Category Enforcement D to C

Last 10 races:

7 wins
2 seconds
1 third




A fair share of those races are 3R races, with next to no one in them.

Exactly half. The other half are Zwift monthly racing which - as you’ve said elsewhere - are very well-attended.

Gotta have a slight chuckle at a 90kg+ rider winning a race that goes twice up the Hilly KOM

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You’re 100% correct; however, that’s exactly why this system sucks! It rewards the sandbaggers and punishes the fair play… Cat systems “should be” based on actual race results not a cheatable algorithm…

Under USA cycling, everyone starts as a cat 5 “beginner” (= cat d) and moves up based on earned points -not just an arbitrary assumption of future performance…

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This will blow up every D race because there is new riders in every race.

To be honest I think USA cycling has a bad system to stay the least.

Zwift is working on a ranking system.

But most of the time when people ask why they got upgraded we notice that they have been winning a few races already and therefore would have been promoted already if there was a ranking system.

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USA cycling doesn’t have power data. Trainer games do, so there’s an opportunity to combine ranking based promotions with power based seeding. I feel like that’s the right approach and it’s what I expect Zwift will do (and what does).


“USA cycling doesn’t have power data…”

Yes, Zwift has weight and power data that’s nonsense… based on all sort of lower end trainers (overreported outputs) and manipulated weight/height metrics… I know for a fact people IRL that while racing in zwift are half the size hahahaha… (actually, not funny at all) so what’s the point on that…?

The point is that they get promoted out of D/C/B based on power or results and that’s good. It sucks that A collects cheaters (whether intentional or not). More could be done to exclude those competitors but it’s still worthwhile to promote them. Part of that problem comes from Zwift’s intention to include people with crap hardware in their races who can do an entire event at 600W without sanction. They could also automatically exclude people who engage in drastic weight manipulation, or even small amounts of height manipulation.


…“the point is that they get promoted out of D/C/B based on power…”

that’s actually the fallacy, and root cause of the problem -they don’t!

Because no ranking is used (based on race performance), the system encourages users to coast alone (sandbag) most of the race, and just use some burst of power (3x/4x the maximum w/kg allowed) in key locations like short climbs and final sprint without the risk of been promoted to the next category… It ruins the whole experience for everyone…

Look at this race results, as time differential increases less average w/kg was needed from 9th to 3rd place… and yes, those guys in the 3rd/4th places were putting several times the max w/kg without the risk of been upgraded… a complete nonsense!

a B cat rider being able to do, i dont know, 7wkg for 2 minutes, does not mean they have a 7wkg ftp.

When results are factored in, if the system works they will get promoted.

Sandbaggers are a different class of problem from people with dodgy equipment or zPower. People who sandbag and then sprint are relatively safe from power-based upgrades because their period of high power is so brief if they never do a hilly finish that lasts a few minutes. But a route like Richmond UCI is perfect for upgrading people because they have to do a MAP effort to win and CE looks at MAP efforts. In fact that’s the very topic of this thread. A rider at the top of the category who is used to winning sprint races in D got an upgrade because of a MAP effort, and he’s far from alone in that. Every Zwift racing series should include a route with a bit of climbing at the end.

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What you do not show id the weight difference. A nice flat route with 3 climbs at the end.

That last climb is just rude! I was just about hanging on OK until then …

PACK DYNAMICS 4.1 will be very interesting cause Groups are much slower and breakaway can get away…sleeping/cruising/sandbagging might not get you to the finish in 1st Group anymore.

Hope they will use it as Default for all races in the very near future…i will TURN IT ON for all VirtuSlo Races from Tommorow. The at Home Cycling & Running Virtual Training App

PD 4.1 Thread Pack Dynamics 4.1 - Test Events - #197 by DejanPresen


When I started this post, I was hoping not to be scrutinised; however, it got me thinking. Maybe these guys have a point, but why am I exhausted after a race? I then pulled up my spreadsheet and dissected all my races from the last few months. I analysed the full length of the race performance against the profile, power, position, and heart rate and was surprised by my findings. Thanks to Starava and Zpower.

Don’t be deceived by my podium total; finishing first in the D category does not make you a C-category rider. As William indicated, most of the races had few entrants, and there were just two of us in several of them. In all the other races, there were an average of seven cyclists that broke away from the start, keeping a high pace to the end. In almost all the races, the top 5 places differ by a fraction of a second.

I have an explosive, short burst of power, but it’s not enough to merit a C-category, and I should appreciate it while I can because age is no longer on my side. I analysed the races to see where I was with respect to the group, and while I had my moments of glory pacing the group, they were mostly dragging me along. I then compared it to my heart rate to check whether I was sandbagging, but I wasn’t; I was pushing myself, battling to remain on, especially when there was any kind of elevation. Oh, and thanks to everyone who took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to challenge myself.

I then investigated the Watopia Hill and Richmond routes. Why hadn’t I been promoted to C on the Hilly route? In the Hilly race, three of the seven starters broke free, and we were all at our best and evenly matched. After the climb, I had time to recover, but running at 151 bpm (95% max) is not sustainable for long races. It was obvious why I was still a D-category rider up until this moment. I also compared times to those in the C-category, and the winning time in all races was nearly the same as the time achieved by the last 2% of C-category riders. That is why I normally find myself alone in the C-category races.

Richmond UCI, dreadful day Ten cyclists broke away, and we all accepted it with ease, as if we knew what was coming. I felt myself pacing more frequently than usual. As we began the incline, the pace quickened, and I pursued the front group. By the time I got to 23rd Street, I was bone-tired and couldn’t keep up with the others, finishing third on the day. And this is all reflected in the data.

When I compared myself to the front runners, I discovered that we were equal in power and weight but not in age. Surprisingly, both of them are still in the D group. But why is this so? I’m not sure if they completed a 3-minute effort, then sat up for a few seconds and repeated where I stayed on the pedals. However, during my research, I discovered the following: My power metre (Wahoo Kickr v2) surges every time I start a steep slope, giving me a max power rating that any pro would be proud of.


After all of this, I am asking Zwift if they will consider taking an average of 3 zMAP readings over 90 days before considering upgrading anyone to a higher category.

Thanks, David and Treven. They inspired me to analyse my own data and got me thinking about getting a new trainer. My next post will most likely be something about which is better, Kickr v6 or Kickr Core.

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The Zwift Monthly race he done doesn’t seem to be the heavily attended ones. Looked at a few they are 20 or less pack usually. But I am trying to hint at getting a podium if you got a sprint isn’t generally hard if you are selective of the races you race.

But this is moot because you got another 80 odd days locked in C.

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I highly doubt Zwift would entertain the idea of average of 3 highest zMAP. Mainly they wouldn’t want to open a can of worms of people asking and getting stuff. But the problem with 20 min power 3 highest 3 races people really gamed the system then. If the average is 3.2 w/kg. I can accidentally go 3.3 w/kg in one race, than I can really monitor not to go over 3.1 w/kg on the next one.

All this, doesn’t help the fact you are struggling in Cs atm.
Here are some more productive suggestion.

TFC Mad Monday, they are in between cats. So you wont be racing people doing 2.9 w/kg zFTP but 2.7 w/kg, so a little harder than top Ds now.

Herd Summer Racing League: I think they are using 5 min compound score. So it’s more inclusive for some weaker Ds that have to race in their Cs.

Dirt Racing Series: They use score, but your score is 940+ so you will be in Gold and Plat, and probably get murdered. Plat consist of many B riders.

But even if you have to race C, I think you should be fine racing the flat stuff with a smaller pack and holding draft, you can still out race some of the Cs.

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Thanks, William you are a true zwifter

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I agree with William. Do the flat C races, never get on the front of the pack, and do your best sprint. Your results won’t be like they were in D, but that’s not the point. You do have the power of other C riders who have been upgraded just like you were. Having C category power does not mean that you will be competing for the win. The categories are quite wide and some participants will not be with the leaders at the finish even though Category Enforcement correctly puts them in C. People at the lower end of category power have to be even more crafty and disciplined, never closing gaps when people go off the front, rarely if ever getting on the front at all, making everyone else do the work and trusting that this approach will produce the best placing even if it’s not a shot at winning. I think you should have some confidence in the power you have on the flatter routes, and your good sprint. You are not at the bottom of C category power when it comes to the flatter races where your power-to-weight ratio is less important.

I am currently a D but I can still win some C races.

And with the lack of entry, anyone can win A races. The last 7 of 9 A races have free podium slots.