They called me a cheater... Zwift noob

Hi,

I am 8 rides in on Zwift, just past the 2 week trial period. Having fun.

3 rides have been on Alp du Zwift with good results relative to my real world effort.
The other 5 have been on flatter courses with mid-to-back of pack finishes. It’s been hard to keep up but I am not surprised as I never race, rarely ride with other people IRL and generally prefer to climb to good downhills. I came to Zwift with no drafting skills. I averaged around 200km - 3000m per week in summer. Less in the shoulder seasons.

After my first Alp ride, my result bumped me to A cat - the time was 41min and change. While honored to move to cat A, I knew this would not be fun or where I should be and did not really want cat A to be my only choice when picking rides.

Since then I’ve tried to research why my climbs are strong and my flats are back of pack - hoping to find out what might explain my times on Alp du Zwift, as it doesn’t seem right. The flats do not need any explanation. I am not surprised, just humbled.

On each ride up the Alp since my first, I PR’d my time by a minute and today went sub 40minutes - which I was trying to do. Based on the Strava segment - it seems to think I’m a world class climber. While I generally ride lots of hills where I live… I am not nearly as fast as Zwift suggests.

Today a random group of riders suggested I was cheating in a chat box just as I was sprinting to the finish… which honestly ruined a great climb. I’m ok with there being a technical reason my times are better than they should be, I believe there is, but being called a cheater while put in a max effort at the top of climb… :frowning:

Does anyone know of any links/checklists to diagnose my equipment or what I should be looking at? I’ve been looking for a week and have had no luck. The most I’ve found is change the Trainer Difficulty settings - which I now ride at 90% for climbs and 10% for flats (otherwise it spins out in descents).

I have a Minoura smart trainer I bought 2nd hand. I read it doesn’t require calibration but have not found much other info on this specific model (LST9200) - wheel on model and Zwift. As far as resistance on climbs goes, it feels right (minus weather, bike weight) and has been quite enjoyable shifting my way the Alp du Zwift.

If the trainer can be calibrated, I can’t seem to find a way to do that.

Finally, I’m also not really savvy on the tech side of the ride data. I don’t really pay attention to the power, heart rate or cadence in real life - although I usually record them IRL.

Any help would be appreciated.

There is a review of that trainer here.

It definitely suggests doing a spin down calibration.

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the trainer is almost certainly overreading, don’t worry about people blowing a fuse over it though, sh*t happens. wheel on trainers are a PITA to calibrate correctly and even if you are diligent about it, things like tire pressure, air pressure, the lunar cycle, dubious internal electronics, and all manner of strange and unaccountable variables can and will cause inaccuracies

your post implies you own an outdoor power meter, if so then i would personally suggest using that to record cadence and power and just using the trainer as a controllable for erg and gradient simulation

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That would give you a nice experience and correct data.

I’ve done a “few” alpes, and a 41 minute Alpe on real numbers takes a crazy strong rider.
Even with a very strong rider I think a 41 minute will be hard to do without the experience from a lot of rides up that “hill” - knowing the constant gradient changes.

Did you ride with a HRM visible to other riders ? - A high power output and no HRM is almost a guarantee for some comments in the chat :blush:

And of course a correct weight setting is everything on the climbs…

BooX

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Thanks for the input. I have a 4iii single side power meter.

Does power and cadence control the interactive resistance of the trainer? How is that determined? I assumed it was the same regardless and I fought it off via legs, shifting and the Trainer Difficulty.

I’m not really hung up on the power / hr / cadence for my own goals… just want the proper effort of climb. But will also delete those rides form strava when I determine they were some how juiced.

I’ll also give the ‘spindown’ a try tomorrow. I was unaware of what that was… but have since read the posted review. Appreciate the replies.

This is how I would suggest pairing the trainer

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yup, just pair the trainer as controllable and the power/cadence as your 4iiii

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UPDATE:

Thank for all the input.

I was able to:
Connect Power and Cadence to 4iii meter. This provided a much more challenging ADZ ride.

I was not able to perform a spindown test, it failed every attempt by timing out (at least 5 times over 2 days). It would get stuck at around 2-5km and fail via time out. I contacted Minoura and was sent a firmware update that I can not get installed. Again fails, waiting on another email reply.

Assuming my powermeter is giving me the correct ride resistance it has presented a new issue. My 11 years likes using the trainer but doesn’t have a powermeter. He generally just rides flatter courses with his kids account in CAT E or D. I’m confused what effect the flatter courses had on the trainers resistance as I did a flat group ride with the 4iii and it wasn’t all that different in feeling, where as Alp du Zwift was a notable difference in effort (35 minutes more noticeable :).

He is likely not going to notice much difference at his age and effort, but it would be nice to get it correct at some point - with out the purchase of a powermeter.

The other thing is I seem to be stuck in Cat A, will this auto adjust/downgrade now that I have deleted the misleading ADZ rides?

Thanks

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Send an email to zwiftpower@zwift.com and let them know your ZP id and also give them the history you have detailed here. Ask them to reset your ZP and CE cat’s. Might also pay to give them a link to this thread.

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Hi @IAN_Millar_noob

Do the spindown in the Trainer app not Zwift, do this before opening Zwift.

The 4iii don’t have an impact on the resistance, also you don’t need accurate resistance only accurate power.

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Don’t forget to regularly calibrate your 4iiii, either in their app, or perhaps on your GPS unit before riding. 4iiii crank at 6 o’clock position.

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Hi Gerrie

Unfortunately the Nrf Toolbox app isn’t what I expected it too be. I tried to install it a handful of times today with no luck. I will try again tomorrow. The actual app seems to be a generic app - no mention of Minoura - just some health and sports related links that take you to a bluetooth connect page and the trainer doesn’t come up on it.

With regards to today - if the only changes in my ride were the 4iii power and cadence, what would make it nearly twice the effort? Why was the trainer making me go twice as slow? What what have made the change in resistance? That part now confuses me.

Ian

Zwift calculate your speed based on the power number you send it. The 4iii is more accurate and sent the lower more correct power numbers.

the resistance unit is only there so you have something to push against.

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I think I just realized that :slight_smile:

Was thinking it changed trainer resistant - not speed. But speed makes much more sense.

Appreciate the help.

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Zwift does have the ability to control the resistance of smart trainers–road goes up, trainer adds more resistance. The more important part for getting speeds that are close to normal is the power, I think that’s what was being gotten at above.

A controllable trainer does make a difference, though. Increased resistance forcing you to shift, making you recruit different muscle fibers, etc makes a big difference in how hard or easy a route is.

You need to warm the trainer up for 10 minutes before the spin down so probably bes to ride for a bit first then un pair everything, do the spin down on the trainer’s app, then close the app down and reconnect to zwift - it is a bit of a pain

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Do you happen to know how often these should be calibrated? Their internal support page suggests before every ride, which seems a bit excessive. In practice is that really what people do?

i calibrate mine daily. but if it’s on a trainer you can skip the 10 min warm up period since the temperature isn’t going to be changing much if the bike is not moving

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I calibrate my pedals before every ride. Even though they are meant to automatically calibrate i don’t trust them ! Haha

It is like zero offsetting a scale, when they wake up if there is any load on the power meter it will then read wrong so best practice to zero them each time.

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I calibrate my 4iiii before every ride I’m going to use it, outdoors or in.

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