Help me suck less as Decending

I could use some strategy advice on not getting destroyed on the descents in Zwift.

This has been particularly challenging in TdZ (maybe the double draft) but I find that I can ride with a group through flats and climbs no problem but as soon as the decent starts I fall off the back and have to resign myself to falling back to the previous clump of riders.

My setup:
Me about 86kg
FTP: was 240ish but I am currently recovering from illness so it might be lower for now.
Trainer Kickr Snap
Gears: Compact
Power: From my Garmin pedals not the trainer.
Trainer difficulty: 100%

I tend to not be on the front at the apex of a climb but Im usually not at the back (I can often hold middle of a pack). Once the decent starts I find myself sprinting to keep position often hitting higher power than the climb or just spinning out until I get spit out the back and watch the group disappear.

So am I just not pedalling hard enough (i.e. people sprint the downhills), does the cda model assume my extra mass is a skin parachute? Or is there a zwift specific strategy I should use? (I do default to my outdoors ride style)

Keep with the group over the climb summit and try riding with trainer difficulty nearer ~50%, so you can generate more power on the downhill.

I think “supertuck” rules have been recently tweaked, so you can now only tuck if not drafting on 3%+ descents while doing 58kph+. “Supertuck” is much more effective in a race than freeride, well worth doing to conserve energy in a race, if its an option.

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Hi Brad.

The trick is: (Don’t tell anyone I told you :shushing_face:)
Once you get to the top just before the road stat going down you need to put in a huge effort like while you were climbing, that acceleration will help you to keep up on the downhill. Powering on that section when you still have enough resistance is more helpful that powering on the downhill. Don’t start coasting until you are overtaking other riders.


Definitely smash it over the top of hills and be absolutely glued to the back of other riders. Don’t leave any gaps.

This is my strategy as a light rider. However with my power levels that is not enough.

I’ve heard heavy riders say their way in rolling hills is to punch over the top of the hills so the light riders get dropped.

IRL it’s a different story, there are turns on descents, so light riders can make up time if they descend well.


Not always… in the Tour de France in the Pyrenees, for example recently Romain bardet (if i remember well, it might have been another frenchy, but I clearly remember seing what was happening and thinking about Zwift descending) let a small gap form before a high speed section, because he was exhausted by the ascent, and they powered away from him, he couldn’t take the draft, used a lot of power in the descent and ultimately lost a lot of time…

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Thanks everyone. It sounds like I really just need to surge harder over the apex and hold higher than climbing power into the downhill to keep in the mid/upper pack (Which is super fun when you are bagged from a high gradient climb ;), and need to regulate your power to not pop out the front too far)

I’m used to powering over an apex but watching the power numbers closely on a recent ride it looks like some of the pack were substantially increasing power (but not quite sprinting) as the grade went down.

I’m too stubborn to reduce the trainer difficulty (I personally really don’t like the feel at lower levels). So it looks like I’ll try starting to push a bit earlier and hope my legs listen to my request :wink:

From reading the comments in the Pack Dynamics thread, it looks like change is coming.

Is PD4 a thing that is going to be globally applied to the platform or just certain races?

Once Zwift get it tested to the point they’re happy with it, they’ll apply it across everything. That’s what happened with the previous PD3.

It has been said before that trainer difficulty has no effect at all, but obviously it helps some people.

It’s no use for me as I’m too light so if a group decides to punch 1000w at the start of a descent I’m gone, no way I’ll get them back.

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People at 100% trainer difficulty are universally impacted descending versus others at say the default 50% due to the gearing/spinning out thing, but typical road gearing would be spun out going down major descents IRL, so if you want to ride 100%… (I do and understand I got to take some measures not to get dropped going DH)


guillame martin in the vuelta lost a minute in a stage after getting dropped on a descent i think

OP, just put in a hard pedal stroke at the top and then pedal down at 2wkg. you’ll be ok on most descents


Hammering over the top of a climb and not letting up is also good for IRL training. A lot of people let up hitting the top of a climb. If you can give one last push up over the top, you’ll drop a good number of people there too.

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Yes! That was him!

Probably didn’t get the memo about microbursting.


I wouldn’t call myself light… :wink:

but I am finding I need to put in some very hard efforts in the downhill. Watching power a bit more closely it looks like the pack I managed to hold in my last ride was in fact just hitting relatively high power during the downs. (So much for rest :man_shrugging:)

I personally don’t side with the trainer difficulty has no effect arguments. Reducing the intensity of the trainer resistance changes gives you less of a shock to the legs and lets you stick in a happy cadence range with less gear changing. Plus I live in a very rolling terrain area so I just like things feeling a bit more like they do outdoors.1

The hardest psychological thing IRL is that push over the apex…

I find a tricky part in zwift is holding near front but not too close where you risk popping out of the group. I’m finding It suprisingly challenging to merge into a group behind you on a downhill if you let a gap form.

It also doesn’t help that if I make the front on a downhill I am probably suffering terribly and desperate for a bit of a draft to rest in :wink:

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It’s probably a matter of tactics for you, knowing when to push over the top of the hill to not be dropped.

You could also hit the gym and weights to build up more power. That’s helpful anyway.