I wanted to post this morning to get some feedback on racing for Cat D riders, specifically since cat enforcement began. I’ve been racing in cat D for about 2 years, and our team’s racing league kicked off recently [ZwiftPower - F365 Racing League] (https://zwiftpower.com/league.php?id=1232).
While numbers have been great in cats A-C, it’s a bit of a struggle to get many D racers. I can think of a few things that might put off cat D riders, but would like to see what D riders in our community think (or even former D riders that were not interested in racing at the time).
Are riders put off by a course that is too long or too many laps (e.g. Last night we had 12 laps of Downtown Dolphin for all cats, about 24km).
Is the range of ability in cat D (everything up to 2.5 w/kg) putting off riders that only see people racing at the top end? I know Team TFC run a dedicated cat D Friday racing series that sub-divides abilities within the cat.
Would love some feedback
We’re promoting a D only racing series on our racing website next month - we also want to try and increase participation levels in D.
Yes, it’s the range that I think puts off participation. Look at most D races, and nobody under ~2.1 wkg will enter except the uninitiated – who then get very discouraged and don’t try it again.
Was high hopes for Split cats when that was part of what CE racing was supposed to eventually have enabled, but this has been abandoned unfortunately. Good to see attempts though to address the shortfall in this space though!
@James_Zwift Do you think though that herD event names are going to be scanned as women-only events?
From my personal experience, having moved between 1.4-1.6 W/Kg, I have little chance of winning. Maybe short races with sprints, but not even sure of that.
I think that D is a big category, to say the least. Super beginners or generally less powerful riders (less than 1.5 W/Kg) will struggle to find anything that they can effectively compete in.
That being said, I think encouraging newbies/lower powered riders to race is a great thing.
I don’t think so John, but that’s up to the organiser.
Thanks for the feedback so far.
Cat enforcement was a massive boost personally, and from memory shortly after being introduced numbers racing in D did increase, the prospect of having a clean field without C or B riders a big draw.
Agree @Chris_Dolby and @Wannie on D being a big category, I have seen the very odd D race (usually part of a full A-E cat series) that had such good participation that those under 2 w/kg still had other riders they could blob up with and race.
I guess there’s a point at which sign-ups snowball, especially in a wide-ranging D cat.
Perhaps getting more teams involved would help boost numbers, but getting regulars can be hit and miss it seems.
As said above, the Cat D limit of everything below 2.5w/kg is extremely off-putting, just as it would be for a Cat C rider in a race against 5+w/kg riders.
Until Cat Enforcement is adjustable by organisers, not much can be done. Even using ZwiftPower to split “Cat D” into different bands is only an afterthought - the race has already been ruined for many already
Not least of all, that of the population, D riders are least likely to be enrolled with Zwiftpower in the first place. Take the EZR Easy Peasy ride happening about an hour from now – currently showing 107 signed up, ZP is showing only 56. Could be some lag on ZP I suppose, but you get the idea.
I get the impression that ZP functionality is slowly making its way over to Zwift itself. It will probably still need some web UI for the complicated stuff, however…
It’s hard to get participation in the D Cat… I have been trying since 2015 and it gets no easier.
D riders do get put off by the amount of sandbaggers in D races, I use to DQ a lot but it has got better since I use Cat Enforcement.
I run races just for D’s using 4 different D Cats and have seen differing success. Some D’s still
prefer the harder main race as it is more like what they face in most races (ZRL) etc.
One of the issues for me is too many events on at the same time, including several group rides where the D tend to ride.
Eric has had some good success on a Saturday but if you look at the list most guys race on a regular basis.
I would say the majority of D’s rarely (if ever) race and just do group rides, it is very difficult to change that mind set. A lot of that is to do with who a typical D rider is, new riders who will move quickly, old, unfit, guys who ride for exercise or mental health. We have over 50 registered in our team but I struggle to get 2 x 6 for my ZRL teams.
How to change it, very difficult as many riders at the lower end have no intention racing, that is not an issue in many ways as at least they are off the couch, but it would be nice if a few more would give it a go.
I’ll carry on what I am doing and offer the D only races as I have and maybe we will see you out with us??
It is a bit a put-off when you look at a typical D field of who’s entered for the category that includes everything <2.6 wkg (or thereabouts in CE).
It is… using 4 different D Cat’s it gives everyone a chance, the guy who has won the D(C) hasn’t been above 1.3w/kg but still gets his virtual trophy…
Due to the way Zwiftpower works someone can be over limits and still legal… if it is not due to weight or age their 95% should be under 2.5 w/kg… I am just looking at my race tonight and I have 2 who look over at 2.7 but their 95% brings them well below the threshold…
Certainly wasn’t our intent John - we’ll see if we have that problem through the first few weeks, we can always be a little less cute with capitalization.
And of course I meant TFC not THC in my post Yes I’d like to jump on for the odd TFC D event soon, although I’m about to get bumped up to C.
Good luck with the promotion… it’s tough up there…
If the issue is the range of power in D causing very little participation then I don’t see how splitting the cat up further would result in more participation in the upper D cat (which is what you would say is the full D cat now potentially). For example, if you split D into Upper D and Lower D you would have the same people who were willing to race D already (or fewer if some drop to Lower D) in Upper D. It could bring out more folks into the Lower D split of the cat of course (if there are a lot who want to race at that wkg), but people in that Upper D category would still not have a lot of people in it unless they pulled some people from lower C cat.
That’s a fair point, the easiest remedy would be to keep everyone together in one group rather than split, to maximise potential numbers in the hope the field includes a wide range of abilities. I think either scenario benefits from getting more folk interested in racing.
If making the courses shorter / less laps would help we could do that, there might even be potential for an established group workout series to run a short group ‘warm-up’ as well as a linked race afterwards. I think that would be a great way to help those in cat D and promote racing for them. I might be one of few to think this, but racing has probably been the bigger driver in improving for me, so could be a selling point for those interested in chasing a 2/2.5 w/kg target.
Making shorter courses can artificially inflate numbers, I found that out with 8 lap crits which were just over 20min efforts and basically FTP tests but it makes sense on some races otherwise you’ll get some groups riding far longer than other ones, I’m looking at the deeside race up ventoux a few years ago where some were riding closer to 2.5 hours
I wonder whether Zwift need to start a new cat, say e for upto say 1.8wkg then use cat w for ladies only races
Have d then for 1.8 to 2.5
Just a thought
I’ve been riding Zwift, on and off for about 10 months, so still fairly new and am probably a typical “old” guy, getting fit, who enjoys a bit of competition.
Like most, or at least a lot of newbies, I’ve chased Xp and elevation to be able to get a fast bike and the Tron asap so a lot of riding with pace partners, completing routes on my Zwift TT, and climbing ADZ rather than racing.
I have recently done a few sprint races and I’ve a lot to learn. I’m returning to fitness after surgery a few months ago so my numbers are down on when I first started zwifting and I’m in D.
Some of the races started fast, I’ve gone flat out, to find myself off the front and have then been caught and overtaken by the group. Some I started more conservatively and was dropped. I couldn’t get back on. Some have been mixed pens but I didn’t know I was trying to keep up with C graders and then blew up to be left to ride in by myself.
It would be really good to know if the pens were mixed, and if so who is what grade BEFORE the race starts (I’m assuming there is but it isn’t obvious to me). My eyes aren’t the best so even once the race has started, and I’m at max effort keeping up, the little coloured icons to the left of riders names is hard to see (until I’ve been dropped, blown up, sat up).
Loving racing though, just need to try a few more events to find what works … and get back to fitness!
Andrew - the herD Beginner Racing referenced by James earlier in this thread is D-category only. Starts next weekend. Schedule is only 4 weeks right now, but we intend to continue at minimum through the winter.
herD Beginner Racing