Enable Coffee Stop for Race Organizers

Coffee Stop is one of the most interesting features that Zwift has added in the last few years. I think it’s time we embraced the chaos and enabled it for racing at an event organizer’s discretion.

Impact on Solo Racing

  • Riders can choose to create a neutralized start for themselves at the cost of later use in a more aggressive tactic
  • Creates a psychological/tactical situation where early use creates a perceived disadvantage.
  • Fair for all since it is a set benefit with known rules vs random power-ups.
  • Only impacts races over 30mins (outside of the neutral start)
  • Creates more dynamic racing that isn’t based on a typical spreadsheet. A heavier rider can use on the hills to hold lighter folks, lighter folks can use on the flat to be ready to punch harder on a hill/rise.
  • Makes courses ride differently, increasing the variation in racing. There are a lot of highly formulaic races on zwift that need more than Powerups to alter.

Impact on Team/Collaborative Racing

  • allows for permanent or temporary teammates to act more effectively in a breakaway, increasing the danger of a small separation. A real “All in” move for breakaway members (and a fun dynamic if not everyone rotates it).
  • allows for better coordination of chasing the same way.
  • ultimately it creates an exaggerated rest in the pack that either leads to exaggerated application of power for benefit or creates a lack of cohesion.

Reasons it isn’t as impactful as you are probably thinking;

  • you have limited control over who it “connects” you to, so you can use it and then see your group drop.
  • it’s actually pretty hard to stop pedaling entirely and recover well from an anaerobic effort
  • unlike randomly assigned PUs it can be countered. If someone pops a coffee stop you can also pop a coffee stop. If you are in a small break/group to head to head you can stop pedalling and create a track stand situation.
  • it won’t win you a sprint or even a prime, and timing coming out of a stop for a sprint is very hard.

But it’s Cheating!!!

  • Zwift speeds are exaggerated
  • Power-ups are not real
  • It’s a game
  • We already have late join races which if you are being technical is a 1 to 29minute coffee stop
  • If you are on team “you are only cheating yourself” then stop using powerups, pr gel, your higher power source, and do some structured training.
  • There are tonnes of people cheating already through aspirational height/weight, badly calibrated equipment, drugs, and sticky watts (and that’s just my weekly ZRL top 10).

So let’s do this. A handful of races a week where an organizer is brave enough to enable it and the chaotic pioneers see if we can break up the monotony of sprint finishes after a 40-minute zone 2 ride with a handful of punches.

I’d probably think coffee stop is a step too far for most race organisers. Maybe setup some club events as coffee stop is enabled there to see what the feedback is like?

Also the hills in zwift are mostly rather short having a 3 minute break on them would be a huge advantage probably neutarliasing the hills to a certain extent making racing less dynamic and back to who can smash out the most watts.

I’m surprised at how many late-join races are out there (lots!). To me that makes it not a race at all. I wonder how many of them enabled it by mistake. I would not enter a race knowing it was late join or coffee stop enabled.


Forte (today) has been late join for 3 years on the same route every week. I’d contacted the organizer a few years back but no change and James B said zwift were going through cleaning zombie events up but there’s a lot. Some of the others are more recent additions.

I like the idea. I don’t see it as much different from PUs which can already be enabled in races (or the Boost races).

I had no idea late join could be enabled in races, but since it apparently can be I think this could be worth playing with.

I’m balancing the upside (chance of more interesting racing) against the assumed effort to change a few tags around in administration screens. That’s also why I’m not suggesting changes to the timers. If it works or is at least different then great, maybe 5 organizers a week use it for a random race.

We got similar feedback from boost mode tests. This is a hacky version of that by impact (though not by personal effort).

yep i understand but iwhere you think it would be an upside i think its going to be a downside and make for more boring racing.

Worth giving a trial run as club events and see how it goes.

Would you stop for a coffee half way through a race in real life… :wink:

Well, I guess the reason I would personally look for races that don’t have coffee stops is… I tend to use a race to replace one of my days of intensity during the week when I do race.

I already find most races to be way too short to begin with. I don’t think I’d want to have a 3 min break during a short 45min race randomly wherever the biggest hill is during the event, and I think it would be strategically necessary to use the coffee break to remain competitive in these style of races, so I’d be incented to sit still for 3 mins mid-workout which is not what I personally want to do normally.

Not to say I’d never do a race like these ever, just it would then feel like two separate activities, one ahead of the 3 min rest, and another on the other side of it. Kinda like doing two tiny races I guess.

What would happen if the 100kph+ glitch happens, then you have some with a REAL big advantage

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It’s possible many of them are set up as races so you see your rider position, more than anything else.

I know a lot of our AHDR rides are set up as races for that specific reason, and for the actual official Hump Day Ride, the final laps are an actual race, so folks can be DQ’d by whoever is officiating.
But the ride itself is officially a group ride, “with an optional” race.

That can be enabled in group ride events and often is.

That’s not the focus of this request. I want a start to finish race with leaderboard that has coffee stop enabled as a gamified experience. Establishing it as a race also solves for the community abuse that you get for using a coffee stop on something that isn’t a race but some might be racing (ToW hate is flowing at the moment).

Sorry that was just meant to purely be a speculative response to Paul questioning why so many rides exist as races with things like late join, when they could probably be group rides.

ah, that makes sense!

A first when I only read the title I was, #@*%#! ? Are you serious?

But after reading your argumentation it makes totally sense!

It enlarges the gamification.

When totally wasted at the bottom of the Zwift Kom (2 min, climb) do you dare to use it? With the chance you will get to the top in the pack and your race isn’t lost (yet). Or you will bind to another rider who is also wasted and you end even further behind then when you pedaled yourself.

(I don’t know when you apply coffee stop if you have to do the entire 3 mins, or that you can end it before the timer will stop?)

To be honest, I don’t know I have the guts to use the coffee stop with the risks it might bring. But I might think I will do a couple of races, because of the tactics.

You can end it early by clicking the button off or by pedalling up to a certain power (or maybe it’s pedalling for a few seconds).

Might take a lap out of a crit for a mechanical. =)

I’d suggest the coffee stop perhaps, but make it for everyone, mandatory, starts at the same mile marker for everyone (pick a flat part of the course).

maybe not coffee… but there are breaks.

Suggested Adjustments to the Proposal:

  1. 30 second or 1 minute coffee stops, rather than 3 min
  2. Not usable within the final 5km