Category D race

I entered my first zwift race the other day. I have a zwift ftp of 214 and at a little over 100kg I am sitting nicely in cat d of the zwift parameters. So, in a 4 lap race, I found myself 20 miles into the 30 total, in position 100 out of 107 riders, and almost 3 minutes behind the rear of the peloton. Given that I had averaged 21mph for the first 20 miles, and 200 watt average, surely, in Cat D I shouldn’t be 3 mins off the pace?

Like in the real world the peleton / group will move quicker than a solo rider on their own. So while you may be sitting on 200 watts someone ahead of you in the peleton could be sitting on 180 watts and travelling quicker all because the drafting effect. Plus any hills / inclines with your weight you’re going to be penalised.

Hang in there and keep riding. I lost about 28kg after taking up cycling 7 - 8 years ago.

Hi Nigel, I understand the dynamics of drafting behind the peloton and zwift mimicking the increased weight up the hills, but my point is, surely in Cat D, 21mph average and 200 watts average should at least be in the ball park for a ride? It’s a little demoralising to be so far off the back of the worst group, when your fro suggests that’s where you should sit comfortably! (Not that it makes a difference, but for completeness, I have the latest wahoo kickr with a giant tcr pro 1 hooked up).

FTP not fro!

Thought I would share my perspective…

My FTP is 197, based on the TrainerRoad FTP test (the 20 minute version). When I use TrainerRoad I do workouts based on this FTP, with some long intervals at 10-12 minutes and maybe up to 95% FTP.  3 to 5 of those intervals is quite taxing, but a good workout.  I really need the rest intervals that are part of the workouts.

When I raced on Zwift, I thought I would be a C category (2.8/kg)…but I no longer view the watts/kg as being equal to my FTP.  In Zwift it’s the watts I can hold for an hour or longer during a race, from ‘go’.  If I tried to hold 2.8/kg for an hour+ I would blow up.  In a race I would go as hard as I can, but my body needed little breaks.  The other ‘C’ racers were much higher watts/kg than me, as were some of the D.

Maybe I’m missing something?

I think i’ll do the trainer road ftp and see how that compares to the zwift score… but I take your point about needing recovery time, as I am also at that point when trying to maintain over 200 watts for an hour or longer. Although at 100kg, as a former rugby player, I thought I was perhaps fitter than I am! Lol!

One thing to note is the result at the end of a Zwift race may not be the final result. Results go up on Zwiftpower and can change after a couple of hours when the data is crunched. It’s common for people putting out a higher watts/kg than the grade rules say to be bumped up a grade. 

At a 100kg and putting out 200 watts, with some modest training you could easily be able to put out 250 watts for an hour. 

I now race mainly in the Zwift masters series against guys my own age. I’ve done regular Zwift races and find it hard to get the grades right. I’ve done B grade and got dropped. B grade and been competitive. C grade and rode off the front plus got my grading bumped up to either B or A.

Paul: Welcome to the club, I am also a former Rugby player so I know your pain. Im riding @109kg (My racing weight is 90kg) still pretty big.

the thing to remember is that your weight count against you, every bit os incline you have to attack with everything you have, that is where the race snakes get you, they don’t even feel the 2% inclines.

To be competitive at your weight in Cat D you will need to have a FTP of 250w. with a good training plan you will get there in no time.


To be competitive at 100kg in Cat D you will need to have a FTP of 239w. with a good training plan you will get there in no time.

A little weird if you’d need an FTP of 250W at 100kg to be competitive in D, when D is meant to be up to 2.4W/kg …

I did a D race the other night, and it had 42 riders. The front dozen were all putting out low C grade watts. I guess they’d rather be winning D races than being mid-pack in C races.

Totally agree Chris - it seems the facts are, you need to have the stats of the group above to ride in the zwift category they suggest

Sorry I edited my post above. You need to ride within your correct group at all times. 

The w/kg is the average over 20min, so there will be times when people goes above but only for short amount of time.

The races start very fast and you need to hang with the front guys if you get dropped from the bunch it is very hard to catch them again.

I entered my first d-race and was pushing 340+ watts and still got dropped after 3 minutes