Zwiftcast

13
Apr

Episode 24

00:0000:00

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

00:0000:00

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!

8
Mar

Episode 22 - Pro Rider Special

00:0000:00

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

00:0000:00

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

00:0000:00

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

00:0000:00

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

00:0000:00

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

00:0000:00

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

00:0000:00

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

00:0000:00

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.