Zwiftcast

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 Hook, 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!

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.