Monday, 26 December 2016

Combining Zwift with Sufferfest/PerfPro (or TrainerRoad)

Zwift is new and exciting, but I still reckon the last two reps of Sufferfest Revolver are as close as I'll get to a religious experience, and I'm a big fan of Perfpro's easy customisation and ability to display live graphs of geeky accessories like my Moxy SmO2 monitor. Is it possible to get the best of all worlds?

Whilst the Sufferfest guys are taking the risky step of stopping selling a lot of their videos in favour of asking for a recurring susbcription, I have a few videos I've purchased and use regularly with PerfPro integration to control the Kickr. I'd thought this might have to take me out of Zwift, but the chance of a small e-peen increase (towards that Aero Bike unlock!) and the mental boost that comes from seeing a rider further up the road suddenly start to get closer meant I thought I should try to find a way to combine the two.

An option might have been to create the Sufferfest workout in Zwift Workout Mode, and try to sync the video at the start. Unfortunately this would mean a lot of work, has the potential to "drift", and stops me having nice live graphs from the Moxy.

Luckily I found an extra ANT+ dongle from when I was having signal issues a while back (top tip: keep your wifi on the low channels, as Ch11 and ones nearby can interfere with ANT+). This meant I could run both Perfpro and Zwift, giving them one each. Perfpro defaults to "grabbing" every ANT+ dongle it can find, but you can select one and tell it to ignore it - or I'd imagine if you just started Zwift first then there would be one left for Perfpro to use.

Next step is to stop Zwift trying to control the trainer. I've heard some reports that you can just turn the "Trainer Realism/Difficulty" setting to zero; I went for the option of removing the Kickr from the "Controllable Trainer" part of the setup screen but leaving it in the "Power Meter" section. Zwift helpfully tries to keep the two sync'd but it's definitely possible to leave the Kickr only configured in one section. If you have a separate power meter on your turbo bike, that'd be a good option - or you could even try Bluetooth, but I have issues with the Zwift mobile app disconnecting (and failing to reconnect) in the middle of sessions sometimes.

End result: Full on geeking, with Sufferfest on the big screen and Perfpro's various readouts and graphs surrounding Zwift on the lower one. So that's what I was doing looking like an idiot ascending to the radio tower in one-minute bursts!

I gather this approach can work for Trainerroad and the Sufferfest app; though I've not tried them myself as I'm not keen on more things that require subscriptions - however, the Sufferfest videos are very good so if that remains the only way for new people to get hold of them then I'd encourage you to have a look!

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