XP for climbs

I disagree. Part of it is the metal side of things, slogging up a steep climb for an hour is much harder than doing an hour workout in my opinion

why are you slogging up the climb, put it in a nice gear and ride tempo. :sunglasses:

We are so far off topic at this point that I moved us to a new topic.

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IIRC, Alpe Du Zwift is a fairly stable ~8% gradient, dropping a tiny bit in the hairpins.

On the other hand, New York reverse KOM is all over the place. 100% trainer difficulty on a turbo that can simulate ~16%+ on those two nasty ramps early on can rip your legs off when chasing your personal best, compared to lowered trainer difficulty or even zero.

I kept the trainer difficulty at its default 50%. I don’t feel I’m getting much less out of my training/riding with it there. IRL I grind way more than I should, so I actually try to work on getting used to faster cadences for longer periods when I’m indoors. I still see gains on big hills IRL after my winter Zwift session (I have a mini-Alpe du zwift climb right by my house), so I don’t think it’s hurting me that much.

One reason I like 50% is because I can stick to my big front chainring rather than needing to shift in and out of that all the time. Definitely would need my small chainring at 100% difficulty. I should try one alpe climb on 100% to see how badly the alpe would make me grind.

I think it would be fine if certain race series required 100% and that was a forced configuration for any event organizer, I would still join those events, but I would keep my setting on 50% for any of my normal training/riding.

Then I have to get a 32 chain ring and a 11-34 cessette.

I’m pushing more watts, but I’m pushing them over a much shorter period of time. So the overall energy needed to move me will be (roughly, not counting losses through frame bending and such) the same. A certain mass moved over a certain distance requires a certain amount of energy. It’s relevant because it’s the nature of how that energy is expended that makes the difference.

The difference between spinning at low resistance and grinding at a high resistance is far more than just cadence. You’re literally using different muscle fibers at different rates. Fast twitch fibers, the ones you recruit for higher wattage effort, tire much more quickly than slow twitch fibers. Spinning at lower wattages uses more slow twitch fibers, meaning your endurance is better. Just like sprinting vs low watt spinning, the power expended is the same–but your ability to expend it will vary quite dramatically.

You can test this yourself: choose a course on zwift, a long one. Pick your hardest gearing, and ride the course. Now pick a much lower gearing (not necessarily your lowest, but somewhere mid-cassette), and ride the course in the same time. Hardest gearing will mean your cadence is much lower. Easier gearing will mean your cadence is much higher. But ride it in the same time. You’ll be moving your mass the same distance, in the same time–so in theory expending the same energy, right? But one of those efforts will be harder :slight_smile:

This is something cyclists in general have known for a while–moving X kgs across Y kms at 50rpm is much harder than moving the same X kg across the same Y km at 90rpm. Because of the differences in your muscle fibers, and the differences in how they take in and expend energy.

But we have gears so we don’t need to ride at 50rpm.

So just change your group set or change to 50% TD :sunglasses:

I know–that’s not my point. I’m talking about why riding AdZ in free ride will be harder (with a ‘standard’ TD) than riding it in a typical workout, even though the power output would be the same.

All ways of moving a given mass a given distance will not be equally as difficult or easy as each other.

True, and my average power on AdZ is higher when TD is lower because then it’s more of a TT. Peak power is higher when TD is higher, but it all depends on the purpose of the session. Everyone should feel free to set TD wherever they want based on their intent for the ride. Doing AdZ with TD at 100% is also good fun.


Depends on the gearing on the bike.

A workout at 220w at 70rpm and free riding the Alpe at 220w and 70rpm - sound the same to me.

I understand the “things feel different at 50rpm 280W and 80rpm 280W” aspect - though you still managed to push 280W either way. But I still maintain the max sprint vs. 100W for the same distance is a different argument entirely. It’s detached from the trainer difficulty discussion as far as I can tell.

Sure, if you maintain a constant RPM and wattage in both instances, all the way up AdZ, those would be the same. But most people definitely won’t be able to maintain one single RPM and one single wattage value for the whole climb. Workouts in general aren’t going to correspond to the elevation changes, and it’s more or less inhuman to be able to ride climbs like that. If you can, then sure–that particular case isn’t what I’m talking about. That’s why I used qualifiers :slight_smile:

Well first, it’s about more than just how things feel, to be clear. It’s about how much harder or easier it will be to achieve the same ends. (Meaning–if my muscles can no longer work as efficiently, it takes more energy from me, more effort, to get those muscles to produce the same power output. Tired fast twitch muscles will take more energy from me to put the same power through the pedals.)

The sprint vs 100w is another example of the same principle, that’s all–moving a mass a given distance can be done in multiple ways, and they are in no way equal. It’s another example of the same principle in play. That principle will be in effect when you’re playing around with TD, or when you’re playing around with the speed at which you move a mass across a distance. Same principle, so relevant to the argument.

It somewhat depends on what type of gear ratios they have. If someone is using a mountain bike rear cogset in Zwift with a drop-out gear they can probably still spin pretty reasonably on the Alpe at 100% TD with a similar cadence to someone on a tighter road bike cogset at 50%. I’m actually not sure how much I’d really need to grind if I used my small chainring at 100% difficulty on a strong attempt at the alpe, I might try it to see what cadence I’m forced into as a test.

Completely agree. There is a lot of variance in terms of what an actual ride and an actual workout will result in :slight_smile: Some workouts will come close to, maybe even be harder than, a 100% TD free ride.

But if you took an AdZ 100%TD free ride, and compared the effort that took to a 0%TD 100watt spin up the same route, it’s clearly not the case that both of these rides will take the same amount of effort. That’s my point–it seems like sometimes people throw around the ‘it takes the same wattage’ claim like it means the efforts will be the same. And they won’t be. :slight_smile:

Yeah, again, it depends on two things, one is the gearing available to the rider, and the second is how much that rider would be forced to grind more in one vs. the other based on the power you can sustain. Someone who is 75kg and can average 300W up the Alpe might still be able to spin at a reasonable rate in their smallest gear on 100% TD for instance - just depends on what gears they have.

And, if you put someone on that mountain bike with a drop-out doing 100W in free ride up the Alpe, they might also be able to keep spinning at the rate they would be spinning on their road bike at 50% TD.

Maybe–there are going to be limitations just because there are limitations on gear ratios :slight_smile: There’s a point at which everyone will be taxed more, what will change is when that point is. That person who can do 300w at 90rpm will still have harder and easier efforts–they’re just scaled up (“it doesn’t get easier, you only go faster”). But yeah, there’s a reason why all the crazies–I mean bold people–racing on single-speeds are giving their own group in races. Gears make things better, lol. But they don’t make ‘everything equal all the time’ :slight_smile:



It isn’t stable, it has 14% sections and 11%.

I’ve done ADZ according to Strava 55 times.

I use the same gearing as my road bike has currently, but IRL I’ve ridden in the mountains of France with 52-36 and 11-28 on a Mavic Canyon Aeroad CF SLX. I can do same in Zwift with 100% TD, but cadence is lower like in real life. It’s okay for a couple of days of 3500-4000m+ each day but not ideal for 5+ days of that.

Are you doing the 70 cadence and 220w everywhere including the fairly flat hairpins? I would say probably no, because you have to be up and down the gears all the time. While the person in workout mode has none of that, they just spin away with no need to do any shifting. They may as well be riding on a flat road.

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Compared to the likes of Road To Hell B4501 Road To Hell cat2 climb | Strava Ride Segment in Denbigh, Wales, United Kingdom (6.94 miles, 3.3% average), ADZ is a fairly stable climb, that averages 8.5% and varies up to 1.9% gradient from that average between hairpin segments.