Different Race start procedure


The recovery, injured, coming back from time off etc… is by far my most hated cheater.

I’ve done many D races, nearly every time a rider ruins the race, if they do respond to questions. This is the usual BS response. 99.9999% of the time this same supposedly injured rider, destroys the field and wins easily.

This absolutely needs to be addressed in the design of upcoming category enforcement. Possibly, in stage two.

As we’ve covered numerous times, I believe a qualifying race separate from community racing is the obvious solution. Any new rider must complete this race in order to be categorized. Once completed, the new rider may enter community race events.

Obviously, a rider can sandbag this qualifying race, however additional in race protection in community racing would provide further protection. Something like the cone system, more advanced and more effective.

I imagine this improved in race protection would need to be very rapid. Rapidly flagging a suspect rider and simply making them invisible to other racers temporarily. Before the flagged rider is able to ruin an event.

A further solution is to remove some of the stationary starts from Zwift racing. A large portion of the issue is from this annoying carry over. Having races start in a neutral rolling start, like joining a pace partner, would make it even harder for cheaters to destroy a race so rapidly.

If a rider has not raced for an extended period, they would simply have to re-qualify or only be able to race at their previous top category.

It’s only this sort of strict enforcement that will eventually do away with the weak bullies who prey on the lower categories.


Absolutely love this idea

We had rolling starts and we had the same issues, riders went past the leaders and riders still fell off the back before the start, as you will know if you lose the draft you are gone and it takes a lot to get back on again, it caused as many issues as it cured.
Its very hard to get it right, how hard does the leader go, if it is a mass start then even 2W/Kg will drop people off and your A+ riders get very upset at riding at 2 W/kg. So it do it by divisions, you will still have riders drop off unless you lead the division below the lowest limits. Then the guys at the front get upset.

You will never get rid of the riders blasting off because you know when the start is happening, sit back, use the pack draft and push the power up and you will have exactly the same effect of leaving the pen hard, in fact you will have more of an effect as you will use the pack draft. Or… they chomp at the bit waiting to pounce… push the leader and then all blast off…

I fully agree that riders who have not raced for a period of time should have to do some sort of qualifying but first I would extend the 90 day period to a minimum of 240 so most will still have a handicap.


I will love this. :ride_on: :rofl: Not having to accelerate my weight will give me the advantage. most of us heavy power races waist so much energy accelerating.


A conveyor belt 40kph start would make a huge difference to the start dynamics. Or an automatic speed limit (might need to be a little lower for C/D perhaps? I don’t know). There are good physical reasons why it’s much harder to blast away from a moving pack than a stationary one. Mostly that it takes more energy to accelerate from 40 to 45 kph than from 0 to 20. You just can’t generate such large speed differentials so quickly so it’s much easier for others to stick on the wheel.

Of course this depends whether you think the start is really a problem. It’s a bit silly but now I’m used to it, it doesn’t bother me that much. I just use it as my warmup!


We can’t know if the racers blasting off are just adrenaline-pumped racers in the right category, or if they are sandbaggers. I guess many in category D will have a 3/5 min W/kg similar to racers of higher categories.

We can we look on ZP live and then we can see who is in the right Cat.
A lot of D’s do sprint at 10W/kg but only for short periods and will be able to hold 5W/kg for a few minutes but can’t hold it for any time but it does allow them to make a break, we discussed this before the last ZRL race as part of our race tactics.


Currently it probably requires a bit of opt in from the riders. In the recent FRR tour of Watopia for example there were some problems with the rolling start in the first stage (in the EMEA morning region), but after the first stage it didn’t seem to be a problem as everybody complied. It was mentioned that implementing a red fence for races would also allow for auto disqualification (if Zwift ever get the fence working properly).

If I was designing it, I’d make it fun - have a lead car, or a derney, or something else Zwifty. Simply make it impossible to go past it. Slow ramp up to 40km/h and then go.

This would be a real improvement to the experience (and could also be optional). Sprinting hard off 40 km/h is significantly less effective than from a standing start. It would be pretty pointless (if the FRR experience is anything to go by)


Yep this is kinda what I meant. Zwift could obviously monetize it and have real sponsored cars, lead vehicles etc.

I was also thinking that a gentle ramp up to race speed with a rolling maximum w/kg that is controlled in game. So riders could do 8 billion watts, however it wouldn’t let you pass till a randomly allocated time when the flag dropped.

There’s many reasons rolling starts could help. The main benefit being variation. Zwift racing is incredibly predictable. Rolling starts would offer variation at the very least.

I also believe that if it remained impossible to pass the lead vehicle till the pack was moving rapidly, it would make it more likely to keep a field together longer.

Seeing new riders being dropped in 5 seconds of a start seems like a poorly designed start system to me. Having to ramp up power while stationary is daft.

Regardless, it would certainly be worth running some trial races with tech to keep the peloton together initially.

An even simpler method would be to simply cap the w/kg at race starts to a certain w/kg for the first minute. This would at least prevent the current MTB race start to single track that doesn’t exist…


I think this is a reasonable idea.

It is like me rolling out the riders at my races and the actual race begins when they are together and I blow the whistle.

They could probably just have the rubber band on for 30s and then switch it off. That should work pretty well and would require essentially no new coding.


The basic science is public domain and only a few lines of code.


Ever raced a real crit? Punchy riders at the front always go full gas at the start, Zwift is just like real life. If you don’t like it, try longer races where the starts are more like a fast group ride.

If the issue is riders powering up before the gate even opens, that should only require a minor adjustment to stop that from happening - zero watts in the pen and enforced graduated buildup to full power once the race starts.

Same result and much easier to implement.


Interesting taught.

What if they require you to stop pedaling in the last 10 seconds, Power has to be 0 or else the banner won’t drop for you.

This can then be used for the TTT as well.


That would also work, easy-to-implement solutions are more likely to be adopted by Zwift

Or maybe the pen opens but power drops to zero for a few seconds. Some kind of penalty, as if it were a jump start


The banner opens 10 sec before start and anyone with a false starts are immediately disqualified. That should work.

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You’re forgetting many riders have trainers/power meters that report power long after they stopped pedaling. They shouldn’t be racing true, but we’re not here to exclude riders with poor setups, are we…


If you have one of those trainers then you will have to stop pedaling 5 minutes before the start… :rofl: :rofl:

but thinking about people on Rollers it should probably be something like 1w/kg before the banner drop.

not really, for most of the 100km races it start a lot slower that a 30km race.

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Why couldn’t the start banner be open from e.g. 1 min before start?