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Ratchet21

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Sep 7, 2020
125
103
@Ratchet21 try out some of the easier FTP builders on Zwift if you can. I can confirm they really improve your cycling.
Yes! have been trying out different FTP builders course in Zwift and enjoying it so far!

And @MattRyuu, if you are using it too, do you think Strava subscription is worth it? or having Zwift's own analysis is enough?
 
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MattRyuu

Maximum Pace
Apr 23, 2019
361
391
Yes! have been trying out different FTP builders course in Zwift and enjoying it so far!

And @MattRyuu, if you are using it too, do you think Strava subscription is worth it? or having Zwift's own analysis is enough?

@Ratchet21 , awesome! Are you working on one now?

I use just the free version of Strava...all my rides load up to that and it has the basic analysis I need.Honestly Zwift is just communicating what I already have from my Zwift subscription to Strava, so I feel paying for it would be redundant.
 

Ratchet21

Maximum Pace
Sep 7, 2020
125
103
@Ratchet21 , awesome! Are you working on one now?

I use just the free version of Strava...all my rides load up to that and it has the basic analysis I need.Honestly Zwift is just communicating what I already have from my Zwift subscription to Strava, so I feel paying for it would be redundant.
That's what I thought too and I don't really want to spend extra money on the subscription since most of the info are already on Zwift.
So far I have been trying on FTP Builder Threshold Development, SST (Med), High Intensity w Recovery, etc. Am still trying around!
 

MattRyuu

Maximum Pace
Apr 23, 2019
361
391
Nice @Ratchet21 , I'm on week 5 of the 6 week FTP builder. Really noticing the shorter rest durations between intervals and the foundation ones that have more than 6 intervals. But it is paying off...what used to feel tough for long periods at 150W now feels that way at 200W
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,697
2,695
I also agree that the FTP plans are good, effective and motivational. It's worth checking through them as they are quite different.

I did the 12 week FTP builder on Zwift (crammed into two weeks).

I think the 12 week is good for a beginner as it only asks for two main power targets in various forms. So you can really get a good feel for what 'tempo' feels like and what 'sub threshold' feels like.

From Sunday I started the 4 week FTP builder.

Here the intervals are much more varied. This makes it more interesting but also much more challenging.

I started out doing two workouts back to back each day again but this might be too much.

I failed a workout yesterday. And went back to it today.

I think finding your limit, and then slowly pushing it, is one key to good training.

I did a blog post about it. The usual link and cut and paste below.

Cheers,

Andy


to the limit / don't fear failure

as a cyclist
I always think to improve
you should push yourself to the limit

outdoors this is easy
on road, ride with someone who is stronger than you
off road, ride with someone who has better technique than you

indoors you need to push yourself
gradually make the training harder
till you can't take it anymore

I've been doing 2 x zwift workouts each day
for 2.5 weeks

since sunday I entered a new training plan
and the workouts got harder

☆longer intervals
☆higher cadence
☆higher power targets

yesterday's workout 1
I did sweetspot
280W @95rpm
x 5 mins x 5
not too difficult

yesterday's workout 2
VO2 max intervals
605W x 45s x 6

2.5 weeks of intervals in the legs
I can't hit the numbers for the 2nd workout

in this situation
you have to think positively
"the training is working
I'm pushing myself to the limit"

pull the plug
take a bath
drink a beer
there's always tomorrow!

today I went back
scraped through 600W x 45s x 6
then there is [email protected] x 8mins at the end

just as I'm thinking
"what's the point of this!?"
a message comes on the screen
「hold tight, this is where the adaptation occurs」

I want to believe it
I have to believe it
will keep building up till spring!
 

Ratchet21

Maximum Pace
Sep 7, 2020
125
103
Nice @Ratchet21 , I'm on week 5 of the 6 week FTP builder. Really noticing the shorter rest durations between intervals and the foundation ones that have more than 6 intervals. But it is paying off...what used to feel tough for long periods at 150W now feels that way at 200W
I start to feel guilty and wrong because I just jumped to the last week of the FTP builder and select what I think look fun... I did finished the ride even though it pushed my legs and stamina to the limit but I think the training might have been totally ineffective haha. I think I need to do an FTP test and start over proerply again because at my first ride I think I didn't set my FTP correctly as I was reading the instruction and the functions of Zwift!

@andywood wow, that is really intense. I'm trying to ride at least 4x a week now and hopefully can increase the intensity as I go with it.
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,697
2,695
I start to feel guilty and wrong because I just jumped to the last week of the FTP builder and select what I think look fun... I did finished the ride even though it pushed my legs and stamina to the limit but I think the training might have been totally ineffective haha. I think I need to do an FTP test and start over proerply again because at my first ride I think I didn't set my FTP correctly as I was reading the instruction and the functions of Zwift!

@andywood wow, that is really intense. I'm trying to ride at least 4x a week now and hopefully can increase the intensity as I go with it.
Consistency is the most important thing. So if you ride 4 times a week, keep at it. As you say, gradually increase the intensity. That way you will definitely see improvements.

Ride On!

Andy
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
1,069
535
Currently one of my favorite biking related YouTube channels so thought I'd pass it along. Good for a laugh.

He does go on, doesn't he? He reminded me of Hambini: if only some editor would cut Hambini's videos to one third their length, I'd watch them. Anyway, here's what he says you probably want but are a waste of money: garmins (of any brand), Strava, gels, CO2 canisters, Di2, disc brakes, tubeless tyres. As it happens I occasionally consume gels (during one long ride in five or so?) but neither have nor want any of the others. So I'd expect to be nodding in agreement with him. But ... let's say that his videos are an acquired taste, one that, perhaps unfortunately, I haven't acquired. (I found myself rooting for what he doesn't like, and heard him out while typing in a different window.)

My own favourite among cycling-without-wasting-your-money video series is "Bike Fit Tuesdays", from which I learned that (as a ferinstance) "saddle problems" probably aren't caused by one's saddle and that bringing the saddle down a little could be worth a try. I tried that; it worked. I'm now happily riding on a saddle that I think cost 3000 or 4000 yen when new and that I bought from Buychari for I think 1000 yen. No saddle sores since I brought it down (cross fingers).
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,041
1,137
He does go on, doesn't he? He reminded me of Hambini: if only some editor would cut Hambini's videos to one third their length, I'd watch them. Anyway, here's what he says you probably want but are a waste of money: garmins (of any brand), Strava, gels, CO2 canisters, Di2, disc brakes, tubeless tyres. As it happens I occasionally consume gels (during one long ride in five or so?) but neither have nor want any of the others. So I'd expect to be nodding in agreement with him. But ... let's say that his videos are an acquired taste, one that, perhaps unfortunately, I haven't acquired. (I found myself rooting for what he doesn't like, and heard him out while typing in a different window.)

My own favourite among cycling-without-wasting-your-money video series is "Bike Fit Tuesdays", from which I learned that (as a ferinstance) "saddle problems" probably aren't caused by one's saddle and that bringing the saddle down a little could be worth a try. I tried that; it worked. I'm now happily riding on a saddle that I think cost 3000 or 4000 yen when new and that I bought from Buychari for I think 1000 yen. No saddle sores since I brought it down (cross fingers).
Yeah. He's not to be taken seriously at all, as I imagine he'd be first to admit (and as he frequently contradicts his own advice). Mostly tongue-in-cheek silliness. And, yeah, agreed he could use an editor. But when he talked about Strava and 'nobody cares,' or on another video about there being no gravel in the UK so you don't need a gravel bike, I was pretty amused. Just some silliness injected into a season of seriousness. YMMV.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,988
2,289
Anyway, here's what he says you probably want but are a waste of money: garmins (of any brand), Strava, gels, CO2 canisters, Di2, disc brakes, tubeless tyres.
Actually, I was surprised he didn't add clipless pedals to the list (which I love but technically don't "need")! I agree with him that all of the above are something I don't need, but as a value proposition the judgement can never quite be black and white. There are things I don't need but that are worth it to me.

Some things are more useful than others and some really depend on what kind of rides you do.

For example, if you never ride in the rain, never do long, steep descents and don't use wide tires then disc brakes really don't offer much over rim brakes, which will stop a bike just as well in dry conditions and with less maintenance. But I do ride in the rain (or get caught in it because I will venture out in uncertain forecasts or on rides too long or scheduled too far in advance to have been predictable) and sometimes do long descents in the rain and cold where having brakes that work predictably and with a light touch are worth their weight in gold.

Garmin and Strava are a tool to motivate people. Yes, we can also be motivated by riding in great scenery, enjoying beautiful views or riding in great company. But sometimes the tricky part is to get out of the door in the first place, or making a choice between an easy ride plan and a more challenging one. Then the data that these tools provide can add motivation to push yourself to try something you would not normally attempt.

Di2 is great if you have the money. If you don't, it's totally unnecessary. It's a luxury. It saves having to regularly swap shifter cables and housing or having to adjust your derailleur. A derailleur that never goes out of adjustment and perfectly shifts every single time is beautiful. If that makes you enjoy your rides more and you can afford it, what's not to like about it? Yes, you have to keep a battery charged - big deal, every mobile phone user does that everyday :)

Gels probably have their place in races or ride intensities that I have no interest in. Likewise, a few seconds gained re-inflating a tire with CO2 after a puncture in a race may make a difference but for most people that's pointless. For tubeless I would agree that the benefits (outside of off-road cycling or in goathead ("puncture vine") infested parts of the planet) vs. complications are questionable.
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
1,069
535
But when he talked about Strava and 'nobody cares,' . . . .
I did smile the first time he said that -- but then he kept repeating it. Slowly.

A particularly odd part was about the weather. I don't like wet or cold and all in all am a timid, comfort-loving person; but if there are no rides on days when there'll be some rain -- well, that rules out cycling much of the year in England, where I think he is; and all of the year in Scotland, I think. (Apologies to any Scotspersons for my dependence on half-century-old memories of Scotland; I enjoyed it, but learned to ignore the daily weather forecast, which might as well have just said "everything".)

CO2: he forgot to say that your hands will freeze.

Di2 is great if you have the money. If you don't, it's totally unnecessary. It's a luxury. It saves having to regularly swap shifter cables and housing or having to adjust your derailleur. A derailleur that never goes out of adjustment and perfectly shifts every single time is beautiful. If that makes you enjoy your rides more and you can afford it, what's not to like about it?

Is there perhaps something that humble (and of course non-Di2) Tiagra does better than its more expensive alternatives? I don't remember when I last adjusted mine (and the adjustment was as demanding as rotating a knurled thingummy a few turns). The cables are changed once every three years or so. (I ask Mr LBS man about once a year; he says "If you'd like me to change them, I'll be happy to change them; but I don't think they need changing.") Di2 swiftly conked out on a friend's bike (ruining the remainder of his ride, I presume), and he had to buy a replacement Di2 computer or whatever it's called, considerably adding to the price he'd expected to pay.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,988
2,289
Is there perhaps something that humble (and of course non-Di2) Tiagra does better than its more expensive alternatives? I don't remember when I last adjusted mine (and the adjustment was as demanding as rotating a knurled thingummy a few turns). The cables are changed once every three years or so. (I ask Mr LBS man about once a year; he says "If you'd like me to change them, I'll be happy to change them; but I don't think they need changing.") Di2 swiftly conked out on a friend's bike (ruining the remainder of his ride, I presume), and he had to buy a replacement Di2 computer or whatever it's called, considerably adding to the price he'd expected to pay.
The 11 speed Ultegra (and perhaps also its 105 sibling) definitely go through shifter cables on a regular basis. If I don't change mine yearly I will end up with delayed shifts and eventually non-working gears and worst case, front shifts only. It may be related to when they changed from cables coming out of the side of the brifter to running under the bar tape. I know Tiagra made this change later than Ultegra and 105 (Tiagra 4700 vs. 105 5800?).

With Di2 that never happens. Once set up, shifting is absolutely perfect and stays that way, forever - front and rear. The electric cables that send power to the stepper motor that operates the derailleur never wear out. The only thing that will die eventually is the Li-ion battery, just like in your phone. As for reliability, the first generation of Di2 (in its 10-speed Dura-Ace and Ultegra incarnation) used a different cabling system from what all Shimano Di2 systems, from Road to MTB to Alfine, now use and that had a lot of issues, especially in the rain. Also, internal cabling on modern frames helped to protect the wiring. It seems fairly mature and reliable nowadays.

Mind you, if I was touring in Central Asia or South America, I would definitely be using mechanical shifting. My steel frames (NFE and Bike Friday) were not designed for it and wouldn't be a good fit.
 

OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
1,483
1,281
He does go on, doesn't he? He reminded me of Hambini: if only some editor would cut Hambini's videos to one third their length, I'd watch them.
Hambini's style is grating. I don't mind his opinions, but I'd enjoy his videos much more if they weren't narrated by “Hambini, aged 5” and rather “Hambini, adult”.

I find the videos by Peak Torque more to my liking.
Anyway, here's what he says you probably want but are a waste of money: garmins (of any brand), Strava, gels, CO2 canisters, Di2, disc brakes, tubeless tyres.
That sounds more like something to rile up some in the audience to increase listenership.
 

OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
1,483
1,281
Mind you, if I was touring in Central Asia or South America, I would definitely be using mechanical shifting. My steel frames (NFE and Bike Friday) were not designed for it and wouldn't be a good fit.
I think people who spend months touring remote areas of the world are a tiny, tiny sliver of the market. But even then IMHO some prejudices are not necessarily borne out by reality. I saw a video of a German couple who did either 30,000 km or 50,000 km on their bikes. They had hydraulic rim brakes. According to them, their hydraulic rim brakes were flawless. What wasn't flawless were their rims: they were clearly cracked in places, and one rim had to be replaced after a few thousand kms.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,988
2,289
They had hydraulic rim brakes. According to them, their hydraulic rim brakes were flawless. What wasn't flawless were their rims: they were clearly cracked in places, and one rim had to be replaced after a few thousand kms.
I would not worry about the hydraulic rim brakes spontaneously failing. I am sure in normal riding they work just fine for tens of thousands of km (as long as you have the right pads to change).

The issue is, hydraulic rim brakes most likely go with hydraulic shifters. And shifters are some of the most exposed parts in a crash, or even a parked bike falling over (been there, done that). Break your hydraulic brifter and then you need something that will work the same way, for both the brake and the shifting. Likewise for hydraulic hoses which also tend to be quite exposed. Somehow I don't have a good feeling about the spare part situation for hydro road brifters and hoses in a remote place somewhere in El Salvador or Uzbekistan.
 

Winston Leg-Thigh

Maximum Pace
Mar 31, 2015
130
148
The best new stuff I've used this year has been Schwalbe G-One 35mm tyres - make things so much more comfortable on-road and are decent enough for what I want off-road. Also pleased with my Elite Deboyo thermo flask and have been scoffing loads of Nature's Bakery Fig Bars (and the raspberry and blueberry ones) on rides. Got a jar of mixed nut butter from Costco the other week and that is a tremendous addition to marmite on toast for a more savoury mid-ride snack.
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