October 22, 2018 Login  


In the world of big data, Zwift and Strava
Last Post 10/04/2018 12:15 PM by Evan Solida. 8 Replies.
Printer Friendly
Sort:
PrevPrev NextNext
You are not authorized to post a reply.
Author Messages
6ix

Posts:255

--
10/03/2018 08:43 AM
The answer to my question could easily be the topic for a college thesis.

Has there been a noticeable improvement of the overall fitness of cyclists since the introduction of apps like Strava and Zwift?  Pushing pro riders aside, I have to wonder if these new tools are creating a generation of riders that are simply stronger and faster than similarly trained athletes from 10 years ago. 

Strava allows for riders to challenge themselves and each other in a way not possible before.  Personally, I push myself harder on segments to see how I stack up (I don't) and continually compare to previous efforts.  Great way to measure overall fitness.

Then comes the indoor-training revolution that includes Smart trainers combined with apps like TrainerRoad and Zwift.  There is little doubt in my mind that these have allowed for thousands of cyclists to keep up their fitness better throughout the winter, fine-tune their summer training when weather sucks or during time constraints, etc.  I came out of the winter training period far stronger than I have in years past for the simple reason that I could actually put in the the time easier.  I could push myself harder without the mental tax.

I'm surely not alone so just have to wonder how this improvement in fitness has spread across the board.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2438

--
10/03/2018 09:19 AM
Couldn't agree more that it is making riders stronger across the board.....not only are people riding longer indoors (really, who could stand much more than 60-90 min on a wind trainer or rollers?), they are doing structured workouts more consistently. More riding = Higher quality Work = Increased fitness.

This year for me made a HUGE difference before our trip to NC...late winter / early spring sucks around here for riding. The older I get, the higher my "floor" gets for riding outside....used to be 32*, now you are hard pressed to get me outside if it is below 45*. So not only did I log a lot of miles on Zwift, I also got to work on my "climbing"....can't tell you how many times I went up Alpe d'Zwift this spring. Paid off huge for me in May....I was clearly the strongest guy in our group and was dropping the guys who dropped me very early the previous year.

My trainer last year was a crappy, entry-level Smart Trainer....rear wheel on, and not very high max power and definitely not accurate in terms of wattage (could read anywhere from 10-50w higher than my power meter). But for ~$350, it was great (and who doesn't want the extra watts when riding on Zwift....trainer doping!!)

There are a couple of great deals out there right now on direct drive (rear wheel off) trainers that I am strongly considering...the Elite Direto is $675 on Steep & Cheap and the Tack Flux is $699 on Clever Training. Will likely pull the trigger today or tomorrow on one.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:2239

--
10/03/2018 02:25 PM
Certainly the opportunity and tools are there for those who are so inclined, but I am not sure that your question "Has there been a noticeable improvement of the overall fitness of cyclists" is easily answerable or quantifiable. Certainly we need to be wary of anecdotal "evidence" such as that put forward by CK, given that we don't know what the control part of the equation (i.e. the other guys) was doing. If they were equally riding Alpe d'Zwift, then the outcome (being strongest guy in group) is meaningless. All it would show is that CK is a smarter user of the tools provided than the others. This is really what it comes down to, is the user smart enough to properly use tools such as Strava or Zwift? If not, then I wouldn't expect an increase in fitness, just a bunch of noise.

Other than my scientist self going off on a tangent, what is clear, is that both Zwift and Strava are very good at the marketing and customer experience (CX) game: http://www.the-future-of-commerce.com/2018/07/24/5-cx-lessons/
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2438

--
10/03/2018 04:47 PM
I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss my experience as anecdotal....there are numbers to back up what I am saying, not just the subjective aspect of "I was dropping the guys that were dropping me from the year before." My wattage and threshold numbers were up across the board.

You can never get a true apples-to-apples....I clearly rode more miles this year than last. HOWEVER, it was largely due to Zwift that I was able to ride those miles. Had I been forced to ride outside, there is just no way that same number of miles would have been logged.

I don't think it is a stretch or unreasonable to summise that programs like Zwift and TrainerRoad are raising the level of fitness across the sport, as a whole. What you likely can't quantify is how much it is raising that level. But there is no dispute that 1) more people are training indoors now 2) they are logging more miles and 3) they are doing more and more structured programs. Zwift's data backs this up.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:2239

--
10/03/2018 06:41 PM
Not doubting the potential or realization of that potential for those who know what they're doing.

But there are well-documented pitfalls of overtraining etc. for those that don't know what they're doing and who may be overly obsessed with "improving their numbers". Not unlike the potential pitfalls associated with having a scale at home.

Question is, how many fall in the first category and how many in the second.
Dale

Posts:1052

--
10/03/2018 09:06 PM
Stronger.. no doubt. Riding skills degraded from bad to now "Stay the heck away you weaving maniac!"
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2438

--
10/04/2018 08:21 AM
Posted By Dale Dale on 10/03/2018 09:06 PM
Stronger.. no doubt. Riding skills degraded from bad to now "Stay the heck away you weaving maniac!"


No doubt this is an issue....it is very apparent in triathlon. You would be surprised at the number of people who are now training solely indoors, even some of the top pros. So on race day, they are wholly unprepared for the handling and real world scenarios of the open road.

At least, for the most part, roadies still ride in groups a fair amount....so there is some requirement to learn basic handling skills. But you still get guys who show up on rides now whose aerobic capabilities are further developed than their handling skills. Can definitely lead to some sketchy moments....before there was at least some connection between the development of both.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2438

--
10/04/2018 10:55 AM
Just ordered the Elite Direto from Steep & Cheap. $674, 25% off....DCRainmake basically said this was the "trainer of the year" last winter.

If anyone wants an Elite Qubo interactive trainer really cheap, lemme know!!
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
6ix

Posts:255

--
10/04/2018 12:15 PM
That's why I said "big data." I'm sure that if someone knows how to pull all the data from Strava, Zwift, TrainerRoad, etc. that there is a direct correlation between the advent of these services and overall fitness of the user group. My theory is that there would be an upward trend of average wattage, lower heart-rate and increased average speed. Really no different than when cyclists started using heart-rate monitors and then later power-meters, but this user group is far, far larger and not nearly as intense. A rising tide lifts all boats?
You are not authorized to post a reply.

Active Forums 4.1
NOT LICENSED FOR PRODUCTION USE
www.activemodules.com

Latest Forum Posts
I've said it before and I'll say it again... posted in Professional Racing



Damn...Jaja has aged!!! posted in Professional Racing

my excuse posted in Training Talk

Jan Ullrich posted in Professional Racing

Q-S; Good News! posted in Professional Racing

No articles match criteria.
  Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy  Copyright 2008-2013 by VeloNation LLC