W/kg and w all over the place when doing route

Hey all,

I am new to Zwift and new to cycling in general. I used to cycle a lot around 10y ago and recently decided that I want to get back into it, saw Zwift and was instantly in love with it. So I went online, bought the Zwift Hub and a Bike (yeah, didnt even have that anymore) and started Zwifting. I am now close to 3 weeks in and thoroughly enjoying it. So far I have mainly done a structured workout (Back To Fitness) where the resistance is adapted to what I am supposed to do.
Now recently I also started just doing some routes and yesterday I joined one of the Pride events. It was said that we should aim for 1,4w/kg. Didnt work that well as many went way harder, others slower. At some point I started riding with a group of 5 people and I really struggled to keep up. One guy pointed out that my w/kg is “all over the place” so I started keeping an eye on it. And yes, it indeed felt close to impossible to me to stay at a specific w/kg or W in general. I usually try to keep my cadence stable, but even then I feel like my W is jumping around a lot. Checking my unstructured workouts that is also visible in the graphs.
I am connected to an Apple TV 4K, in case that is of importance. I am also actively shifting gears during the routes.

So, to get to my question: Is there a problem with my setup? Or is this normal?

Ty for any answers :slight_smile:

Edit: Wanted to add some of my activities here but sadly that is not possible.

What equipment do you have?

If it is a wheel on trainer, I’d everything connected correctly and calibrated/tightened?

Some people put their trainers in erg mode and control this via a Garmin GPS. Even some ride leaders have admitted doing this, so they stay always at exactly 2.5w/kg or whatever other power is required.

Edit: the graph below looks fairly normal - like mine usually are.

Welcome to Zwift and the community, Steven. Good on you for taking the leap into this world.

First things first, I don’t think there’s anything obviously wrong with your set-up, but there could be things to work on, which can help you further enjoy your time in the saddle.

I’ve found your profile in the users list and am posting a screenshot of your Companion overview of that ride (with some of the data redacted). I hope that’s okay.

It does look rather choppy (the white line is the power), but not shocking. (Just for everyone’s reference, the maximum power here was 600W.) Choppiness isn’t unusual when a rider is less experienced or has been away from cycling for some time. Training one’s body to coordinate movements smoothly and to waste as little energy as possible takes some time, even if one has previously been accomplished, so perhaps you need to concentrate on that aspect.

If you’ve been doing workouts mainly, probably in erg mode where the machine adapts to and accommodates the user’s varying power and cadence, you might not have been getting the useful feedback that could help you in reducing the variation in power output.
When I first got back into riding after a long hiatus, back in 2018-2019, I went through something similar. Maybe my ride graphics still aren’t as smooth as the most talented (and harder-working) riders’ ones, but I think I’ve developed a much more regular pedaling style over the thousands of hours I’ve put in since then.

Doing rides in sim mode, like group rides (e.g. the Pride one) or free rides – basically anything that isn’t in erg mode – is useful for that. It takes time to dial it all in, so just ride often and try to keep your on-screen avatar in roughly the same position in relation to the others you are riding with. You could also try riding with the RoboPacers (find them under 24/7 Group Rides in the main menu), which are automated ride leaders that keep strictly within a W/kg range. They increase their power slightly on uphills and decrease it slightly on downhills, but are far steadier than any human. :sweat_smile:

The other thing to look at when one’s power output isn’t so smooth is one’s position on the bike, i.e. the fit.
If you’ve been away from cycling for a while, you might not even have a good feeling for what is “right”. Indoor cycling is great, but it can also mask what would otherwise be red flags when riding outdoors regarding what is right for you bio-mechanically, so perhaps it’s worth getting that checked out.
Changing saddle height, and saddle position fore and aft (plus saddle angle), even a little, can have a significant impact on your pedaling and the resulting power output and its smoothness. A saddle that’s slightly too high (or much too low) can often produce a choppy, uncontrolled output…
There’s also cleat position, handlebar height, stem length, etc., etc., but the relationship between the crank centre and the saddle position is probably the most important to one’s output in Zwift.

Is the bike definitely in your size and has it been adjusted for you by someone experienced?
Don’t go paying out hundreds for a bike fit just yet (or at all). Much of the information is out there for free and you can get into the ballpark on your own with a little time and patience, plus the few tools that are necessary. One of the other great things about indoor cycling is that you can experiment with your position without the hassle of doing it on the road in traffic.

Sorry for the excessively long post; I hope it’s useful. Ride On :ride_on:

Edit: spelling the OP’s name correctly (!); syntax.

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Zwift Hub. First paragraph.

Ty, I believe this essentially covers my question :slight_smile:

One last thing though… These paced robo groups that stay at a specific w/kg… I have tried several times joining them, but somehow they bug out, or I do not understand how to get to the group.
Each time I selected it it put me somewhere in the world, got a quick text saying something about “sstaying with the bot” and thats it. However, there is no bot around me or remotely close to me from what I can see. I tried once pedaling for 5min, thinking that it will either pick up with me or I will “find it” at some point and once I simply stood there and waited for it to come, both with no success.

What am i doing wrong there?

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There are some problems with joining robo pacers currently

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Hah, so indeed a bug. I suspected that that was the issue. Alright, ty :slight_smile:

While we wait for the RoboPacer ride spawn issue to be sorted out, I’d also recommend trying other, regularly run Group rides that are led by humans who ride at a steady pace and that are in your range. There’s a plethora of Group rides to choose from, but it can be hit and miss as to whether the leaders really do stick to the advertised power. In my experience, Herd rides are generally a good bet; the same goes for Pack. If you do some searches in these Forums, you’ll find a number of other recommended groups.