Zwiftcast

28
Nov

Episode 38: The price rise and much more

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After a tumultuous week or so in Zwift-world, the podcasters are back to discuss the price rise and its aftermath.

Simon, Shane and Nathan first of all lay their cards on the table and then analyse a detailed interview with ZHQ’s marketing chief, Steve Beckett, which reveals the fine detail of Zwift’s thinking on subjects that arose in the extended and passionate debate after the announcement.

A consumer psychologist, from outside the Zwift bubble, gives his verdict on the handling of the announcement.

There’s plenty of coverage of the whole subject given its importance both to the company and the community . . . but there’s lots more in this Zwiftcast.

The Zwiftcasters hear from the winner of the Men’s Academy Ollie Jones and consider whether, in the light of the price announcement, the funding of these schemes is something to admire, or the opposite.

Leah Thorvilson, the winner of last year’s Women’s Academy, is on the ‘cast for a catch up as she enters her second season.

In any other week, the arrival of Zwift on Apple TV would have been a very big deal. The Zwiftcasters wonder why the announcement seemed so low key and go on to consider the merits of Zwift on ATV.

Zwiftpower.com is undergoing some changes as the race results service readies itself for a crackdown on cheating. The podcasters wonder whether data confidentiality and privacy issues could leak out of the narrow world of virtual bike racing to influence, for example, a prospective employer.

Pro rider Laurens Ten Dam makes a quick appearance on the Zwiftcast to talk about how he’ll be extending his popular wake up rides to lead a ride on the WBR Zwiftathon on December 2nd, where the community is targeting one million miles ridden to raise money to get kids on bikes in Africa.

And finally, the chaps have some fun with a post on a cycling website which suggested that “Zwift is killing cycling”. A light-hearted end to a meaty podcast.

9
Nov

Episode 37 Zwift CEO Eric Min Special

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This episode is devoted to a conversation with Zwift chief executive Eric Min.

It’s a wide-ranging look at where the platform is in terms of fulfilled potential and how Zwift is preparing for growth this winter.

Eric updates Zwiftcast listeners and viewers about the number of customers and how the business is coping with churn. There’s also an illuminating discussion on what’s planned for course updates. Simon and Eric go on to chat about the Draft (nailing a few myths along the way) Racing, the Academies and Voice. In the Quickfire Questions section Eric answers many of the most often-asked questions from the community.

It’s a fascinating insight into what’s planned for the platform and the business – right from the very top.

If you'd like to watch the interview on YouTube just go here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOzkvS2en28&t=6s

 

 

27
Oct

Episode 36 AUDIO

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It's out! The long awaited and eagerly expected extension to Watopia has just been released and Simon, Shane and Nathan are on hand to give their verdicts and discuss the community reaction. There's lots more as well in this edition of the Zwiftcast, with quick catch ups on ex-Academy winner Leah Thorvilson, Zwift HQ's own world champion Mike McCarthy, the launch of a huge new race series from Zwift and this year's Academy contest reaching its next stage. Once they've dispensed with the Jungle Run - and that's no small task - the Zwiftcasters move on to discuss the dawning of Zwift as a re-seller of trainers and the launch of Group Workouts - and what that last feature may say about Zwift's future. Is the platform planning to go head to head with Peloton? Simon pays a home visit to the world HQ of the fabled Aussie HDR ride and, finally - Simon decides to voice his views on a certain squirrel! Judging from the reaction of his fellow Zwiftcasters, Scottie looks safe! Hope you enjoy listening podcast fans. 

15
Sep

AUDIO - Episode 34

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Simon, Shane and Nathan discuss the ever-changing and vibrant happenings in Zwift. It’s trainer season so the manufacturers are busy with new launches, upgrades – and keeping up with demand. The Zwiftcast trio assess the “world’s first Smart Bike” from Wattbike, in the shape of the Atom. Verdict: looks pretty tasty but with availability limited to the UK initially, Zwifters in other parts of the world are going to have to be patient.

There’s news on the action Elite is taking to stem the shortage of their popular and highly-rated new trainer, the Direto and some interesting chat from the Zwiftcast hosts on the relationship between Smart Trainer ownership and the likelihood of staying subscribed to Zwift.

The podcast has a new regular feature starting which should help Zwifters with their nutrition questions. Professor Asker Jeukendrup is exceptionally well-qualified – and a bike rider and triathlete to boot. We meet Asker this episode and look forward to how he can help Zwifters fuel training.

A new update has just landed, and Simon, Shane and Nathan discuss its merits – as well as looking forward to what they believe will be a transformative arrival. Group Workouts are due soon and all three Zwiftcasters are very excited.

Next the chaps move on to discuss what’s shaping up to be a runaway success – the Zwift Academies. With 10,000 riders now enrolled in both Academies, the Zwift exec charged with keeping everything on track, Tom Hargreaves, talks about the challenges – and discusses what might be coming next in this area.

The Zwiftcasters polish off this episode with a discussion of “shenanigans” around the wild card entry for the Aussie e-crit final and the thread on Reddit which discusses Zwift – from a perspective beyond the boundaries of the mainstream Zwift community.

2
Sep
15
Aug

ZC Espresso - Chatting with D C Rainmaker

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Ray Maker (D C Rainmaker) is the most influential - and powerful - sports tech blogger in the world. His verdict on new products is respected by millions and many make the decision to purchase or reject a product after analysis of Ray's detailed and rigorous reviews.

 Ray talks to Simon frankly about the dilemmas which such influence produces and how he deals with it. Ray also talks about his relationships with sports tech companies and the need to be balanced and responsible in the face of the unexpected - like when a drone caught fire on his test bench.

A geat insight into the way Ray works.

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!