D events always seem faster than 2W/kg

I have been using Zwift for three months and have joined several D events. I have never been in one where there were less than 70% of the riders off the front just a bit under 3 W/kg. I am 75 years old and with as many riders as there are on Zwift one would think the folks at Zwift could get creative offering ways for older riders to feel like they can be competitive.


Some ideas:

  • Cap maximum power at 10% over the maximum advertised event class. If you go faster your incline goes UP. Or some other method to “rubber band” riders ignoring the advertised power to be held on the front of the pack.
  • Have a method to control age minimums in events the same way men are not allowed in women’s events. For example for a 50+ event riders under 50 could not join.
  • Have a method for older riders to start riding and make their desire to ride with other older riders known so that when a threshold number of riders existed in their age class they could ride off together.


I hope other older riders will get creative add to this list and I am hopeful Zwift will hear us and find some method at minimum development cost that will help us.

Lynn Saunders



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In my opinion you can only compete with your self on this platform,we all have different trainers etc so it cant be fair,also cheating is a way of life for some people! if people would put out the same amount of watts in real life they would be dominating the tdf…just keep on riding zwift is still a great tool for indoors training.


@Tomas S,

 I don’t necessarily disagree with you - though I can’t for the life of me understand why someone who’s going to ‘cheat’ would enter as Category D in the first place.

I think it’s more likely that people who’ve never raced before enter as ‘D’ because they either don’t know their actual FTP in w/kg or because they don’t want to risk being DFL in a more appropriate category.  There’re always some sandbaggers in each category.

To Lynn’s point - seeing people ‘ride off the front’ @ 3 w/kg (or some other ratio that is significantly higher than advertised for a given category) is VERY typical in Zwift races.  Almost all riders immediately go into an all-out sprint away from the starting line in a way that doesn’t mimic reality - and the w/kg necessary to hang with the lead pack is very high.  If the race is long enough, things tend to settle down after a few miles (though not always). 

Even if Zwift were to break things out into age groups, racing probably wouldn’t change much - because the more competitive people will compete to win, regardless of their age. ;) 

If you’re talking about people riding off the front in group rides? This is something I don’t really understand - but it happens.  It’s just a ride, so I wouldn’t worry about it. Just do your thing and let them go. 

Also, Lynn - someone posted a link to this site not long ago.  I don’t have any personal experience with it, but have a look.  It might be just the sort of thing you’re looking for.



Races are just as Joe Daknis described - madness at the start and then settles down as people revert back to their typical race pace instead of the 5 min max power pace.

Group rides - also a bit like races, but if you hang back with the ride leader typically it’s more sane. In fact, the last group ride I did I stupidly went with one of the faster groups and eventually fatigued before the ride was over - and before it was over I got overtaken by the leader and his group, which was riding the advertised pace. Lesson learned - stay with the leader and you’ll be fine - as long as you can ignore the alpha pack in front egging you on.

Same thing in Group C.  In a recent race 8 of the 12 riders entered averaged above 3.2 w/kg.  The “winner” averaged 3.8 w/kg.

I understand that trainers are not all equal, and some are more accurate than others.  But whatever FTP your trainer says you are putting out, enter the appropriate category!  I do think that Zwift should regulate this.  If you finish a race with calculated FTP 10% or more above category, the next race you enter you are automatically bumped up to the next category.

I don’t really worry too much about all this.  I just don’t get it.  If you want to compete, compete against riders on your level.  Is there really any satisfaction in winning a race against lower level competitors?  Perhaps folks who find this satisfying also enjoy entering youth soccer games so they can score dozens of goals…?

I’ve come to accept the craziness at the start.  I just treat it as the first attack.  At least you know when that one is coming!

I’m 54 so no longer a spring chicken. Tried a few races and always ended up riding alone very quickly. So I’ve stopped joining the races - there’s no fun in cycling alone…no one to chase, no one to draft from…it gets lonely pretty quick. I guess these races are for the younger powerful riders.

Riders going off the front are one thing in a race but it should not happen in a group ride that is billed at a certain FTP or W/kg. Yet I have never joined a group ride where that was not the case. I lead a couple of class D group rides with a clear plea in the description that it was for older riders wanting to have a group event that they could participate in. Yet many who joined were in their teens, 20’s, and 30’s and even with messages to regroup the group fell apart. I gave up. Now I am riding workouts which has the feature of limiting riders going off the front by “rubber banding” them to the pace. The effort required to keep up with the group is dependent upon the FTP of the rider. So older riders with an FTP of 175 can feel like they are working out with riders with an FTP of 400. I lead one every Saturday at 12:05pm PDT in the US (GMT -7:00)

It would really be nice to have group rides limited by age groups. They can be limited by gender, so it seems it shouldn’t be a big effort on Zwift’s part to implement that simple change.

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Seems like the Ride Leader for group rides should have some power…  Perhaps the Ride Leader can erect a moving barrier attached to his bike, and all riders are pulled back behind it!


Or maybe just a way for the group leader to set a threshold so that if a rider rides too far off the front and high power and stays away, they’re automagically freed (read “removed”) from the group. If the ride is billed as a social 1.5-2.0 WKG ride and someone is blasting 10/wkg it would seem they didn’t really want to be there anyway. There would have to be adjustments made since someone trying to stay near the group but cresting a hill could easily end up 30+ seconds ahead of the main group just coasting, especially if he were a heavier rider. Maybe some combination of distance, wattage, and time away from the main group? People who end up way in the back would be spared. They’re just trying to participate and keep up.