Is it "Time to level up"

Hi everyone. I got coned in my last Cat C race, ZHQ Circuit race. My Zwift Power average is 3.03 w/kg. It was a slower race coming in 3rd at 25.08 mins. My average for the race (which was slowish) was 2.9 w/kg. Being slow, I had some reserves at the end so when someone went for the finish at 0.8km, I sprinted from the pack at 0.7km to catch their draft which I did quickly and having an aero, decided to go all the way. So I got up to a 2 sec lead and was legless with 220m to go(and power-up gone), just hoping to hang on. At 150m I got the dreaded message “Time to Level up” which surprised, distracted and inconveniently blocked out the distance to riders behind. By the time I read the message with hr at record levels (for me) and got power thottled, I got passed with 10m to go by 2 riders. My results still stand in Zwift Power because I guess I was only at 2.9 w/kg average. Did I really have to be handicapped for sprinting long at the end of the slowish race? I feel this system is penalising variety??? I’ll just stick with the group next time. Is 1min/5 min power really a good proxy for FTP when an FTP test takes an hour? Should I move up to cat B? I will be doing an FTP test tomorrow for interest sake being a year since I last did one.

I believe (hearsay as Zwift have never openly stated) the sandbagging races use 5min power to determine whether you get the cone. A lot of people have similar experience but dont need to move up a Cat. No, the 5min time is not a proxy for FTP, but depending on physiology, some people have strong 5min time vs 20min.

You have a few races of 3.2wkg for your 20min so well under the 95%/3.2wkg avg ceiling. Given you are doing short races, they will be fairly good proxies for your ftp if they are balls out sprints.

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Thanks Dean. Good points. Many races do end up in full gas sprints. This last one was the longest though. Jordan Rapp from Zwift is on record (podbeanDOTcom/ew/pb-whpxy-d89641 start from 2min) saying 5min power is a good proxy for ftp and they make the rules right?

There must be a better way than just looking at 5 mins in one race and then throttling power 200m from the finish line. What the heck is Zwift Power for? Can’t that history be referenced?

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Your 5min vs mine can be (and are) quite different so no, I dont agree with him. When I am into doing race series (which are generally 45-60mins races), my 5min is usually about 4.5wkg but with similar FTP as you. And no, Zwift dont write the FTP rules - they are generic to the industry. 95% of 20min is the industry proxy for an FTP.

Totally agree, as do a lot of others - Zwift started with good intent to rein in sandbaggers by developing this “feature” under the beta program (FutureWorks) but the guy who wrote the code moved on from Zwift ages ago so its not advanced at all since then. The intent was there, execution was poor.

Have a look at this thread below - the sandbagging discussion has moved on considerably over the past year or so and whilst I dont recommend you read the whole thread, a few posts near the end from Zwift staff are eluding to new anti-sandbagging features starting to come out zoon and its very unlikely that throttling will be included!