Categories are a waste of time!

I did my first C event in a long time when I joined the Zwift Games this month. The Zwift categories just seem to be getting worse and worse. The algorithm they use is obviously just useless, and the <50kg allowance needs to change. When I go onto the C results for the Zwift games, it’s clear the category is broken. Here is a rundown of the top 10:

  1. 4,02 w/kg FTP. Weight 43kg
  2. 5 w/kg FTP. Weight 30kg
  3. Now a B rider
  4. Now a B
  5. 4,25 w/kg FTP. Weight 37kg
  6. Now B
  7. Now B
  8. 3,39 w/kg FTP. Weight 88,8kg
  9. 3,2 w/kg FTP. Finally a “C”
  10. 3,2 w/kg FTP

Basically 2 people in the top 10 actually should be in C, 3 if you use the 0,2 leeway Zwift does.

The first C, is ninth, is 2 minutes behind the leader. It’s not even close, he lost over 1.5 minutes in the climbing stage alone. There’s also clearly weights that have an unusual advantage. A lot of lighter, or heavier, riders doing well. Fortunately, most leagues don’t have a lot of these people, but it needs fixing. I got moved back to C after being literally 0,02 above the threshold in 1 race. D is no different, mostly people moved to C but finished the league, and the usual sandbagger that wins every D league but has a 15 second power of over 1000 watts. 3 people below him in standings moved to C, but he’s 1 and still D.

Maybe they should just scrap the w/kg and go to a results approach now. Everyone deserves a chance at meaningful racing.


Categories do suck and the power floors for light weights also suck.

Until they fix that i would avoid zwift games as it’s probably the worst race on zwift in terms of having out of category riders. Plenty better stuff to race if you are interested. Split cat stuff like TFC, SZR or ladder 5v5 races will be much better.

Basically anything other than zwift games as it attracts lots of new riders that have not been categorised properly sometimes


i believe they’re working on something regarding a results approach. in the meantime, i agree with gordon that community racing may have what you are looking for. many organisers do default to CE, which is the same system official zhq events use, but even in those, the experience is often much nicer because the people doing them are more regular

there are also series that use alternative category systems. i will give one a shout out in @DejanPresen 's virtuslo events but there are a lot of others out there also

if community racing interests you, @Gordon_Rhino-Racing leads a big established community racing club on zwift called rhino racing, full disclosure i am a member of it so i am obviously biased, but there is a big community in there and no matter what aspect of community racing you are into, there’ll be other people in the club discord doing it and there are places to talk about and arrange teams etc if you like that kind of stuff. there are many other clubs doing the same thing too, i just felt like cutting a promo for rhino.


yeah, I will try join a smaller leagues etc. I normally join the monthly Zwift league which isn’t that bad. Just a pity that we can’t enjoy the big events as much. I always assume the bigger the event the worse the categories.

That’s good to hear. I will look out for it. I want to finish the Zwift Games, just to have times for all the events, but I’m nowhere in the standings anyway so no worries there. I will look at Rhino Racing as well. I assume they are regular events I can find on Zwift power?

Also another point, they should do a big climbing stage first in these big events. Then a lot of the out of category riders will get eliminated rather then just sitting in the pack at C power ranges.


We have a few of our own events all can be found here in quick summary.

Crits - Tues/Thu/Fri/Sat
Social ride - Wed
Chase race sunday

Full list of our own events are here
And link to discord is in the companion club,

But a lot of what we do is all the other events like TTT, 5v5 ladder, TFC, ZRL, Dirt series etc so always lots going on along with whatever adhoc events pop up.


we have some, and we also participate in other established leagues done by other organisers, some of which are pretty elaborate and very well run. i guess a lot of people only do zhq events - personally i appreciate zwift putting them on since it gets people to do races where they might not be interested otherwise - but sometimes what you may experience in an official zwift event is not always indicative of the overall community racing experience

chances are the kind of events you’d wanna race are already being done somewhere by people who also want the same thing you do out of racing. it does take a little bit of searching to find those events and those people sometimes, but they’re out there

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Thanks for the info all. Very helpful

Those that have been around the route a few times see this. The big Zwift Rides have the most riff-raff of them all.

There are other categorization systems that are coming into their own through different race series. Such as vELO scoring and the DIRT (DRS) series. Many of these races needs to be approached as a team member - but its worth it for many reasons.

Unfortunately in all category systems there are outliers in each category.

It’s not an easy problem to solve, if riders haven’t got of history maximal efforts. In addition FTP across the population follows a normal distribution so there is no good way to cut the boundaries.

I enjoy racing, and find it a great alternative to workouts or training. It’s always nice to be at the top of a category and win races, but the boundaries are arbitrary. For me, progression is what matters and in my racing experience, I’ve found I’m more likely to progress if I’m chasing faster riders.
I understand the hurt when sandbaggers (intentional or not) pick up the podiums, but it’s a short lived feeling, especially if your goal is getting faster.



I’ve been racing B grade for a while now and I never place very well. Best place has been 10th, when I averaged 4.3 watts p/k or 335. I’m 77 kilos.

However, the winner did 3.7 watts p/k or 275. Which would make him about 75.

I’m pretty sure in the real world I should have won this race.

What’s happening on Zwift to make it like this?

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Maybe you need to be 30kg like the top folks in the original post. Sigh… :frowning: 335w with 30kg should let you destroy everyone else. If it’s correct or not is debatable but people do it and keep doing so.

The weight of people should be visible on screen so that these suspicious light weights are more immediately obvious without needing to do watts divided by watts/kg.

It won’t stop them doing that but it will be visible and might deter them.

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At least in part it’ll be the same things that happen in real life bike racing which mean that the person who puts out most power doesn’t automatically win.



In the real world, the key to winning races is acceleration, speed, and quick recovery.

There are a lot of racers on Zwift who forget that 10 seconds of acceleration and draft is as good as 1wkg of FTP advantage. The draft benefit increases the faster you are going regardless of gradient. Above 40kph, lots of draft. Below 20kph, very little draft.

Over the past 18 months I’ve slowly got to the top of Cat B. My FTP is low in comparison to the category, but I have developed excellent route knowledge and high tolerance for up to 3 min power.

I race in Camera 3 view (was once advised by Zwift) so I can judge the speed of riders around me and anticipate moves.

The only place where power would win out is on a pan flat iTT track. Every undulation is an opportunity for marginal gains.

It’s not what power, It’s when.

Here’s some tips on using the draft and racecraft

And some more on tips and tactics.


Yep. Classic example is when you get shelled from the lead group and have to ITT the last 5km to the finish. Your average power will be higher than the lead group, despite the fact that they’re pulling away from you all the way to the finish.

Similarly, as a thought experiment, imagine Rider A dieseling around Glasgow Crit Circuit at a steady 4wkg as compared to Rider B doing 2.5wkg everywhere except up The Clyde Kicker which they hit at 6wkg. My money is on Rider B.

We unfortunately had a bot join us in this week’s Lap it up race doing 5.1wkg at 130rpm cadence for the whole race.

It lead on the flats (where we drafted behind it), but needless to say it dropped to the back through the rolling section and volcano bumps. For the final lap it was all about a drawn out sprint finish.

The bot averaged 5.1wkg with no variance and finished 23rd.
1st place averaged 3.7wkg and had high variability.

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Apologies for the sacrilege.

I live streamed an IndieVelo race to demonstrate speed and draft.

To my knowledge, no bots were harmed in the recording of this video.

I agree with everything in your post and the categories do need sorting out and enforced much better, but I just wanted to point out a 15sec power over 1000w isn’t really a category thing. You can probably get as many guys in D cat that can do that as A cat.