Hate Pace Partner bunch dynamics

I love the idea of Pace Partners but I just cannot stand the “washing machine” effect you have to put up with to do it. EG for the 1.8w/kg pace partner you get pulled through to the front even if you are doing about 1.6 or 1.7w/kg then you are shunted out the side or back through the middle - which instinctively you try to fight because you want to maintain you position so the watts go up to about 2.4 or 2.5w/kg to try to stay where you are. If you give in and let yourself get shunted down the back, if you are not careful you can be out the back before you know it!!

However, if you get out off the front of the bunch with a group, the bunch dynamics change to “normal” and riding with them is great!!! The ONLY way I can put up with Pace Partners now is to head off the front with a bunch of other riders, so joining a pace partner now is just a means of forming a bunch of riders off the front. You always find bunches of the front, yes some are just a bit stronger than the pace, but many are off the front because riding in the pace partner pack just SUCKS!!! What have you done to the bunch dynamics with Pace Partners!!

Why does the pace partner bunch dynamics have to be different to a normal bunch ride??? I was with the 1.8w/kg pace partner in Watopia yesterday and hated the bunch dynamics, then a bunch of about 20 of us formed off the front and it was HEAVENLY!! Much more like real life!! Please please fix this or I will have to go back to riding by myself again.

Is there really a difference in pack dynamics between a large pack that has a Pace Partner somewhere within it, and a regular ride with a large pack that doesn’t have a Pace Partner anywhere around?

Not sure about a pack of 100 riders but a pack of 20 or 30 there definitely is and it is very noticeable, not just by me. I was discussing it with others and they agreed with me (others riding with me off the front of a pace partner).

I’m pretty sure the pack dynamics are the same whether or not there is a Pace Partner present. I’ve certainly not seen any indication that there have been any changes to how pack dynamics work since the currently version (3.0?) was rolled out.

The two situations are slightly different (rider with constant power as the focus vs riders roughly doing a constant power), so differences would be expected. Based on my knowledge of physics the difference seems plausible based on the situations. Giving the pace partners varying power, similar to a human, might improve it, but it probably still wouldn’t be quite the same.

Kev Lewis I’m not saying this is a new change. It’s just my and lots of other peoples experience. Much more noticeable on flats than hills.

There is no difference with pace dynamics between a Pace Partner ride and any other ride in Zwift.

There’s also been no recent changes (Peter appreciate you have said this is not a new thing).

I don’t agree that it’s “lots of other peoples experience”

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As another Kev Lewis (yep, two of us in the thread :laughing:), I also agree that the pack dynamics of the PP rides are the same, for me, as normal group rides. I love the Pace Partners, both the riders and runners :heart: :bike: :running_man: :ride_on:

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I think the dynamics are the same, just that a pace partner group can have 100+ people in it so it moves very fast.

I think the introduction of dynamic pacing has added another variable to the pace partners which along with course variations, and variations in pack numbers makes the pacers very difficult to predict now. A more appropriate name for these rides would be “an always on group ride” and then grade them A to D as appropriate. The loss of consistent pacing and the loss of old friends like Bowie and Amelia has made me vote with my pedals and I will be leaving the Zwift platform after over 5 years. I will be riding on a platform where pace bots are highly customisable, others use AI and ride which ever course you choose.

Which platform has these customizable pacers?

Unfortunately, you can’t please everyone.

Personally, I love riding with the new PPs.

I think what you are describing is caused by the fact that PPs are affected by the draft of riders around them. So even if they are doing the prescribed W/kg they are going faster than if they were truly leading the pack in a real world pace group.

Personally I think the PPs (or at least some of them) should be treated as if they were on a TT bike and roll at their prescribed W/kg on the flats then dynamically adjust on grades. In other words the PP should be controlling the speed/effort of the group, not the size of the group or speed of the front of the group. This would make the following group’s effort less due to the draft but should smooth the surging out since faster riders aren’t pulling the speed up and slower riders aren’t struggling to hang on the back. I’m curious if this has been tried in the past or considered.

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I think if we removed the draft from the Pace Partners, they would get dropped in a flash.

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Surely it would just be a matter of everybody having to learn that they need to pick a higher-W/kg pace partner than before? And yes, I agree, PPs having the same draft as others means that they make unnecessary surges all the time rather than maintaining a constant pace (instead maintaining a constant effort).

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Dropped by the people who are supposed to be drafting/pacing off them? Then those people should be riding with a higher W/kg PP if they want to go faster…

As it is now the PPs are more like group ride leaders that keep the group together regardless of speed rather than a true pace setter for the group.

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The thing is, they’ll be doing significantly under the Pace Partner’s W/kg, because they will be receiving draft, whereas the Pace Partner will not.

I don’t see how this would be an improvement I’m afraid.

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So what? Depending on the 1/kg part, people are doing significantly under or over the PP’s W/kg as it is already, of course depending on the route as well. The listing showing the PP’s current speed in addition to the power is a helpful addition, thanks for that.

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By about 0.1-0.2. Not by 0.5 or more.

I really don’t think there is a problem with the existing set up.

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compounded * I think* by the fact that the pace is different (or at least feels different) depending on the group size, I’ve found it easier to stick in a larger group while small ones you need to be more attentive.
To Sven’s point I think he’s not thinking that the bots would have to stick to the stated pace for the riders, rather that they maintain whatever watts are needed to keep the GROUP at the stated pace.