Anti sandbagging and other areas that need development and communication

Hello @xflintx, @shooj @Mark_Cote and any other ZHQ folk.

Is there any update on when we might see something developed and released for this and other items I’ve listed?

Even if it’s not happening / not on the road map, telling us that would be a start.

  1. The strategy for anti-sandbagging. Is the beta functionality that has been out for almost a year now going to be scrapped or rolled out wider? If the former, can we not just restrict entry based on recent best performances over a limited time? I’ve been on Zwift for 4.5 years and the sandbagging is worse than it’s ever been. It really undermines any grain of credibility that racing on the platform has and e-racing as a whole. Worse than that, it will turn away new racers, as its much worse at C and D level so will make their races largely pointless. It’s all very well saying ‘ignore the results look at Zwiftpower’, but that doesn’t change what happened in the actual race where sandbaggers will distort the race and make it a frustrating experience for those racing in their category legitimately.

  2. Has there been any thought on matchmaking / rankings for racing?

  3. More tools for race and and league organisers - sprint competitions, KoM competitions, elimination races etc.

  4. UI customisation - even the basics would please most people. It’s stuff bike computers have been doing for decades, but surely easier as the data is already there - it’s just cutting it in different ways.

  5. Clubs / meet up functionality - results, setting your own sprint / KoM banners, mini leagues / tables against friends, elimination races, handicap starts etc etc etc. So much could be done here in terms of empowering the mini communities and friend groups that power Zwift on top of the more established ride organisers.

  6. TTT improvements - i.e. the ITT starting pens, not drafting other teams etc. Also being able to just send messages to your team or club mates. Rode my first TTT a few weeks ago and it was brilliant fun, but the start felt so shoddy.

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I experienced A/B rider in C pen race this wk 1st time really noticed it as I turn off the side bar chat when racing because of comments about this but I can now see it’s so frustrating I suggest a freeze button so if eg B/A cat rider enters incorrect pen eg C or D they get frozen at the start gate which will stop them in their racing tracks in that race and prevent messing up the race for those who have entered the correct pen

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I was in an Anti-Sandbagging C Crit (as i always am) the other day and DAMN it was a fast pace… not quite my fastest ever laps because i’ve had a few short-lived B races… but right up there… By lap 2, the group of 15 lead Cs had 6 people with the Cone of Shame… Which is utterly ridiculous really isn’t it. The fastest of them before the cone never dropped below 4w/kg… It really does spoil the event for most of the others in the race as ‘we’ end up killing ourselves to try and hang with the group, because you never really know if people will get Coned or not… So you just try to hang.

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Agreed, must be so frustrating. I’m a B so it’s not as prevalent but certainly still happens.
The current limited anti sandbagging functionality really seems like a lot of development work that wasn’t required. Restricting entry based on recent best performances is surely the way to go. They can restrict entry based on whether you are male or female, and they have all our data so it’s surely not too much of a stretch.

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Or even simply the FTP setting (which is set automatically by your best performance anyway) divided by the weight setting. This would still allow for all the ZHQ recovery racers to sandbag their hearts out by just changing their FTP setting while nudging everybody else towards an appropriate category.

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Hopefully those racers will have moved up to B cat so that should be a good thing for them in my race rider got zp-ed out of ZP final results but like you say still messes up the actual live race iam a C/B so some mite say best of both worlds maybe this is an added confusion but for me if it’s a short race mixed I go b if it’s longer I go mixed c but left me thinking what’s the point yesterday when a rider is an A/B and can race in C

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Another thing that came to my attention is that swift power have the data but didn’t stop that data being changed to fit the race on that day ie weight changing from 66kg to 60kg to 75 to 60 sometimes within a few days of each event wished I hadn’t looked now but yes this happens sometimes it seems, from my post race investigations not sure how zwift can stop this happening real eye opener to me not going to look any more lol

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Careful, that can be real changes. If I take a long weekend off, enjoy some beer and pizza, I start the week on 88kg. Four days of pedalling later I’ll be 83kg.

Yes, a 15kg shift in a week is dodgy. But a 6kg shift can easily be real. So setting any kind of change limits controls would have to be done with care or else it would just punish those who are a bit OCD about daily weight updates (not me, I weigh daily but have left my Zwift weight at 85kgfor ages, so some days I gain an edge, some I lose).

Odd weight changes also occur due to some households sharing a single Zwift account - which messes the data for everyone.

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Exactly if some one is sharing zwift account under one rider/racer profile there’s no hope really for zwift to sort this out just have to do group rides and workouts

Yes weight changes and weight doping is probably something that will be impossible to have much real control over.

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Now that zwiftpower is in fact zwift I trust and expect that there is at least a roadmap to benefit from that synergy so sandbagging stops being an after the horse has bolted affair and you just cant enter the wrong cat.

If its a CAT race , It should work a bit like this , you enter the event and your automatically put into the pen based on your current zwiftpower category you simply are not allowed to choose that. If you haven’t got a Cat or it has expired you have to re-qualify.

Ideally the multiple use age of the same cat system on zwift should be changed to no longer use that A,B,C,D where its not a categorised race and just state what it is , e.g. LONG,MEDIUM,SHORT which is an oft used appropriation of the Cat System. That covers arguments about non categorised races.

If an organiser genuinely didnt want to use CAT for races he could set that and its open . Turning the current situation on its head , no special anti-sandbagging races , special sandbagging races :open_mouth:

Just like any other racing you should have to ride at least 2 “accreditation” races which will give you your racing categorization. Ideally could /should be very specific for that purpose… Although it might be feasible to tag races as qualification races so at least already categorized entrants could choose to avoid if they wanted to . I honestly believe if the categorization was properly policed this wouldn’t really be a concern for most. I know there are some events that will have no sandbagging at all , run by the better race organizers and I always enter those by preference , I just know the quality of competition will be good and as fair as we can get , if however I am just after a hard workout if nothing else was available I might enter such an event , but with at least my eyes open and expectations set.

No categorization system is perfect of course , in the last point only new riders will be competing and thus those races might be pretty sparse or uncompetitive. So might have to be held over longer time periods making racing not instantly accessible , not without its benefits some might say . Creative use of bots and ghosting riders might be required or possible to solve this.

This would anyway at least mean that going forward sandbagging would have very limited value , you could only continue to sandbag if you didn’t want to do well e.g. win anything ( of course this discounts the weight outliers due to the max Watt clauses . - mostly junior racers who IMO should race separately as well anyway) .

There is no getting away from the biggest problem which zwift need to take the bull by the horns and realize if they are genuinely in tune with bike racing is of course w/kg is not the best way to categorize racers hence why I don’t think there is a single non virtual racing organization who uses it .

The two tried and tested ways that I don’t see why they should not just be adopted in virtual racing too are

  1. Results
  2. Age (for Masters racing) .

Both those values are not editable at least legitimately in the later case) . The opportunities to game the system become far less. its also a lot easier to mange and understand (and thus officiate).
All this enter the right Pen nonsense just goes away as you don’t have a choice .

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Great Post Graham, agree with everything you say.

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Sounds good a lot of what you suggest something as to change feel quite deflated over what happened in the race I did yesterday and seeing what I saw on zwift power, also I’ve noticed top racing results are being posted without heart rate showing recently I always thought heart rate had to show on race results to count!! this is one sure way to back up race results (in my opinion) I know there can be problems with blu tooth and zwift connections but usually only for a short time (mainly when updates happen) but I think wearing heart rate is good this kind of solves the issues over more than one person racing using one same profile account I guess

Actually that’s the first sane and sensible idea I’ve seen mentioned - getting automatically put into the category for which you’re qualified by previous rides. No more having to pick A to D.

Even with a new rider starting in D, they would rise to the correct level after 3 rides and the number of events is large enough that they would be unlikely to annoy too many as they pass through.

In fact Zwiftpower does have a NEW tag for riders who haven’t yet done more than 500k, which could be applied to riders whose level is being established.

If done well, it would also mean that if the categories are changed in future in any way, everyone would quickly and automatically get shuffled to the right event pens

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Check this out:

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Yes you are right my vision was quite involved . A simpler system might be more achievable that did as you suggest . It would need to be tested however in real system that the constant churn of new riders coming into D didn’t replace illegitimate sandbaggers with “legitimate” ones. I am guessing right now a lot of good riders start in Cat B or even Cat A because they know there capability…

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New riders don’t have to start in D. There can be mass start events where new and those that don’t like the cat system can race, after a few of these you will know where to start. I also think every categorized race should have a E pen for those that want to do a mass start.

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You must be new here :smile:

Every few months this exact same conversation happens. We’ve beat this horse to death numerous times over.

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We have haven’t we. :upside_down_face: So I guess we are back to the OP’s initial question and where we often end up with all this (and all the other similar big ticket items that do these rounds) .
.
@ZwiftHQ . Is this accepted , backlogged , in testing , wont fix , cant fix ?

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Yep, it would be appreciated to just get a yes or no at this stage!

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