How many riders is too many in an event?

Various reports here of events that gave a poor experience because the system could not support the number of riders. So at what point should I be thinking that I just won’t bother with a ride? I’m sure it’s complex and there isn’t just one answer, but it might help to have some warning signs, rather than spend an hour and only get 15 minutes of progress.

It looks as though several thousand in an event does overload the system. I have seen a suggestion that the number of other Zwifters, outside the event, at the time may also have an effect. Anyone got any views on the warning signs? Or experience to share?

This is mostly a problem with the computational capability of the devices running Zwift,
and possibly inefficient algorithms from the App itself.

If you are in doubt, but want to ride the event anyway try to avoid the messy starts
this will ease the demands on your device.

Zwift is trying to render for you only the closest 100 or so riders.
When gaps are established and groups are formed you device has to care only about those 100 riders.
So it doesn’t really matter how many there are overall.
But at the start you might have almost 10000 at one spot and this is a big ask.

What works for me:

1. Get a front row position.

Race positioning opens 30 min before the start.
Log in as close as possible to that time and just leave you avatar there.
This will save you a spot close to the front.

2. Start pedaling hard 5-10sec before the start.

I would go for 130% of FTP, but best not below 300 watts for all categories Events.

2. Try to keep with the front for the first minute or two.

Zwift starts are basically sprint starts, so gaps form in the first minutes of the race.
If you keep for a while with the front due to the power of drafting they will put
big gap between you and the rest.

The last big event I rode was the Haute Route Watopia.
In my group we had 9853 riders stage 1 and 4638 rider stage 2.
The first stage I had issues, the second I did this and it went fine.

I am using Samsung S9 Android phone, something that is far from a dedicated gaming PC.

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I am using an Apple TV 4K with an Ethernet cable (not WiFi) and don’t have any issues with the large events. So, perhaps it is not a Zwift issue so much as whatever hardware you are running to use Zwift that is creating the issue with these events.


This is helpful. Thanks very much. Hitherto talk has been about overload on the Zwift servers.

I’m using an Android Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet. Not sure it’s officially supported, but it works fine normally. Low end on computing power though, I’d think.

300W is a big ask for me. I suppose that, conversely, I could soft-pedal and hope to move up through the field later.

My latest experience was of things not being too bad at first, but getting worse and worse. Is that consistent with a field beginning to spread out? I suppose that, once you reach a certain point of no return, the device could be overloaded beyond recovery anyway. And maybe I slowed a bit and got swamped by the bulk of the field.

Presumably the load is created by working out which 100 riders are the nearest. Otherwise it wouldn’t matter how many others there were. You’d think that there’d be something around fitering that would help - cutting down to 50 riders if load was high, for example, but you’d still need to know which 50.

Midrace issues could be caused by the device overheating.

Starting the event with full battery is good. Trying to charge it from low levels,
during the event will result in a lot of heat. Once I managed to crash the whole device,
because of that.

Lowering a bit the display settings can also help.

I prefer as much as possible because of the draft but in general not more than 6k.

With 6k riders you will always have a nice group to ride along with, even with an Epic climb included.

Again, I’m valuing these tips. I hope that others are. I may have been charging my tablet at the time, as I sometimes forget to do it in advance. Since I Zwift outside, I try not to connect mains power, but for longer rides I need an external battery because the tablet doesn’t last long enough - but I could turn the battery on later in the ride, when the field is more spread out.

I’m not sure what display settings I can change on Android that would be relevant?

What I did is I left the phone to play a live stage from some Grand Tour all day long,
and straight after the finish I jumped on the trainer with what was under 20% battery.
Of course I plugged it in, but the fast charging kicked in and with the combination
of Zwift running in the same time, midway my workout the phone said:
‘If you are not overheating I am, Bye!’.

I should have waited for the phone to charge 100%, add 5 mins to let it cool off,
and start the session with the device plugged in.

The problem is when the battery falls a lot and tries to rapidly charge from there.

If you start a session with 100% full battery and keep it plugged in,
it has to only top off a bit once in a while, which does not add additional heat.

About Display Settings, Zwift doesn’t give us a way to change the game graphic settings
for Android, but the Device Display Resolution can be changed. The game doesn’t support
the high resolutions anyway, so putting the Screen at HD+ will ease the demands on the
device and the battery significantly.

You can do that from Settings > Display > Screen Resolution > HD+ (1480 x 720)
or directly from Power Mode by picking Optimised or Medium power savings.

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Thanks. I’m not sure I have that setting in Android 7 (probably haven’t got the higher resolution either!), but it’s all good advice.