Any hope for altitude compensation based on our location/elevation for races?

You’d also have to get into the mess if you’re native to that altitude, have fully acclimated, or if you’re on the spectrum between fully and not acclimated, or not acclimated. Likewise what about those native to high altitude that struggle with lower sea level conditions? I’ve known and heard of guys from Colorado or Colombia that can ride folks off the wheels in the high mountains but bring them down to California and they struggle to replicate the same ride, let alone the same results.

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Wow. A lot of material here. Took a year off Zwift after we moved to Val D’isere (1900m) last winter. Now I’m looking at my power output compared to the last rides I did at sea level in Wales and am looking for excuses/reasons why I’m down a few watts. My summer of occasional cafe efforts up some of the local climbs and 12 months of consuming too much wine and cheese are mostly to blame. I think I’ll revisit in a few months at Cat D! Thanks for the read.

Man, I justed moved to 5600 feet (1706m) from sea level, and the effects are massive. I should expect a 9% drop in FTP based on Bennet et al. and after taking over a month off to move went from ftp of 280 to around 230!

What people don’t understand is acclimatization is NOT normalization. The most I can eek out, fully acclimatized, is around 94.4% of my max at sea level, again based on Bennet et al. You can adapt, homogenous EPO in the kidney will prompt erythropoiesis and thus increase your ability to carry and exchange O2, but you can’t get around the fact that the air is less dense and therefore the partial pressure of 02 is lower.

Your heart will increase output by increasing heart rate to compensate and you will hit your max heart rate faster and thus at a lower power.

In an IRL race, this isn’t an issue obviously, since everyone is racing in the same air density, but it makes a huge difference when e-racing. There is a big advantage to people racing at sea level versus people at altitude, fitness levels being equal.

To level the playing field, so all racers are on equal footing like an IRL race, all I can figure is to artifically lower weight, or race with a nasal canula hooked up to an 02 concentrator, but both feel dubious.

The other option is to drop a category, but you would be racing against people at a lower fitness level, so that also feels dubious.

The last option is to not care, e-racing is lame anyway and shouldn’t be taken seriously. I lean towards it, but It still stings to feel the competitive edge, but now be uncompetitive even at the same (eventual for me) fitness level.

We’ll see how it shakes out, for now I have the goal of just getting relatively fit again!

All of that is exactly why I think there should be an altitude adjusted power for Zwift.

Thanks for sharing all of that. I have the same exact experience when going from training and being acclimatized to sea level and coming back home at 5,300 ft. Heart rate is whacky nuts for 2 weeks and it takes 3 weeks for me to get back where I was in terms of power output before I went down to sea level.

My garmin knows where I am in terms of altitude. I don’t understand why Zwift can’t just take the altitude data from my garmin for each ride. Yes, I know people would find a way to cheat with an altitude adjusted power output, but they’re already adjusting their in game weight, so why not just level the playing field out in the open and build in altitude adjusted power, just like Today’s Plan has built into their software?

And welcome to the high country, Stephan!

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Its the same with a lot of user entered metrics in Zwift.

Zwift has neither the time nor money to police the metrics it already has, never mind a new altitude one.

I think this is more a ZADA level issue - if you are racing to that level then perhaps they will do something along the verification lines.

Should there be a correction for people who ride in areas with poor air quality as well? This suggestion seems thorny. I doubt there’s any chance it would be implemented regardless, but I’m not sure it’s actually a good idea.

I’m in the camp for no adjusting possibilities.

Living on altitude is a choice. If it bothers you that much you can relocate. But for most (all) people this reason isn’t worth relocating. Sometimes you win something, sometimes you loose.

The same will apply for hot (temperature) areas.

Where do you drawn the line, you can even says this applies to material as well.

I do believe this is fair for areas where discrimination is possible (parts where you can’t choose) ie sex, age, or disabilities.(length?!)

Your case, outlines one of the beauties of e-sports. It is not only about your capabilities, training/food regime. But also how much you’re willing to invest in your sim setup. (Location)

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I don’t care too much either way. I mean, it’s a video game that makes working out inside much more enjoyable.

It would be nice if there was an automatic adjustment for power output based on altitude because there is scientific testing to back up the fact that there’s about a 10% reduction in the ability to create watts at 5,300 ft (just using my altitude as an example.)

But it’s not a huge deal for me. If I were doing a lot of zwift races and taking things more seriously, it would bother me more.

Suggesting that if you’re really serious about esport bike racing that you’d just move to a sea level location seems kind of ridiculous. I’m not sure anyone would take esport bike racing serious enough to move their entire family to a sea level location…unless there was massive amounts of prize money involved.

I still find the discussion points around this topic interesting, even years later after I originally started this thread. And I’d be willing to bet that all of the people who’ve commented in this thread saying that they don’t think any adjustments should be made to compensate for people riding at altitude are people who live at sea level. :slight_smile:

That is my point. You’ve a choice to live at altitude. I totally understand that Zwift couldn’t be a factor to have any influence on that choice. But it is still a choice. So again when we race in irl on sealevel you have an advantage. (Because I chose to live below sealevel) And when we race we don’t apply extra brakes with you.

My point is, a person should never be compensated for a factor where he could have influence on. (Like altitude, weight, material choice, tronbike etc)

There is a reason why certain countries had choose to do the worlds on a central location.

But in my opinion it is fair people are compensated for factors where he couldn’t have any influence one (when needed) like gender, height?, age, first letter of their given birth name, first letter of the city they were born. (But not the first letter of the city where they currently live in, because again that’s a choice)

I totally understand nobody would move because of Zwift, but still it is a choice to do not so.

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I concur.

You don’t see Columbian pro cyclists given time penalties because they were born at altitude do you?

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I live at elevation and would rather Zwift not wade into the mess of altitude compensation.


I don’t even know how this would work if attempted. Do we want Zwift to have more personal information on us including exact address? Would there be an address verification process for everyone? With so many using VPNs, you couldn’t rely on IP address location. Zwift already struggles with bug fixes and basic asks. I believe it would be a ridiculous waste of time for them to pursue this.

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actually i think the .fit files generated by zwift do include your current elevation (230m for me). there’s a site you can use to inspect .fit files in excruciating detail, but i’ve forgotten the name of it. if anyone has any idea what i’m talking about and knows it then you can grab a .fit file for an activity from your zwiftpower activities list and try it out

it could be trainer dependent. i was using a direto x at the time

Is there a 10% reduction in sprint power? I doubt it.

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