Hello all! I guess what I’m about to type is for the benefit of fellow newbies and people interested in Zwifting, primarily. But anyone else may want to comment too.
After a failed attempt at using a Wahoo cadence and speed sensor on an exercise bike, which was akin to bolting legs on a dolphin. I bit the bullet and ordered a basic bike from Halfords - thank you, users, who replied to my thread - as it helped inform my decision. I also picked up a mint condition second-hand Tacx Flow from eBay.
Here’s a few thoughts about how I’ve found Zwift so far:
Info out there that says Zwift is hard for beginners is accurate. I’m a former grayhound-speed 10k runner, former because I developed acid reflux last year, which I’m still recovering from. If I run faster than a certain speed, I get debilitating stomach pain and have to stop. Mercifully, I don’t feel this on a bike - probably owed to there being less movement/lower impact.
I’ve a fair bit of weight on, but I’m not what I would call unfit. Still, I’ve turned off the trainers smart capabilities to just enjoy whizzing around for the time being. Changing gears does feel like something I’ll do properly down the line, but for now I’m focusing on achiving ‘the gains’ in my legs and upping my average wattage slowly over time.
I’m doing around 70 miniutes each evening, which roughly spans 30 - 35k each ride. By far, I enjoy the flat routes - as somebody who has always ran outside, I like seeing the scenery whizz past. I’ve invested quite heavily in Zwift - with my fitness banking on it, I bought a 55-inch 4K TV, a gaming PC (also for VR), and a tall TV stand. It’s about a metre from my face, and it’s glorious. The immersion is fantastic. But I just don’t get a kick out of changing to the lowest gear and taking 10 minutes climibing a single stretch of a mountain. Perhaps this will change over time.
I’ve had concerns about my low wattage since starting, going so far as to blame it on the trainer. I can hold 145 for a period before dropping back down to about 110. The ‘basic’ bike I bought has 8 gears, and I get around 235 in the highest when going absolutely flat out. I can’t understand how riders get 800. Is that because their bikes have more gears? A better trainer (perhaps direct drive?). I’ve pumped up my tire to 110PSI and calibrated according to the Taxc utility app.
Thankfully, I’m not too bothered about racing, or group rides. Maybe in the future, but for now I’m enjoying tootling around Watopia and getting mini PBs on splits, unlocking new kit, reading what people say in the chat and upping my FTP, etc. All the fluffy stuff.
I’m really enjoying Zwift, but I get the impression that it’s not particularly geared for people like me who aren’t concerned about ‘realism’ and would probably be happy powering Mario Kart than taking 20 minutes to climb a mountain. (I do, however, recognise the achievement that must be felt after undertaking such a feat.)
So long as it continues allowing me to get fitter without any stomach pain, an hour each evening, it’s doing the job that my treadmill can no longer do. Anything else that comes in time will be a bonus!