Fence feature to harsch

So just back to Zwift after road season, and find myself disappointed in the implementation of the fence. I believe the original reason for the fence was to STOP FLIERS. I AM NOT A FLIER! But it seems that the implementation is designed primarily to INSIST THAT ALL RIDE IN A VERY TIGHT GROUP. For instance I rode with the Pack today(200+ riders) and we all rode in one MASSIVE group. Riding with a group should not be quite so limiting. Everyone shouldn’t have to be packed into a very small window.

Part of the charm of Zwift was the smaller groups which developed… …where you would wind up riding with those of your own ability and choice of pace, within the stated level …where you actually kind-of felt as if you were getting to know the 5 or 6 people close to you and rode with them for awhile. …and perhaps communicated with them. That seems to be gone. It now seems completely impersonal. Granted I could drop off the back and ride by myself—which I may do, but I already miss those small groups within the stated level which naturally developed.

(In fact, I have no interest in NOT riding in a group. Often I ride with my wife or my other friends from the road. It is now almost impossible to have them draft ME or ride WITH me short of dropping off the back out of the group entirely.)

Short of posting rides without a fence, I would suggest trying a fence much further out—say 5 minutes or 3 minutes or whatever, one which would allow riders to self-select a pace within the spirit of the group without the rigid conformity I have experienced since returning. It would still discourage the crazy fliers. And the constant screwing around based on sprints, climbs, etc could be eliminated.

I really feel that the current implementation is really somewhat misdirected and the cure for fliers is worse than the disease.

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I agree - just started back and the fence could be useful - first group ride I was it was set sensibly and was fine. Second group ride it was set to 8 seconds (!) apparently. This is just pointlessly constrictive.

The reason is that grouping is based on speed, but the ride is based on specific power (W/kg). This might work OK if all the riders were the same weight, but we’re not. Based on real-world physics, and assuming the ride lead is 70 kg and working at 2W/kg then I will ride at 1.3 W/kg on the flat, 1.9W/kg @ 5% and -10W/Kg at -3% (i.e. pedalling backwards on a moderate downhill). I know Zwift fudges the physics, but the point that is that the further from the leader’s weight you are the choppier your ride.

Previously I’d move to a more or less constant pace for me - move a little off the front on the flat and get caught on the hill, be a bit back at the top of the hill and move a bit forward. Now we have fence disciplinarians who seem to believe that anyone 24m ahead of them is a flier (this is the distance covered in 8sec at 2W/kg at 5% gradient). If the lead eases up just a little then…

This is silly. I’ll eventually figure out who they are, and avoid rides they lead, but it all seems overkill for the problem it is supposed to be solving (fliers minutes ahead of the group).

I agree with Robert that the 100+ blobs are paradoxically not a good group ride experience - it just becomes rider soup and you don’t really relate to anyone.

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I think I need to agree with you guys and in that case my proposal also will not work.

Fence at 3 mins or so seems to be the finest solution. I dont believe that this will speed up the group in such a way that riders will be dropped at the back.

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A quick heads up to a ride leader using the fence really well during a ride yesterday ( Sunday 12:50pm UK Team EN Cruise & Crush).

@ScottGiljum was constantly moving the fence to suit the terrain and communicating the changes. During the climbs the fence was removed to allow riders to climb how they wanted. He then turned the fence on/ off a few times to remind stronger climbers off the front to ease off after the climb was completed (each time the fence turned off it reset their countdown). This allowed those quite a distance off the front to ease down and be collected by the beacon group.

Once the climbing efforts were done and the fence was back on he used a gradual reduction of the fence to tighten the group. Ready for the next effort.

All in all, top marks from me. It was excellent leading and a style that could/ should be used by more leaders.

As noted before though, those complaining that the fence is painfully restricted are likely in the wrong group.

I joined World Social Riders on Saturday and the slow pace was killing me. After 7 minutes i quit the event. I was the odd one out and the other 100+ riders were doing their thing within the metrics published. It was the right thing to do in order for me to ride how i wanted and not affect the group. Perhaps more should leave events that they are clearly not matched with?

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If it would be available at that moment … I think that this the most restrictive within Zwift at this very moment. There is too less choice of social rides at a certain moment. It would be better if a social ride can be relative to your strength or better to your expectations at that moment. So at 3.4 watt/kg @ 63 kg, when I want a social ride when I just recovered I expect to hit like 140 watts during an hour and when I want to “race” a little I expect to hit 170 watts for an hour.

It take time to find the perfect ride.

looking at the data below you can see that depending on a riders weight he/she will ride at different power levels. Green = ±140w Orange = ± 170w

I use 85kg as the average rider, so you should look for rides at 1.6w/kg as recovery and 2w/kg as “race”. On a flat course.

There should be many in that range.

On a hilly ride you would want 2.1 and 2.6.

Before the fence was introduced you would be considered a flier, because you push the pace faster then the ride leader and there by pulling people with you.

But if you find the ride is to slow then just go past the fence and do your own thing. As a ride Leader I don’t mind if you go past the fence.

I actually suggested a Feature where if a rider get close to the fence the wind resistance increase, then you would be able to ride a 1.5w/kg group ride at 2w/kg or even 3w/kg.

I would very like that feature :+1:

It is true that there are many social rides within these parameters, only the thing is … it should match with my agenda @ home.

I already found a nice social on tuesday, Zwift NL @ 2.0-2.5 watt/kg which is doable for me. And on friday there is now HIK again.

btw. I take 80kg as the average weight. However, I noticed that drafting has changed and quite improved so it seems that being a lighter rider is not such an issue anymore. Even though I guess I can just multiply it with 75 or maybe 70 to calculate the needed wattage for me.

Why no fence in back of the group?

?? We are talking about the current fence feature that is to harsch.

If you want one at the back then please make a feature request.

Agreed. I got fence-grilled in an easy group ride. I don’t really know or understand what happend. As I was busy textinga reply to my wife in messenger on the pc running Zwift, I didn’t observe it as screen was used for texting. Was just a short message to my wife, like 5 words, and I was out of the event when I got back. But surprised if it all took more than a minute, and as said I sat mid-pack near beacon, spininng easy on target power/weight range (~1.8 in a 1.6-1.9 SZR ride) with no intentional change during text messaging from my side. So a surprising outcome to me when swithcing back to zwift. I do see the intention of the fence, but having never flied of myself (as far as I know - some groups rides have been chaotic if beacon suffer connection issues and disappear etc). I find the fence mostly stressful, especially when it suddenly appears mid or even tail end of a group. I’ve also seen it appear behind beacon (in other events), so as a ‘non-flyer’, I really don’t like it actually. So’ll probably opt out of some group rides due to it.

I don’t like the color…distracting. If they could make it transparent so you know it’s there but not obstructive of the road/space that would be better. More aesthetically pleasing. Or just a bit of red at the corners, also better.

Wes, good feature but i think can be tweeked to give group rides a wider bandwidth.
keep the fence but beyond the fence cut the draft effect to zero. you mentioned the draft cone mechanics are THE problem regards flyers. why not just eliminate the draft cone for riders beyond the fence.
this would be consistent with your comment “we just let you ride how you want to ride” whilst not affecting riders around you and not booting anyone out.
outcome of this change:

No one will be ejected from the ride

riders who find themselves beyond the fence will not have to soft pedal/stop to reform with the leader.

people on a good day can if they wish ride for a spell beyond the fence without pulling unsupecting riders along with them.

MOST riders will fatige sooner or later riding effectively solo against the group and will not be able to ride away and drift back into the draft zone behind the leader, no harm done.

possibillities for more training dynamics on the group ride whilst maintaing the group cohesion.

you would have to be extreemly determind to gain significant time on the group. i would think flyers would turn from a huge annoyance to an entertaining amusement for the group.

now zwift labs/beta is up i think it would be worth at least trying it.

aslo for sweepers need their own power up tractor beam or something because it is very hard to bring back.

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I’m late to the party but this is very common with newer zwifters… just like IRL, you need to practice smooth pedaling and smooth wattage. Avoid surging and leave your ego behind. There is no reason to ride the fence or stretch out the group. If you need to go faster, find a different ride or race. There is always someone faster than you. If not, then enjoy your rainbow stripes.

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The fence actually ruined my social ride last friday.

We need more info than that.

After the first Box Hill I was nice in the front part of the pack. During the small climb before the descent the leader slowed down so I accidently saw myself in front of the fence. The counter went down from 59 seconds to … and it was until the last second I was behind the fence again to my biggest relieve.
So after the second Box Hill I was more cautious since I didn’t want to be kicked out of the event. So I stayed near the leader. But for the known reason I got dropped during the descent and as soon there was resistance again I did a big effort to close down the gap. I actually managed to join the pack again at the banner but then my legs were that sore I had to let the pack go and ride for myself.
This getting dropped would not have happened if I just was allowed to stay in front of the pack during the descent so I got join the pack again near the bridge.

So for me it is a choice for eiher being kicked out or get dropped. What is the use of the fence then? I was nice in the pack during the flat parts and climbing Box Hill.

The only thing that remains to solve this issue is to lower the trainer difficulty setting to something like 30%…

The use of the fence is to keep the front form riding off in to the distance never to be seen again.

You should not be with the pack you should be riding with the ride leader.

Looking at the Strava flyby you were in front of the leader pushing the pace for most of the ride.

The Leader ( Bastiaan) is green and you are the black line. You are in front when the green line is below the black line.

I was not pushing the pace, the whole time I was in the pack/blob. I never “kissed” the fence except for the first descent of Box Hill.

Your picture proves what goes wrong! If the leader slows down you will get in front of the pack and if the leader speeds up you might get dropped if you are not a wattage killer.

Then you also need to slow down, but if you are in front of the leader you wont know he is slowing down.

The leader is not to be seen in this picture.

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The chicken-egg problem like I already described it. Either I will be in front of the fence and kicked out or I will get dropped during the descent. Please take a look what happens at 17mi. From here on the gap suddenly increases a lot from 0 sec to 20 secs. When I am in front of the pack it goes from -20 sec to 0 sec.

For me the fence ruined my social ride. Whether you agree or disagree, I happened to me.