Why not use the fence to enforce a warmup during a race lead in. People jump at the start of every race, but it seems to me that the idea of a lead in is to warmup before the pace picks up. The fence could substitute for a neutral start vehicle!
This is a great idea for Zwift to implement. Most races are designed to last an hour or less, including the lead-in (neutral) segment. In the current format, the racers atop the finish podium are most likely those that reach the start banner first (during the lead-in).
The current format simply doesn’t match the purpose of IRL neutral lead-in segments. For example, a ‘D/C/B Category’ racer with strong 5min power can go ‘all-in’ during the lead-in, spending effort on drafting and surfing wheels of fast racers one or two categories above to build a gap large enough to be nearly insurmountable by their competitors during the actual race.
There’s a big difference between racers jockeying for position in a neutral lead-in to get their ideal position within their own category when crossing under the START banner, and the current Zwift race implementation.
In addition to voting up this idea (David_Kindler), I will suggest 1-2min gaps between start times of each category to further neutralize the ability of racers building large gaps in the first 5min of a race simply by gaining the draft of a group largely composed of racers 1-2 categories above their own.
It seems Zwift has implemented mass start race event technology for all races, without taking into account the differences (nuances and benefits) between mass start and categorized races. I think the social aspect of the platform may have led to the decision for this simpler race methodology. However; categorized racing appears to be one of the biggest topics consistently upsetting their paying customers. Hopefully these issues will be resolved in 2020, as Zwift continues to strive at becoming the leader in eRacing events.
Ride-On to a great idea David_Kindler!
I don’t think that’s the thinking behind it really. It’s just the bit of road from the starting pens to the actual course being used for the race. That’s why different races have different lead-ins, rather than it being a case of “we’ll have 5km of warm up”.
There’s no host town to parade through either, which is another aspect of a neutral start.
Many (most?) racers will do a proper warm up before joining the starting pens, and then it’s possible to continue warming up on the virtual trainers within the starting pens. Taking on even more warm up doesn’t seem necessary to me.
Anyway, I’m voting for it because I can see some merit for certain things. I wouldn’t want to see it mandatory for all races though.
This is already possible and happens in a lot of races. For example, chase races start with D going before C before B before A, with several minutes between each wave.
I believe it’s up to each race/series organiser whether they want to have time gaps between each category’s departure.
One aspect of this idea that I do like is that riders who join the start pens late aren’t as disadvantaged by being further down the pack.
At the moment, if you join the pen 20 minutes early, you might be on the start barrier. If you join with 1 minute to go, you could be 60 riders back. When the gun goes you’ve got to make up ground to even get to where the first riders started.
That could be addressed possibly by the fence-controlled neutral start; although I’m not sure how well it will work in practice. Would be an interesting thing to experiment with in some test races though.
Of course, this would be an option for race organisers, so it’s not an all or nothing proposition.
I like this idea for the long lead-in starts, such as Fuego Flats (1.6 miles)…not really needed for the short lead-ins like Bologna (0.1-0.2 miles).
I suggest it be made an option for the race organizer.
Always like more options…