Heart Rate Monitor Required - Should I Enforce It?

Hi Racers and Race Organizers,

My Zwift running club (Epic Run Crew) started offering two weekly bike races a few weeks ago, under the brand “Epic Racing”. At first, the only major rules I enabled were “Category Enforcement” and “No powerups”. However, in the first week we had several ZPower riders who were riding way out in front with extended periods of 7-8 w/kg riding. I heard lots of complaints about it during and after the race, so I enabled the “Power Meter Required” rule after that. That got rid of a lot of unrealistic riding.

However, for the last few weeks I have been getting a few requests to enable the “Heart Rate Monitor Required” rule too. While I realize that might catch a few more unrealistic riders, I’m reluctant to enable that rule. I looked back at a few my club’s recent races and it looks like enabling that rule could cause the events to lose about 15% of the participants. My guess is that perhaps only 1% are unrealistic riders and the other 14% either don’t have an HRM or don’t have a reliable HRM. So, if I enabled the rule, I would be losing lots of legitimate riders.

As a racer or race organizer, what are you thoughts on enabling the “Heart Rate Monitor Required” rule? Is it too exclusive?


i don’t personally consider it important. it really doesn’t matter to me. if anything it takes the shine out of an event when the real deal shows up and they can’t finish the event, or just didn’t wear a strap. i remember at least one race, of zero actual importance, that i only technically won because the guy who rolled me chose not to wear a strap on purpose, because he didn’t want the cup.

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For higher profile races, I think I’d say you should enforce it. But it sounds like that’s not your goal. I think that not running it is reasonable.

Racers see all the unrealistic riding, and they demand that people control what they can control, and HRMs are one of those things, so I understand where they’re coming from. If they protest, just say hey, we’re running a community race here, I understand where you’re coming from, but I want to err on the side of inclusion.

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There are multiple ways to do this enforcment. You can either use ZwiftPower settings to remove them from the results, or you can use hardware enforcement to prevent them from entering the starting pen. In the series I’m running currently we use hardware enforcement for the power meter so zPower riders are simply not in the race at all, but we haven’t done anything about HRM. We’ve received one request to disqualify people for no HRM which we’re considering but personally I don’t think it adds a lot of value. People draw all sorts of conclusions about it but they’re often mistaken.

For more opinions on this, take a look at this thread.


I’ve been riding with an HRM for all my rides for decades. Literally when the first Polar wireless HRMs came out. I wouldn’t ride without one and since doing so saved my life (true story) I probably have a different take on the requirement. If you want to race, you should absolutely be required to have one, IMHO. It gives the organizer another level of performance indication and CAN help find cheaters. I believe it’s just one of the costs of racing and it should for at least the “serious” races be required. My $0.02. You will now be returned to your regularly scheduled program.


I always where one because I have exercise induced hypoglycemia and I need to monitor my HR

Thank you all for the advice. I have gone ahead and enabled “HRM required” for all of my club’s races. Let’s see how it goes.


Here’s a follow-up to my original post. I enabled Heart Rate Monitor Required on all of my Epic Racing races a few weeks ago. So far it is working out great! No complaints and not too many people have been punted for no HRM. And, more importantly, the races have been extremely competitive with no front-running “bots”. I recommend that all clubs enable the setting. It should not be much of a barrier to entry. I bought a very inexpensive arm-band HRM from Amazon and it’s actually been way more reliable and accurate than my expensive chest strap one. Furthermore, my new arm band one is rechargeable! Awesome!