Zwifting... is it me or

… does anyone else find that their RPE is way off on Zwift?
Pootling along on a Z2 filler feels way harder than it should for me.

There are a lot of things to consider here before an answer can really be given such as what’s your training setup? If you’re allowing Zwift to control your trainer but try staying in Z2 then the course gradient comes into play and I agree this does effect the feel of the workout. If you’re just feeding power data into Zwift then your speed is affected by the inclines but you don’t get the same effect with resistance being adjusted on your trainer. You should also consider the Trainer Difficulty setting - https://zwiftinsider.com/using-the-trainer-difficulty-setting-in-zwift/ if using this feature with a controllable trainer.

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I leave the NEO on Zwift control and just ride a Z2 as I normally would and pick an appropriate course. I do get what you are saying but if I just run a TACX movie with the same goal in mind, in the same manner, it just feels more in line with the effort… I dunno maybe all the activity in Zwift is getting me tensed up or something…

Interesting, not used TACX movie’s put I’ve a friend who has - I think he finds Zwift harder as his trainer can’t replicate all the slope grades - he’s an older Tacx wheel on ‘smart’ trainer, I can’t remeber the model but I wonder if the Tacx software makes adjustments based on trainer model as it knows what slope grade it can handle. I don’t see that being the same situation with a NEO though.

The thing is the NP and average HR data are all where they should be Zwift or TACX movie. It is just that the RPE is off on Zwift. It is not just a one off as if I might be carrying some fatigue. It seems pretty consistent… weird.

Try removing the NEO as a controlable trainer and ride at same power. I suspect your RPE will drop because there is no change in resistance. Why Zwift and TACX movies differ I can’t explain unless it’s related to the trainer difficulty setting in Zwift. That option will vanish once you remove NEO as a controllable trainer.

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I think this nails it. I use Zwift with a dumb trainer + powermeter and Z1-3 efforts feel way harder than they do in TR because the scenery moves by so slowly. TR, by contrast, obviously has no scenery so my brain doesn’t try and compare it to riding outside.

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I think it is probably this… it is the same reason we discussed on a previous thread why I was struggling with RPE in a headwind at an easily manageable power. Some users popped up their data files on indoor versus outdoor workouts and the variability was much higher outdoor into headwinds. I think the differences are that Zwift has a much higher variability index than the TACX movies. So for a given ride with all mean metrics (Average HR & NP) the same Zwift effort will feel worse because of a higher VI.