Cat a-d

So in “real life” I’m usually around 30-40% of the field, worse when I sign up for Elite and sometimes better when a lower category. I’ve recently signed up for 2 races on Zwift, both D categoriies since the effor window for D is 1-2.4 W/KG…figured I would not over extend myself since I didn’t want to kill myself and just wanted to have a good ride. Well, I got smoked from the start so pushed effort closer to 3.0 W/KG so not to embarass myself but many were over that and I still didn’t do that great. Help me understand how these categories can be so misleading or inconsistent?

Races across all categories tend to be a sprint out of the start. This is a tactical move: riders in lower categories can hold on to the draft from riders in the higher categories in the early parts of a race, thus establishing a nice break from the start. Otherwise use for race results. Riders who surpass the category w/kg limit are disqualified.

I’ve never raced in real life. I have yet to muster the courage to race in Zwift, but am intrigued. Is it common in real life to have all classes of riders mass start, as it is in Zwift? Or is this an arcade gaming type strategy allowed in the Zwift gaming environment?

You should try a race as it’s one of the best parts of Zwift in my opinion. In real life it varies by event if there is a mass start.

In real life, different categories typically have different starts. Sometimes, a couple of categories may be combined into one.

In Zwift, there are some events/races where the categories have different starts. They will be staggered starts. For example, C at 0, B at 0+5min, A at C+10min. You can see if this is the case in the event details while using the companion app. In the mass start events, pay attention to the letter next to your name in the rider list while riding in order to see who you are ‘racing’ against. As Aaron mentioned, mass start races in Zwift almost always start off w/a sprint. As such, warm up sufficiently and be ready for a couple minutes of VO2 max right out the gate!