Auto-Assign Race Categories

(Todd Taylor) #1

I would appreciate it if Zwift auto-assigned people to the appropriate race category (A,B,C,D) rather than letting the individual choose. It’s been my observation that a good portion of people choose categories that are inappropriate for strength-to-weight ratios, making the racing categories somewhat pointless and making racing a bit less fun.

For example, I joined a race tonight as a B category rider (power-to-weight ratio of 3.2 to 4.0 w/kg). When the race was done, I had an average of 3.2 w/kg which means I fit into the B category by the skin of my teeth. However, when I looked at what other riders were registered as in comparison to their power-to-weight ratios, I’d say at least 1/3 of the riders were in the wrong category:

  • At least 10 people who finished in the B category could’ve easily been in the A category.
  • Almost all the C category riders should’ve been in B or even A category.
  • A good portion of those registered as D category riders should’ve also been in B or A!

While I understand we all have good days and bad, I wonder why we don’t allow the software to choose categories rather than leave it up to the rider to guess. After all, we are in the age of “AI software”, so solving the issue of auto-categorizing riders shouldn’t be out of reach. Even without AI fanciness, I’d suggest the following “rules” as starters:

  • Require a rider to perform an FTP test before racing to give Zwift a baseline to work with.
  • If a rider has never raced before, assign the rider to the category that fits their FTP wattage divided by their weight.
  • If a rider finishes 3 races outside of their initially selected category, notify the rider that he/she is going to be bumped into a more appropriate category based on the current fitness level. For example, if I am auto-selected to be in the B category, but fail to complete 3 races in a row with at least 3.2 w/kg average, then put my in the C category for the next race until I get stronger.
  • Allow an override (maybe) with a big 'ol warning message. When starting a race, notify the user which category has been auto-selected for him or her along with an obvious “override” button. If the user chooses to override the auto-selected category, display a warning message such as: “Zwift has determined your optimal race category based on your FTP setting, weight, and previous race history. Choosing to override the selected race category means you’re probably a big 'ol cheater and trying to game the system.” Well, maybe make the message a bit more politically correct than that :wink:

(Note: There is an archived version of this same request, but the forums don’t allow for replying to archived requests, so…)

(Paul Allen) #2

This is one of @Gerrie_Delport most requested feature (next to more leader controls), let’s hope that Zwift hears the users requests and makes it a feature.

(Gerrie Delport) #3

Thanks @Paul_Allen, Yes I agree this should be the way all races should be run at minimum.

This change will take away 90% of the complaints about Zwift Racing.

I will also add that a ranking system is a lot better than w/kg system, that mean someone has to develop a system, ZwiftPower has something we could use but not every one is on ZP. What if we have ZP ranking for some races and if you don’t have a ranking you will be in a w/kg group one level higher than you normally race in.

Paul you know me to well.

(Paolo Cecchini5714_ZHR(H)) #4

It’s blatant that race categories in Zwift don’t work very well, at best. And that the w/kg approach triggers the worst cheat instinct in so a lot of people.

Maybe a ranking system will do a little better but I’m skeptical about. Why in the world people need to cheat with Zwift is, of course, a different matter.

Anyway, I do remember very well when I was a runner, a top-class runner, nobody would ask me ‘how strong are you, please’, before to start a race.

What against a ‘line up and go’ approach like in running, cross-country skiing, open water swimming, rowing and canoeing etc. etc.? And if really you can’t survive without categories, are not age-based categories an option?

Do we really need to wave that class D cup?

Cu. Paolo