My Zwift Setup

It can difficult and confusing to figure out how to set yourself up with Zwift. My hope is this will clear some of that up.

Because Zwift has a plethora of configurations it is compatible with on setting up your own pain cave, it can be really hard to figure out how to get things working. It was often confusing for me to nail down details and design a cost-effective setup. As you can see, my pain cave is not that large, but it took time, a fair bit of research and a bit of luck to get the setup to where my wife and I think it’s perfect for us. I hope taking look will give you some ideas about your eventual setup! Ride on!

The Basics

  • Wahoo Kickr Snap smart trainer
  • Wahoo Kickr Headwind smart fan
  • Trek FX 2 Disc fitness bike
  • Schwalbe 700c x 35 indoor trainer tire
  • Front wheel block (included with Kickr)
  • TV/Monitor stand
  • Insignia 32″ HD TV
  • Apple TV HD with Zwift app

The Why

My FX 2 hybrid is classified as a “fitness bike” which is perfect for Zwifting. (My wife has a Trek Verve 2 comfort hybrid.) Because it’s a smart trainer, Zwift can control my Kickr Snap to accurately simulate climbs and descents as well set the resistance for workouts, esp. in ERG mode. To keep from overheating, I picked up the Headwind smart fan which adjusts fan speed automatically based on my speed or heart rate. (WARNING: Overheating can become a real safety issue. For your own safety, always use a fan with Zwift.) I had to get the training tire because both the trainer and my original rear tire were damaging each other! The roller was literally wearing the rubber away like a pencil eraser and the road debris jammed in the tire tread with marring the roller. The rubber compound in the blue training tire fixed both problems. (WARNING: Never ride a training tire outdoors! That’s an accident waiting to happen.) Because I have 50-year-old eyes, I run Zwift on a somewhat older Apple TV connected to a flatscreen. I need the bigness! 邏

The Quality of Life Stuff

  • Apple Remote case with wrist strap
  • Apple AirPod Pros
  • Phone mount
  • Zwift Companion app on my iPhone and Apple Watch
  • Yoga mat
  • Rock Bros. bike thong
  • Tommaso commuter shoes with SPD cleats
  • Bontrager commuter pedals
  • Specialized BG Grail gloves

The Why

With the Zwift app running on the Apple TV, the remote case keeps the remote attached to my wrist and the AirPods gives me the best in-game sound experience possible. I run the Zwift Companion app on my phone mounted to the handlebars. That app makes interacting with Zwift easier, allows me to message other Zwifters as I ride and connects the trainer, my bike’s cadence sensor and my Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor to Zwift. (Apple TVs have some Bluetooth limitations the Companion app gets us around.) The yoga mat and bike thong just keep things clean and sweat from destroying my bike’s finish or the carpet.

I use gloves with padding in the palm to reduce the sweat and discomfort from holding onto a flat bar for long time. I clip in on Zwift to maximize power and to train for when I use my road bike. The commuter pedals give me the flexibility of having flat pedals for casual riding/stopping safety and clip-in pedals for power. The shoes have mountain bike/gravel bike oriented SPD cleats that work well with the pedals.

The Extra

  • Bontrager Connection aluminum wheel
  • Shimano 11-28 rear cassette
  • Disc brake pad spacer (in my hand)

The Why

I got these items because my wife and I both Zwift on different hybrids. The third wheel and cassette however can be used by both bikes. Finally, braking can seriously damage a wheel-on trainer. That’s why there is no disc brake rotor on that wheel. The brake pad spacer keeps the brake pads from sticking together if one of us accidentally squeezes the brakes.

So there you have it. I hope this post was informative and you have the info you need to get you’re own setup going!

What is ERG Mode?

ERG mode effectively turns your bike attached to a smart trainer into an exercise machine you would use in a gym.

When I was brand new to Zwift and started experimenting with the workouts, I noticed a little setting that was checked called ERG Mode. I left it on not really knowing what it was. If you are like I once was, this post will attempt to explain.

ERG mode effectively turns your bike attached to a smart trainer into an exercise machine you would use in a gym. No changing your gears. No worrying about the terrain in the game. You just pedal and Zwift will have your trainer force you to output the required power target during the workout and, this is key, no matter how fast or slow you pedal or what gear your bike is in.

This is where I screwed up in the past and I’ve seen friends new to Zwift doing the same. During my workouts, I would shift gears and/or pedal faster or slower (adjust cadence) depending on the power target. I’d be struggling to keep consistent. It was a mess. Essentially, I was in a tug-of-war with Zwift and frankly mislead by the on-screen prompts. (With ERG mode on, the game should be prompting people to pedal at a certain cadence, but that’s a discussion for another day.) Once I understood what ERG mode does, I stopped trying to meet the power target and focused solely on keeping my cadence as smooth as possible.

Take a look at the time line below from a Sweet Spot Training session. The SST target is to work at near your Functional Threshold Power. You can see my power output in black and my cadence in blue on the graph. Notice the relatively steady cadence around 90 rpm and yet my power changes for each interval. That’s because Zwift was adjusting my trainer’s resistance to match my cadence and set my power output to the target.

Zwift Ride Timeline
This is a timeline from a Sweet Spot Training workout. Notice the steady cadence.

This is why ERG mode is so cool. You get exactly the workout you expect from Zwift. You’re not shifting gears or trying to find the right cadence at a specific gear to get to the power target. You focus simply on managing your cadence and getting through the suffering! 🤣 Maximum efficiency workout for your precious time!

Sea Gull Century 2022

First Sea Gull Century and had an awesome time.

Savor the Blessings on Two Wheels

Please savor the blessings you have on those two wheels and life in general. They’re gifts.

Recently riding in FL, I met a man named Jaime (IIRC) who really showed me how blessed we are especially on two wheels. I was coming off my first 20 miles touring Tampa Bay and stopped at WaWa to get my nutrition and hydration and rest. Jaime sat at the table next to me and we struck up a conversation, laughing at a cock and hen (!) just hanging out with us. He looked like most who have had a hard life in FL. Scars, leathery wrinkled deeply tanned skin, dirty feet and hands, etc. He told me some crazy stories. Going down an overpass at 50 mph, cracking wheels in half and such. His MTB had seen better days. Was missing a pedal in fact.

But he spoke casually just relating to me as a cyclist and I tried to return the favor. As I was leaving I told Jamie it was really nice to meet him. As I pedaled away, I felt really grateful to God that I was blessed to be able to go on an all day ride on a nice bike, all kitted up with no care in the world (right then) but making sure I had nutrition and hydration for the next 20 miles. Jamie had far larger concerns when he rides. I have been admonished by cycling friends to remember this.

Please savor the blessings you have on those two wheels and life in general. They’re gifts.

Hotel pulls plug on Hawley fundraiser – POLITICO

Hawley blasted Loews’ decision in a statement, saying he wouldn’t “bow to left wing corporate pressure.”

“If these corporations don’t want conservatives to speak, they should just be honest about it,” Hawley said. “But to equate leading a debate on the floor of the Senate with inciting violence is a lie, and it’s dangerous.”

Hotel pulls plug on Hawley fundraiser – POLITICO

Corporations are now “left wing.” 😆 AOC took over Loews? Just asinine.

Hawley is, in typical politician fashion, telling whole lies with half truths considering his raised fist in support of the insurrectionist mob outside the Capitol. When you attack a country, you don’t get to demand love from that country. Just saying.

No Longer Feeling The Bern

I’m no longer feeling The Bern and feeling very, very disappointed (and somewhat embarrassed) about that.

In 2016, Bernie was my guy. I loved his in-your-face pride in being a democratic socialist, his integrity on sticking to his principles and calling bullshit on our socio-politico-economic establishment. I still like that about him. 

But what I didn’t do was examine his economic program very closely. I was too excited by his social-political stands and discounted almost all of what establishment critics were saying because naturally I didn’t trust them. (Free college, for example, is no pipe dream. Trump just proposed raising the national security budget by more than enough money to pay for it.) I assumed they must be demonizing him because he was pulling their files for all of us to see. I’m certain that is still true today, however never did I think their charges might hold any water. 

Full disclosure and apologies to those who might feel unfairly maligned but in my experience my brothers and sisters on the left tend to make very poor economic analyses of our economy and its institutions, especially when it comes to jobs and wages. And I expected not much different from Bernie. I did expect a bit of flexibility and realpolitik from his long years in office. On that score, I was wrong. He is an ideologue which is a strength when you’re leading the charge of some very angry people but it is a liability for governance. Recent events have given me serious pause on this point. Cringeworthy moral equivocations of Castro. Writing bills in an election year that tax startup employees on options they haven’t even sold yet. (WHY???!?!?) Making the rather dubious claim he wants to follow the Scandanavian or Nordic Model which has more billionaires per capita than here in the U.S. Billionaires that he says “shouldn’t exist.” People defending him with the kind of excuses we heard from morally sane but incredibly naive voters that were used for Trump in 2016. (Anyone remember “He’ll mature once he’s in office?”) When folks are telling me “Relax, he can’t actually do that. Congress will stop him.” It’s a red flag on the candidate.

Of course, none of this rises to the level that I would stay home on Election Day. It will be a cold day in hell before I abstain from casting a vote against Agent Orange and the GOP. But I have to say that I’m not rooting for Bernie anymore which is a very sad and disappointing realization. I really did believe in him.

Go and Do Likewise

I practice Jesuit (that is Ignatian) spirituality and at its core is the Greatest Commandment. It dominates my life and specifically here, my politics.

I practice Jesuit (that is Ignatian) spirituality. At its core is the Greatest Commandment which dominates my life and, specifically for this discussion, my politics (more on that later).

Let’s look at the how important this is in Luke:

The Greatest Commandment. There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test [Jesus] and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”

Luke 10:25-28 (NABre)

Love of God includes love of neighbor. It is one of the direct signs of the love of God. It’s not an accident then, that who “my neighbor” is is critically important and likely why St. Luke connected the commandment directly to the parable of The Good Samaritan.

Continue reading “Go and Do Likewise”

A Bishop’s License to Ill

Christians are called to win the battle of ideas and values in secular society, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said Tuesday.

via Never accept’ separation of faith from political engagement, Archbishop Charles Chaput says

Chaput is my bishop. I can say he is a man of integrity: pretty hardcore about certain things and I’d be willing to wager that he’s not the turn a blind eye “for the sake of Peter” type from sexual abuse if he were investigate (and to date there’s been no evidentiary reason to do so). He’s been pretty frank about bishop moral credibility, etc. I’ve seen him ay to a bunch of white folks in a suburban parish how they have racism in them and need to combat it to their faces in front of black people no less (of course including me). He’s said repeatedly, that refusing to aid the poor whether government program or charity just because buys you a first class non-stop ticket to Hell. He’s lamented that too many of us have the faith of a 10-year-old, etc. So I respect him and his intentions in general.

Continue reading “A Bishop’s License to Ill”

A Nation of Both Credits and Debits

The matter of reparations is one of making amends and direct redress, but it is also a question of citizenship. In H.R. 40, this body has a chance to both make good on its 2009 apology for enslavement, and reject fair-weather patriotism, to say that this nation is both its credits and debits.

via Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Testimony to the House on Reparations – The Atlantic

This Bears Repeating

We are locking up asylum seekers, intentionally traumatizing their children in order to traumatize their parents, and then calling it “security.”

Forgive the length but this bears repeating:

Trump overwhelmingly won the Catholic and evangelical votes. They were warned about this. Prophetically. The man in the White House is not a man of God nor even a Christian (at the very least you have to believe you need redemption to be one). They voted for him anyway. Some it appears lusted for power (and now feel some sense of it, read racists). Others were single issue voters on issues like abortion. I said this election and presidency would be one long civics lesson for these people and I was right. This is what you get when you vote for a sociopath. Kids forcibly removed from their parents, locked in cages by the dozens, hundreds.

A sociopath is “a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.” This certainly applies to Trump. He is not “the lesser of two evils.” Hillary was. But that’s like saying speeding is the lesser of two evils when compared to driving your car into a crowd of protestors. (And spare me the canard of abortion. It’s legal now and it’s going to stay quite legal for decades to come given the trends in women running for office. Trends instigated by you know who.)

Our nation has always done evil like this: slavery, Wounded Knee, the Tuskegee Experiment, and so on. No nation is God. Evil exists everywhere and in all of us. In particular, racism and greed are at root in this situation. And that makes our nation much like Sodom which BTW was not turned to ash for having gay pride parades:

Ezekiel 16:49 (NABre)
“Now look at the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were proud, sated with food, complacent in prosperity. They did not give any help to the poor and needy.”

We are locking up asylum seekers, intentionally traumatizing their children in order to traumatize their parents, and then calling it “security.” Was such wonton callousness secure for Sodom?

For those who voted for Trump, you bear responsibility for this. For those who I know personally, understand that this is not a political issue. It’s a moral one (for me it always has been). Support for this tells me who you are. I will be watching.