The Shovel

Late to the party but just finished The Shovel today. Loved the workout. Used ERG mode and was consistent in hitting all power targets but wasn’t “exactly exact” on all RPM goals. Never stopped pedaling though.


I have previously done Tool Shed, which includes the second set from The Shovel, but today I had my first go at The Shovel in its entirety.

I chose to do this in Level Mode because of the number intervals less than 30 seconds. I’m using an ANT+ connection to my Wahoo Kickr as it does not have the occasional dropped connections that I was getting with Bluetooth. But ANT+ does seem to have a problem in ERG Mode with occasional delays when there are sudden, significant changes in the power target, staying at a recovery intensity for a few seconds after the start of a MAP, AC or NM effort or hanging onto one of these targets when it should go to recovery. Level mode worked fine for this and I will probably do this for similar workouts in the future.

On another matter, I seem to recall reading somewhere that The Shovel gets its name from the resemblance of the power profile to the contour of a shovel. Having now completed the workout I would offer a possible second rationalization. When you are done, it feels like this is the tool that GvA has just whacked you over the head with!


ERG mode going strong right now as I’m going through 5 min recovery before second time 23 intervals… Wish me good luck

EDIT: Done. I like the fact that ERG prevent to overshoot, otherwise I would be “deadlier” at the end.

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When was the shovel changed? I just compared against my previous efforts and IF dropped from .94 to .89. What gives?

When did you last do the workout?

Has your profile changed in any way since then?

@Jason I think that is common and I get a slightly different IF each time I have done the workout. Note that Intensity Factor is calculated by dividing your Normalized Power by FTP.

Why are my IF and TSS different than the values in the app?.

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No I’m comparing an old Shovel with 111 planned TSS (as per Training Peaks SUF library - which I completed at 109 TSS @ 0.94 IF) with the latest Shovel on the SUF app which is planned TSS of 97 @0.89). The larger TSS version was ridden Dec 19.

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This is the current discription in the SUF training peaks library…

Was on my plan for today.

TP shows
Planned IF =.94, Actual IF =.93
Planned TSS = 111, Actual = 106

This is for the In-Season XC Plan - are you using the same plan as you did in December?

I don’t think that The Shovel targets have been changed, ever. It could be that the rider type used to determine the (old and likely not maintained) TrainingPeaks library numbers is different to that used these days by SUF. As it’s the kind of workout where your personal 4DP will have a big influence on IF/TSS (my stoopid 4DP gives me “target” IF 1 and TSS 124 for example) it’s probably not worth fretting over too much, Totally Silly Score and all that. Do it, see what you get. And if you don’t feel like you’ve been battered by several shovels and still care about the numbers then do it again :smiling_imp:

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Good points guys. I didn’t think the TSS in the SUF app changed depending on 4dp. What a smart piece of app!

Oh wow. You poor soul. IF of 1 is insane!

I love the shovel too. Awesome workout!

Does it make a difference which gear I’m using for the responsiveness of ERG Mode?
I tried to test if a high gear in the short intervals with high wattage’s results in my kickr v4 being able to ramp up faster. I think it helps slightly but have to experiment more sometime.

It depends what you think your weakness is and what you want to improve. In Erg mode the onset isn’t as snappy and the power changes are done for you. Mostly I’d stick with that but if I really wanted to target the snap I’d use slope mode. If I wanted to target a smooth pedal stroke during a rapid increase in cadence I wouldn’t use either but would put my Tacx Neo in Isotonic mode and then monitor the power output.

I’m pretty sure it’s not them. I’ve seen ‘licensed from training peaks’ in loads of places. I doubt the license allows flexibility in the formula. I’d much prefer they did something themselves, but then I think they’d need to give it a different name to avoid copyright issues.

@Thomas The last time I did The Shovel I was in 52/14 and it did make a difference. There is an older thread relating to this issue and also a video from Shane Miller in the thread that discusses how gearing affects ERG efforts. Note that level mode is probably best for quick sprints efforts like the ones in The The Shovel and Violator but make sure your floor is clean so you have a spot to lay down once you are done :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:.

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Thanks @JSampson.
I think the main discussion there and elsewhere about ERG and gearing is about spinning out, locking up/spiral of death, cadence changes, smoothness, muscle recruitment, training target, feel and minimum resistance (in recovery).
I did not find Information if the resistance ramps up faster e.g. from 100 to 900 W if the Freewheel is turning faster = high gear or slower = lower gear.
I think I’m going to experiment a bit. Also switching to level Mode for the 5 and maybe 10 Second Sprints. My yoga mat is not very far for collapsing in a heap :sweat_smile:

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OK, I found what I was looking for at DCR on the Trainerroad Tips section:
Using a lower gear in ERG mode tends to allow more responsive resistance changes.

Also here: All About Erg Mode in Zwift - Zwift Insider
The lower your trainer’s inertia, the faster it can change resistance between intervals. If your trainer is slow to respond, and/or you’re doing very short intervals, you might consider shifting to the small ring to help your trainer respond more quickly to resistance changes


@Thomas Thanks for sharing this! I just did SUF Idol in the small ring and the Kickr Core responded much faster than when I did it in the big ring. This made the workout more difficult, especially the NM sprints, so I got more suffering! :smiley:


Had a very frustrating experience with this workout. The lag for the SUF app (running on MacOS) to change resistance in ERG mode is unacceptable, even running a low gear (as suggested, well know trick)

The 10s burst had lot’s of delay in jumping up (from 120W to 700W), maybe even unrealistic for the capability of the KICKR.

But the most frustrating part is not to get the 10 to 20s relief for the longer efforts. The last 3 blocks ended up a being a single longer block.

I have experienced this on iPad as well, and using my KICKR 2017 and the newer KICKR Core 2021, and using ANT+ and BT on the Mac, including extension cable for the ANT+ dongle to get closer to the KICKR.

Considering that Wahoo owns the hardware and software platform, I don’t thing there is any one else to blame.
I would say put your Wahoo FW engineers on the Shovel every day until they can make it work in ERG mode as it should.

I also need to add that I have not experienced similar issues with TrainerRoad and Xert player, but I’ve seen it with Zwift quite a lot. It is technically possible to control short intervals in ERG mode.