I ride with all pace partners and actually riding with Brevit as I write this. If the group is small, and especially if there is a reasonable weight diff between rider and bot, it can be difficult to impossible to stay in the bot ‘zone’. I occasionally have to drop major watt bombs (that’s OK, I get it) and other times, like descending Epic KOM, if I’m even slightly ahead of A, too bad, I’m gone as my weight pulls me. And if you can slow enough, you have to time that $*%^ perfectly or you end up getting dropped while trying not to drop.
Difficult is one thing and that’s fine, but sometimes it is just frustrating. I mention small groups because as you know, the bigger the group, the bigger the zone.
Additionally it may be impossible to do sprints or intervals because of the small window.
That’s really not what the pace partners are for though, although you could drop back to put a sprint in if you felt so inclined.
My gut feel is that the zones ahead and behind are okay. You’re being rewarded for staying with the Pace Partner and sometimes that means knowing when to go harder or more gently based on the terrain that you’re currently on. I think it’s also something you get used to with practice.
Thank you for the reply! True, though even the pace bot mentions doing intervals/dropping back but I get your point. It is nice to get up and stretch a bit and with C, and usually B, this isn’t a problem due to group size.
I stand by the observation though that it can be unnecessarily difficult in some situations; assuming ZwiftInsider info is accurate, the Anquetil bot is 65kg / 274w / 4.2w/kg. Many times, this bot does not have many riders, which means “the zone” is quite small. I can stay w/ them on climbs, but I know at 85kg going uphill means I’m going to be pushing really hard. Sometimes I get told to catch up, and that’s on me to step up. That’s fine. BUT descending Epic KOM, for example, if you make one tiny mistake and A loses your draft, you’re done. You cannot reacquire in time without starting over. (Obviously if this happens in some locations, like near a short climb, it is possible.)
I get that people can say, “well, ride better, it’s meant to be a challenge” but my point is, the margin of error can be ridiculously small in those scenarios.
And of course it’s not the end of the world to start over. I’m just saying a couple extra seconds, wider zone, would make it more enjoyable in the extremely small groups.