Anti-sandbagging Solution (FTP% Race Option)

English is not my first language so expect anything :slight_smile:

Here is what i find the most fitting solution to overcome the w/kg miracle especially in the flat and to suppress people from cheating weight, height and the corresponding CdA as well as other inherent options:

Create a default* rider for EVERY zwifter when entering either a race or a specific race category.
Race Category: FTP% Race

Default rider is either fixed by the system (Zwift) or can be changed by the race organiser f.ex:
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 70 kg
CdA: 0.3

Speed calculation is based on the default riders specs and the the FTP%.
So no matter your weight, age or gender. Only your power will modfiy speed.

For the flat this would lead to something like that

FTP: 50% = 30 km/h
FTP: 70% = 36 km/h
FTP: 90% = 42 km/h
FTP: 110% = 48 km/h
FTP: 130% = 54 km/h

  • If all riders would race at the same speed only the strongest, fittest, best recovered (mind power, will power) will survive/win.
  • This will be valid for 1 rider and for x riders (packs/peloton/grupetto)…
  • Drafting is possible as always but FTP% = speed no matter the rider count in your direct surrounding! no sling shot miracle just next to real drafting …
  • So 1 rider at 70% FTP is riding at exactly the same speed as X riderys at 70% FTP.
  • no discrepanc between light and heavy riders all weight the same and are equally height!

Q: What would happen if anyone would hold their legs?
A: Everyone would hold their legs.
Q: What would happen if someone pushes in front.
A: Everyone will push and the higher you push the higher everyone will push. Some kind of a linear or exponential growth depending on the effort and aggressivness of the rider(s).

The more races are done the harder it gets to cheat because Zwift is monitoring your latest best effort. In that case 1 to 5 min efforts should seriously be tracked and recalculate the FTP.

You could do that even with HR monitoring. So exactly the same just using your Pulse as a tools to create speed. Just think about it that would be really really cool …

That would be the real deal, the future in racing online. Its just about Power in any case your muscle power and/or will power. Who cares about weight and height or CdA in an Online Game???

Hmm. I’m not exactly sure how this would work. So the race would be more like “how much can you go over your FTP?” and the actual speed would be secondary?

This of course brings in the problem of “what is the riders true FTP” and the most importantly the fact that racing is not won just by pushing out the most cumulative power during the race but when you strategically choose to do it.

But I do agree that user power should be continually monitored by Zwift (not just Zwift Power) to calculate the proper category. There is still the problem that some are diesel engines and some can push out 1.5xFTP for a longer time that one could predict.

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So you just want to favour more heavily built riders with more power?

No thanks.

I assume he means in relation to W/kg (his argument with FTP would be pointless otherwise) but there are still problems with the approach

This makes a lot of sense. If you can hold 1.5x your FTP for 30 minutes then it’s pretty certain that it’s not actually 1.5x but closer to 1.2x imo.

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of course. would be quite interesting. speed is just a sideeffect of your FTP% as mentioned in the first post.

This would be easy to track down if you take the riders watt output over 1 to 5 min into account more frequently after each race automatically by the system. the harder the race the higher the watt output and henceforth the FTP. of course its hard for the first races to provoke people to push real hard. but this will change quite fast …

more races less inaccurate FTP. you can build FTP based on CP1, CP2, CP3, CP4, CP5 min values also not only 20 min (even 5 and 20 min are just inaccurate real FTP test is around 60 minutes). in order to monitor who is cheating you could start with statistics how long (minutes/seconds) riders are able to hold:
FTP 200%
FTP 150%
FTP 100%
its easy manageable just by using the zwift data alone …

henceforth you will hinder people exceeding that power/FTP% when seeing that they hold it for extrem amount of time … in that way its next to impossible to cheat.

if you are curious how that would work IRL just connect with your friends and change weight, height, based on FTP so that all of your circle match equal W/kg numbers. then race.

Power is relative with FTP%.
At some point if all FTP of participating riders is correctly measured and accurate your power doesnt count.
Its just how long can you hold FTP% in order to get away the peloton.

weight, height, CdA is equal for all.

Even if it would works in light of the numbers, I think one aspect of racing is knowing the track and knowing your own strength and build a strategy from there, looking at what others are doing and decide when and how to attack, try to break away etc.

Another option would be just to award points for wins in categories. The winner in a category gets 10 points, the runner up 9 etc. After racking up a certain amount of points, you are moved (recommended?) to move to the next category. Perhaps something more related to the number of wins? When you have won a certain number of races, you are moved up?

In any case when you have proved (on the scoreboard) to be in the top of your category it is time to move on.

In any case nothing would change?
YOu would race against the pure willpower. Without taking weight, height, CdA of every individual your racing against into account. Henceforth you would race purely against another mindset.

I think the very definition of 20 min FTP means a rider can not hold that power for 30min.
If so, then I would argue they are sandbagging their FTP test.

Mindset vs mindset is not exactly fair.

Mentally tough, but inexperienced weak rider should not be able to be as fast as seasoned trained athlete.

Well, I recall this topic has been discussed before (not only once or twice) and I have the impression that Zwift is working on some ideas. To sum it up for my part:

  1. Cheating can never be completely eliminated. Somebody else can be pedalling, the pedalling can be assisted, the calibration can be tampered with, the signal data can be faked altogether, people can sandbag etc.

  2. Racing is more than just numbers. A lot of it is psychology and strategy. Some are great sprinters, some can recovery fast after a breakaway etc. Some just grind on and on.

  3. When a person consistently wins (places high enough to discourage others from even trying) races in a category, it is time to move on. The algorithm for “when” is from my point of view the actual topic, not the FTP. If someone has great FTP but still doesn’t have the strategy to win (or come close), does he really disturb the peace? So what is the algorithms then? Points for podium positions? Points for winning person with higher points?

I think what is missing a a mathematical definition of sandbagging.
Is sandbagging and cruising the same?
Is it some percentage of 20 min FTP with 1 & 5 min power factored in?
That targets riders that are strong at the end.
Look at it from the other side.
A sandbagger is some one who is not trying as hard as we think they should.
Wouldn’t a different ratio such as comparing a 30 min power to the 20 min power identify this?
If your 20 min and 30 min power are the same, then you probably have more to give for the 20 min power.

We don’t have 30 min power data??? Do we?
But if Zwift put us in a category based on our 15 min power and defined sand bagging as a percentage of the 20 min power, the cruisers would be identified.
A final adjustment could be a percentage of wins or podiums.
Again, if they cruise to purposely not get on a podium, it would show that they did not exert themselves and they cruised that race.
So many Cruises, your blocked for 2 weeks.

Allow race organizers to allow only participants that have ZP accounts and have the minimum category enforcement.

Make everybody sign up for the minimum height and weight that the program was designed for and the little human racing conundrum will be solved.
Or cap the speeds of little humans or do not allow free accounts to enter a race.
Zwift racing is a privilege not a right and participants have a right to expect a certain standard of conduct from other participants and to conduct themselves in a certain way.

Zwift should clearly state the rules the enforce them.
The biggest gaff so for is the total non enforcement of the few rules we have.

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Yes and no.
The FTP% races should be seen like some kind of a race mode. Like you know it from UT or Quake where you had CTF (capture the flag), DM (deathmatch), and so on

so in Zwift that would be just another race mode. you can choose w/kg races like normal or FTP% races and so on … in the end its all about fun.
To lower cheating possibilities would be fun for me because i hate the fact that you can easily change your weight by simply adding whatever you like … you can modify your character using the perfect weight to height ratio based on your FTP if you like. its just so dumb. you can even really easy modify scales which zwift uses to proof weight. total bogus!

So in case of FTP% based race mode you can be as fast as a underweight pro as a couch potatoe. i guess this would be quite interesting race mode …

if you can only win using your power and if speed is based on FTP% or Power% things are changing.
You cant cheat:

So you can only modify your powermeter then. But this wouldnt do much. Because speed is based on %.

this f.ex. of course but you have other possibilities too.

with all the data you can soon see who has weird output and who has not.
its quite easy. with all the statistics you can define 1 min to 60 min Maxima and ETA. If people go beyond you know something is wrong.

Same f.ex. FTP% races. with all the data you would simply create some real and fast accurate FTP% even if the cheating person is holding the legs…