Descent incentive

Hi Zwifties,

I’m loving the experience and have a few suggestions from a 6’6” 102kg rider.

First, I’ve seen the threads regarding the weight calculations for climbing, wind resistance, weight, bikes, etc… nice job getting us close and I’ll leave it to the physicists and punters to argue the rest. I don’t have enough experience on the road to know any better.

That said, a larger, relatively fit rider is obviously at a disadvantage in many areas of the sport including climbing, wind resistance, acceleration, clothing size, etc… That’s natural. However, there are so many incentives for light riders (climbers) in the game but none for riders who can descend rapidly. Speed demon badge I guess would be one.

Watching tour events, rapid descents can really make a difference and I’d like to see a timed descent or maybe some badges for a good descent time. These things would keep us Clydesdales more engaged, knowing there was at least one hook to hang our hat. I often just try to hold on to a pack on the climb, knowing that I can pass on the descent and shake drafters loose if I want to be mean.

Just a thought. Ride on all.

You’re aware there are speed badges? The following badges are available:

Hit 30 mph “Whoa Nelly” badge
Hit 40 mph “Speed Demon” badge
Hit 50 mph “Daredevil” badge
Hit 100 k/ph Extra credit / hidden badge

Yes, of course. That’s why I mentioned them in my post.

I think I gathered the speed badges on my first day, just like most light or average weight riders. I really don’t see them as having much to do with weight but maybe a 100kph badge would be interesting.

What I’m really getting at is that for almost half of the riding real estate out there, there’s no incentive. In real life and even on tour, the descent is important. Having some timed descents would both incentivize bigger riders and make the game more fun for others. Pardon the pun, but I don’t see the down side to rewarding riders for an advantage they have in the real world or even in tour. There are rewards and badges aplenty for climbing so it just seems like something the game is missing.

A few of thoughts:

First, I think Zwift wants to reward increases in fitness, not increases in weight. Therefore, having a jersey (which is what it sounds like you are proposing) for descents might be counterproductive to what they are trying to incentivize.

Second, as a larger rider I would guess that you can put out more power than the climbing types. So why aren’t you working on getting the sprint jerseys, instead of thinking about the climbing jerseys? I don’t think Ackerman had any designs on the Maglia Rosa at the Giro.

Third, while descending can certainly make a big difference IRL, that is really due more to technique than weight, and Zwift really doesn’t have anything to do with technique.

Lastly, if there were some jersey for fastest descent, I would guess that it would actually be won by riders puttIng out more power over riders who are heavier. Not positive on that, but I would think that to be the case.

Im not saying some more/different incentives for Clydesdales/Athenas wouldn’t be a good thing, but I’m not sure a descending award is the direction to go.

1 Like

Fair points esp. #2 and #3. Flat routes, sprints, and TT are all good opportunities for heavier riders, so yeah, I’m coming around to this point of view.

I’m not sure if you were serious about #1… I think most riders are trying to keep weight down for fitness and to be a better climber in the game. I’ve lost 7kg since starting, but at 6’6” (wind resistance too), but I’m never going to be healthy under 95kg.

#4 - This was part of my original question… it just seems to me that, as a person on one end of the spectrum, the descents don’t match what actually happens on the roads irl. Maybe it’s the algorithm or acemtote than needs looking into, but the descents just seem to be an afterthought… they’re actually almost half the whole game.

I think the sweat drops might be helping the incentives too… getting to buy lighter equipment is a motivator.

Thanks for everyone’s helpful comments.