to the inclines. I know that you always have to push the same watts. What do you guys think?
From what I’ve seen on any given segment lowering the trainer difficulty makes it easier to spin but you don’t go as fast. To do the segment you need to use the same amount of energy overall.
% difficultly, harder to pedal but you move faster.
Lower difficulty, easier to pedal but you move slower.
What i heard some people who are racing lower their trainer difficulty enough so they can keep their chain bigger chainring. Probably means better response for speed change and less gear change. Most of time i keep my trainer difficulty a 100% but when i ride to Alpe du Zwift or any other steeper climbs i lower to 75% to have more lower gears to use if needed.
I have 2 gear setups for my road bike. For flats (home roads) and for mountains (vacations). If current setup is mountain, 11-36 cassette and compact crankset i use 100%. For flat setup i decrease it to 75-80%. Prefer hilly races.
From what I’ve read, most of the top end Zwift racers lower trainer difficulty significantly. It minimises gear changes for one thing. I recall hearing some race as low as around 20%.
It doesn’t matter what difficulty you have the trainer set to with respect to how many watts you have to put out to climb a given hill in the same amount of time. Racers generally set difficulty anywhere from 0 to 30% I have heard (your mileage may vary) in order to minimize gear changes so that you don’t get dropped spinning out when the incline disappears. Some people like to feel the full incline of hills when just puttering around but it has no impact on how quick you are at a given wattage. Think of it as a gearing modifier that is especially useful if your bike only has a 11-25 cassette on it and you want to climb the Alp de Zwift and aren’t a professional.
Thanks for your answers. I am well aware that you still have to put out the same amount of watts. Personally I am struggling sometimes to keep to watts up for example a climb flattens out a little or I am loosing for the first part of a slight downhill. I thought maybe this wouldn’t be as bad on a lower trainer difficulty. Of course I am going to test it out. I was just wondering about people’s experiences.
40% for me. Racing Volcano flat I pretty much don’t have to change gears. I just get up out of the saddle on the couple of small hills.
I did the TTR volcano flat race - 5km this morning on 100% just to see what it’s like…never again, even though my power was a little higher than usual.
Yes, most racers probably set it to about 20-25% from what I have heard. I keeps your effort more consistent overall, but it also allows you to push much more on downhills when you otherwise might spin out too much. I usually ride at 40-50% so I can keep it in the big ring and don’t have to shift as much.
If you ride with a dumb trainer but a pedal or crank mounted power meter then you can quite easily go through a whole race with hardly any gear changes. In a TT for example you can just put the chain in whichever gear gives you a comfortable cadence for the power level you’d want to achieve and just pedal away without worrying about gradient changes.