Zwiftcast

25
Nov

Episode 102: Neokyo - The Verdict, plus all the Zwifty news and gossip

With many Zwifters now having had the chance to ride Neokyo, it’s time for Simon, Shane and Nathan to deliver their verdict. They’re joined by veteran Zwifter Sarah LaRocque and Zwift Insider chief bidon washer Eric Schlange, and all contributors have plenty to say about the new extension.

He Must Not Be Named now has a regular ride on Zwift. L****e Arm****ng remains a highly polarising figure, but the Zwiftcasters debate whether it’s right now, after the passage of much time,  to welcome him onto the platform.

How long will YOUR expensive smart trainer last? The fate of massive mile muncher Tim Searle’s Kickr may have much to teach us. And still with tech, Simon, Shane and Nathan assess the prospects of a promised “revolutionary” new smart trainer.

OS deprecations might sound boring and technical - BUT it may mean your computer will no longer run Zwift. Shane explains why it’s a good thing.

And Simon talks to Eric Schlange later in the pod about his “crazy” idea for Zwift Insider to become the repository of verified Zwift World Records.

Zwifter Chad Tavernia may have a claim - with his seatless outdoor imperial century, which he’s now matched with an indoor ride of the same distance - and still no saddle.

We hope you enjoy listening!

20
Oct

Episode 101: Shiny New Things!

Simon, Shane and Nathan discuss the big new idea from Zwift  . . . .This Season on Zwift offers Zwifters a taster of what’s coming up in the coming weeks and months. This is a big change of direction from HQ, which has previously kept future plans close to its chest.

We now know we are getting a neon-fest of an extension to Makuri Islands. We know that there’ll be a new way to interact with the game with a much improved Home Screen. And we now know that Clubs is due to get a big jolt of new functionality.

The Zwiftcasters discuss the upcoming new features and analyse the implications of what’s a big decision for Zwift in how it relates to its community.

Game creator Jon Mayfield has given a rare interview to a Cycling Tips podcast and as always, when Jon talks, it’s worth listening. Simon, Shane and Nathan pick over Jon’s thoughts on his new role at the company and his thoughts on innovation in indoor cycling.

The Zwiftcasters discuss possible new moves from putative rivals this winter before moving on to discuss Zwift’s burgeoning relations with the UCI and ASO and how those manifest as the big new sponsorship of, and revival of, the women’s Tour de France plus the staging of the official e-World Champs to be run on Zwift next February.

Shane goes into rant mode about Zwift’s roll out of Strava’s Local Legends on the platform. He is not impressed!

And finally the podcasters discuss the arrival of He Who Must Not Be Named on the platform - for real. Should the community embrace him?

We hope you enjoy listening.

28
Sep

Episode 100: A century of Zwiftcasts!

Simon, Shane and Nathan celebrate the 100th episode of the podcast which has tracked the progress of Zwift, our favourite virtual cycling platform, from the very earliest days.

As a new indoor season dawns, the podcasters are in reflective mood, analysing what Zwift has got right, how sentiment in the community has ebbed and flowed over the past six years and how real friendships, including amongst the three podcasters, have been formed as we sweat over our trainers and talk turkey about riding a bike indoors.

We hope you enjoy listening.

 

29
Jul

Ep 99: Nathan braves a tornado as the Zwiftcasters chew through all the latest Zwifty news and chat

The three amigos are back together for the first time in a few Eps to chew through all the latest Zwifty news, chat and gossip. . . . in an episode recorded as Nathan nervously kept an eye on a tornado headed towards his studio!

Simon, Shane and Nathan kick off with a review of the first interview from Zwift’s newish in post Chief Product Officer, YC, before meeting the Zwifter who accomplished the magnificently mad ride of 100 miles standing up. Prominent Zwifter Chad Tavernia goes one better chatting with Simon, promising to repeat the feat inside. Good luck with that Chad!

The Zwiftcasters move on to discuss what can only really be described as a pretty chaotic game update in July - and Shane switches on rant mode. 

Auto-categorisation is a solution to sandbagging in racing long advocated by many Zwifters and now, thanks to Martin Carew at WTRL Racing, a nascent system is being tested in earnest. Simon checks in with Martin for a progress report.

The Zwiftcasters round off Ep 99 with a chat on the latest tech, including Elite’s Rizer device and Zwift’s decision not to attend the upcoming Eurobike show.

With an off-piste diversion into Speed Walking plus a little bit of news for runners on the platform, the boys wrap it up for this one. We hope you enjoy listening

1
Jul

Ep 98: A Conversation with Zwift’s Chief Product Officer - the man with the plan

Welcome to this Zwiftcast Special Episode, an extended interview with the company’s first Chief Product Officer.

YuChiang Cheng, known to all as YC, was appointed in January and the move was hailed as “critically important” by Zwift’s CEO, Eric Min.

YC was put in charge of what seemed like almost everything . . . .from game design and art, engineering, research and development through content programming and live operations, plus a bit more.

It was clear that YC, whose background includes the development of the 28 million-player World Tour Golf game, was going to be hugely influential in Zwift’s continued growth and development.

So what does he have planned? Was the rapid deployment of the much-requested Return To Home feature soon after YC joined a mere co-incidence or a sign of things to come? Is Zwift working on a brand new platform architecture? Will new features roll out faster? So many questions.

Simon sits down with YC to see if the Zwift community can get some answers to these and lots of other questions.

We hope you enjoy listening.

 

00.00-02.10: Intro, including rules of engagement

02.30: What was your last decision in your last meeting?

02.50:Give us your 60 second career resume? (SPOILER: It’s longer than 60 secs) 

04.45: How did the opportunity at Zwift come about?

06.46: Do you ride a bike?

08.00: Have you identified areas where Zwift needs to change the way it works?

10.00: The Press release on your arrival stressed “accessibility” and “innovation”. What did that mean?

13.58: In seeking to widen accessibility there’s a feeling that the hard core cyclist will lose out to the casual fitness crowd. You are prioritising growth over development. How do you respond to that?

17.20: The last couple of updates have included “crowd pleaser” features. Is that your doing?

19.50: Is the company developing a Zwift 2.0? A new games engine? 

21.50: So is Jon Mayfield, in his new role, working on a new game engine? 

22.15: The golf game you were involved in featured performance improvements in exchange for payment. Will this ever be the case on Zwift?

23.10: Zwift Running has not been a conspicuous success. Is Zwift’s future multi-sport?

24.00: Why is hardware development so critical?

25.55:  Zwift is neither agile nor nimble. Do you feel the need to address this?

29.10: Has recruitment of talented development people improved? Why not offshore development?

32.20: Tell me about your working relationship with Jon Mayfield?

34.30: We see a number of big projects announced - then grind to a halt. Why?

37.50: Pace Partners, as an example, were a huge hit. But development of them has been glaciallly slow. Why?

40.15. Racing: At pro level, it serves Zwift marketing well. At community level, tools, features and functions are slow to roll out.Fair point?

43.30: Why are some Zwifters on very high end machines seeing low frame rates on Makuri? Is this directional, or a glitch?

48.00 Will Zwift ever lock down certain features to its own hardware?

51.00: Zwift hardware. When are we going to see something?

51.20: What has surprised you, both upside and downside, since you joined Zwift?

52.35: Golfers or cyclists. Which is the most demanding community? 

53.00: Does Zwift have a proper dialogue with its community?

55.10: Thanks and goodbye. 

 

 

 

25
May

Episode 97: Yumezi - was it worth the wait? The community verdict

Well, was it worth the wait? Yumezi has landed - the first new map, and the first new world in Zwift , for quite some time. Eagerly-awaited, much-delayed but now finally here, what does the community make of the new Tarmac with a strongly Eastern flavour?

The Zwiftcast abandons its usual format for a special episode soliciting opinion on probably the most beautiful world yet to be released by Zwift.

Simon, Shane and Eric Schlange from the Zwift Insider have their say, but perhaps more importantly the Zwiftcast flies around the world to hear from prominent members of the Zwift community on their reaction to Yumezi.

We also speculate on how the Makuri Islands might develop in the future.

We hope you enjoy listening.

28
Apr

Episode 96: Zwift Re-thinks Height/Weight Call; Zwift Hub Rescue and Zwifting in Jail

Simon, Shane and Nathan round up all the latest from Zwift. The podcasters look at what they believe to be a big first: Zwift has changed its mind over a plan to hide riders’ weight and height after an outcry from the racing community.

Amidst other signs that Zwift may be extending its plans to consult the community on some planned changes, the Zwiftcasters discuss the significance of the decision as well as the thinking behind the initial plans.

After a round up of the Zwift news, including an easy way to ride without the Heads Up Display, the saving of the Zwift Hub site by friend of the podcast Eric Schlange of Zwift Insider, and how an early precursor of Zwift was laughed out of the Dragons’ Den, the chaps move on to discuss an innovative move from sports superstore operator Decathlon. The company has rolled out an advertising campaign championing prisoners’ use of Zwift inside a jail in the Belgian cycling heartland of Oudenaarde. The idea came from advertising creative and avid Zwifter Frederik Clarysse. He explains how the initiative came about.

Andrew Cotter - and his dogs Olive and Mabel - became global online superstars during the pandemic. Andrew, a sports commentator, is a keen Zwifter and Simon discusses how the platform has provided a valuable escape during the pandemic and lockdown.

Finally Shane reveals that he is again the target of lawyers . . .after seeing off the Peloton briefs last year, now a German IP expert is after our Aussie friend - over 10 dollars worth of T shirts!

We hope you enjoy listeing.

19
Mar

Ep 95: Return to Home at last; Blob Behaviour and all the Zwifty news and chat

We’ve wanted it since Jarvis. And now it’s here. The Zwift universe celebrated this week as HQ finally delivered the ability to do a second or subsequent session - without exiting the game.

Simon, Shane, Nathan and, as it’s a red letter day, special guest Eric Schlange, discuss the advent of the most requested feature of all time.

Senior games guy Wes Salmon is on the Zwiftcast too - to discuss another sizeable development in the game this week - the tweaking of our virtual pelotons. The changes to pack dynamics, or blob behaviour, should make the Zwifting experience, smoother, more natural and more visually appealing. The regular crew and Eric discuss all the implications. r Simon also took the opportunity to quiz Wes on Sticky Draft - and his explanation may confound a few Zwifters who see it as nothing but a nuisance. In fact, it’s essential, as Wes explains.

The podcasters run the rule over two big new appointments to the Zwift board - and read the runes on what their skillsets and experience may yield up about Zwift’s intentions.

Simon also talks to a big new hire at Zwift, Lisa Bourne, whose brief includes, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

Along with some chat about game events and participation, the podcasters once again debate the utility of The Fence - this time in light of Wes’s belief that the recent changes to pack dynamics may improve its performance.

Concluding with a discussion about the disappearance of Zwift Transparency and the always-difficult subject of weight verification the Zwiftcasters get a bit serious before reverting to type as Simon complains his training plan is too hard :;)

We hope you enjoy listening.

11
Feb

Ep 94: Let’s talk, say Zwift. Strava shake it up (again) and all the Zwifty news and chat

Simon, Shane and Nathan reconvene to consider the state of the Zwift nation. Once the pressing matter of “leg posts” is dealt with,  the podcasters move on to discuss the content of Simon’s interview with Zwift’s new hire Mark Cote, the company’s director of programming and content. One of the many strands of Mark’s expansive new role, which he explains in some detail, is to improve the communications between community and company, a move that the Zwiftcasters believe will be welcome.

There’s been yet another Strava shake-up on Watopia and the other Zwift worlds with a whole load of segments vanishing from the public view. Simon chats with Zwift Insider’s head of everything, Eric Schlange, on what it all means, how it came about and why it might be time for a re-think of how segments are made and managed.

The podcasters range across a cornucopia of Zwift business including signs of Zwift restricting some hardware on some platforms for some users and the reasons why more women seem to be getting public sanctions for cheating in racing than men.

Zwift has recently launched another of its social impact campaigns, this time celebrating the contribution Black athletes have made to the sport. Simon chats to one of the inspirational voices of the initiative, ex-racer and Zwift staffer Rahsaan Bhati.

And in and amongst all that there’s lots of other Zwift-related chat. We hope you enjoy listening.

14
Jan

Ep 93: Peak Zwift, Coco is Cara! Zwift Power + all the Zwifty chat

A new episode for a New Year - and 2021 has dawned with, as usual, lots of Zwift news and developments for the Zwiftcasters to discuss.The trio start off with an exploration of the possible reasons why Simon’s very favourite pacer bot may have had an identity change. Coco is now Cara! But why? Simon has a theory.

The podcasters move on to discuss the big new Peak Zwift - with more than 46,000 users on the platform concurrently the growth of Zwift over the past year can now be quantified, using this public metric. Up from a mere 16,000 concurrent users at the same point last year, Simon, Shane and Zwift celebrate the achievement whilst also exploring what it all means.

Just in time for the Tour de Zwift’s six remaining stages, the game’s developers think they may have found a possible bug which could explain why some users (previously described by the chaps as “potato-owners”) have hit problems riding big events. Are potatoes off the hook? The Zwiftcasters chime in.

A high profile departure from Zwift of a respected event organiser seems to have focussed some attention on the event management system - is a new hire at Zwift, combined with the drama of the departure, an answer to some of the gripes Event Organisers have?

And Zwift Power has been having a tough time recently - Glen Knight, one half of the service’s inventors tries to shed light on what may be happening.

Plus all the usual other Zwift news and chat! We hope you enjoy listening.

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