Zwiftcast

8
Mar

Episode 22 - Pro Rider Special

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An episode which focuses on the pro riders using Zwift, taking in current pro riders, a new pro rider in the form of Leah Thorvilson, the winner of the Zwift Academy scheme which used the platform as a talent trawl and a former pro rider who’s discovering a new lease of racing life virtually.

Shane and Nathan get the day off as Simon travels to Girona to spend some time with the Cannondale Drapac team. Whilst there, he caught up with Andrew Talansky and Taylor Phinney, huge stars on the World Tour circuit and enthusiastic Zwifters.

 Leah Thorvilson has just completed her first UCI races with her new team Canyon SRAM, WMN Cycling. She talks frankly about the “horrifying” aspects of racing as part of the pro peloton but also how much she’s learning - and how fast.

 Adrian Timmis raced the Tour de France in 1987 as part of the ill-fated Halfords ANC British team. Now he’s back racing, but on Zwift and he’s as competitive as ever. Adrian reflects on his experiences.

 This episode is also packed with pro tips, from the pros, on how they use the platform to hone their form. Hear about “favourite” intervals from Patrick Bevin; Ryan Mullen; Tom Skujins – and what a debt Brendan Canty owes to the Zwiftcast’s very own Shane Miller. There’s also an interview with the team’s performance director, Keith Flory, explaining the value of indoor training.

26
Feb

Episode 21

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Simon, Shane and Nathan are back together for more Zwiftchat and gossip. The trio kick off discussing a heart-warming story about a Zwifter in rehab who was helped out by a younger rider.

It leads on to a bit of a grumpfest about the slow pace of development in the game. The chaps wonder why voice in-game – which would no doubt lead to more social interaction – seems to be taking so long. Simon reveals that a chat with pro rider Taylor Phinney reveals him to be a big Zwifter – and a huge gamer, and that prompts a thoughtful discussion about how gaming techniques and features could develop the training tool aspect of the game, and even improve the feel of racing.

Shane goes into rant mode – justifiably, many would say, after Simon’s interview with a Zwifter who cracked his frame on the trainer, and then had a long dialogue with Specialized, who, initially at least, claimed that their frames are not warrantied for use in turbo trainers. The chaps agree that this situation is a mess, with inconsistency between some bike brands’ marketing and their warranty policies.

The chaps move onto the race scene on Zwift, with results service guru Glen Knight making an appearance to talk about improvements to the service. Simon, Shane and Nathan follow up with an interesting discussion on whether racing in Zwift has become flat and one dimensional. They agree that more gaming style features could bring beneficial changes.

Simon’s final feature after his visit to the Tacx factory takes a look at the highly automated nature of the trainer company’s production – and includes the revelation that the company’s best selling trainer is its most expensive – the Neo. The chaps discuss the implications of this for Zwifters and their expectations around indoor training.

This podcast rounds off with an update on Shane’s new trainer review blog and all the latest from Zwift Community Live.

4
Feb

ZC20 XL

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A new format, Zwiftcast XL will be published quickly after big news breaks on Zwift. It will also be a place to hear our new ZwiftcastLive show, which will be first available on Nathan's ZCL channel. In ZC20XL you can hear Simon, Shane and Nathan discuss the big new developments which Zwift CEO Eric Min talked about in an email interview with the NYVelocity blog. 

3
Feb

Episode 20

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Thanks for making the last two episodes the most downloaded ever! And we’re back with more Zwiftchat and features.

Simon, Shane and Nathan kick off with a short discussion on whether too much Zwifting makes you rusty once you get back outside. Then it’s onto dissect the implications of the rider who slipped through a glitch in the matrix and made it onto the obviously unfinished London course extension.

The chaps briefly chat through the merits of the Volcano extension then move on to analyse an intriguing statement from the boss of Tacx, Simon Tacx, on their possible plans for a Smart Bike.

Is Zwift becoming less social as it grows? The trio are pretty much agreed that it is and wonder if the growth in teams on Zwift is the community’s way of countering the “big city” feel that Zwift can assume at times.

Damon McKay from Team TFC talks to Simon about the community benefits that team membership can bring.

Simon has the first of his features from his visit to the Tacx factory – and inevitably, given some of the early difficulties with the Flux trainers, there’s a big focus on the company’s QC processes.

Finally, veteran Zwifter Chad McNeeese explains his seemingly counter-intuitive decision to “downgrade” from a smart trainer to a dumb turbo – and offers hope to Zwifters who may feel shut out of the full experience if they can’t run to an expensive smart trainer.

The chaps finish off with a look ahead to upcoming highlights on the burgeoning ZwiftCommunityLive channel hosted by Nathan.

22
Jan

Episode 19

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Simon, Shane and Nathan are back with all the latest eruptions from the land of Zwift. The trio vow NOT to talk about the imminent release of the Volcano Route, on the basis it’s bound to be released hours after the podcast is published, just like the unfortunate timing of the iOS version of the game and the podcast!

But the boys do chat about whether iOS is responsible for the upsurge in Lady Zwifters, a trend confirmed by CEO Eric Min and illustrated with an interview with new Lady Zwifter, Angela Prescott.

In other Zwifty news, Simon, Shane and Nathan try to put the GCN outage into perspective ; discuss the brilliant Zwift Community Live project and wonder if the relative absence of new developments in the game is an inevitable consequence of the platform’s rapid growth in subscriber numbers.

Coach David Lipscomb provides an FTP 101, with some invaluable advice on how to get the best from the test that many new Zwifters undertake. Shane and Nathan have some other views . . .

Frank Garcia, from Team X, introduces another superb community initiative – the Zwift Virtual Rankings. Followed up with a discussion on the now notorious #PowerUpsAreForPussies suggestion.

The biggest decision many Zwifters have to make on trainer choice is wheel-off, or wheel-on. Experienced Zwifter Paul Stokes goes from wheel on to wheel off and provides a thoughtful assessment on whether the extra expenditure is worth it. Finally, the Zwiftcast trio discuss what Apple TV might mean for Zwifters.

9
Jan

Episode 18

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The Zwiftcast has a new theme tune! Simon, Shane and Nathan hope you like it.

The Zwiftcast trio kick off by rattling through a whole series of info-bombs related to the Zwift platform, including the news that a Virtual Bike Shop will soon be open, allowing users to spend XP points; the decision to include ANT+ on the iOS platform after all and the impact of the big new January influx of users on the platform – could Zwift now be feeling a bit crowded at times? 

The main feature is a substantial interview with Ed Baker, a former Facebook exec, now with Uber, who is also one of the new private investors in Zwift. Ed is hugely experienced in helping digital businesses to grow and Zwifters will find his thoughts on this subject truly fascinating.

After analysing Ed’s interview (Mark Zuckerberg rides a Kickr – who knew!) Simon, Shane and Nathan knock around the idea that you may not need to own a big, expensive piece of hardware like a trainer to Zwift in future – what might it all mean?

The next feature is the concluding part of Simon’s visit to the trainer manufacturer Elite – with some interesting thoughts about Smart Bikes and the direction of trainer prices. Which leads the chaps on to talk about the continuing difficulties some users are experiencing with the Tacx Flux trainer. 

Simon’s review of the Flux includes sound tests at various wattage levels, but did he get the problems others, including Shane have experienced? And when is Round Three of Shane Vs the Flux – and how might it be covered? Shane is threatening a live stream with Nathan commentating. . . .

This episode of the podcast concludes with some incredibly valuable advice from pro rider coach Kevin Poulton on how to use Zwift to lose weight. Kevin, who coached popular Zwifter Matt Hayman to victory in Paris Roubaix, gives tips on which workouts will be most effective and explains some of the science behind his advice. 

The boys conclude with a light-hearted discussion on changing your weight – or even failing to do so (!) – in Zwift.

 

19
Dec

Episode 17

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Simon, Shane and Nathan wrap up the year with a look at the new stuff on Zwift.

 

Before the boys get going there’s an interview with Leah Thorvilson, done just a few hours after she learned she was the winner of the Zwift Academy scheme. It’s a revealing and candid reaction.

With iOS finally out, and the expected influx of new users to the platform, the trio debate the one big surprise – the inclusion of running as a secret, and unsupported, feature on the app.

While we welcome runners, the trio are less enthusiastic about signs of tension in the community between experienced and new users, and Simon, Shane and Nathan discuss the best way to overcome it.

The new trainer from Tacx, the eagerly-awaited Flux, seems to be having a difficult birth and Simon and Shane discuss how hard it can be to get the internet to forget.

Simon has two reports from Italy – and his visit to Elite’s headquarters. The trainer manufacturer has introduced new standards for accuracy, and Simon finds out how it’s done.

The mysteries of the draft on Zwift are many – and one user, Andrew Williams, a lighter rider, thinks he’s falling victim to lighter riders getting the rough end of the deal after recent changes. Simon explores the matter with Andrew and long-time Zwifter Christian Wiedemann.

The lads sum up the discussion with a unanimous request to Zwift to discuss and consult with the community about the draft.

Simon’s second report from Elite looks at the critical issue of quality control for trainer manufacturers. The report is followed up with a discussion on how important accuracy is at the moment for the different types of Zwift users.

Finally the boys discuss how likely it will be that they get to ride their bikes on Christmas Day.

 

9
Dec

Episode 16

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Simon, Shane and Nathan get together to discuss the latest in the land of Zwift . . . . 

A matter which caused no little controversy on Zwift was Christopher O Hearn's idea for a Trip Advisor-style ratings site to assess the quality of group rides. The notion has not gone down well with ride leaders and Christopher appears on the podcast to make his case. Simon, Shane and Nathan assess its merits, or otherwise.

The Zwift Academy scheme, whereby one female rider will be recruited to pro team Canyon SRAM after a months-long talent trawl on the platform, reaches its finale in the coming week. Finalist Leah Thorvilson, one of three riders to make the grade in the last casting call, tells listeners how she's feeling about the test that awaits.

Trainer Road fought back this week - with a post from their CEO pleading with people to stop copying its workouts into Zwift. It's a fair point and he's quite right - but it prompts a discussion on how effective a competitor Trainer Road can remain as Zwift's social cycling model just gets bigger and bigger.

Whilst Leah is in the final three of the ZA scheme, another very strong rider,Rachael Elliott, agonisingly, isn't. Despite being invited to Mallorca, Rachael had to decline. The popular Zwift power-house explains what led her to have to say No.

With hundreds, perhaps thousands, of new Zwifters flooding on to the platform, the podcast asks:What Are Teams For? One of the biggest and most pioneering teams in Zwift, ODZ, is on hand to supply answers.

The lads wrap up this edition with a jocular look at the long wait for iOS - now over!

Enjoy.

27
Nov

Episode 15

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Simon and Nathan are together, and Shane’s calling in from Long Beach, California, the home of ZHQ, for the latest edition of the podcast for Zwifters.

It’s another busy episode  with lots to talk about – as always seems to be the case in Zwift.

This edition starts with a good look at World Bicycle Relief day, arguably the biggest event in the Zwift calendar. Thousands of Zwifters will ride to help get people on bikes in Africa. Katie Bolling, the development director of WBR, is on the line to explain exactly what WBR does (it’s all good) and exactly how Zwifters can help the charity make an even bigger difference.

Simon, Shane and Nathan talk about the recent Team Worlds event, organised by Tam Burns, and speculate whether Zwift’s prompt response when a bug caught out a few riders is a sign of a different approach to glitches – and ask whether this prompt action tempered the response of those who got caught.

Nathan Stolzner has an inspiring story. Hitting the scales at almost 300lbs, Nathan is determined to get a bit lighter and fitter. But right now, it’s a battle, especially going up Box Hill on the London course. Whereas many Zwifters would gallop up in ten minutes, Nathan takes over 40. Should be change his weight to make life a little easier? The notion prompted a lively debate and Nathan S. tells us how he resolved the dilemma.

The geeks will love the feature on the seemingly baffling decision by Kurt Kinetic, makes of the much-loved Rock and Roll trainer, to make their new generation trainers Bluetooth-only. Zwifters John Hampton and Duane Gran bring real insight and analysis to the area.

And Glen Knight, one of the architects of the KISS Race series tells listeners about the team’s latest innovation – the very exciting Zwift OnBoard. “Think F1 for Zwft races,” says Glen. We hear from Glen,  and Simon and Nathan discuss whether this could be transformative.

Titanium Geek James Gill is on to big up his in real life meet up for Zwifters, ZwiftCon and Simon and Shane round things up with a discussion on Nathan’s very successful live, coached rides. These use voice prominently and it could be a glimpse of the future when Zwift unveils its Voice Feature in coming weeks.

11
Nov

Episode 14

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Simon, Shane and Nathan are back – and the first few minutes of this edition are devoted to picking over some of the bones of the last episode’s interview with Eric Min, the CEO of Zwift. We talk about how soon Zwifters might feel the benefit of the huge new investment in Zwift from outside funders; and what Eric might have meant by a Smart Bike.

The first interview on this episode is with celebrity Zwifter, the Paralympian Jody Cundy, who talks about Rio, Gold Medals, how much the kilo hurts – and getting famous from a hissy fit. You can see Jody’s exploits here

Simon, Shane and Nathan follow up with a discussion about the celebrated art of bike hurling – and whether it ought to be represented in game. Nathan introduces the hilarious idea of a potential “OhioThrow”. You can see the Bradley Wiggins incident which the boys discuss here

There’s a very exciting set of new rides and races coming to Zwift with the Dutch National Team. The originators discuss how it came about and what we might expect. There’s more on this story here

Simon has been spending time on the new top end trainer from Elite, the Drivo and he delivers his verdict in a detailed review and we have an interview with Derek Boocock, the rider who completed a remarkable distance record on Zwift.

Hope you enjoy listening.