How do you choose your category?

What I mean is if you are entering say, a quick Crit race or something under 10k compared to a longer race, do you enter the race based on your ftp as calculated by Zwift? Or your anticipated performance during that race?
My ftp is about 2.4/2.5 right now, right at the cusp of C/D. In some (well most) C races I get completely dropped. In most others I’m near the back. Cat C seems to be the worst for sandbagging and cheating in general. Race results for other categories, to be honest, look far more realistic. My endurance is relatively worse so I don’t think I’d be sandbagging if I entered Cat D for longer races (+20-25 km). For the Crit races I would definitely be sand-baggy as my sprinting seems relatively better at my ability level.
I’m also doing 2 races per day sometimes. On tired legs, dropping down to D wouldn’t feel as petty given my ‘fatigued’ ftp is probably under 2.4. But ‘fresh’ I’m definitely Cat C.

Any thoughts? How do you choose your races?

For what it’s worth I’m having the most fun in ‘E’ races. Seems I always end up in at least a small group.

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Yes always. Category is FTP/kg for all races if it is 1km or 100km.

That is how everyone is doing it so it’s the same for everyone.

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Well… It should be but it really isn’t (unless you’re talking about private races).

In a short C-Category race several riders were over 3.3 w/kg. A couple riders were 3.2/3.3 but with really high heart rates; they worked hard for their results. Several riders in the 3.4 - 3.7 either didn’t have heart rate monitors at all or very low heart rates. Scanning a few profiles I could clearly tell that they were obviously not C-category riders and knew such before entering the race. They were also likely the type that has a heart rate monitor and simply chose not to use it for this particular race.

The good news is that about 75% of the field looks like they chose the right category (that’s not always the case). The hard part for slower C-category riders is that most of them are 2.8 and over.

Slower C category racers are getting pushed into the lower categories. Over half the D category riders were well over 2.5 w/kg.

I’ve analyzed similar results and to me it seems like at least 25% of each field is sandbagging.

But anyways… it would be nice if they adjusted the ftp for race distances. I have no chance of holding 2.5 w/kg + over a longer distance (in spite of Zwift telling me I can - I do appreciate their confidence in my ability however :wink: ) . I can hold C category wattages in shorter races. And if the field is big enough I’m finding pretty awesome race partners.

The fact that some doesn’t follow the rules don’t make it right.

Once Zwift enforce categories all will be in the correct pen.

But the rules state pick your category besed on ftp/kg.

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It’s slightly confusing because group rides are labelled according to actual power during the ride. Whereas races are categorised by FTP which (as noted above) doesn’t necessarily relate to actual power in the ride.

In my first race yesterday I averaged 2.8 w/kg. I was towards the back of the field and not in the lead group but had a small group to race with. That took a lot of effort however.

In my second race after almost a 30 minute break (so not at 100% but still feeling pretty good), I decided to try and keep up with the peleton for as long as I possible could… which was like 5 km :-S . Just to keep up my heart rate was 180 bpm!!

For many of these races, nobody is joining the A Category. I’m thinking about doing that just to get my first podium :wink:

The E category races with big fields are by far the most fun. Or at least combined races.