Are pace group leaders bots or real people?

I joined the “C” group today; my first time doing this. I ended up at the back of the pack while I warmed up. Then the program kept baiting (encouraging?) Me to keep up with the pace leader (blue neon rider). Then I warmed up and passed the pace leader. But it would show me 8 meters behind the leader. (Or was he/she/it behind me and there’s only one graphic?). Was I supposed to sandbag a bit to keep with?

I use the companion apps and the Zwifters are bouncing all around because there’s so many people. I would expect to see the leader in that list of riders.

I saw a rider once (another ride) that was orange in the companion app…had a female name…so a real person. What was that all about?

Also, people are dropping Ride Ons like crazy during the pace group. Does everyone have to click into each user like I do or do you all have some other trick?

If you’re referring to the “Pace Partners” which are a relatively new feature being tested solely in the Watopia “world”, then, YES – these are 'bots (not real). Well, I suppose nothing at all is real in Zwift - but most of the other “avatars” you interact with are driven by “real” people on trainers, unlike the Pace Partners. In group rides, you will encounter ride leaders and “sweepers” (avatars that are not see-through) which also have a beacon over their heads (Yellow for ride lead, and red for sweeps), but these are driven by in-real-life (IRL) persons. At present, each of the four Pace Partners are running Watopia at specific fixed power outputs according to varying levels as follows:

  • D. Diesel Dan (1-2.4 w/kg)”** : Casual-paced group ride with a few gentle hills
  • C. Coco Cadence (2.5-3.1 w/kg)** : Moderately-paced group ride with occasional hills
  • B. Bowie Brevet (3.2-3.9 w/kg)** : Expert-paced group ride with frequent climbs.
  • A. Anquetil (4+ w/kg)** : Elite-paced ride on a challenging route. Many tough climbs!

The animation to which you refer DOES NOT at present, indicate whether you are in front or behind the pacer 'bot. In other words, when you get the warning “Stay With Pace Partner” (together with a distance delta), one cannot tell relative position vis-a-vis forward or behind when the pace 'bot is not visible on the screen, which is one of my major bug-a-boos. If you drop your concentration for a split second, it’s easy to find yourself ejected from the group dynamic and having to restart the clock.

In this screen shot, I’m actually forward of Coco, but the graphic animation suggests that she is in front of me. I’ve repeatedly suggested that Zwift fix this animation to place the rider ahead of the 'bot (when in fact the rider is ahead), and to show the rider astern of the 'bot (when in fact, that is the case). I find using the view mode (camera angle) “9” (press the 9 key on your numeric keypad or cycle through the EYE key in the Companion app), facilitates my keeping a better perspective on relative position when riding with the pace partners, but that’s a personal preference.

Regarding Ride-ons “rains”, when one presses and holds momentarily the red Chevron on the map screen (Companion App), you will automatically distribute up to 5 ride-ons to riders nearby. This may be (and is) done repeatedly, to the extent different riders are close-by your position. That’s how the rains of thumbs appears!



Thanks @Wes_Free. What do you mean about restarting the clock? Maybe I missed a timing component to this.

Interesting how you look at the views. I like the default view. I like to look at myself. :slight_smile:. Well, sometimes I like the side view. My avatar is more fit than I am.

Hope I see you out there sometime.

Do you see in the screen capture above (top-center) there is a horizontal blue “progress” bar, which at the far right displays x1.0? Well, there’s a little “game within a game” incentivizing your “Stay With Pace Partner” proximity. The currency of Zwift are called “drops”. When riding with a pace partner, your drops are multiplied (allowing you to buy more stuff!). Every 5 minutes or so, the multiplier will increase x1.2… x1.4…x1.6…x1.8 up to a total of x2.0 (down from a previous maximum of 2.5), when it resets back to x1.0 and begins the cycle anew. In the graphic above, I am on my third round of full x2.0 drops multipliers, having stuck with Coco for nearly 50 km. I have lots of stuff in my garage! However, if you fall OUT of sync with the Pace Partner, your drops multiplier resets to x1.0 and you must start from “scratch”. I find that I get up to x2.0 with Coco around the 18-20km mark.

I find that building this skill (keep with pace partner) has contributed mightily to my ability to ride in the commonly expected fashion with the myriad other group rides on Zwift.


Huh! I have no idea what that meant. Now I feel bad for leaving Coco in the dust.

Goodness this game is complicated. So many ways to do it wrong. Of course, it lures me into riding way more and harder than I planned.

You are not doing anything"wrong".
You are on your bike and turning the pedals.
You can play various nuances but the goal of all of this is just to entertain us while we do a very boring real life activity - ride indoors on a trainer.
I see the various complaints as an indicator of just how good this virtual world is.


Thanks @Wes_Free. I worked on this today, it’s very difficult to stay with Coco. I started our way off the pace and then caught up and then rolled a little too far ahead. Finally got my stuff together and made it to the next multiplier. Somehow lost concentration and dropped back to 1.0 again.

I don’t know whether to thank you or be mad at you for pointing this out.

Do the paced rides go anywhere other than Tempus Fugit? That poor bot, back and forth all day doing that.

LOL! You will develop the skill. There is practically universal interest in seeing the universe of these 'bots expanded (including, optionally, making those riding in these groups invisible to non-pace partner riders). For the moment, the routes seem fixed, but I’m confident they will expand. That said, you could ride with Dan (each of the 'bots traverse different courses) for awhile, building your group-follow skills (and warming up!), and then go on a date with Coco… Unfortunately, there is no way, at present, to do this automatically, unless you were to actually encounter one of the other Pace Partners (usually approaching from the other direction). If you are skilled, you can quickly perform a U-turn, and fall in with the other partner. In general, though, to switch between A-B-C-D partners, one must quit the game, and re-enter… totally ridiculous… but there it is. Enjoy! See you out there…

PS: remember, after reaching x2.0 for a period of time, the drops “multiplier” will reset to x1.0 and then slowly cycle back up to x2.0 in x0.2 increments every 5 minutes… as long you don’t break ranks!

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New to Zwift and I’m grateful for this Forum.

Regarding group rides…will there always be a pace partner? Will that be the rider bot with the beacon over its head?

After years of road riding, I can’t believe how much fun I’m having on Zwift.

Crystal Ball gazing is fraught with difficulty. Paraphrasing Yoda, “always in motion, the future is…” LOL. There are 4 of these pace partner 'bots at present, only riding in Watopia, one each at the different power-level bands A-B-C-D. That said, I finally had a group ride today (and it was quite large with over 360 participants) that actually adhered to its advertised group ride description. The C group, which I was in, promised 2.5 W/kg (which is the power level that Coco Cadence pushes) and Zwift Power/Strava both calculated my average power at exactly 2.5. In fact, the band of power that I ran through keeping with the group, was actually marginally smaller than those I need to maintain pace with Coco on the same terrain. And there was good banter and camaraderie (which is less common on the pace partner rides, I’ve found). I have been on rides with the Pace Partner where they simply disappeared without warning, which disappointed many riders. However, recently, I’ve seen (on the drop-in screen, when configuring the ride), that a selected pace partner is now advising how much longer it will be cycling. It’s not been a frequent problem for me, just occasional.

We shall see… No need to stop road riding. But no need NOT to ride when 4 inches of snow lies on the roadway either. Enjoy!


I was doing my own ride today in Yorkshire and the A pace partner came up and passed me like I was standing still. Going uphill. Wow.

Then I was in another part and he passed me going the other way. Sigh.

I like how he said on the screen, “hey thanks for keeping up with me”.

Pace partners are only in Watopia

@Mike_Rowe1 maybe he escaped or something. Behaved like the one I rode with the other day. The chevron above and the red beacons when further out. Or maybe it was a real person, if so, that’s even more humbling.

But I’m pretty sure the game said “keep up with pace partner”.

The A pace partner is now in Yorkshire. Just tried it. If you choose Yorkshire you can choose the A one. I can’t upload a screnshot but open the game and check it out. Maybe they sre testing it out in other areas.


@JB_Jones. Good to know. I was tired, but not crazy!

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That’s great, glad they are moving around!

I hope they keep the current pace partners on their current routes and just add new ones.
I’ve just gotten into a workout schedule between Coco (C group) and Brevet (B group) and I really enjoy the varied but predictable terrain and level of exertion.

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Steve, my two cents:
1- keep at it, you’ll be able to hang with the pace partner longer and longer
2- the bigger the group, the more I tend to use view #0, fully zoomed out ( ‘-’ key, the minus key to zoom out ). Then use the arrow keys to move the camera around. I find it easier to see where I am in relation to the pacer bot, and easier to know how much harder or easier i need to go in order to change my relative position.


Did ok this morning and lost focus and lost the blue bar. It’s hard, once I get warmed up, I blow past the pacer and have to coast. Coast too much and the peloton blows past and I have to hump to catch up again.

After I lost the blue bar, I just rode with the flyers up front. I had to get to the “office” anyhow.

I suspect this was an error when setup for the day. The description still said the usual route in Watopia. It has happened with other bots too on rare occasions, but generally always on another bots route in Watopia.