I consider myself a consistent category C rider - this is reflected in Zwiftpower. Like many, self-improvement is one of my favorite things about cycling. I have been steadily improving my overall standing in “Flat is Fast”, but right before the final week of the league, I decided to go absolutely all-out, for a 20-minute effort in one of the Tour rides. My legs felt great, and I believe I hit a bit of a performance peak during this effort. It moved my FTP from 279 to 309, and I was on cloud 9. However, I noticed that in Zwiftpower, suddenly I was a “C, almost B” - but I thought, “cool”. Little did I realize that in Zwift itself, the algorithm was actually doing something quite different. Suddenly, I was a solid “B” category. The impact didn’t dawn on me until I realized I could no longer participate in “C” races, nor would I be allowed to finish my final race in “Flat or Fast”. I was crushed. I know, “crushed” might seem a bit dramatic, but I was pretty proud of myself for moving up the standings, and I was eager to help my team’s standings as well. I understand and respect the manner in which categories are determined, but this is absolutely imperfect. I see Category C riders that far exceed my abilities, and I rarely, if ever, have any podium finishes or anything in C. At over 93 KG (presently), I know what is in store for me, in Category B - especially in hilly races. I don’t mind the challenge, I will do the right thing and see it as a positive, push myself more - but there really should be something done, in cases like the one I am outlining.
It’s indeed a crushing feeling when you get bumped up. I didn’t think I would stand a chance a year ago when Cat Enforcement was in testing and was pushed to live.
Literally went from C, where I never felt that great (sandbagging was way worse then, and to be fair, C is full of heavier, higher wattage folks than me, even today, some heavier C riders can probably out pace me on Fuego!) the DAY BEFORE Cat Enforcement went public. I think I only placed top 10 a couple of times in C a year+ ago, I think all of my top placements are because I was the only rider left at the finish line LOL
Year later, here I am, closing in being bumped up to Cat A, only a few more watts to go, and consistently placing top 20 in my div in ZRL.
Difference is; I’m actually not fearing being bumped up to A.
Don’t worry, we all know that feeling of being bumped a Cat, and feeling like you don’t stand a chance.
Focus on your 1-10 minute power, and you may surprise yourself in capabilities. Will take some, but, know you aren’t the only one that goes through this!
“it doesn’t get easier, you just get faster.”
I was in your first CE Cat B race and recall you getting dropped before we were out of the pen - great improvement Andrew
I appreciate the reply and the confidence booster.
I just wish I could have finished that last week of Flat is Fast…
I probably was LOL!
Appreciate it, there was indeed some heartache at the beginning, that’s for sure.
Those early stages of it were definitely tough mentally; and I will still say it did prevent me from doing many races, which, did suck.
Truth is though; even in ZRL, there are lots of Cat C riders in B.
If you want more fair racing, I really do highly recommend reaching out to teams on Facebook and wherever you can find them, ZRL has been a blast.
It’s been far more enjoyable racing “as / with” a team, versus solo races. Where we can do team efforts to make the events more interesting (and boy are they ever!)
Just keep at it Chad. After a while I started doing group rides, now majority of my interval work is doing sweeps for my team’s group rides, and having a blast doing it.
Anyways, those are my recommendations. Either way, don’t let it bum you out too much, I let it consume me for about a week, then I started to realize, I can totally stand a chance one day; and here I am… laughing my way into wanting to be in Cat A at the bare minimum watts, where I’ll absolutely be stomped… and that’s okay!
I think even Dean here pretty much said the same thing; figure out what you’re bad at, and work on that. For me, it was indeed shorter efforts; and even today in ZRL, that’s where I’m struggling against people with 100w higher FTPs than me; they can smash it on the flats, and I struggle to keep up, but… as long as I can catch a draft, I can stick in it for the long haul!