Matt Gardiner is the founder of the Zwift racing team Saris | No Pinz. While as many as 50,000 riders around the world are on Zwift at one time, few are as all-in as Gardiner. He’s logged 105,000km in the game, he runs a team that competes in Zwift’s Premier League, and he starts and finishes most of his multi-hour rides and races before the sun comes up.
He has built out his indoor set-up with gear to maximize power output, minimize body temperature, optimize team communication and interaction with the game, reduce humidity, and maximize the fun.
“The most important thing is staying cool with really higher-powered fans and a dehumidifier,” he said. “Ice packs come into play. In races where I have to do 430w for five minutes up a climb, you generate so much heat. The fans do most of the work, but throwing an ice pack on your back helps with perceived exertion. it just takes your mind off how bad your legs hurt.”
Take a look at the gallery below for his complete setup.
Matt Gardiner seldom has light coming through his basement window when on the bike. As a full-time CPA and father of a young child, Gardiner typically not only starts but finishes two-hour-plus sessions before the sun comes up.
A Titan Labs Bluetooth remote is positioned like a Shimano sprint shifter. “You can program it to turn around, pick directions, and activate PowerUps,” Gardiner said. “It is such a gamechanger. I use a rocker plate, and for me to take my hands off throws my rhythm off. Now I can hit a PowerUp like a sprinter shifter.”
No Pinz makes a few indoor pieces, including this one-piece Sub Zero suit with pockets at the upper and lower back for ice packs.
Another look at the Kommander remote. PowerUps in Zwift provide a 15-30sec benefit for riders. There are PowerUps to reduce drag, reduce weight, and increase the draft benefit. Riders activate them by pressing the space bar on a laptop or using the Zwift app. Gardiner, though, can activate them without his hands leaving the drops.
Gardiner uses SRAM Blip satellite shifters to change gears with his thumbs when on the bar tops.
Another look at the Kommander remote.
For Zwift, Gardiner uses a Cyberpower PC custom build. “It is a future-proof PC, as powerful as you can. It is way overkill for Zwift!”
“Most people don’t have a good fan, and some people hate the trainer,” Gardiner said. “I feel like it’s because they have had a bad experience and don’t know how to optimize.”
Elite-level Zwift racers use two power metering sources. Gardiner goes with a trusty SRM.
Gardiner also has Favero Assiamo power-meter pedals. Many elite Zwift races require double meters for verification, as well as a heart-rate monitor.
“We did a a lot of testing for Saris in 2019 in comparing secondary power meters to the H3. I wanted to know if humidity and temp affected power output between devices,” Gardiner said. “I did not find any substantial difference. I use the humidity monitor now quite a lot for myself, though. Without fans and a dehumidifier, after an hour, humidity is 100 percent, which is insufferable. There is no way to keep up with your hydration at that point.”
Gardiner uses his phone for Discord, a communications app that lets him talk to his teammates while racing. Here, the phone shows the Zwift Companion App, where the map can show the position of other riders.
Gardiner has a couple phone mounts on his trainer desk.
Matt Ralph of FromTheFeetUpCustoms on Instagram designed Gardiner’s donut kicks. “This is pair six or seven for me,” he said.
“Years ago I did a series of maximum power tests outdoors, indoors on a static trainer, and on a the Saris rocker. All my best power was done on the rocker,” Gardiner said. “I’ve now done 700 hours in a row on it. It allows you to generate more torque than on a static trainer, as you can pull the bike toward you, like you do outdoors.”
Saris also makes trainer desks, with 110-volt and USB plug-ins on the desktop. Gardiner uses two.
In his years of racing and training with multiple meters, Gardiner has a good understanding of how close they track. “Smart trainers can struggle when conditions aren’t perfect. In particular, the H3 under-reads on Zwift on really steep gradients by like by like 10 watts. The next firmware update should address that.”