Drafting is HARD!

I’ve been trying to improve my ability to draft (for more than a second or two) by free riding slowly and waiting for riders to pass me who have a w/kg value similar to what I can maintain. Then I hop on their back wheel and try to maintain my position in the ‘OK’ zone .

Results: Major ‘yoyoing’ where I continually overshoot them, then reduce cadence to fall back, only to get the various ‘decrease the gap’ warnings. I increase cadence, and overshoot again.
( And probably annoying the heck out of them as well as I go back and forth beside them :slight_smile: )

I just can’t seem to find a ‘sweet spot’ where the ‘draft effect’ helps hold me in the proper position behind the wheel.

Anyone got any advice on how best to practice keeping a constant draft distance behind a wheel ?
Thanks.

  1. Use camera 4 (side view).
  2. Try to keep your w/kg close to, but under, their w/kg.
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Thank you. But it feels like there is no real ‘sweet spot’ distance that you can sit at and be ‘pulled’ to some extent while at the draft distance. It’s too easy to fall back, then have to apply more power to catch up, which usually results in overshootig, etc - Repeat, repeat, … :slight_smile:

In the side view, try to keep the front of your front wheel somewhere between the other rider’s rear axle and about a foot behind their rear wheel. If you find yourself too far ahead or behind, make a very slight correction.

I think we all have a natural tendency to overcompensate. It does get better with practice.

It’s not easy to catch a passing rider and move into their draft. To practice your drafting skills, try falling in behind a (slightly slower) rider that you are about to pass. If your speeds are close enough, the “sticky draft” will suck you in. But then it’s up to you to stay there.

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Thank you. Will try. :slight_smile:

This is normal if you are holding the same power and is part of zwift draft mechanics. You will gradually drift to the front of the group, take the wind, then fall to the back.
When drifting back, you might need to get out of the saddle briefly to stay with the pack.
If you notice you start drifting towards the front, ease off (I change into an easier gear to achieve this).

You get used to it with practice & experience.

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Also bear in mind that your weight doesn’t affect your speed really, so it’s all about watts rather then w/kg. So just matching someone else’s w/kg might mean you’re putting out less watts (if they’re heavier than you).

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The “sticky draft” that Matt mentions used to be far stronger, which made it much easier to draft others. However, it also created much frustration for those who were forced against their intentions into the draft of a rider going slower than them.
Around October 2021, Zwift tweaked the pack dynamics again. It’s still not as realistic as anyone would probably like, but better, in my opinion.
Now it’s definitely harder to draft another rider, but, as the others have said, it gets easier with practice and before long you do it instinctively.

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