Zwiftcast

15
Aug

Episode 32 AUDIO

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Simon, Shane and Nathan are back to discuss a very busy period for Zwift news and chat. This episode is available in both audio and video versions.

The chaps start off discussing customisation, outlining their avatar policies and deciding that the new customisation features are much more fun than they ought to be. . . . . for grown men and women. Was “Ponytailgate” a thing? Listen to find out what the trio think.

There’s a quick rattle through all the other Zwift news, including the billionaire on the super yacht in a Zwift T shirt; the emergence of Running; the influence of the new influx of pro riders for recruitment of new subscribers to the platform and the appeal of working at Zwift as the company continues to hire new staff.

Long-time Zwifter Casey Schumm discusses the prospets for Zwift Running in the podcast’s first feature on the new way to Zwift.

The widely-respected sports tech blogger Ray Maker makes another appearance on the Zwiftcast, this time talking about the challenges and rewards of building a business and a new life in Paris.

Simon, Shane and Nathan go on to discuss the ethics and pitfalls of reviewing sports tech products – pertinent given the imminent holding of Eurobike, the world’s biggest bike show, and an occasion when we expect a number of new products of interest to Zwifters to be unveiled.

The final recorded feature on this episode is with coach Kev Poulton, who analyses the effectiveness of probably the best known interval in cycling, the 2x20.

The trio round off a lively and varied episode with a serious discussion about what the advent of a large prize purse for the next CVR World Cup event in Paris may mean for virtual bike racing. . . a fascinating area to discuss.

We hope you enjoy either watching or listening to this episode

1
Aug

Episode 31

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Simon, Shane and Nathan talk about the post-Tour blues, how they’re coping and how Zwift has leapt into the vacuum with a big announcement.

But before they get to the launch of the Zwift Men’s Academy, the chaps discuss the arrival of Mark Cavendish on the platform. . . with a little help from Cav’s team-mate, Steve Cummings and his Directeur Sportif, Roger Hammond.

The big news, though, is the Men’s Academy in partnership with Cav’s team, Dimension Data.

Team owner Doug Ryder tells Simon why the decision to get involved was a no-brainer and describes his excitement at the benefit both to the team’s adopted charity, Qhubeka, and the potential to find a hidden gem of a new rider.

Roger Hammond is equally excited and tells Simon how Zwift may help modernise recruitment to the pro peloton.

There are important differences from the Women’s Academy scheme and the Zwiftcasters discuss what they are, why they might have been made and what is their likely impact.

Zwiftcast resident Coach Kev Poulton discusses the theory behind his Four Week FTP Builder programme, a training plan that’s likely to prove very popular for Zwifters.

Simon, Shane and Nathan then get excited about how training plans can be compared to moving piles of sand . . . .

Steve Cummings gives Zwifters a little insight into how his rehab worked on Zwift and feels the same results can be achieved as Cav starts his long climb back to race pace using the platform to stay sharp.

Finally, Simon pops into D C Rainmaker’s pain cave in Paris for a quick chat about what Eurobike may hold in store and why software challengers to Zwift may face an uphill battle.

7
Jul

Episode 30

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Simon, Shane and Nathan are in Grand Tour mode for the latest episode of the Zwiftcast.

They trio discuss the latest trainer from Elite, the Direto (or Dorrito as it has instantly been christened) which was launched by the Italian company at the TdF.

A compatriot of Shane’s in Melbourne, Mike Boudrie, has compiled a “taxonomy of Zwifters”. He’s come up with four categories ranging from the die-hard to the denier . . . Simon talks to Mike about his fun list.

The chaps move on to a light-hearted compare-and-contrast exercise on Tour TV coverage on their respective continents before considering the latest chapter in Zwift Academy winner Leah Thorvilson’s amazing story as she competes in the women’s Grand Tour, the Giro Rosa.

Leah has had a tough time and the trio discuss what implications her experience may have on the next editions of the Academy scheme, with both a second women’s contest and a new men’s competition on the horizon.

The first Zwift Masters racing series has just concluded and it’s won a reputation for being not only great racing, but cultivating a super-friendly atmosphere. Simon talks to principal Chris O Hearn about his conclusions and plans for the next series.

Could Jarvis Island, the first Zwift world, ever return? It’s a perennial topic of discussion and fuel is added to the fire with Simon’s conversation with Zwift 3D artist Tony Yruegas.

The chaps debate the merits of a Jarvis return and Shane confesses what happened when he tried to hack his way back to Jarvis!

We hope you enjoy listening.

23
Jun

Episode 29

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Simon, Shane and Nathan return for a truly global episode of the podcast for Zwifters.

We kick off with Simon and Shane in London for the launch of the Zwift Women’s Academy , the scheme which has already produced one pro rider, and is now looking to find a second.

At the launch, Zwift CEO Eric Min caused Simon’s eyebrows to rise with a revelation that the company is working on a men’s version of the academy which should be launched within a year. Simon and Shane discuss . . . .

We have the first of three reports, throughout the podcast, from Nathan in Iceland where he was taking part in a gruelling 880 mile race around the perimeter of the island, working, at first, in conjunction with a Zwift team, and then – in fierce competition with them.

Now back in Melbourne, Shane gives his views on the long-awaited London extension, the real life version of which he had ridden only a day or two before. Both agree that the addition of spectators holds real promise.

After another report from Nathan, Simon talks to Daniel Hewitt, the engineer at Zwift responsible for, amongst other things, rider behaviour. It’s a great insight into this most complicated aspect of the game.

Hill repeats are a common training technique – but why do we do them and what benefit do we get? Coach to pro riders, Kevin Poulton explains and suggests a few good sessions.

The last feature in this edition is well worth a listen – Simon caught up with Nathan soon after he’d crossed the finish line in Iceland. The last few kilometers of this draining race was packed with drama.

Hope you enjoy listening!

8
Jun

Episode 28

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Simon, Shane and Nathan are together again – in the flesh and in person – as they catch up on all the latest news, events and gossip in Zwift.

All three of the Zwiftcasters sat down shortly after the latest CVR virtual racing event, in which all were involved - with Shane racing, Nathan commentating and Simon working behind the scenes.

The boys start the podcast with a quick assessment of the event and what it all may mean for the development of competitive indoor cycling.

There was an historic moment in Zwiftland when a German couple who met via the platform got married!

Simon talks to Lisa and Michael to get their story – and the boys follow up with some very light-hearted speculation about whether Zwift may become the new Tindr for cyclists. Probably not, they agree.

The boys chat about what may be happening at Zwift HQ with the much anticipated London extension still not released and move on to an interview with ZHQ’s Eric Chon, a guy who lots of Zwifters will know, as he helps fix their issues.

Simon, Shane and Nathan update listeners with what’s been happening in their bike lives, with Shane a special guest at the Zwift New Zealand and Australian tour; Nathan invited to a highly-competitive IRL race in Iceland with a bunch of Zwift execs aiming to make the top step of the podium and Simon relating the sorry tale of his big “off” and broken bike. That prompts a discussion about the real and perceived dangers of riding outside and whether London has made strides in accommodating cyclists and what lessons could be learned.

There’s going to be a regular new coaching feature on the Zwiftcast with top coach to the pro riders, Kevin Poulton. We kick off with a debate about the merits of the 2x8 FTP test as an alternative to the dreaded 20 minute effort.

The lads finish off riffing about Shane’s experience at a spin class and talking about the astonishing growth of the Peloton spin class company, finishing off with some speculation about whether Zwift could be making a pitch for this market.

We hope you enjoy listening!

22
May

Episode 27 ZC Feminine

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This episode of the Zwiftcast takes a long hard look at female Zwifters and Zwifting as Simon is joined by Lindsay Guerra and Veronica Micich in the role of guest co-hosts.

The trio kick off with  a look at the everyday experience of Zwifting for women and whether the platform is a more egalitarian space for women than some encounter IRL.

It's followed up with the first in a series of interview excerpts with Kate Veronneau, head of Women's Strategy at ZHQ, as she sets out the best ways to counter the gender imbalance in the game, with most estimates putting women in a minority of around 10%. 

The trio discuss whether ZHQ's preferred tactic of boosting female participation using group rides and womens' only events is the best way forward before considering whether more aggressive methods might be useful.

Inga Thompson was a legendary and pioneering road racer in the American scene in the 80s and early 90's. In a detailed interview, Inga discusses why she thinks women's cycling has moved backwards since she left the sport, and pinpoints a "lack of visibility" as a key problem. Simon, Lindsay and Veronica discuss Inga's contention that Zwift could improve this situation.

Zwift Academy is now rightly recognised as a great success and the trio discuss both winner Leah Thorvilson's progress and the wider picture, with help from Anne-Marije Rook, the Women's Editor of the Cycling Tips website. Kate V is back to let us know what's new in Zwift Academy Two. 

4
May

Episode 26

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Simon, Shane and Nathan are back together, albeit on three different continents, to discuss all matters Zwift.

The chaps spend a good deal of this episode applying their Zwiftcastian analysis to the many talking points stemming from the long interview with Zwift creator Jon Mayfield on the previous episode.

But there's room for lots more and the podcasters range over ways to mitigate the effects of long haul travel for bike riders; the joys of procrastination and who's hidden all Nathan's cycling gear!

Plus there's an illuminating interview with Zwift troubleshooter-in-chief, Lindsey Ruppert; a chat with Zwift exec Charlie Issendorf, who raises the intriguing possibility of pro racing on Zwift and an informative spot with Zwifter and coach Alan Dempsey who passes on some great tips about honing Zwift-fitness for outdoor riding.

We hope you enjoy listening. 

26
Apr

Episode 25 - Jon Mayfield Special

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This episode is devoted entirely to a conversation with Zwift creator and co-founder of the company, Jon Mayfield.

Patient listeners will be rewarded with some nuggets of news towards the end of the interview. But the real meat of the conversation is about Jon the man, the programmer and the visionary.  There's also plenty of insight into how he and his team work, with some questions which the community repeatedly asks tackled and answered by Jon.

The conversation is very wide ranging, looking at potential futures for Zwift as well as Jon's thoughts on racing; on real world courses; on the community; on the Zwift public roadmap (or lack therof!) the ability to change worlds; voice communications; a velodrome, or not; and yes, facial hair.

13
Apr

Episode 24

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Simon, Shane and Nathan are together - in the same place, and that place is Las Vegas! The Zwiftcasters are in the Nevada desert for the very first CVR World Champs, which is virtual bike racing as never before. Whilst the event takes top billing in this podcast, it's not the only things the boys find time to talk about.

In a more chatty than usual podcast, the trio discuss Frank Garcia's ambitious staging of Zwift racing as an ESport. If you don't know what this is, after listening to this 'cast, you'll be much wiser. But there's room for more than just racing.

Simon talks to Any Tough and his six year old son Daniel, about Kid Zwifting, its benefits and how the game can inspire youngsters to get involved in exercise and fitness.

Simon,  Shane and Nathan also mull over the E Fondo on Zwift; the film Zwift made about Mat Hayman and the advent of more data with the Zwift Ride Report.

But the birth of Zwifting as an ESport at scale does dominate this 'cast, not least because of Shane's "surprise" second place. The chaps dissect the event and debate what it may mean for the development of the platform.

This podcast is a little more talky than usual - perhaps not surprising as the hosts don't have to wrestle with the obvious disadvantages of being on three different continents. We hope you enjoy it.

27
Mar

Episode 23

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Simon, Shane and Nathan are back together to discuss all the latest happenings in Zwift. The trio kick off with a discussion about Nathan’s recent visit to Zwift HQ. Whilst he can’t be specific, Nathan reveals his excitement at upcoming developments by responding to Simon’s quiz questions.

Next is a feature with Frank Garcia, the veteran Zwifter and architect of the Cycligent ranking system, who talks candidly about his bid to “own” e-sports on Zwift. Fresh from a test event in the USA, where top Zwifters raced each other in front of a live audience, Frank is now taking the idea of live, validated, certified racing in front of a live and online global audience, to the next level with a big event in Las Vegas.

The Zwiftcast trio chew over the implications of this – and Shane talks about his hopes as a competitor in Vegas.

Monica Schlange has written movingly on ZwiftBlog about her battle with depression and how her efforts to conquer the illness with cycling seem somehow tied to the Zwift Mountain and Monica’s ambition of getting to the top. The Zwift community has pitched in to help her with a group ride to get Monica to the summit. Monica talks about cycling, the illness and what the community means to her.

The FTP test is now a familiar fitness tool to many Zwifters – but is the protocol used in game to assess fitness the correct and most suitable one for beginner or casual cyclists? Dr Alex Mitchell isn’t convinced - and he comes on the Zwiftcast to explain why and talk about his fitness tool which can provide an FTP figure using a much shorter test duration than the arduous 20 minute period used by the established test. Simon, Shane and Nathan discuss Dr Mitchell’s findings.

The boys finish with another brief discussion about the promise of Frank Garcia’s event in Vegas – and whether Britney Spears might be acting as Shane’s soigneur!