5 Tips for Riding on Zwift.

By: Coach Paul Ozier

Just as you would when you head out the door for a ride, you need to make sure you are prepared when you ride inside. But once you have your setup dialed in, it’s literally a breeze cranking out an indoor training ride. Check out my 5 Tips for Riding on Zwift, to make your next training ride a little more enjoyable.

5 Tips for Riding on Zwift

#1 Load up Zwift early! – 30 minutes before the ride starts. 

Zwift does a lot of updates to keep everything going smoothly, and some of these can take several minutes. This also should give you some time to do a warmup workout that is appropriate for your event (10-15 minutes), followed by that last minute bathroom break.

#2 Read the actual ride description. 

Ride leaders put specifics that will override a possible default Zwift power range, or ride length/duration. An example is the ‘event’ is a 1-hour workout…but after the workout we continue as a free ride group for another hour. Or maybe the event has a secret code or question in the description for a prize or two. Read those details.

#3 Grab extra towels, water, ride food, etc. Be prepared. 

Make a checklist and keep it near your Zwift setup. No sense spending tons of money on that ultimate setup, only to forget that $5 water bottle full of your event calories. Have extra on hand close by. Your indoor setup should include a table or desk close enough that you can grab some extra fuel if needed. Hunter really enjoys using the Saris TD1 Trainer Desk. This desk is adjustable and sits right in front of you keeping everything right where you need it when you need it. No more struggling trying to reach for an extra energy bar, or to adjust a setting in Zwift.

#4 Prepare for your indoor workouts just like you do for outdoor workouts. Fuel, hydration, etc.

Just like you would for any other ride, make sure you prepare for your workout. Eat what you would normally eat before a ride. Stretch! It is so important to stretch out before your ride. This should also include preparing your environment. Make sure everything is ready to go before you get on your bike. Do you have your fans on? One of the most important parts and most overlooked aspect of any indoor training setup is airflow. Do you have fans close by that you can adjust to keep you cool? One thing Hunter always talks about for indoor training is to make sure you are not thermally stressing your body and overheating. Check out this video where Hunter goes over his indoor training setup.

#5 Most importantly, why did you choose today’s workout or event? 

What is your goal/purpose for this decision? How does it affect the rest of the week, or your long-term goals? Stick to the plan. Stay disciplined and committed. I see way too often an athlete jumps on Zwift, sees tons of hammerfest going on, and they simply throw everything out the window and do random stuff, trashing their body again in the gray zone of plateaued training. Focus on the focus! Commit to a determined practice!

Meet Coach Paul Ozier

How did you get into cycling?

Cycling started when I was 15 or 16 years old. Just my brother and a few friends were always riding. I remember riding our bikes to school when I was in 5th or 6th grade…a whopping 4 miles each way! Somewhere along the way I got a copy of cycling magazine. I was captivated by all the cool bikes, races, etc. Somehow a seed was planted. I never looked back.

What is your role at PCG?

At PCG I am an Elite/Master Coach. I coach remote athletes online as well as in person. I come to the various PCG Camps and play mechanic and coach. Camps are great! I do mechanic work both before and after the training rides, as well as ride with the athletes. Long days, but very satisfying and fun! I also am one of the main coaches that lead the PCG Zwift Training Rides.

Other than cycling, what are some of your hobbies?

Hobbies include ham radio, flightsim, and a slew of other outdoor activities like hiking, camping, anything outside is good 🙂

Favorite coaching experience with an athlete?

It is hard to pick a favorite coaching experience. There have been so many great moments. Seeing athletes win an event or get on the podium is always a super moment. Coaching athletes in person is a blast. I was in Sint Maarten a few years ago with an athlete. She won her National Championship in the TT event. That was very happy day 🙂

How Was Your Race Season? – What needs to be done for 2022?

By: Coach Paul Ozier

Train to Win

I hope everyone is staying motivated and thinking about the upcoming season. Last year has come and gone. How was it for you? Did you meet your objectives? Think back about your best performance, or your worst. What could have been different? Not just in that particular event, but what could you have done differently to have a better result before the event? If you won your event, well I guess you are pretty happy. If the event had a less than expected result, what was the cause? Do you need a stronger and faster sprint, higher FTP, better VO2Max, or better race tactics? Let’s talk about a key point that a lot of riders miss in training; race tactics. We all go out and perform our intervals, long rides, and whatever else we are told to do by our coach, team mates, or whomever is directing you toward that path to glory. In my years of coaching and racing I have seen time after time that the rider with the most horsepower does not always see the results that the training numbers show he/she should receive. How many times do you go out and practice winning a race? How many times do you go out and train to win? What data do you look at to see how you performed and why you just could not pull off the race results you hoped for? Personally I upgraded to category II and I am definitely not the strongest rider around. Race smarts, experience, and having a game plan (and goal) was my key.

Some race tactics that are often overlooked are cadence, and conservation of energy.

Do you know your competition?

If you have trained all year and timed everything just right for your A event of the year, then you will most likely be feeling very good on the bike. You will feel like you are unstoppable. You may feel like hammering away to show everyone you are king. However, the only time you can claim the title of king is when you are standing on the top spot of the podium. Your A event is not the time to make senseless attacks or efforts. The thing to do today is know your competition, conserve and let other riders make the unsuccessful attacks and moves. Why waste all your training on showing off today. How many times have you seen the race come back together in the final few miles? You need to stay in the shelter of the peloton as much as possible, this is your A event and what matters most is achieving the goal you set for yourself months earlier. Save your legs for when things really start to heat up, like the last break away with 10km to go, for the final climb before the finish, whatever you have determined to be the deciding moment! Many riders that did the earlier work, attacks, moves, will fall by the wayside. If you know the competition, and you should, after all this is your A event, keep an eye on the riders that have a history of placing well or better yet, try to learn why they are racing today (what is their goal?). Watch the riders that always seem to make moves that stick. These are the ones that you will need to go with if an early move is made. Do you know the racecourse? Is the course one that always ends in a field sprint, or is it the course that has that key 1km climb, 5km from the end? Plan for the race, make a game plan and stick to it as much as possible. Game plans are great, but sometimes you have to be aware that the plan needs to be adjusted slightly if circumstances warrant. Think, be smart, and do not react senselessly. This is a race and things most likely will be unpredictable. Be aware of the environment around you; wind, course conditions, road surface, other riders, cars/traffic, etc.

Know “Your” Cadence

Cadence is something I will touch on briefly. Research with your coach all of your racing and the key training files and compare cadence in training to cadence in racing. So many times I see riders train at X watts and Y cadence. In a race they still race at about X watts, but the cadence is higher than in training. This excessive cadence variation if not trained can cause a higher respiratory rate, increased heart rate, a higher perceived exertion (and this is one I have heard many times destroyed the riders mental focus), and a different level of fatigue that many times spits a rider out the back. Key here is to know “your” cadence and stick to it in training and racing. Watch cadence in a race just like you watch watts and heart rate. If race data shows you always exceed training cadence by 10 or 15 rpm during a 30 second blast out of a corner, or a 2 minute effort to close a gap in a criterium, then you would benefit greatly by training at a similar cadence and power as you plan for your racing block. We must prepare the body for the demands of racing, while in training.

What is it going to take?

Now is the time to look back and educate yourself about the previous race season and get a grip on what you need to be doing right now so that this year coming up has a happier ending. Now is not necessarily the time to do only months of long, slow, and easy riding. The fall and winter hold the keys to a successful race season ahead. Now is the most important time to work properly to move to the next level in the coming year. What must you do to
make the coming season a success?

Paul Ozier is an Elite/Master Level coach for PCG. He is a USA Cycling Level I Coach, and TrainingPeaks certified. Paul has been with Peaks Coaching Group from the beginning of the early 90s when he started getting coached by Hunter himself. About 10 years later he became a certified coach and started coaching for PCG. He has a background in road racing, mountain bike racing, Zwift, Gran Fondos, and gravel racing as well. Paul’s goal is to make your goal possible, no matter what the cycling path you take.