Introducing Pace Partners

Pace Partners are automated riders to give you a draft or that critical lead out for your sprint or KOM personal best. These riders span multiple effort levels and are available on a daily schedule in Watopia

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I want to provide some feedback on the Pace Partners feature.

Overall these are a great addition and really like them. It’s fun riding with a group and like that they are always there so you can just join. So far I have ridden with As and Bs.

Few thoughts - the Pace Partners really show the limitation of the ride start UI and the fact that you can’t choose a bike as you go into Zwift. I am using an Apple TV do my log in experience is as follows.

  1. Log in
  2. Set up sensors
  3. Navigate to Watopia world
  4. See Pace Partners are available
  5. Select partner
  6. If (A) renavigate to the “ride with” because it’s not auto selected (ie modal). If (B) repeat steps 4 and 5 because it doesn’t say “ ride with”
  7. Join ride, realize I have wrong bike
  8. Hit menu
  9. Navigate to garage
  10. Pick right bike
  11. Pick right wheels (why can’t we save bikes and wheels as a set or last setup or something)
  12. Exit garage
  13. Exit ride And Zwift and be asked for feedback on pace partner ride, make sure you don’t save the ride
  14. Repeat steps 1-7 including the repetition of steps 4-5 if you pick B and renavigating to watopia

And then you are in.

This whole process on the Apple TV with the absolutely crap remote and utter lack of support in Zwift for the old standard one with buttons means this whole process can take 10-15 mins which is really not what you want when you just want to get on and ride.

Next - can we pick some other routes. Road to Ruins and Sand and Sequoias are great routes, but it would be nice to mix it up more. What about simply swapping them?

Can we have all the pace partners every day? Why is it A/C and B/D?

Why not advertise the actual pace the partner is riding at? (A) is 4.2w/kg - in ERG mode - there is no variation. Why not just say that? And would it be possible to have more variation?

Overall I love this feature and with some small tweaks it could be so awesome. Thanks for developing it.

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This feature has amazing potential, but maybe I’m missing something. I’ve tried Coco and Dan. My threshold is 208 watts, so Dan is really just a casual ride for me (average watts were 150 but huge variability even on a mostly flat course). I couldn’t even stay with Coco and the pack at 300 watts on flat, so threw in the towel after 5 minutes. I have to assume there are loads of riders in the 180-250 watts range that would love to have a pacer.

Pace Partners are terrific. Although I still find the apparent radical speed and power changes I must employ to stay within a few meters of the pace partners to be unexplainable, and initially annoying, I’ve come to believe that pairing with the 'bots encourages beneficial habits of concentration as well as likely creating positive physiological adaptations… Time flies too!

Summary

With Coco, my power ranges from 140 W to 250 W, though my heart rate generally stays within recovery/aerobic zones.

I have some suggestions for improvement. It’s often quite difficult, after a momentary lapse of concentration, to know whether one is ahead or behind the 'bot. An on-screen indicator (on the map screen of the Companion app too!) should immediately notify the rider whether one is ahead or behind the pacer 'bot.

Also, the Zwift “Stay with pace partner” prompt is VERY confusing. Why? Because when one moves ahead of the 'bot, the icons still depict the 'bot AHEAD of the rider. In this image, I am in front of Coco Cadence, but the tactical image shows the REVERSE! I often find myself accelerating to keep pace, and end up running too far ahead (and dropping the group) as a result. It would be easy to reverse the position of the tactical icons: if I’m ahead of the 'bot, then the pacer icon (the clock with chevron) should show ASTERN (behind) the rider, and vice-versa. The rider would then know exactly what corrective action to take… slowing or pushing more power to fall back in line.

Also, today, a group ride joined the Pace Partner. The red icon in the map is NOT the pace partner, but rather a group lead. Having a clear pacer 'bot indicator on screen to show relative position of the rider to the 'bot is essential to staying in the peloton.

Enhancement request: if a rider gets dropped by the pace partner peloton for any reason (call of nature, phone call, replace a bidon etc.), a rider, upon resumption of pedalling should be given the option to rejoin the pace partner initially chosen, and not have to quit the ride, leave the game, post stats, and restart. Major shortcoming. If a rider can be given the choice to resume riding in the start-up world after joining a group (such as is available now), then a rider should be able to stay in the SAME world and rejoin the pacer 'bot at any time…

Lastly, Coco is blue. Her above-head indicator is a spinning blue “clock”. Ride-ons look confusingly similar to the Cadence 'bot indicator (they even spin in a similar manner). These similarities make discerning Coco from a rider with a ride-on falling quite difficult. These should be starkly different to avoid confusion. I generally cycle in EYE mode 9 (drone level) in order to overcome the difficulties I’ve described above. It’s most confusing with Coco as her color scheme is the same as ride ons…

Respectfully,

@wesfree

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