Power, numbers, and climbing

I’m shredding my legs on climbs. I’m going about 4 mph. I’m in a low gear hitting power output of 200. I use a regular trainer. Any advice on what numbers I should be hitting for power, speed, and cadence? I love the app but the climbs are killing me.

No idea with it more info. 

What hill(s)?

What is your weight?

Are you using a speed and cadence sensor or power meter?

There is just too little info to answer your question.

I’m 260 5’ 11". I have a Garmin cadence meter and speed sensor. The first hill I rode was on the London Loop. It was listed in Strava as Box Hill KOM AND WAS 1.8 miles long.

I’ve done 2 rides so far. I more just want to make sure I’m doing it right. Currently I feel like I’m shredding my legs.

Happy to give more info. Thx for the help!

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but at 260 lbs and only 200 W, 4 mph sounds about right on Box Hill. Keep training and try to lose some weight and you will improve! Good luck.

What do you mean bij “regular” trainer? If you are not using a smart trainer then Zwift will calculate your power. It is referred as zPower.

Have a look here, this will get you going:



If I understand correctly, you are not using a smart trainer… if like me, that 200 Watts you are talking about is calculated by Zwift using your Garmin cadence and speed sensors…

At 260 lbs, I think you will need a quite a bit more power than 200 Watts to make it up the hills with decent speed,

To give you an example, I am 205 lbs, and ramp my Watts up to 340 Watts to make it up the big climb on the Watopia Hilly Route… and I probably only go like 15 mph in the 7 to 10% grade area…

Good news is for you, if you keep working, you can lose weight fast… each kg lost will give you a speed boost up them hills!

Lets put it this way… at 205 lbs, using 340 watts in the 7-10% pitch for approx. 1km, I am barely keeping pace with other C riders (in a race under 3.0 Watts\KG)

So what you’re saying is I need to choose between pizza and donuts or better hill stats. I’m torn…

think of a biiiiig pizza at the top of the hill , then get up there, … do NOT eat the pizza, …I understand your dilemma!

I would be more concerned about my knees holding up on those climbs.  Maybe slide the diffculty setting lower until you lose some weight and the hills become easier.  I moved the difficulty setting to around 90% and those climbs became really tough and I’m 5’11" 165 lbs.  When I did the tower segment in Watopia I had to stand almost the entire time at 90%.

Where do I find the difficulty setting?

When you log into Zwift go to settings.  There is a slider in there that I think says difficulty.  I’m at work so I cant see what its actually called.  It defaults to 50%.  I think what this means is if your on a 8% slope having the bar at 50% means your actually on a 4% slope.  So sliding it to 100% means the slope is 8% while going to 0% would mean no slope.  At least this should be the case for smart trainers.  Maybe someone else can chime in if I’m wrong in the explanation.

It is called “trainer difficulty” and explained here:


Just keep riding and don’t give up. Everyone starts from somewhere and you see the progress along the journey. Don’t take the number too serious, just use the previous ride data as a base guideline and improve from there. I’m lightweight 133lbs 5’7" and only able average around 200w at box hill. For sure it’s suffering but once you hit the top you feel accomplishment.

I am new to Zwift, and have a question regarding the method used to compute the required power for a given grade and speed.  In the user profile, I was asked to enter my weight.  I entered in my normal weight.  Does Zwift add some nominal weight for the bike, water bottles etc, or should the weight I enter be my total riding weight?  I would like to make my Zwift experience as accurate as possible, so if anyone can advise me on how Zwift uses my entered weight, I would be most grateful.

That speed is just about right. I’m 170-175lbs, and pulling up the reverse Mountain 8, I’m doing 4mph, while pushing ~140W at an easy 95+ rpm cadence, higher cardio workout.

I’m a bit disappointed about the speed vs cadence on the climbs. I have an Elite Direto, that measures power very acurately. It supports slopes up to 14%. On Zwift at 14% slope, I see that when I’m on 34F/28R and with a cadens of 74 RPM, I do 8.1 kph according to Zwift. That should actually be 11.3 kph and I should produce 354 W. Zwift shows 254 W, so it changes the gear to something like 30F/34R. With that gear everyting matches perfectly. Unfortunately that is not the real deal. So, I’m thinking that the resistance control of of the Elite Direto is perhaps the issue? In any case something is weird. I understand that Zwift is adjusting speed to match the output power of the trainer, but I have to shift to smaller rear cogs to get the right RPM’s matching the speed.