Fixing Zwift

This Just In: I’m an idiot. Now, those who know me won’t be surprised to learn that I’m an idiot. But for those who don’t, let’s just say it’s better that you learn the truth earlier rather than later. I’ve done many stupid things in my life, some stupider than others. And the latest evidence of my stupidity, although not life-threatening, was still maddening.

I have a smart trainer that I use for riding indoors. My main training apps are Zwift, Trainer Road, and Training Peaks. I’m now using Training Peaks with Zwift. I use Apple TV with my large monitor as a display.

I bought a Saris H3 smart trainer last fall to train with. My workouts with it, using the Zwift Companion app, were flawless until a week ago. (The Companion app is most useful for those not using Zwift via a tablet or smartphone. I’ll do a review of Companion another time.) Then things started going sideways.

Storm Warnings

The Companion app kept dropping the Bluetooth signal from my Saris trainer. I couldn’t figure out why. I uninstalled and reinstalled the app (and the main Zwift app as well, just to be safe). No dice. I unplugged my trainer then plugged it back in. Nope. I wondered if it was somehow related to my WiFi. Again, nothing.

Technical issues like this can be infuriating to track down and resolve. I’m a very experienced troubleshooter, and work in the tech field in my day job, so I pretty much know all the things to try. I read a ton of stuff online, looking for help on the various company websites, Reddit forums—you name it, I tried to find it. I continued to come up empty.

The problem had to be related to the Saris H3. So I called my local bike shop and asked if I could return it and get a Wahoo Kickr, which is also highly regarded. Fortunately they had one in stock. I raced to the store and did the exchange, returning back with the Kickr. That evening I set it up and held my breath as I plugged it in.

False Hope

It worked! My various readings were showing up in Zwift and on the Zwift Companion app.

Then, 30 seconds into the ride, the signal was lost again. And the exact same behavior reappeared. Oy.

Last night, I tried to log in to Zwift on my Apple TV, and got an error message that my Zwift login failed. That had never happened before. I turned the computer monitor off and on. Opened Zwift again. Same login error.

I felt like crying. Things were getting worse, if that was possible. I was wondering if I’d have to scrap everything related to my training setup and start over again.

This morning, I turned the monitor on again, with great (nearly paralyzing) trepidation. Opened the Zwift app.

Login error.

I felt like doing this…

Can you relate?

I was at a complete loss. New trainer, apps uninstalled/reinstalled, logged out of and back into Zwift a dozen times, endless research online—only to fail again and again. Maybe I just wasn’t cut out for indoor training. You know, it’s not that cold in February. I enjoy riding outside when it’s 10 degrees F…

I came back upstairs, knowing I couldn’t think about it another second.

Brainstorm

Then a sudden, wild inspiration. Yet another thing to try, although I was sure it wouldn’t be any more successful than my more logical troubleshooting attempts.

Back down to the basement. I looked at my Apple TV device, a hockey puck-sized rectangle. In a moment of hopeless desperation, I pulled the power plug out of the back, waited 30 seconds, and plugged it back in. Then I fired it up.

Regular screen. Scrolled to the Zwift app. This is where I’d been getting stuck the last two days, with login failures.

This time, I got no login error screen. Hmmm…

Zwift opened up. So far, so good. Then came the moment of truth. I started the Zwift Companion app on my phone.

The app found my new Kickr smart trainer, and connected with it easily. Power and cadence readings activated.

That was really good news. But it had happened before, too. It was once I got on my bike and started riding that all connections dropped. So I got on and began pedaling. The readings were proper.

I waited for the Bluetooth signal to drop.

But it didn’t drop. It worked. And kept working.

I stopped everything, and started again from Ground Zero. Once again, everything behaved normally (or at least as normal as they had until the last week).

Sweet, sweet relief was mine.

So, after all those endless hours of troubleshooting and mounting frustration, all I had to do was reboot Apple TV. It never occurred to me—not for one second—that the little black box could be the root cause of all my indoor training ills.

Instant Karma

Remember that, if something similar should happen to you. And when you solve it in seconds, rather than hours, days, or weeks, send good vibes my way. I’d love a little karma.

One needs all the karma one can get when one is an idiot.

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