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Zwift 'racing' - Help me out.

peatpeat Posts: 1,242
Hi folks.

TLDR - What's the point of the A-D bandings when they are so easily flouted?

Ramble In full:

I decided to see what the fuss was all about this winter and do a zwifting. All in all, I've found it a bit 'meh'. I think i prefer the old fashioned structured approach to indoor training. Anyway, the bit I thought i'd find most motivating was the Races. Frankly, I find it all rather confusing. For instance, last night:

I entered a race that was circa 35km long, in split C (2.5-3 W/kg). The race got underway and everyone shot off at 6 w/kg and I watched the front of the field disappear rapidly. The 'to go' distance only said 9km... I thought the host must have changed it at the last minute so was quite disheartened, but it turned out to be an intermediate sprint.

Somewhen in that 9km, I eventually twigged that all splits (A-D) were in the same race and that all the super fast boys were higher splits. Yet, the position read-out only gives you an overall position. So, I had no idea who I was actually racing. I found myself in a group of 10 or so and we ended up having a decent scrap to the finish with various attempted get aways etc. Pretty good fun!

I finished 70-somethingth overall, the next screen told me I came mid-teens in C, but a cursory glance over the results showed that the top 30 in C were all well over the 2.5-3.0 W/KG threshold for split C (myself included). The 'winner' of group D was 4.5 W/KG ffs. I was half expecting to have been DQ'ed, but haven't been.

So, why are there these bandings if they mean naff all?

Yours,

Sweaty and Disgruntled of West Bumblef***.

Posts

  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    You need to log onto the zwiftpower website and check the results there. They DQ everyone with inappropriate readings. So that's you too.
  • I don't know how things may have changed over the last year, but "serious" Zwift racers of all abilities should register at https://www.zwiftpower.com/

    Your W/Kg and other stats are monitored at this site to see if you are competing in the correct band, it will inform you if you need to move up/down a band for the next race and can disqualify you from the results.

    Zwift races are very unusual, in that the first ~2mins after the race start is positively mental compared to outdoor races, riders sprint out of the block at relatively high power before settling down to a more normal power! Due to the drafting benefit formula used by Zwift, you have to be exceptional as a soloist to catch up with others in your band that are riding in a group, especially in shorter races.
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  • The WBR races set off the different groups at one minute intervals, so you are not in the same insane start as people much stronger than you.

    But yes, go on zwiftpower to see the results. I would be amazed if someone doing 4.5W/kg wasn't DQ'd there (or moved up to A).
  • Yeah Zwift themselves seem to not want to restrict access to events in any way (other than gender), you get adults in the kids races for example, as well as the clearly too strong riders entering wrong Cats..... guess they want to 'win' that badly. So the best the racing community can do is zwiftpower.com.

    If you stick with it and race enough you will learn who the genuine racers are, and will see the idiots called out. Then it is more enjoyable, also I know it sounds a bit lame but you can shortcut a lot of this learning by joining a team.

    Also the racing on Zwift will not replace a proper training plan, the racing is pretty much TT efforts, so you will not get the stress of a proper interval session for example.
  • peatpeat Posts: 1,242
    Thanks for the replies. Good info.
  • 5858558585 Posts: 206
    Plenty good info above, and hopefully cheating on zwift isn't something anyone really wastes their energy on getting too worked-up about (ok, I do have to remind myself sometimes).

    Definitely worth registering on zwiftpower. Once you are registered (actually even if you are not) then you'll be able to get all the info on the race - lead-in distance/laps and start times for groups etc, then you know exactly what to expect. Some races use colour codes for different categories, others use A/B/C/D in rider names. The distance shown on screen and places can be confusing as you noticed. If you are keen to "win" then you need to go as hard as you can from the start and follow the lead group for as long as possible. It's pretty much impossible to bridge up to a group of 5 or more riders on the flat. You also want to make sure you are in the draft, then you can really ease up and save your energy. Trainer difficult setting will affect how quickly you can follow attacks on the uphills, and you'll want to read up on using the "power ups". There are a few tips out there which are worth knowing.

    I'm using races once or twice a week when I want a longer threshold session, they do help with motivation I find. You can also check out your real world competition online, I do like the fact you can't hide your numbers like on strava, that may or may not be motivating too :-)
  • The w/kg bands are a good guide. I don't think there's a better way (although it could be improved) to group the riders for virtual racing. No matter what you're always going to get sandbaggers, people messing with their weight, etc. It's all virtual make believe in the end so don't let it worry you.

    You can see who you're racing on the right hand side, the A-D riders have different coloured dots next to their name. The only way to see filtered results afterwards is on Zwiftpower though.

    The starts are ALWAYS full gas. Like eyes out sprint fest full gas. Then it settles down slightly as the groups form. I like the events where all A-D start together as it gives me a chance to try and draft some fast A racers off the line, before being dropped (I'm mid-pack B usually).

    Contrary to the Zwift nay-sayers, there are actually tactics involved in Zwift racing. It's not perfect, but it can be good fun and good training (although much more TT-style than actual road/crit racing).
  • alex222alex222 Posts: 595
    As said above Zwiftpower is key.
    Once you've done a few races you'll get the hang of it. Basically you need to be putting out big watts as the race starts. After a couple of minutes things normally settle down, but every time you hit a hill or bump make sure you're putting out big watts again as the group tries to drop racers.
    Also worth checking the Zwift Insider website. A few useful articles on Zwift racing strategy.
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