From the Top: Building jmX0.5 Trainer Coach – A.K.A Zwift – CyclingTips

Indoor training has been around for longer than I can remember, but it was in 2014 when Zwift came along that it changed this market forever. It came into the world with bold ambitions, reimagined the space and what it could become, and has grown the market to a size that nobody could have imagined.

Some of the earliest pioneers in the indoor virtual world space were the likes of Computrainer and Tacx back in the late 90’s, early 2000’s. But they never really delivered on the promise making indoor training much more enjoyable. They can’t be blamed for lack of vision or not trying – the technology wasn’t even there at the time. Social networks didn’t exist, multi player online games weren’t around, broadband speeds were slow and wireless protocols such as ANT+ and BTLE hadn’t been invented yet. 

But, in 2010 when a gaming software developer in Southern California named Jon Mayfield began tinkering with his kinetic trainer and finding ways for it to communicate with a virtual world he built, he had no idea how big this would become.

Thank you to Malcolm Bloedel for producing this episode and Ashley de Neef for composing the music.

Show notes:

Jon Mayfield’s first post on Slowtwitch:

Being in SoCal I don’t get to use my trainer that much, but when I do it sucks. Over the last 2 winters I spent a little time writing a 3d program to make training less dull, and I’ve logged quite a few hours on it over the last 2 winters. I figured it’d be worth showing, since it’s kinda neat and I think this crowd would get a kick out of it.

First, the overview: Its fully ANT+ Compatible (reads heartrate, cadence, powertap), it saves out standard Garmin .FIT files for WKO+/TrainingPeaks/Whatever, if you don’t have a powermeter it’ll save out a fit file with power by estimating your watts using standard trainer speed->power equations, it runs on MAC or PC, and PC has full 5.1 surround sound support. There are AI racers of various speeds you can try to pass, there are special interval modes (you program in a whole workout, or just ride around the scenery, or both) with voice prompts telling you when to start/stop the interval, and I built a from-scratch PC/MAC joystick for the front wheel to sit on so you can steer around the world. It also has a video playback mode where it plays most non-DRM’d videos but still has the interval prompts and graph overlays, but that is a bit flaky at the moment and its PC only (no MAC video yet).

Anyway, here’s some screens of it in action (All screens taken at 1920×1080 with 4xAA)

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