Hate Pace Partner bunch dynamics

My only recent PP ride was in the Maria blob (or in front of it) and I averaged 1.9 W/kg.

The surging was not much of a problem this time but it will get worse when the blobs get bigger.

Totally agree.

Maybe the problem lies with the “Pace Partner” descriptor? Perhaps it needs to be changed to reflect the new reality of these rides i.e. to “Group Partner”, or something.

With such a diverse range of PPs and courses, surely there’s something for everyone now? I also think it’s a fantastic way for novice racers to hone their drafting and surging skills etc (granted, not everyone’s interested in racing so this may not apply to all users).

If you want to ride within a narrow defined training zone for an extended period surely a “lone” free-ride is the best way to control your aim pace, anyhow?

My PP use case is more along the lines of being able to ride in a group without having to pay too much attention lest I get dropped. “Narrow defined training zone for an extended period” is not my thing to begin with, and if I want to do something that requires more attention, I’d rather do that on an actual group ride (or play with my own bots on RGT).

If that is the true goal of these virtual partners then yes, the current “name” is misleading and should be changed. They are currently group rides, not pace rides.

To me pace = steady power/speed set by the leader, in this case the pace partner. If some one is riding faster then they should simply ride off the front, and not pull the ride leader with them.

The current dynamics act like a group ride where the people in front want to push the speed and the group leader allows it, meaning the people at the back may get caught out and lose the draft then have to work extra hard to get back on.

I disagree. I know a lot of folks like the new dynamic pace partners, but doing a “lone” free-ride is not as interesting as being part of the pace groups, whether you are going at a dynamic pace, or holding a pace.

Which is how a pace leader should work. The leader should be dictating the pace, not the group.

So theoretically riding behind a 3.0W/kg no draft PP would result in the pack doing 2.8-2.9W/kg? Then if someone got distracted and fell off the back they would need to do 3.1W/kg to creep back on instead of 3.5+ to try to catch up with the draft enabled version. I don’t see the issue.

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I’d expect this to be more like 2.5

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

They did this on accident for a day or 2 last year. It was horrible and everyone hated it.

Forget about the pace partner piece - I think OP has a valid point about screwy pack dynamics/washing machine effect in a large bunch (PP, human-led, impromptu blob, whatever the situation). Riding with the fast D bot (or old-school skinny Coco), riding a bit off the front usually requires less power (let’s say 165ish) than riding in the bunch (sometimes need to sustain 180-210) on a flat part of Tempus just to stay in the group.

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Unless riding mostly if not always in front of the pace bot, you are not going to avg more than the advertised pace. Furthermore, sitting behind the pace bot you will always avg under the pace!

That said, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”!

I find the smaller groups easier to deal with, but the large groups move so fast, especially down hill that if you are light and don’t have much power you can be dropped so quickly that it’s hard to get back.

I try to find group rides instead at steady pace and on courses that don’t have big elevation changes because those really hurt me now. If I cannot find a decent group then I just grab the TT bike and use that on Tempus alone.

The washing machine effect makes it tough as well - it is all hampered by my long recovery from injury. When I get washed out to the back I have to push up the w/kg a lot to avoid being dropped. My watts/kg might be similar, but my actual watts are less because I weigh a lot less. And being slow, I don’t even get the option to coast, as soon as I stop turning the pedals it’s like the brakes go on and I stop.

Not much motivation at the moment to be honest.

What would be interesting is having some light weight pace partners who ride at less watts, but also have much less kilograms, these would be a better match for the light weight riders.

As things stand we have;
Taylor = 1.1 W/kg, 83 W
Bernie = 1.5 W/kg, 113 W
Miguel = 1.8 W/kg, 135 W

Do we really need anything lower than 83 W avg for a group ride?

I’m coming down in favour of the PPs maintaining a consistent pace - albeit with adjustments for hills. This pace shouldn’t be affected by draught or the size of the group. Choosing a suitable PP is pretty difficult if you’ve no idea beforehand if they are going to be leading the group or being pulled along by stronger riders.

Folk riding off the front would then just need to find a stronger PP. It would only take a couple of weeks for everyone to find their new “correct” PP.

I was thinking of the ones with higher watts/kg. The ones you mentioned I get ahead of, but some of the others like Coco group downhill are very tricky.

On that note, but don’t recall which thread, I think there was mention by @James_Zwift that they were going to renamed Robo Partners or something along those lines? I don’t recall when that was slated to occur though.

And being slow, I don’t even get the option to coast, as soon as I stop turning the pedals it’s like the brakes go on and I stop.

That’s not just you, that’s a general Zwift problem. If I miss a pedal stroke to adjust my shoe I get shot out the back. It makes long group rides on flat routes challenging too… no opportunity to get your butt out of the saddle and rest for a moment like you could irl.

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