Anti sandbagging and other areas that need development and communication

The figures say you are A based on previous races. While yes your last 6 races you highlight have not been A power my question would be why not?

Comparing 2 races on the same course there is a massive power difference and at lower BPM

So I can only think of a few things.

  1. You have had an injury in the last month.
  2. You are not pushing to your max (avg BPM in all other races is lower)
  3. Trainer miscalibration.

I’d also be interested to see how your races play out taking your last kiss race for example your NP is very low compared to all other rides which is usually an indication that you are not pushing to stay with groups when things surge.

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Looking at your numbers it looks like you need a Racing Coach… 4,7W/kg on Epic KOM a month ago.
Free tip…train on your short term power 1 to 3mins.

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Given the number of confused/disappointed riders showing up in the forum, it does seem like there needs to be better transparency around category enforcement. For example, displaying CE minimum levels on ZP and alerts in Companion congratulating riders when their CE level goes up so they frame the change correctly in their minds and aren’t surprised. The confused/disappointed riders seem to have great power numbers and mostly need to keep trying because up-levelling is painful, train their weaknesses, learn to race better tactically, or pick races better suited to their characteristics.

That’s definitely the case that communication on CE needs improved but I also think that CE racing is much fairer so if you were to weigh the disappointed zp cat racers against the CE disappointed racers the latter would be in the minority.

Nobody likes getting upgraded to the bottom of the next category when they have been comfortable racing/winner for months/years.

Better coms and further power for organisers to set limits would soften the blow for some that feel hard done by CE

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Me and my girlfriend experience the same. I’m a C rider and she is a D. We both joined recently for the races but soon realised there is no way we would be competitive. My partner is actually thinking about cancelling her subscription. She would like a category lower than D and we would both like more intermittent categories. A smaller competitive group of 20 would be better than uncompetitive groups of 50+.

Hi @THOMAS_MERRY

Racing is hard. But you should try the CE (category enforcement) races, as more people join the more racing there will be at the back.

One tip is to find races that fit your strength.

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Have you tried “racing” the Fundo events, or Tour of Watopia? I manage to get good efforts out of myself that way. Many participants will ride hard at whatever level they are at, and the packs are usually large even if you are not fast. The results show up in ZwiftPower like races.

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Quite possibly

Probably

I see no effect. What should I be looking for? Not even sure how I would know. Maybe I’m finishing even more last without realizing it.

Cat enforcement feels like a smokescreen. A bone thrown because results-based racing will not be implemented. It’s not even being worked on.

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Mike
I have seen your comments here and on a Heart Rate thread.
I have looked at your Activity data and I have a question for you - Are you doing any training which is not racing or fast group rides. I can see nothing in your past year which suggests you are doing any workouts or training to improve your weak race areas. I see no recovery or Z2 rides but it may be for some reason you just do not save them.

I’m by no means knowledgeable on training but I’m sure that if all you ever do is race this will only ever be detrimental to your long term race improvement.

Others have given you some ideas but if I may I suggest you race less ( be more specific about the races you pick, pick less of them and target those which favour your strengths - I see you have entered ZHR Masters and done well in them ) and look at the Zwift workouts available which will improve your 1 minute - 5 minute power.

Sound advice that I will closely consider. I just race; it’s immensely frustrating but still much more engaging than plowing through repeated intervals. All that busting a$$ trying to keep up has to amount to something, right? But I know what you mean. If I insist on only racing, I’d argue that I should enter races that emphasize my weaknesses rather than my strengths.

To make it all worse, I commute to work almost every day 10 miles (16km for y’all) round trip. When I get home I’m nicely warmed up for a race, or so I reason.

I’ve considered starting a thread to see how often people race vs train. Zwift is a training platform, and my intention is to incorporate specific training into the races. No doubt pounding those intervals is more efficient/effective.

All that said, I’m still surprised how frequently I’m entirely alone at the bottom of A. It’s clear to me many of those B riders have A power, but choose to hold back.

you’ll get plenty that disagree, its a game not a training platform otherwise we’d have all sorts of metrics available to us that we don’t, zwift don’t see it as a training platform whcih is probably why there were rumours of them acquiring trainerroad

like you i only use it to race or keep the legs ticking over when i cant get outside, the bottom of A is a lonely place, been there and done it and back there again

I’ve never worked so hard in a game. I played RDR2 yesterday evening and my HR jumped to 74 BPM when a snake made my horse nervous.

I’d call it a training platform for the masses. Zwift racing is an add on. Significant metrics and results based racing won’t be added because the market is too small.

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Good podcast here analysing Eric Min’s superhuman cat B performance.

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15 sec@13.18 and 1min@9.54 W/kg are really impressive numbers. Those metrics are what decide most Zwift races. The best part is that they are out of scope for the CE metrics. He is an ideal B-racer.

Some interesting discussion in there, I think I fell asleep about half way through so will listen to the rest later…

For me, there is a stigma attached to online racing that it’s just full of cheats and a bit of a joke - that will now take years to go away, and a big chunk of the blame for that sits with Zwift for letting it happen and sitting on their hands for years as the market leader.

The other part is, had it not being framed as a game at the outset, but a training tool would it have drawn in those people who will always as cheat as it’s online and it’s ‘easy’ to do - would it suffer from those COD issues they talk about, probably yes, but who knows. Does RGT have the same issues?

Wonder if they will get maintenanced for suggesting dear leader is cheating or fudging his numbers?

rookie numbers

Racing is Waaaaaaay better than before. I remember when I first started I was penalized in D when I was just trying to keep in the peloton and always getting dropped in C races. Now when I get dropped there’s usually a reason on my end for it. I’ve gotten stronger for sure. But I’m also not trying to keep up with a C peloton going at Cat B (or A!!) pace.

These days I’m seeing sprinters who just coast the entire race and put in a huge effort at the end. VERY low average heart rates; I know some HRM suck (my first one was faulty) but it’s so consistent: Like 140 - 160 bpm average. These riders are able to put in huge watt/kg efforts at the end of the race. Usually the 30 second and below efforts. Me being quite new to all this I’m not sure what’s considered acceptable for a Cat C other than their average FTP. But I also watch YouTube videos of cyclists that would be Cat A/B and likely semi-pro IRL; A Cat C shouldn’t have a sprint equal to those riders.

It’s getting better no doubt! And to be honest I’m happy as long as I don’t get dropped (when I’m 180 bpm at least) and get a good workout in. 4 months ago usually involved being dropped a few k’s in and then riding a boring course alone for 30+ minutes.

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It’s what you get if you let power numbers decide categorization. You will always see cheats like that. Always. And all it takes is 5% racers with that mindset to make any race with 20 participants unwinnable for the remaining participants.

We read the roadmap updated a few days ago, their plan to deal with ‘fairness’ in racing and there is not a hint of any intention to actually address fairness. As usual. Instead they bury their noses in hardware ‘issues’. Smoke screen (or pure idiocy, you be the judge). Don’t they see how stupid that is? Don’t they see that we see how stupid that is?

I don’t care if I get beaten by someone on a Flux or worse still. I care if that person isn’t putting up an effort to beat me. I care if that person can keep winning indefinitely, staying in cat indefinitely, while not putting up an effort, crap hardware or not.

If he’s on some dubious rig that gives him +100W, why would I care? He won’t be racing against me anyway. Or if he is, then he has already collected his 100W reward and now he has to start paying with sweat. It makes no difference to me. Static (as in stale), exploitable categories, on the other hand, is a much bigger problem. That is a real fairness issue. One they will never address, they made that clear.

This constant tip-toeing around small groups of subscribers. “We want to improve fairness in racing” and then at the same time “Ooo we can’t do this, can’t do that, it’s more complex than you think, it might PO a minority of subscribers!” They don’t really believe in fairness. It’s obvious they don’t believe/understand that fairness is a selling point, one customers will adapt to, and will want to adapt to. They want me to hit the subscribe button because van der Poel is in their commercial but not because of what he represents? Jeez…

The virtual racing market is up for grabs. Anyone can beat Zwift at this game. Someone will. And the suckers won’t even see it coming. We do though.

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You may be right, but consider that some of these riders may never be able to reach your average heart rate, even when working harder. If they can, you may see that on ZwiftPower (what do their high HR events look like?). Their body or training may be better adapted to a big sprint even if they don’t have a massive FTP, and their heart rate might not reveal that. It’s hard to know who is on the limit, or who can produce a big sprint after an on-the-limit effort. Your current fitness or capabilities might suit you to a different event, and you might beat some of those same riders on a different course.

There are definitely people who would be classified as “outliers”. People who have unusually low heart rates and/or relatively strong sprinting for their category. But not nearly in the proportions that we see in races. The magnitude of the irregularities also contributes to my observations. If we actually took a census of Zwift riders, we’d see extremely strong deviations from the general population. Average height would be about 4’-6". Weight would be 60 kg at most (with outlier power output for such a weight). And these “smaller” athletes would also have unusually low heart rates relative to their size. In fact, perhaps we’ve actually discovered an alien species living amongst us humans; they just happen to be smaller with more efficient power output. Either that or we race with many liars :wink:

It’s hard to qualify how good of a sprinter someone should be for each category. How strong of a sprinter should a rider be if they can hold 200 watts for an hour? Or 300? Heart rates are a little easier to scrutinize. These riders typically have very low heart rates. Sometimes even lower than what would be ideal for fat burning.

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