Handicap Racing in Meetups

Zwift suggested I post this here to see if others feel it would be an idea worth supporting. We wanted to offer our Cycling Club members the opportunity to race in a year when IRL racing has been cancelled, so we created a Handicap Series in Zwift using Meetups which has over 85 riders registered with an overwhelming level of positivity. The reason we believe this was so popular among the local community is because there is more control over the performance of riders and thus more integrity in the outcome so riders feel more engaged and connected. The participants must register for the event and are sent an invite to a meetup. They join the private event and are held at the start with groups being called to race at pre-determined times based on the handicaps set by the organiser. The objective is to have riders from all grade have a chance of winning. Like a normal handicap race, the objective is to stay away from the bunch behind and try and catch the groups in front with the overall goal of taking line honours. It’s a fun and exciting format. The Issue is the start! The difficulty arises because the middle to back markers may have to wait 10-20 minutes to start and thus cool down without being able to pedal. The work-around is to have riders bring up their pairing screen until their time to race, however, this means they miss screen messages (unless they have the Companion App open, which many do not). This is clunky and easy to get wrong which messes with the integrity of the handicaps. A solution would be to have a feature added so the ride organiser could apply a “Park Brake” at the start of the event and then riders can “release” it when told to go. A better option would be a “Handicap Race Meetup” feature which gave the organiser the option to allocate riders to specific groups with a predetermined starting time within the same meetup at the point of invite. That way all riders would still participate in the same event and share the same finish line. Would love to know if this is something others are doing and would benefit from.

Great idea!

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What a great alternative if our outdoor handicap is cancelled!!

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This a great way of racing. You get off the bike with the feeling of having been in a real race makes groups work together.

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Great idea!

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Awesome idea, love the handicap format!!!

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Great idea! A built in handicap race function would be a fantastic race option to give everyone a chance to push for line honours!

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Handicap racing would be awesome feature to include with the meetup feature especially if it was somehow linked with the riders current w/kg, perhaps from Zwiftpower, as this would nmake administration of the race that much easier. On another note, the meetup race results have never worked properly as there are always multiple (1-lots) second time gaps based on when the rider joins the meetup rather than their position at the end. As a result tight finishes rarely reflect the actual finishing position.

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That’s interesting Chris. That’s a good reason to be early in future lol

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It would be cool if zwift could auto do this based on FTP or race historg and takes all of the guess work out of it! Great idea!

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The races so far have been awesome. I was going to mention the “meet up” issue, @Chris_Fice_GCC beat me to it. On Sunday I did join lateish after a warm-up. When our bunch took off I was way down the end of the meet-up a good 4 seconds behind others in the group. To have a pen would rectify this somewhat. I’m not sure how hard it would be, it would be great if you could be warming up in a staging pen and then move to the line with 2 minutes to go. I guess as time goes on this may become an option.

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Great idea, especially for clubs in Vic currently

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This would be a great feature and I would like to see it happen. Handicaps make for good, honest racing.

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Wouldn’t even need to be in the same city/area/country - how good!
Great idea!

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This would be a great feature and I would like to see it happen.

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I just checked elsewhere on the forum and the meetup results and timing are known issues - it’s just taking Zwift a while to resolve them.

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It would definitely be a great and engaging feature :+1:t2:

Great idea!

This would be a great addition to an already great race series.