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-   -   Weird Zwift Experience (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1242832)

gthomson 11-25-21 08:31 AM

Weird Zwift Experience
 
So I haven't been Zwifting a ton this season, the fall is a busy time for yard work and then I was away earlier this month so just haven't got in my usual Zwift rhythm. I'm getting on maybe 1/week and every time I do, I have a software update which seems to always lead to some kind of problem with my ride. Not sure whether I need to restart my system afterwards to avoid this or just bad luck.

So last night I jumped on the bike to have a quiet spin to get rid of the sore legs from playing hockey the night before and I really wanted to ride the new route. Fire it all up and my choices are, York, NYC or Watapio - Meh! So I think, maybe if I join a group ride they will be using Neokyo? so I jump on the most current event which was a small group moving at a fast pace. Not exactly the light little spin I wanted so I start to fall behind but shortly after, my trainer stops adjusting any kind of resistance.

i had slowed down to about 200-220 watts and the route leaves Titans Grove and back to the Sand and Sequois (flat) but suddenly, I'm doing 300 watts, then 400 watts, then 500, etc... i was riding at 700+ watts at one point and was whipping past the other riders! I went to number one on the sprint, increased my FTP considerably and caught back up with the main group and started to fly past them before easing up considerably on the pedals.

In the end I got the low end work out I wanted but now have a bogus FTP that I need to revert back to what it was. I can see how easy it would be to cheat if I really wanted to (which I don't). Hopefully my system is OK and it was a one off.

gthomson 11-25-21 04:43 PM

Uggh! and that weird experience was because my trainer has gone south and not working. Well that's crappy luck!

MinnMan 11-25-21 06:22 PM

Today climbing alpe du zwift a guy flew by me supposedly holding a steady 33.3 W/kg. I don't suppose his trainer was broken also? I kind of think there's a different explanation in his case.

gthomson 11-26-21 07:47 AM


Originally Posted by MinnMan (Post 22320357)
Today climbing alpe du zwift a guy flew by me supposedly holding a steady 33.3 W/kg. I don't suppose his trainer was broken also? I kind of think there's a different explanation in his case.

It's possible now that I've lived it that some people don't care that it's not legit Zwifting if you ride like that but maybe they don't care, so long as they always win? Or they just don't have resistance on the trainer?

When I originally started Zwifting I had a dummy trainer and cadence and speed sensor on my bike so I could at least connect to Zwift but I don't remember my numbers being inflated like that? In fact, they were always lower and it wasn't until I got the smart trainer that I could even compete in a race or group ride.

I guess it's the pairing that is skewing the numbers and Zwift can't tell that I'm no longer subject to any resistance so the power is greatly exaggerated.

ctak 11-27-21 01:45 PM

What trainer are you using?

Bald Paul 11-28-21 07:00 AM

I had something similar happen to me in the past. Just warming up, soft pedaling at around a 60 cadence, it showed I was producing 700 watts! Later that ride, I earned the "1.2 Gigawatts" extra credit badge, and set a new KOM as well as grabbing a green sprint jersey. After a bit, the program caught on and stopped recording my efforts.
I was using a dumb trainer at the time, so I went into my settings and tried to re-calibrate it in the program with no luck. Chose a different trainer, then chose mine again. No change. I finally gave up and bought a smart trainer.
Later Zwift came out with a notice that their profile for the trainer I had been using had gone wonky. My neighbor is using it successfully now.

gthomson 11-29-21 12:29 PM


Originally Posted by ctak (Post 22321840)
What trainer are you using?

It's an Elite Ritmo wheel on smart trainer. It's 4 years old and my friend who bought the same model with me said his did the same thing just after 2 years so I guess I got a long life from it? I think after crapping out after 4 years is not impressive considering the money these trainers cost.

That being said, I'm thinking of buying the Elite Suito T Direct trainer but will do a bit of research first.

genejockey 11-29-21 12:35 PM

I was in a race the other day, one of the "anti-sandbagging" races. I race in 'D'. The race starts and there's the usual split between the front group of up to 6 riders and the rest. Then one of that group just takes off. I tried to chase, but they kept getting farther ahead. I looked at their power, and it was about 6.5W/kg. And it stayed that way FOR THE WHOLE RACE. One of the riders in our little group at the front got coned - which seemed strange to me because he was behind me the whole time, and I didn't. But the one off the front, at 6.5W/kg NEVER got coned, and in the results on the Companion App, they were listed as winning.

In an anti-sandbagging race, in a category where the upper limit is supposed to be 2.5W/kg average over 20 minutes.

Riveting 11-29-21 02:33 PM

I just hook a variable speed 110v 10amp electric drill with a 12 tooth cog on it, to my chain, and I have all the watts I'll ever need. /s

MinnMan 11-29-21 09:51 PM


Originally Posted by Riveting (Post 22323687)
I just hook a variable speed 110v 10amp electric drill with a 12 tooth cog on it, to my chain, and I have all the watts I'll ever need. /s

Sad that those little suckers can sustain far more power than our well-developed legs, no matter how hard we train.

MinnMan 11-29-21 09:55 PM


Originally Posted by genejockey (Post 22323548)
I was in a race the other day, one of the "anti-sandbagging" races. I race in 'D'. The race starts and there's the usual split between the front group of up to 6 riders and the rest. Then one of that group just takes off. I tried to chase, but they kept getting farther ahead. I looked at their power, and it was about 6.5W/kg. And it stayed that way FOR THE WHOLE RACE. One of the riders in our little group at the front got coned - which seemed strange to me because he was behind me the whole time, and I didn't. But the one off the front, at 6.5W/kg NEVER got coned, and in the results on the Companion App, they were listed as winning.

In an anti-sandbagging race, in a category where the upper limit is supposed to be 2.5W/kg average over 20 minutes.

One of the obvious red flags of people using an electronic assist is that they output high STEADY power. I've seen people buzzing by at various high power outputs - say 8 W/kg (or the other day, 33.3 W/kg!) and no fluctuations at all. You show me the rider who can hold 8 W/kg (or even 6.5 W/kg) without some small fluctuations up and down. That's not human.

superdex 11-30-21 12:13 AM


Originally Posted by gthomson (Post 22319801)
So I haven't been Zwifting a ton this season, the fall is a busy time for yard work and then I was away earlier this month so just haven't got in my usual Zwift rhythm. I'm getting on maybe 1/week and every time I do, I have a software update which seems to always lead to some kind of problem with my ride. Not sure whether I need to restart my system afterwards to avoid this or just bad luck.

So last night I jumped on the bike to have a quiet spin to get rid of the sore legs from playing hockey the night before and I really wanted to ride the new route. Fire it all up and my choices are, York, NYC or Watapio - Meh! So I think, maybe if I join a group ride they will be using Neokyo? so I jump on the most current event which was a small group moving at a fast pace. Not exactly the light little spin I wanted so I start to fall behind but shortly after, my trainer stops adjusting any kind of resistance.

i had slowed down to about 200-220 watts and the route leaves Titans Grove and back to the Sand and Sequois (flat) but suddenly, I'm doing 300 watts, then 400 watts, then 500, etc... i was riding at 700+ watts at one point and was whipping past the other riders! I went to number one on the sprint, increased my FTP considerably and caught back up with the main group and started to fly past them before easing up considerably on the pedals.

In the end I got the low end work out I wanted but now have a bogus FTP that I need to revert back to what it was. I can see how easy it would be to cheat if I really wanted to (which I don't). Hopefully my system is OK and it was a one off.

How often do you calibrate your trainer? I've had that happen a couple times (Saris H3) and I have to reset/recalibrate the trainer. Which sucks when you're trying to get something done.

gthomson 11-30-21 07:42 AM


Originally Posted by superdex (Post 22324165)
How often do you calibrate your trainer? I've had that happen a couple times (Saris H3) and I have to reset/recalibrate the trainer. Which sucks when you're trying to get something done.

Do you use the Zwift app to re-calibrate? because that's not an option when I connect on Zwift, something to do with my trainer. Or do you use another tool? I just found out there's an Elite app I can use for my trainer which I'm going to download and try.

Their support actually got back to me with a test to do which entails opening up the "smart" part of the trainer to test something, so will give that a try.

genejockey 11-30-21 11:53 AM


Originally Posted by MinnMan (Post 22324105)
One of the obvious red flags of people using an electronic assist is that they output high STEADY power. I've seen people buzzing by at various high power outputs - say 8 W/kg (or the other day, 33.3 W/kg!) and no fluctuations at all. You show me the rider who can hold 8 W/kg (or even 6.5 W/kg) without some small fluctuations up and down. That's not human.

My recollection was that every time I looked, the power was 6.46W/kg, and as you say, remarkably stable. So there's that, plus the fact that the rider was never 'coned' despite clearly far exceeding the limits of 'D'.

It occurred to me that perhaps this was bait, to see who'd chase it and exceed the power limits of the category. I actually started chasing when they were still within sight, figuring they would have to slow down sometime. But no.

superdex 11-30-21 01:00 PM


Originally Posted by gthomson (Post 22324303)
Do you use the Zwift app to re-calibrate? because that's not an option when I connect on Zwift, something to do with my trainer. Or do you use another tool? I just found out there's an Elite app I can use for my trainer which I'm going to download and try.

Their support actually got back to me with a test to do which entails opening up the "smart" part of the trainer to test something, so will give that a try.

Yeah, the Elite app should have a calibrate function. You could use Zwift's calibration -- I can't use it to calibrate the Saris because the spin down takes so long Zwift times out. I use the Saris app on my phone to calibrate.

ctak 11-30-21 02:46 PM


Originally Posted by superdex (Post 22324676)
Yeah, the Elite app should have a calibrate function. You could use Zwift's calibration -- I can't use it to calibrate the Saris because the spin down takes so long Zwift times out. I use the Saris app on my phone to calibrate.

I have an H3 as well. How long do your spin downs take during calibration with the mobile Saris app? 13s or so? Usually my H3 does what it should but last night it pooped out during a workout - erg mode just disengaged suddenly, leaving me with little resistance. Fortunately, calibration thru the Saris app solved this. I did recently update my H3 with the latest firmware..

superdex 11-30-21 05:57 PM


Originally Posted by ctak (Post 22324799)
I have an H3 as well. How long do your spin downs take during calibration with the mobile Saris app? 13s or so? Usually my H3 does what it should but last night it pooped out during a workout - erg mode just disengaged suddenly, leaving me with little resistance. Fortunately, calibration thru the Saris app solved this. I did recently update my H3 with the latest firmware..

My spindowns take >30s every time, and Zwift times out after about 20. Shrug. Some direct-drive trainers have a tension adjustment to work with this; the Saris doesn't....

gthomson 12-01-21 07:59 AM

Elite support now has me opening up the unit an tinkering with the motor! We'll see how this goes over ha ha

ctak 12-02-21 02:00 PM


Originally Posted by superdex (Post 22324988)
My spindowns take >30s every time, and Zwift times out after about 20. Shrug. Some direct-drive trainers have a tension adjustment to work with this; the Saris doesn't....

Have you updated your H3 with the most recent firmware through the Saris app? That improved the calibration values for my unit.

jpescatore 12-07-21 06:46 AM

I'm about 5 years and 10K Zwift miles into using a Wahoo Kickr SNAP wheel-on trainer, no problems.

A few times over the years, always after a Zwift update, I'd have "reverse" gradient applied - going up a hill on Zwift would feel easy, down would be hard. I found that restarting Zwift usually cured the problem (I run Zwift on Apple TV) but at least once there was another Zwift update which cured it when restart did not.

Redbullet 12-07-21 02:33 PM

An older experience: I zwifted two group rides, around 160-200 riders. Poor drafting - most of the time I needed 20-30% more w/kg (74 kg weight) than the other riders to stay in the middle of a pack. I made huge efforts to keep around 80th-100th place until the end, always in a pack.
But when the final rankings were posted, I was the 10th for one ride and the 17th for the other. It was somehow like riding offline, but seeing the groups around me on the screen.
I didnít understand a thing, soÖ I changed the cycling app.

msu2001la 12-15-21 01:17 PM

Last spring, I was riding the Leith Hill KOM at a steady 220 watts and all of the sudden realized that my avatar was sprinting past everyone and I was seeing 2000 watts on the screen. I stopped pedaling and tried to unpair/re-pair the power meter but it kept doing it. I also tried to re-calibrate it through the stages app and that's when I realized the battery was super low. Replacing the battery in the PM returned everything back to normal.

While I was troubleshooting, some dork started calling me out in the game chat for "cheating". It wasn't like I was blasting along at 2000 watts for several minutes. I probably noticed within 10-15 seconds, stopped and tried to sort it out, and then re-tried a few times (resulting in maybe 5-10 more seconds of 2000+ watt riding) before giving up and ending my ride. When I exited, I got a notification that Zwift had flagged the ride and wouldn't include it in my stats.

PeteHski 12-16-21 05:35 AM

Top tip - If riding in a Zwift breakaway group always check that the guys pulling on the front at least have the "lightning bolt" icon next to their W/kg, which means they are using a Smart trainer. No "lightning bolt" means they are using virtual power and should therefore be ignored. I wish Zwift would segregate users based on their trainer type and just make them invisible to other users. Or at least give you the option to toggle them off. It only takes one or two grossly over-powered muppets to ruin an event by ripping groups apart or forcing a pace too high for a break to get away.

AdkMtnMonster 12-16-21 09:41 PM

I hate it when I'm on a long climb, like the big KOM to the radio tower, or even the radio tower itself, or the Alpe, etc, and I'm putting out a steady 3.5W/kg (when I feel great) and other riders pass me like I'm stopped, and their stats say they're putting out an unwavering 1.4W/kg and they're not doing a workout. One point four W/kg!!! What kind of bull is that? What's the point?

gthomson 12-17-21 08:08 AM


Originally Posted by AdkMtnMonster (Post 22342703)
I hate it when I'm on a long climb, like the big KOM to the radio tower, or even the radio tower itself, or the Alpe, etc, and I'm putting out a steady 3.5W/kg (when I feel great) and other riders pass me like I'm stopped, and their stats say they're putting out an unwavering 1.4W/kg and they're not doing a workout. One point four W/kg!!! What kind of bull is that? What's the point?

That used to bother me as well, especially in a race or group ride and would just make me think i was being punished for being fat (or in reality, putting my real weight in Zwift). I just continue on knowing at least that I am doing myself a favour by making the experience as real as possible for the purpose of improving myself.

What do people think they achieve by entering fake information and breezing through the maps getting no work out?

esarhaddon 12-17-21 10:23 AM

There is a bug in meetups that can cause people to ride around with absurd speeds no matter their power, so that might be an explanation for why they were riding so quickly with such low power.

PeteHski 12-17-21 11:11 AM


Originally Posted by AdkMtnMonster (Post 22342703)
I hate it when I'm on a long climb, like the big KOM to the radio tower, or even the radio tower itself, or the Alpe, etc, and I'm putting out a steady 3.5W/kg (when I feel great) and other riders pass me like I'm stopped, and their stats say they're putting out an unwavering 1.4W/kg and they're not doing a workout. One point four W/kg!!! What kind of bull is that? What's the point?

Can't say I've ever seen that. 1.4 W/kg and they are passing you on a climb while you are up at 3.5 W/kg? The physics of that just doesn't make any sense. I've seen plenty of guys unrealistically pulling a steady 6+ W/kg up the big climbs at warp speed, but anyone I've seen at 1.4 W/kg is crawling along.

ingo 12-17-21 10:10 PM

The 1.4 W/kg (any power really) meetup bug is a well known exploit, people are using it to level up. I thought that Zwift fixed it. The groups I have seen are travelling at 42 kph regardless of slope or power. Two updates ago there was a bug where if you went to the pairing screen while riding your avatar continued at the same speed. Some jokers went to the nearest down hill and sprinted at 90 kph, then continued for the next 2 hours at that speed to take all the Strava KOMs. It's only a game, so I don't worry about those people.

Redbullet 12-20-21 01:11 PM


Originally Posted by AdkMtnMonster (Post 22342703)
I hate it when I'm on a long climb, like the big KOM to the radio tower, or even the radio tower itself, or the Alpe, etc, and I'm putting out a steady 3.5W/kg (when I feel great) and other riders pass me like I'm stopped, and their stats say they're putting out an unwavering 1.4W/kg and they're not doing a workout. One point four W/kg!!! What kind of bull is that? What's the point?

I think they use some "tricks" to face high workloads on servers, and sometimes this generates unexpected behavior. I remember 3 times I wanted to get rid of a few riders who were drafting me. So, during descents, I shifted to big gears and I input some 5 - 6 w/kg for 10-20 seconds, at highest cadence. One or two guys simply remained "stitched" to me, although they continued to input 1.5-1.7 w/kg. Then, when I tried to draft them with the same 1.5-1.7 w/kg, they dropped me hard with the same 1.5-1.7 w/kg. Like a "punishment" :).
I prefer something more realistic, even if it's not perfect...

AdkMtnMonster 12-21-21 07:23 PM


Originally Posted by Redbullet (Post 22346345)
I think they use some "tricks" to face high workloads on servers, and sometimes this generates unexpected behavior. I remember 3 times I wanted to get rid of a few riders who were drafting me. So, during descents, I shifted to big gears and I input some 5 - 6 w/kg for 10-20 seconds, at highest cadence. One or two guys simply remained "stitched" to me, although they continued to input 1.5-1.7 w/kg. Then, when I tried to draft them with the same 1.5-1.7 w/kg, they dropped me hard with the same 1.5-1.7 w/kg. Like a "punishment" :).
I prefer something more realistic, even if it's not perfect...


Iíve noticed similar things. Zwift has some weirdness, to be sure. All that $$$ they make and they still make riders drive through each other, trying to occupy the same space at the same time, even passing directly through each othersí eyeballs. Thatís a terrible interface. (Pun intended.)


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