I will start this off by telling a very true story of a workout that inspired this request.
Let’s say I am riding an endurance workout and I want to ride in resistance mode to get a better feel for holding specific watts. While doing my workout, I am also watching a football game with a team I care about deeply. My team is struggling and I am watching the game too closely to notice my wattage starts to drop below my prescribed zone. It would be really cool if TR could sense when my wattage drops below my endurance zone, and then ERG mode kicks in to hold me to this minimum wattage.
Now let’s say my football starts making an epic comeback, and I get excited, and my wattage rises into above endurance into tempo. TR notices this, and kicks on erg mode so that I am forced to stay in the endurance zone.
The football game is a light-hearted example, but I think a “Zone-Holder” feature could be really neat. Another description:
Let’s say my prescribed Sweet Spot Zone ranges from 275-300 Watts. I want to ride the intervals in resistance mode, holding between these two power targets. Now if my power falls below 275 W, “Zone-Holder” kicks in, putting the trainer in ERG, holding me at 275 W. After getting back into SS, the trainer returns to resistance mode. Same thing if my power rises above 300 W: “Zone-Holder” kicks on and imposes this cap via erg mode.
I can foresee some difficult technical hurdles, like a minimum time outside of the zone before the zone-holder kicks in, or making zone holder kick in at a few % beyond the strict zone limits, but I think these could be figured out.
I am not sure if others would find this useful and maybe people will say I should just ride in erg or pay closer attention to my power. But I could see this being especially useful during long endurance rides. I have done several 4+ hour zone 2 rides and it would be great to ride in resistance, put on a movie, and only have to glance at my power every several minutes rather than watch the powermeter (and the clock) more closely the whole ride.
Any thoughts? Anyone else think this might be useful?
This seems to be what might be called a “hybrid” system with RES in place until a trigger point (wattage over/under predetermined threshold point) is hit and then switching to ERG mode. Conceptually it might work, but there are some potential challenges.
One big issue is that the RES percentage setting in use, and the potential swap to ERG to “fix” an inattentive rider may well result in an abrupt resistance brake change at the trainer. This is because the RES setting, coupled with the gearing and rider cadence lead to one resulting power result. And then swapping to ERG with that same cadence may lead to a “jump/drop” in the resistance needed for ERG.
I am sure I’m not explaining this well, but anyone who has manually swapped between modes is likely to know the feeling of disparity there is depending on the power, gear and cadence in use. It is not what I would consider “seamless” as one might hope for. Or maybe that “bump” would be a welcomed sign to pay attention and get back on target manually? Either way, the “return to RES” is also interesting because how long would ERG say active until swapping modes? This is one of those situations that I think is far more complex in detail than the concept.
As an alternate solution, how about if TR offered “Power Target Alerts”, like we see in some head units? Some of those can trigger based upon Heart Rate or even Power Data IIRC.
We’d set a max percentage in TR settings (along with an ON/OFF switch since I think this would not be something used all the time, and certainly not by everyone) that if a power level goes out of that range (high or low, might even be option to have different limits for each) and then TR sends an audible alert (since presumably the rider is not watching) as a signal that says “Look at me”.
It would potentially act on the same concept of power data triggers compared to power targets, but would not affect the workout in any way. Just a signal that something is off and the rider should check it out. This might be “easier” since it is a pure signal with no programming to interact with the trainer, modes or anything else like that.
Interesting response, thank you. Yes I have felt the abrupt change when switching from RES to ERG, this indeed would be a challenge.
You might be onto something with the simpler audio alerts, I think this could be a great feature. For example something like:
if (Power below target zone for 10 seconds): Beep twice
if (Power above target zone for 10 seconds): Beep three times
I think this could be very handy- it would allow one to ride in resistance and zone out, but if they end up swaying too far off target it will bring their attention back. And it is MUCH simpler than the auto switch between RES/ERG
We can see if anyone else has comments, but it might be worth a tweak to the topic title, if you think the Audio Alerts is a worthwhile direction vs the trainer mode that was the original idea.
Just aiming to keep the title consistent, if this is a bit of a direction change in the request.
As far as sounds, I think the count, but also the pitch could be useful. TR should be able to apply a lower frequency sound for “below” target alerts, and a higher frequency sound for “above” target alerts. That and/or count could be quick signals and may even eliminate the specific need to “look”, which would be nice.
With something like this, I’d be more open to use RES vs my typical ERG use for long & stead work.
In my opinion, if you want to get a feel for holding specific watts, you should do that ride without significant distractions so that you can actually pay attention to your effort. If you want to watch football, put it in ERG. This one foot in one foot out kind of thing seems pointless to me.
Good idea, what about a intentionally not steady workout and then ride erg (ie instead of a dead flat 4hr ride at 200watt, it rolls +/-10w in different lengths and delta).
There are quite a few of those in the library. Here are just a few in the 2 hour range for examples:
Plenty more have longer segments of 10-20 minutes or so at one level and then up or down from there. I think there are more of those with at least that variation than locked and loaded at a single percentage.
Another observation (goes a bit inline with OP’s idea) : when a workout is pushed from training peaks where the coach prescribes a power window; TR sometime sets a target of what is the middle or sometimes its the simply lower value. It’s hard to know what number TR will set you at the night before (say 2x20 280-300w, what will erg be?)
On that note, TP/TR auto populate workouts is darn clumsy; it usually only pre-populates a day or 2 at a time (makes its hard to share the groupworkout version of it to your friends in advance).
My memory is that Zwift does the opposite. If you are in erg and stop holding power you get kicked into resistance mode until you sustain the target power again for a few seconds. Granted such situations are generally spiral of death things.
Well I’m not sure it’s worth totally abandoning the “Hybrid” ERG/RES mode as I originally described, but it is certainly technically more difficult. Would still be worth the TR folks seeing and commenting on if they think it’s possible and/or practical.
But I do believe audio alerts are the most practical solution and certainly easier to program. Yes, the pitch of the sound could be adjusted based on being too high/too low, but this is a detail that could be figured out later. I would find this incredibly useful.
There could even be a range of alerts, for example: Beep once if below interval target. Continue to beep every n seconds while below interval target. Beep Louder or more frequently if below targeted zone (if doing SS workout, beep frequently if you drop into tempo zone)
This would also be very helpful as others mentioned for workouts pulled from TP or other places. I’ve done workouts that have said “20 min in Z4” and have had to keep an index card with my zone ranges to be sure if I adjusted I was still in range. Would be nice if TR had a nice way of alerting the user of these ranges during the workout.
Of course, some people may not want these alerts and so it would be great to be able to toggle them on/off