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(Note: There is an archived version of this same request, but the forums don’t allow for replying to archived requests, so…)