You have to spool it up at the start, before the pack is released. If you’re waiting to start pedaling until the countdown hits zero you’re toast. If you’re soft pedaling or just warm-up pedaling you’ll get left behind too. Really spool up the power 3-4 seconds before countdown hits zero.
The biggest thing is the draft. If you’re out of the draft you’re doing far more work. Once you’re on the road bike the differences between bikes are far lower than the differences you’re talking about.
Losing the fast group immediately is losing free speed. You need to surge to keep the group when you have to if you want good race results.
Try to hit the hills a lot and unlock that tron bike.
And get the Canyon Aeroad when it becomes available, much better bike than default.
Eventually you want the Venge S-Works for flat rides when it becomes available.
From the start you absolutely have to go flat out before the counter stops and everyone is allowed to go then use the draft. As a light rider try not to get on the front too much, use the draft as much as possible.
Only hit the front when you want to break from everyone and know you can make it work.
The Tron isn’t that much better than the Canyon Aeroad. It’s a great all-rounder and I use it all the time, but tends to be overrated.
Uranium Nuclear is just as fast at a lower level unlock and fewer drops.
It’s about time for a good old dose of nerfing some bikes. We haven’t had that for a while so it’s overdue.
Tron is free, aside from having to ride up hills.
I haven’t Zwifted for a while since I’m outside but I was using a Felt AR with 858’s.
Not sure what level it takes but I’m level 54 with too many drops.
I wanted a white frame that showed when I was in the draft.
I hope it’s not nerfed.
Not sure how often Zwift insider does retests.
I can’t image it will change a lot.
I am a bigger fellow, 100 kg or so, and I regularly catch riders on flat road using 0.5 watts/kg less.
Being smaller will always mean you need to put out more w/kg than a bigger rider. I ride in B, and there are some ladies under 60kg who regularly put out 4.5 w/kg to hold on. I’m around 60kg and generally have higher w/kg than those finishing around me despite spending most of my time drafting. Most of the really successful Zwift racers are sitting in the pack until they unleash a really powerful sprint. I can generally be in contention until the last 500m, but don’t have the outright power to finish on the podium.
Getting to know the courses helps, you’ll find that the effort will increase even with a small incline, so you need to be prepared to push and try and draft, even if you fall a few metres behind you will need to put out higher watts. The more races you do, the better you’ll understand how to race well. It takes a few attempts, and the amount of times I’ve heard of very good riders irl , who take a while to get to grips with racing on Zwift.
The most important thing is to have fun, and use it as an opportunity to improve your fitness.
Thanks for all the replys! I didn’t expect this much feedback.
I’m definitely going to safe up drops to get the Canyon Aeroad as soon as possible and then, work on a better power output over the span of 2-3 Minutes to hold on better at the start. I’m sure there ar some trainings in Zwift, to exactely prepare for that. That’s definitely a weakness of mine. I’m usually not to bad at endurance, but don’t like to go to much where it hurts.
Thanks also for the link to this site. zwifterbikes.web.app Seems very useful!
And other than that, I’m going to keep trying in the races. So far, I still find it difficult to ride at a regular pace and to keep as much as possible the same place in a group.
And if the weight deficit gets to be too much for me, I just switch to courses with a little more elevation. Then even the heavier guys and gals have to do a little more.
If you want you can check some of my race streams i’m often at the lower end of W/kg used in races…remember when you are drafting you are saving watts for the attacks or climbs.
One of the best ways is to use Robopacers at your Zone 2 Level to get used to Pack Dynamics.
We are now using Custom Split-Categories Races that could fit you better.
Oh come on… don’t sell him BS. You know better. Or should at least.
Yeah, sure, a better bike will shave a couple of seconds, but that is not what decides races.
And as for the secret masonic rocket science of Drafting™… it takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to ‘fail’ at under the current pack dynamics model. What I mean is, especially in lower categories, it’s not hard to be decent at drafting and you don’t have to be a genius to understand that you should draft and how to do it. Drafting perfectly, though, is very hard if not impossible, if others in the group are either a) not as good at drafting as you, or b) not willing to pull at the front (who in his right mind is?). This is where you get the constant wave motions within a group with riders at higher speeds in the back clip straight through riders closer to the front. Hence, even as the High Priest of Drafting you have to adapt and ‘dodge’ these waves constantly with comparatively high Watts, especially if you’re light, as to not hit the front or get spat out the back, which in turn will require even more Watts because of the massive speed loss. There is no drafting at even, conservative Watts in Zwift. Efficient? No. You just pick the lesser of two evils.
Let’s talk realities instead. As long as race categorization is based on performance measures involving weight at all (rather than past results, or pure Watts, an inferior alternative) then guys like the OP at 65kg will always be shafted in any category sub-cat A. They have to work harder than their heavier competitors just to keep up, and with the ‘new’ categorization model you are allowed to do that to some extent (under the old straight W/kg model you just got DQ’d if you hit the same Watts as the heavies mid-pack because your W/kg was through the ceiling, whereas their’s weren’t).
So the heavies can, all else equal, conserve energy for short climbs or pushes, whereas the grasshoppers are on the limit throughout the race. And it doesn’t end there. Then, provided you as a light rider can stick with them until the finish at all, you will, all else equal, get severely outsprinted since the heavier riders have a bigger muscle volume in absolute terms. All else equal, equal W/kg, equal HR zones etc, you have no way to win as a lighter rider.
The only realistic solutions is to let these heavier winners move up a category, for winning too much. You can’t beat them, but you could get rid of them at least by not letting them easy-mode chained wins perpetually. It’s a nobrainer.
Guys, we have been through this so many times over the last 3-4 years. I have shown you the statistics from races already, more than once. Let’s not do this again.
@Mattias_Schnell Put your faith in Zwift’s promise to deliver a results-based categorization zoon. That will solve the problem. For now, just accept the fact that you can’t beat the heavies unless your physiological profile is deviant somehow. Like someone said, just focus on yourself for now. Because chances are that winning right now would require you to be so fit that you can cruise the major part of the race below your actual level so that you are even more rested than the heavies once that hill comes and you drop them. I.e. you would have to be so fit that you actually belong to the category above, and then some. And there would still be a risk that you got upgraded but not them if you don’t play it right. That’s no way to race.
The best thing the lighter riders can learn is to attack. And this isn’t something only upper Cats can do, anyone can attack, and said attacks serve a purpose; sure if you’re the one attacking, it’s going to hurt, a lot.
But over my two years of cycling / Zwift and racing and growth, and being that lightweight, it’s to make everyone else sweat too (metaphorically, but also physically).
If a race turns into people sitting in the draft the whole time (as they do), grow your VO2 efforts and put in some attacks on any inclines. Make everyone else feel the pressure; otherwise they’ll just sit there “being lazy,” on the heels of whoever isn’t in the draft, and just wait it out.
Nobody here is saying any of this is easy, but each and every attack that can be put in, means the pack gets a little more tired; with an ultimate goal of losing a few off the back.
When you see people falling out of the draft of the group, means the attack was worth it; and the more that can be put in, and the more that fall off, means you have that fewer people to contend with at the line.
And that’s not something to ignore.
Of course you’ll have to learn your limits of what attack is too much so you don’t blow up; but nobody else can help with that.
I’ll agree with everyone else here though; Zwift races are short and punchy, sub 10 minute power is absolutely by far the most important thing; putting in attacks and being able to recover is the ultimate key to racing in Zwift.
I agree with what you say, in principle. There are actually studies on RL climbers showing that being small and light is not enough in itself to beat the heavies uphill. It doesn’t provide enough of an advantage. It’s being light in combination with excellent recovery, a certain profile, that is the key. They don’t just grind it out against the heavies in a climb, they torture them with tempo changes, accelerations, until the heavies can’t take it anymore.
But then you need to have excellent recovery to do what they (or you) are doing in the races and that doesn’t fall under ‘all else equal’. That falls under ‘deviant physiological profile’, to quote myself. Given an equal or similar fitness profile, the heavies will either hang in there or, more likely, you will be way too much on the limit to go for a push, let alone several.
Everyone knows it is more the 5 min performance that matters rather than the 20 min. Everyone who races frequently shift towards a punchier profile, if nothing else, if not intentionally, then by just racing. So getting better at recovery than the heavies is no easy thing. I’m convinced most people who say that’s what they did actually got a little genetic headstart. Because all else equal, the heavies will be just as good at recovery as you. Why wouldn’t they? Because of their weight? No.
But then there are these deviants, and maybe you are one. There is another light deviant in here, a rather vocal one, you know who, who mostly denies any disadvantage against heavies, or did so in the past anyway. Because he sprints the hell out of them. Light riders do have a faster acceleration, but then you need to back it up with raw Watts towards the latter part of the sprint or you will lack the terminal velocity for a win. But he can pull that off. He really can. Most light riders in Zwift won’t be able to, though, not even if they switch training regimen. All else equal you don’t easily outsprint a guy with thighs twice the size of yours, there’s just too much muscle to fight.
Now, you typically ‘sense’ the competitors’ weights in a race, and a light rider will try to gauge the weights around them early in the race. Although this little in-race weigh-in also gets blurred by some people using some rather cheap and dodgy smart trainers, making their physics behave differently and a bit deceiving. But otherwise the heavies are usually a little… heavy… in the small climbs (the climbs are generally small as we all know). And then they instead overtake you at the far foot of the hill, coming out of the descent like a cannonball, so the light rider can’t really rest downhill as much as others. But it’s kind of natural to a light rider to just keep going about as hard in the climb as on the flat right before, and that alone will strain the group a little, or at least it looks like it. Hah, you might think, get some! But part of it is just Newtonian physics. The heavies accelerate slower uphill. So it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you’re doing damage. But then a few clicks before the finish comes the proverbial tempo increase. The heavies, especially the ones who don’t like to go orange throughout a race, the ones who race at a cozy pace, might not be anywhere near as exhausted as you might think. And that’s where the light rider gets dropped.
Thanks for taking the time to write all that. Fortunately, I don’t care too much about the race results, nor will racing ever be the main thing I do on this app.
I’m going to try my best with the 65kgs.
Since everyone is offering their knowledge. Can I ask another question?
I’ve read about “sticky watts”. I’ve read some articles about it, but I’m still not to sure about it.
I ride on my stages bike. Since I have only those 65kgs to work with, I have to fight to stay in a group relatively hard at times when others don’t have to do as much. So I tend to accelerate from time to time and then relax a bit, without stopping pedalling completely, but reducing my the cadence considerably. Often after losing my position in the field or when starting a climb.
My wattage is extremely unbalanced and I am now working on pedalling more regularly. Also because over time it becomes extremely exhausting to keep accelerating.
Would “sticky watts” be theoretically possible with the stages bike? I don’t think my watts stay up for three seconds every time I decrease the cadence. But I’m still not entirely sure that I’m not doing anything wrong that falsifies the performance.
Recommendation is to pair the power meters directly and not pair to the bike
And Calibrate PM before every Ride/Race it takes you less than a minute for that.
It’s worth checking but my experience is that the PM calibration is completely stable. Basically nothing happens unless the trainer is faulty. If it hasn’t been calibrated frequently a few times it’s worth seeing if it’s out of spec or unstable.
Is that connecting PM directely to Zwift?
Yes you can pair the left side power meter to Zwift as the power source. Do not pair the right side power meter to Zwift - the left side will transmit for both sides. You have to wake up the power meter first, which isn’t necessary when you are pairing to the bike.