Poll results as of Jan 2 2023 –
Everyone rides endurance level workouts with 72% at 2-5x/week.
Most prefer o/u LTP (46%) or under LTP (26%).
The majority of users work out early in the morning (29%) or in the evening (32%).
83% have an interest or would consider group endurance workouts if the right time and level.
17% prefer to ride alone so I’ll leave them be for now.
Here’s some details of my idea and why I think it would be of benefit.
TL;DR elevator pitch – Ride when you want with others doing the same thing.
When you start a workout or session you can immediately join a pool of riders who happen to be riding at the same time as you.
Watch a movie (scenic routes), listen to your favorite music, chat with others if you want.
Ride as long as you’d like to meet your training goals for the day.
Scheduled public group sessions have until recently been a bit hidden due to menu location or they are private (club, team, squad). The new Sessions tab on XO home page is a step in right direction as it lists group workouts open to the public and scheduled within the next 7 days. Anyone can join if a session meets your training goals and start time is acceptable. However, those issues limit usage. Scheduled group sessions may not meet your needs based on start time, focus, difficulty or duration. I have missed a number of early morning sessions simply because I woke up late. In my case sleep is more important than start time.
The LCD (lowest common denominator) is that everyone rides LSD (long slow distance) several times a week.
Many of us are also in Base phase (endurance) riding indoors for the next month or two. But regardless of ATP setting all of us need to ride some LSD on a weekly basis.
What if that was easy to do that as a group session available at any time?
I have two overlapping ideas that fall under the same umbrella.
I’m calling this umbrella Xert World (XW) for lack of a better name at the moment.
Part 1 is the LSD portion that includes scheduled group sessions.
Part 2 is BYOW (bring your own workout) that includes on-demand group sessions.
I’ll limit this post to Part 1 but want to start off describing what XW isn’t.
- Not a virtual SIM (Fulgaz, VeloReality, etc)
- Not 3D world avatars (Zwift, RGT, Rouvy, etc.)
- Not a race (ZRL, RGT, etc).
Simply put Xert World is an option to ride with other Xerters who are training at the same time.
It’s a group workout on your terms and schedule. No need to schedule or join in advance.
XW is an opportunity to watch a movie, listen to music, and chat with others while you work out, whenever you want to work out.
As anyone who’s participated in group sessions knows, the movie, sound, and chat room distractions ensure time flies. 90 minutes can seem like 30. You get your training done and have more fun doing it. Of course, you can do this elsewhere, but the components are also present in Xert. Let’s make it easy to do.
Part 1 – LSD public group sessions #1 and #2
LSD #1 is Lucy in the Sky (Forever ) that is scheduled on the hour.
LSD #2 is Back to Blue is scheduled to start on half past the hour.
Both are 75 minutes long (warm-up to cooldown).
XO server generates these sessions continuously over the course of the day. Only two entries of each session show up at any time. The next one on the hour (or half hour) and the other is the one in-progress. That means four additional group sessions are listed under the Sessions tab at all times ready for you to join one.
For example, if you login to XO at 12:05pm and select the Sessions tab, the list would show –
Lucy in-progress (started at Noon) with 70 minutes remaining. Hop on now if you want.
Lucy in-progress (started at 11am) with 10 minutes remaining. You’ll ignore this one but can see if anyone is riding it.
Blue starting at 12:30pm. Join when ready. You’ll see others who’ve joined and are warming up.
Blue in-progress with 40 minutes remaining. Hop on now if you want. You can always hop again later to extend your workout.
Trick is XO does not auto-generate the next LSD #1 or 2 until the prior session has ended. In example above, Lucy scheduled for 1pm would not show up on the list until the 11am session ended at 12:15pm. That keeps the list manageable. No need to see Lucy’s scheduled all day long every hour. This also instills the habit of riding LSD on the hour or half hour since it’s now obvious you can do this every day. Running a bit late today? Another session starts in less than 30 minutes. Oil your chain. Wipe down your frame or trainer mat. Put some air in your front tire. Restock on fuel. No time to waste? Hop on a train and start riding right now.
Missing warm-up isn’t crucial when joining an LSD session in progress. You can always warm-up in Slope mode and switch to AUTO when ready. The point being you can hop on a train that just started or wait a few minutes for the next one. Then hop on/off for as long as you want to reach your XSS goal or time you have to train today.
Why 75 minutes? I thought this might work best for overlapping workouts ending at quarter past the hour and quarter til the hour. Session could be 59 minutes long if that works out better programmatically. Either way they’ll always be an LSD train running you can join.
Ride however long you want whether you have 45 minutes to train today or 2 hours.
You can always ride less by dropping out or more by hopping trains.
Those so inclined could turn this into an LSD 2-3 hour session or ultra-endurance contest.
Rinse and repeat for as long as your sit bones can handle it.
XW doesn’t prevent you from running something else over the top of the Session Player if you prefer that. You can also pop-out the rainbow gauge or power chart or chat box and use them as you wish. The power chart isn’t necessarily useful since it’s all LSD level strain. You won’t care much about interval transitions or count. It’s more about how long you want to ride while distracted by content (movie, music, chat).
EBC on phone (Android preferred for now. See below.)
Session Player on laptop/PC/tablet
Rocket Chat app on phone (easier for chat than keyboard)
Optional big screen (cabled or mirrored)
Likely code changes required –
- Update to XO to auto-generate two LSD sessions (one on the hour and the other on the half hour) as soon as prior session ends.
Suggest rotating through a stack of BTW urls so there is a new “movie” each time the next session is generated. With over two hundred possibilities, it would be highly unlikely to see the same movie from day to day. Could be something that only changes by the day. Every 24 hours the movie URLs change for the daily editions of LSD #1 and 2.
- Update to EBC iOS to match Android feature (end workout, start another as one activity). Not crucial analysis-wise, but I’m sure most users would prefer one activity recorded no matter how many trains are hopped.
- Updates to Session Player:
+Add toggle icon in title bar above stats box to switch between stats box and leaderboard.
+Add toggle icon in title bar above rainbow gauge to switch between overlay format without pop-outs and overlay with default SP settings. I think overlay works better than embedded for this purpose since title bar is always visible to show elapsed time and XSS.
+Add age group option (<20, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, 80+) to dropdown for leaderboard so you can see who’s in same age group as you.
+Add Time Zone (UCT) to dropdown for leaderboard so you can see who’s in same time zone as you
+Add status stars count/color to dropdown so you can see who’s at similar TL as you.
- Update to Rocket Chat: LSD 1&2 become new chat rooms or combine into one XW chat? Or General chat room could change to Xert World. [Part 2 BYOW comes into play here which I will post next.]
Group Session Report issue – Haven’t thought this through but an easy solution would be to exclude those who hop sessions and don’t complete a full session. You’ll only get a group report if you start/end a 75-minute session in its entirety. It may work that way already.
At any rate…the gist of this idea is “Work out when you want with others if you want.”
If anyone has questions about what I’ve posted so far, let me know and I’ll create a mockup or provide an example in more detail. Part 2 will complete the picture so that ANY workout or session you start solo can join the pool.
Hopefully there is enough interest for Xert to consider changes along these lines in the future.
I realize their current focus is on Xert 2.0.