My Experiences With Zwift and Wahoo Kickr Snap Trainer

In December I realized that predictions of a hard winter were coming true. Further I realized that this meant little cycling for me, with snow everywhere. Yes I’ve ridden in the snow in the past, but this isn’t road riding, this is riding a trail. Unlike the old concrete trails I used to ride, this trail is dirt. So where there is no snow and ice, there will be mud. Maybe I’m getting soft? Anyway, I was left to figure out how to actually stay in shape.

Fast forward to now, we just had (another) snow storm and it’s the middle of April. Meanwhile, I’m in darn good shape, as thin as I’ve been in the last 5 years, and still haven’t touched the trail bike.

I know what you are thinking: “You’re taking some kind of pill”.

Well in a way, you are right!

Because Zwift is some kind of pill.

zwifting-techcyclist

Back to December again, I must have seen an ad somewhere, or a review, because I decided to bite the bullet and buy a good trainer. A little shopping around and I quickly settled on the Wahoo Kickr Snap, which runs around $600. The reason I settled on this one is durability, and good syncing with Zwift, which I also decided to try.

Setting Up Zwift And Wahoo Kickr Snap

Setting up the trainer was quick, and I mounted a small TV in front of the bike/trainer so I could hook up to Zwift and have it streaming in front of me. Rather than spend another $150 or so on Apple TV, I decided to put up with the inconvenience of carrying a laptop with me when I go to workout. So far, carrying the laptop has been worth saving $150. But maybe at some point I will upgrade for a little extra convenience.

The red tire is specially made for trainer riding

I start the Zwift app on the laptop, and then go through the setup process, which is (not to quote any advertisement I’ve seen) quick and easy. The first time you ride you will have to calibrate the trainer/bike, it takes a 10 minute ride to do so, which warms up the wheel/roller, and another minute to complete the calibration. You’re supposed to calibrate weekly which has been fine. It ensures better accuracy with the power numbers.

I put my old bike on the trainer, first so I don’t damage my carbon frame, and second because it’s convenient and I don’t have to mess with it.

Anyway, when I first started riding on Zwift, I decided to just ride, which was OK, but I find the constant “close the gap” warnings a bit annoying. When someone passes you or when you come up behind someone, if you are just riding, Zwift tells you to “close the gap”.

Anyway I really hit my stride when I started doing workouts, and there are a few workouts that are less than an hour, such as Jon’s Short Mix, Jon’s Mix, and Emily’s Short Mix, and a couple others. In my situation I pretty much stick to the short workouts, for time saving reasons.

The Workouts

The workouts are great. Again at first, I had to learn that everything is based on the FTP, or Functional Threshold of Power, and mine was set a little high for me, so I lowered it to, I think around 220. Workouts are still challenging, but not so much that I have to quit halfway through (which I did frequently at first when my FTP was too high).

I’ve never ridden with a power meter, so tracking power is a new thing for me. I have to say, I like it. There is no better measure of work performed on the bike, than power output. At first, I found it a bit stressful, since I was out of shape, and wanted to do more than I could. But with an increase in fitness, along with a more reasonable expectation of what I can do, it’s gotten really enjoyable. I normally don’t spend more than 45 minutes on the bike right now, and that works for me. I usually ride 3 times a week, though I want to do more than that.

Summary and Rating

Overall I will rate the trainer and Zwift with the same score, a solid 9.5. Once in a while I lose bluetooth connection, but very rarely. And some of the annoyances of being online in a community while riding (rather than out on the road) are overcome by Zwift’s strengths. Overall, I’m super impressed with both the Wahoo Kickr Snap and Zwift. And I’m really looking forward to taking my winter FITNESS (!) outside soon! No winter fat this year!!

clean bottle

Cycling Clean Water Bottle Review

clean bottleThe last water bottle I had was a camelback one with insulation, and double layer plastic. Between the layers were these little dimples. The dimples kept the two layers apart. Good idea right? But the bad part was the dimples were inside the water bottle. Completely impossible to clean. I could see dimples with dark spots in them and I could do nothing about it. I swear I would occasionally get sick from it.

Fast forward to my next bottle, and the other side of the coin.

Clean Bottle makes a bottle that you will never have to worry about being able to clean every nook and cranny, since the bottle can be opened from both ends.

Clean Bottle open both ends
Just unscrew the top and bottom and go ahead, sponge it out with soap and hot water, and clean both ends. This bottle is getting clean.

The Top

Clean Bottle top
For me as a cyclist, it’s important that the top is rubber and that it is pretty tight. Rubber is easier to open with your teeth without breaking anything in your mouth, and it’s a better seal. Clean Bottle gets a good grade from me on this count. After using it for 2 years, it’s still working great.

For more cleanliness, the rubber tip can also be removed and cleaned separately, as most bottle tops do.

Clean Bottle top removed

The Verdict

I’ve been super happy with my Clean Bottles. I bought two of them and I only use one for my commute since it’s only 11 miles. I definitely recommend it, if you have questions feel free to comment and I’ll do my best to answer.