New to Zwift - Races

moscowflyer
moscowflyer Posts: 540
Well, not quite but new to having a smart trainer so will be using it a lot more than I have over the past year or so.

I'll eventually want to try some TT and racing, but is there a definitive guide to races and what abilities they cater for? Obviously I don't want to race and be dropped within seconds... I know there's a Facebook group but I don't do FB so that's not much use to me.

Comments

  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,934
    Well, not quite but new to having a smart trainer so will be using it a lot more than I have over the past year or so.

    I'll eventually want to try some TT and racing, but is there a definitive guide to races and what abilities they cater for? Obviously I don't want to race and be dropped within seconds... I know there's a Facebook group but I don't do FB so that's not much use to me.

    Getting dropped within seconds is remarkably easy to do because every race I've been in has started with a mass sprint from the gate. Most have categories though so you essentially only race people of a similar standard to you. The best thing is to just give them a go.
  • kingstongraham
    kingstongraham Posts: 27,352
    Yes, just give it a go. First race I tried, I thought I'd gone off fast, but the bunch was faster. Ended up second from last, but that's OK. You need to be quick from the gate, then it settles a little. Last one I did, it was a 36 minute race, with average power 9 watts under FTP, but the first 3 minutes averaged 60 watts over FTP. You need to be warmed up when the start comes.

    Don't think there's any definitive guide, but the WBR ones seem to have a decent number of riders, and the categories related to FTP are self explanatory.
  • moscowflyer
    moscowflyer Posts: 540
    Cheers both.
  • dannbodge
    dannbodge Posts: 1,152
    edited March 2018
    I did my first race last weekend.

    It was a 10 mile flat route with 3.5 mi lead up from the start gate.

    Everyone shot off and I was in the red before the race even started, just trying to keep up.

    Ended up with a new 20min power and finished 31st of 96 (race) and 11th of 15 (Cat B - I'm 3.4W/kg)

    The categories are only guidance, there are tonnes of high W/kg riders that go into lower cats to make themselves look better.

    My advice, be prepared to go hard straight away and don't worry too much about getting "dropped"

    This was my power graph for the "warm up" and race the other day.

    PwihrDhh.jpg
  • fenix
    fenix Posts: 5,437
    Once you know your w/kg then just enter a category that matches.

    As above - races don't start like real ones - basically if you're not sprinting out of the saddle before the gun goes - then you'll risk getting dropped. The good thing is that you can see who is behind you so you can always try waiting for the next group rather than chase alone.

    Just go for it though. There's no cost and its all good training.
  • Zwift race starts are insane, many sprint with the sort of power you would expect for the final ~0.5 miles of the race!
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  • molteni_man
    molteni_man Posts: 446
    +1 for a decent warm up. Like everyone else says pace at the beginning is always insane. I entered a couple of races about 2 mins before they started which was a bad mistake! A 10 minute minimum warm up is definitely the name of the game. The Zwift Companion app allows you to select which category you want to enter I think. The normal app selects for you and I think this may be based on your FTP? Anyone else give better detail on this than me?
  • alex222
    alex222 Posts: 598
    I’d recommend signing up to Zwift Power, gives you some nice stats and strips out of the results people in the wrong w/kg category.

    The website Zwift Insider has a couple of articles giving you tips on racing.

    As said above you need to go hard for the first few minutes and concentrate to avoid getting dropped. First hill you get to it will all kick off, so be prepared to put down some power to avoid getting dropped.
  • - Warm up on course and take a power up into the race. I like to have a draft or aero power up and activate that after about a minute to help hang with a faster group.

    - Start HARD! Like total sprint out the gate then well above FTP for the first 5-10 minutes.

    - Draft as much as possible.

    - Don't worry if you get shelled, it's just turbo training after all. Come back next time and pedal harder.
  • If you’re 3.4W/Kg you’re in a limbo area where you’re too fast for Cat C and not fast enough to win Cat B.

    To keep it interesting, when you’re 10 minutes into the race that’s when you decide whom you’re racing. Take a look at the list of participants on the right hand side. A victory is if you catch up or overtake the people ahead of you. A defeat is if the people behind you catch up with you. Race for every single spot.

    Whatever you do, don’t drop to Cat C.
  • jgsi
    jgsi Posts: 5,062
    Use Zwift as you see fit and if you stay off FB, what you dont know, can't hurt you.
    It is you who is paying hard earned cash every month.
  • dannbodge
    dannbodge Posts: 1,152
    green_mark wrote:
    If you’re 3.4W/Kg you’re in a limbo area where you’re too fast for Cat C and not fast enough to win Cat B.

    To keep it interesting, when you’re 10 minutes into the race that’s when you decide whom you’re racing. Take a look at the list of participants on the right hand side. A victory is if you catch up or overtake the people ahead of you. A defeat is if the people behind you catch up with you. Race for every single spot.

    Whatever you do, don’t drop to Cat C.

    Yeah it's annoying that I'm "between" cats really but you get faster by riding with faster people (or so I'm told).

    I'm not planning on dropping down, I'd rather finish low in a fast group then high in a slower group.
    As long as I can't pedal any more once I cross the finish line I'm happy as I've given it everything then.
  • Dorset_Boy
    Dorset_Boy Posts: 7,181
    Careful on using power ups - many races don't allow them and will impose a time penalty if you do.
    Wear a HRM - most races require this for a podium place.

    Starts - hit 5-7 w/kg as the gun goes, expect to hold that for 20-30 secs, then be holding a high output for the next few minutes until things settle a little.

    If you see a group opening a gap sprint hard to get on the back of it - the phone app is good to see things happening in the race, as well as looking at the time gaps on the main screen to other riders.

    Hammer it up short inclines - the London escalators in particular - you can open up big gaps if you do.

    Warm up is essential. I'd say 15-20 mins minimum, included some short efforts.

    If you're a good climber, look for the few hilly races. Most races are flat.

    Save something for the final sprint to the line!
  • supermurph09
    supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    Something that confuses me about the races is if you look on the results I'd say 90% of people are using a smart trainer for their power, I use my power meter. The reason I use my power meter is that my trainer will mostly read over on watts, so as an example 300W would probably be showing 330W, that's no matter how well I calibrate etc.

    For me Zwift is first and foremost about training the "game" aspect comes secondary hence the usage of a powermeter, but I'd guess that might be at odds to most.
  • kingstongraham
    kingstongraham Posts: 27,352
    Something that confuses me about the races is if you look on the results I'd say 90% of people are using a smart trainer for their power, I use my power meter. The reason I use my power meter is that my trainer will mostly read over on watts, so as an example 300W would probably be showing 330W, that's no matter how well I calibrate etc.

    For me Zwift is first and foremost about training the "game" aspect comes secondary hence the usage of a powermeter, but I'd guess that might be at odds to most.

    No, I'm the same. Most of my training on there is in ERG mode with PM giving the power but using zwift as the controller, so the hills, other riders etc are irrelevant.

    But... doing the races makes me work harder than I would do otherwise, and I don't care whether other people's power is accurate, as long as them being there is making me go harder.
  • supermurph09
    supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    Something that confuses me about the races is if you look on the results I'd say 90% of people are using a smart trainer for their power, I use my power meter. The reason I use my power meter is that my trainer will mostly read over on watts, so as an example 300W would probably be showing 330W, that's no matter how well I calibrate etc.

    For me Zwift is first and foremost about training the "game" aspect comes secondary hence the usage of a powermeter, but I'd guess that might be at odds to most.

    No, I'm the same. Most of my training on there is in ERG mode with PM giving the power but using zwift as the controller, so the hills, other riders etc are irrelevant.

    But... doing the races makes me work harder than I would do otherwise, and I don't care whether other people's power is accurate, as long as them being there is making me go harder.

    Agreed, that's kind of how I am viewing things.