Cat d to c

Hi been zwifting for 2 months now, really enjoying it. I’ve completed 4 races and found it difficult enough in cat d but have been moved to c where i did a race this evening, finishing 125 th out of 172. I never felt like I’ve had a chance in cat d and so it’s frustrating to be moved to c already. My results so far 4th/16 53/203 16/55. Hardly winning races and 2 plus minutes behind the winner on 2 of them.
I’ve tried finding my power history but can’t seem to find it.
My point being and from what I’ve read on the forum a common complaint, what’s the point of sticking me in a category i feel I’ve got no chance and kind of spoils the race events for me. If I’m finishing top 10 in cat d regularly i would understand the promotion to cat c.
Can someone explain please, i understand its been chatted about many many times so please except my apologies for my ignorance
Thankyou rich

Categories aren’t based on results, they are based on your zFTP (a calculation that Zwift makes based on your power curve). You can see your numbers on the Zwift website, login and go to your profile. A little ways down the page on the right hand side with be a “Fitness” section with all the data Zwift is using to calculate your race category.

For what it’s worth, many recognize that the Cat system has some significant problems and Zwift is working a a new system that considers results system. Hopefully it will out for testing soon.

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Your power data can be found here. On the right side of the page underneath your Profile there is a Fitness section:

The explanation of the Fitness metrics is here:

And the explanation of how the category enforcement system works is here:

You were not last on any of the races.
Looking at the size of the fields, we’re some of those events “Rides” like the Tour de Zwift?
If so, the A / B / C /D categories were distance and not race cats.
There will be A,B,C,D riders in all the events.

That said, moving up in cat is tough.
The faster riders will blast off.
Generally, I recommend to try to stay with the leaders as long as possible and each race, try to be there longer.
When you get dropped, you can relax and wait for the next group to catch you or try your best to hold them off.

Sometimes, you will be all alone.

If that bothers you, “race” a group event, like Tour de Zwift.
There, there will always be a group to drop back to and they will appreciate your work at pulling.
Face it, the D’s don’t want you back!


Take comfort in the fact that thousands of riders before you, year after year in Zwift history, share your grief. The untouchables that dropped you in cat D were either a) gaming the current categorization system, or b) heavier than you. Or both. Go look them up over at ZwiftPower and have a look at their weight and their placings in previous races (do they seem reasonable). Compare your HR histogram with theirs in the corresponding results section in the Zwift app if you have a HR monitor. You’ll see. Although they themselves will explain it away by telling you that you are inexperienced and didn’t draft properly. Allegedly, drafting is an secret arcance art in Zwift that requires you to go above and beyond yourself and… are you truly prepared to hear this… stay behind other riders! :open_mouth:

But not to worry. Like @Lebasi_Lashley says above, a new system is in development. The year I gave them to finish it has passed already, but I’m not making a fuss just yet as I can sympathize with their explanation for the delay, which they did communicate. Seems legit this time.

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Hi Rich, welcome to Zwift and to racing!

I had a similar experience a few years ago, not getting what I thought were “good” results in Cat D and then realising I should actually be in C. I’d done about as many races as you before I moved up but I know a lot more now than I did then.

Number 1 thing I know now: to win on Zwift, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses, and it takes a lot more than 4 races to do that.

Are you stronger on longer races or shorter? That’s an absolute minimum of one race testing each of them - once you’ve got used to the fast starts. Then are you better on flat courses, mountain courses, hilly courses or punchy courses? Another 4 races are needed to test each of those, or 8 to test them across shorter and longer routes, and more to be more scientific about it.

Then you need to learn the tactics. If you’ve got a good sprint in you - or a good ability to attack on hills - you need to learn when to use it, dependent on the route. That takes practice, and knowledge of the routes you’re racing. You’ll need to learn how to look at those around you to figure out their strengths and weaknesses; I won my most recent race by testing the legs of my rivals on short hills and realising I couldn’t beat them in a sprint so had to go for a long-range attack.

Basically, it’s like any game or any sport: being competitive takes practice as well as ability, and your ability will increase with practice. When I joined in 2020, there were lots of Zwifters who didn’t really know what they were doing in races, but nowadays there are more people who know what they’re doing. Keep practicing and you’ll get there. :slight_smile:

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Thanks to all for your replies, there’s plenty for me to learn and try and work it all out but it seems a zwift common topic. Here’s hoping they sort it out!!
I get the point about working out if your a strong sprinter or hills is more your strong point, and did just that in a race recently breaking a couple of riders in my group up a small hill and ended up beating them although this was for maybe a top 50 spot so not exactly knocking on the podium door but still enjoyable.
I will plod on and keep improving hopefully.
Still don’t get the being moved up to cat c reasoning but I’m not the only one for sure.
I will read up on some more topics on here and try to understand more.
Thanks again for your replies, much appreciated

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Currently, the cats are ultimately based on your watts per kilo number. Most likely you are like me, a lightweight (I’m 70kg), who reaches the C w/kg cat boundary before you’ve reached the point where you can actually win any races in D. Until they change this to a results based system you just have to live with it.

Each time I start Zwifting again in the winter, usually after not riding much at all in the fall, I start again in D, eventually hit the 2.5 w/kg barrier when I’m about at the 80th percentile of riders in D, and get bumped to C again. Still fun to race, but I’m looking forward to a results based system for sure.