Steady w/kg

Okay, so I’ve been zwifting for a few years now and I actually ride harder on my trainer in the winter than I do outside in the summer. I figure I can push the ■■■■ out of it and don’t have to worry about getting back home :slight_smile:

Question though is that all of the rides I try to get in to push myself are rated at 1.0 - 1.5 w/kg. I should be able to do that but I can’t seem to keep up. I find myself doing way less than 1.5 at times and still staying in the pack and other times - at least according to my screen - I’m doing 2.5+ (not for long though) and falling farther behind.

What the heck is that and how could this possibly be a valid measure to maintain? Does that mean that on the flat, I should be doing like 30kph and uphill like 9kph? What about downhill?? How do you go about keeping a particular power output? I try to maintain a cadence 80-90rpm and shift appropriately to maintain that. Is that wrong?

Appreciate any feedback and explanation.

You’re not sometimes using a TT bike, are you? Because TT bikes can’t draft, and the draft effect is very large on Zwift.

It’s not ideal, but W/kg is probably used so heavily in Zwift because it’s an easy value to base a system upon where users only have a power meter (sometimes not even that) to measure their effort, and everyone is generally able to weigh themselves. Some ride leaders provide guide speeds for the rides, too, but it’s much rarer.
As can be seen in many discussions in these Forums, W/kg isn’t a very useful guide or measure when on the flat, compared to raw wattage. (It’s much more useful when going up gradients.)

Coming back to your own situation, what is your set-up for zwifting? From your ride history, it looks like you’re using a trainer that measures power. Without getting too personal, is your weight perhaps a factor in keeping your W/kg down? (I’m a heavier rider for my size, so I know what impact that can make.)
Have you done an FTP test recently to see what you are capable of putting out?

As Steve mentions above, the draft effect is very important and if one isn’t closely on someone’s wheel in a group ride it can make a huge difference to the power you need to produce to keep up.

No I am not unless I’m doing a TT race :slight_smile: THANKS though!

beginner rides (1.0-1.5wkg) are often filled with random Cat A’s hammering at 4wkg+, just ignore them, find a group going at your pace, and stick with it.

if ur getting dropped from a pack despite putting out higher wkg than the pack, you might be having wireless connection issues (if not on a TT bike :D)

30kph on flats and 9kph on uphills sounds about right for 1-1.5wkg - ofc ur speed is going to be slower when going uphill if ur not increasing power output significantly.

Thanks Ben,

I DO ignore them! I try to stay with the leader then fall back to the sweeper then the red-lantern position :slight_smile:

As for connection issues, probably not. I am an IT guy and I’ve setup my own network. Nearly everything in my house is wired and the iPad is the only thing on WiFi which is what I use for Zwift linked to my WaHoo.

30kph on the flats is a full out sprint for me so is that still 1-1.5? Does the gear you are in matter more than the cadence? Which should I worry/concentrate on more?

What I’ve figured out is that I’m a climber. I can typically start a ride and slowly fall back. But, if there’s a fairly large/long climb, I can not only catch up but often pass the entire pack and leader. Then, on the flats, I fall back again.

Also, the w/kg number is just on your name and not in the top middle anywhere so it’s harder to see - need my glasses for that one - and it doesn’t seem to be steady but … So should I try to maintain a speed or a cadence? (in your opinion).

Find a gear that feel natural for you, if you are comfortable at 80RPM then pick a gear that feel good at that RPM.

I would suggest not looking at that number, just stay as close to the ride leader as possible, let the leader worry about keeping at the correct pace.

If you happen to be using the Companion app while Zwifting, you can tap on the Watts display and it will change to wkg. This might provide a bit larger view of this stat.

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Gerrie, THANKS! I used to just stay in one gear and force myself to work at that gear. The last year I started worrying more about the cadence and am getting comfortable with shifting up/down hill. The question is, should I concentrate on the cadence or the gear if I’m trying to get stronger/faster? Make sense???

I don’t focus on the w/kg number but do look at it periodically especially when I start falling back and notice that I’m going over the advertised pace. So again, not wanting to stare at that, should I worry more about cadence or speed?

Nigel, I don’t use the companion app - just the main app on my iPad that I have mounted on the handlebars. Thanks for the tip though!!

I share Alfonso’s frustration with using w/kg to determine if an event matches your ability. Yesterday in a rated 1.9-2.2 social ride I got ditched from the get go even tho I was holding 2.2-2.3. One guy in fact screamed by me who was doing 1.8. I’m guessing he weighed much more than me and so was cranking out way more total watts. Which brings me to ask why aren’t events rated by raw wattage in order to adjust for the various weights of riders…

I would say don’t worry about cadence to much, I think as you change gears you will settle into a comfortable cadence.

It is important to stay in the pack so you don’t fall behind. Once you are out of the draft it is very hard to catch up. Stay with the leader and if you see you are drifting back then increase your speed by either changing gears or increase cadence a bit.

Hi @robert_hart1

Welcome to the forum.

All group rides start fast, people are exited to get going. Plan to start fast for the first km, then settel into a nice pace behind the leader.

Raw wattage will only work on very flat routes, and even then heavier taller riders has to produce more power than lighter riders.

Your profile is private, so I can’t see your activity photos. So I have to ask if you might, by chance, be on a TT bike? This would prevent you from getting any draft and, therefore, likely force you to put out more watts for the same speed, even if you’re the same weight (and height) as the ride leader.

Also, the wkg ranges for rides are definitely tough for some rides. Wkg makes more sense for hillier rides, while actual watts makes more sense for flatter rides. So, either option has its drawbacks, especially if the ride route changes from week to week.

I really appreciate the input and I DO try to stay with the leaders. My “comfortable” pace right now I believe is actually 1.0 BUT, I’m trying to get stronger so I get on the 1.5 rides. When I do fall behind, what I want to do is still push and not just be comfortable. The reason I was asking about the cadence is that some of the “training” rides that I’ve been on seem to focus on that and I didn’t quite understand why as I could always downshift to get to nearly any cadence.

So your height/weight play into it??? I just guessed at mine - I’ve never owned a scale as I’ve always been trim. So if I put in a value that’s too low, what will that do?

Thanks again for the information and discussion!!

Yup. Big time. That’s why I asked that question earlier in post 3.
Since your W/kg figure is decided by the weight that you enter into Zwift, it’s important to try to provide as accurate a number as possible.
Also, the taller you are, the slower Zwift will make you, since it calculates drag for your avatar based on the height value that you have put into the system.

Thanks for this clarification, Nigel. I’m not on a TT bike but I do tend to miss the jump at the start, get caught back and miss the draft. On tommow’s ride I’ll go hard out at the start and see what happens

Thanks for the welcome Gerrie and for this explanation . As I replied to Nigel, I’ll try riding hard out from the start to stay with the group and see if the draft keeps me in contact.

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Please circle back and let us know how it went. It take a bit of practice but once you get the hang of it you will really enjoy it.

Roule, I AM SOO SORRY, I completely missed your post - I blame it on the browser refreshing.

Don’t worry about getting personal but appreciate the consideration. I’m actually not bad now as I’m probably about what I should be - again, just guessing - but I think about 165-170. I was always like 145-150 until the last 2-3 years but am comfortable there. About 5’10/11". I have not done an FTP test since last year so maybe I need to do one.

Again, sorry and thanks for the input!!!

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For the record, my setup is a wahoo kickr snap. I have a separate wheel/tire combo for the trainer so I just swap the whole back wheel (snap is the wheel on). The cassette is the same as on my normal (outside) wheel. I use a wahoo HRM and cadence as well and they are all linked to Zwift which I have mounted on a Tacx running on an iPad 3. I do keep it calibrated usually weekly and check the air pressure as well. The brakes are completely disconnected so no chance of rubbing. I also try to keep the chain clean and lubed - even during the winter on the trainer.