Age handicaps for category placement

I really appreciate the sentiment behind “Category Enforcement” and the rigorous application of watts per kg to categories, but it would be nice if Zwift took age into account. Sure, I’m proud of my 3.7wkg for 20 minutes, and, yes, that makes me look like a B, but I’m 66 and there’s no way I can hang with a group of racing B’s for more than a few miles. It’s not that I mind finishing 19th out of 30; it’s that I can’t ride with the bunch, much less the leaders, and I’m only going backwards as time passes. I think the solution is something like “age handicaps.”

I’m not sure I really understand your request. Power is power, regardless of age. If a 66 year old can do 3.7wkg for 20 minutes, how is that different than someone at 20 doing the same?


You might well be feeling like B is more of a struggle since Category Enforcement came along, because like pens C and D, the ability range of B has increased under the “new system” of the last ~14 months.

Under the old Zwiftpower pen system, anyone in B averaging over 4W/Kg from 95% of their best three 20min efforts would be promoted to A.

Under Category Enforcement, a B pen rider can have a zFTP up to 4.2W/Kg (but they won’t be promoted to A if their zFTP is less than 250W), what ZwiftHQ thinks a rider can sustain for 40mins+. Roughly the equivalent of being able to 4.4W/Kg for 20mins.

It may be better to think of it this way. In real life amateur racing, we have a few age categories. For example, there are separate categories for juniors and masters (usually multiple age bands for masters). Now, obviously, a lot of people in the Masters 35 category are extremely fast, but the point still stands.

Zwift elected not to go that route when setting up races. It could allow organizers to restrict entry by age bands, or something like this. At the bare minimum, it could allow Zwiftpower results to be sorted by age category, a functionality which was once present, but - and this is sort of on-brand for Zwift - which got broken in a later update. And now they are not able/willing to fix it because they’re transitioning the ZP system to something native to on an unspecified timeline, i.e. it will happen Zoon, if you know what I mean.

So, I agree there’s no clear way to handicap results by age. The way we do results in cycling (and lots of other endurance sports) is probably not conducive to handicapping. How we’ve handled this IRL is age categories. It would be nice if Zwift could implement something like this without breaking something else.

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Correct. IRL there are age categories. And the power range in each age category might vary widely. I think there are even some races on Zwift that use age categories. The OPs request, though, seems to be that his power numbers should be decremented when it comes to category enforcement. I guess I don’t understand this, though, because if he can do that power output then age should not matter. Has his individual power decreased because of his age? Possibly, but power is power regardless of age.

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Event Organisers can sort results by age category should they wish. There’s a setting that allows them to do so.

FWIW I have asked for age filtering to be present in our new results system.


And gender? Isn’t that often also a IRL subcategory, at least in the large Fondo events?
just an example results page and how it’s filterable (add an ‘h’)


That already exists in Zwiftpower?

Female icon is visible on those riders, but is it filterable? And ideally filters within filters is possible, eg. kinda like the link I posted just above. Age categories by gender, and even by eg. hand-cyclists vs traditional, by hardware-verified vs virtual zp. Also… if we’re at it… add distance rode for each rider… helps identify late joiners to distance-based group ride events.

I’m not a physiologist, but I know that there are things that happen with age that shape performance, even when power is equivalent. For example, we know that vo2max declines with age, and the upper bound you can reach is lower. Joe Friel’s recent blog post on aging and performance (Fast After 60, Part 8) has some references. Note the study comparing vo2max, efficiency, and peak power, where vo2max declines much more rapidly than efficiency with age. While my 20 minute power may be the same as someone 20-40 years younger, my 1 and 5 minute power is likely to be considerably less. Those are significant factors in a race.

Thank you for reconsidering. In Zwiftpower, there’s a female icon next to the name of female riders. So yes, you can scroll through the results to manually find who’s the top female rider. That is not the same as being able to filter or sort.

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My mistake - for some reason I thought there was a female button to filter women’s-only results.

@James_Zwift I know this is off thread topic but not 100% sure it yet needs its own thread.

Recent information I have read leads me to believe that ZwiftPower might eventually be fazed out in favour of holding all information within Zwift - would I be correct ?

If so and there is going to be a re-design will the new facility include all the current ZP elements ?

I am particularly keen that the search and sort facility within the ZP Activities tab remains available. I don’t think that a completed ride/activity description search facility currently is available in either Zwift Game, Zwift com login or Companion App (happy to be corrected) .

Yes, that’s the intention.

We’re working with a focus group of highly engaged Zwifters on parts that we’re bringing into and game and you are also able to see on ZwiftPower.

We don’t plan on losing any of the existing functionality.

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