Looking for Category Enforcement understanding

Hey All!

Long time Zwifter, first time racer. I’ve never really taken races seriously if I hopped into any but I’m looking to start doing more full series, and get some zwift racing experience.

Unfortunately, just in time for my first real race, I got Cat enforced to Cat B. It sucks because I have no experience, but it also seems legit by the requirement standards. I can hold 3.2w/kg avg for the race. That’s the very bottom of the bucket for Cat B, so I’ll pull in at the back, or a few minutes behind at the end. I can deal with that, I guess my main goals will be learn to stay with the slowest pack.

What’s confusing to me is I’m looking over zwift power and there’s people in the same race in Cat B doing 4.2w/kg. There’s people in cat C doing 3.6w/kg. Zwift power has obviously recorded it, so why aren’t they also being Category enforced? How are they outputting so much and staying in the wrong cats. Even if it was weight doping one way or the other the metrics are still here to say they’re outputting way higher than should be able to for that category. So what keeps them there?

Looking for Category Enforcement understanding

Aren’t we all…

You are probably looking at 20min power levels, CE uses zFTP & zMap to categorise people. So its zFTP / Weight which gives WKG used to categorise.

Basically, you can up to about 3.6wkg for 20mins in C as a maximum these days before zFTP will upgrade you if you play the system well (strong short term power which does not break zMap limit)


zFTP / Weight

Ahhh. I just found this number on zpower which is actually funny. I think I got bumped by rounding, and weight loss that I’ve already regained :sweat_smile:.

My zFTP is lower than my last FTP test, and comes in at 3.16. Which I guess is rounding to 3.2 and moves me to C when paired with the 2kg drop I thought would actually stick, but cake had other plans :rofl:

It also uses Compound Score and Vo2Max but 99% of races are same as all Zwift HQ CE Boundaries :man_facepalming:

[quote=“brianp [Cycladat.cc], post:3, topic:625462, username:avgdadcyclist”]
My zFTP is lower than my last FTP test, and comes in at 3.16. Which I guess is rounding to 3.2 and moves me to C when paired with the 2kg drop

This is not the reason you are moved up most likely…your weight for calculation is based on average from all your PB’s.

Looking at your ZP Numbers you can’t be B…but did you do any strong workouts or free ride? Do you share your account with somebody stronger than you?

You can get additional info about your numbers at The at Home Cycling & Running Virtual Training App


here are some pointers towards making sure your category is accurate. it doesnt really explain “why” but if you just take it at face value, doing everything in there as prescribed will put you in whatever category zwift thinks you are supposed to be in

dont worry about what other people do. they probably arent worrying about what you do, so you might as well channel that elsewhere. if you’re really curious, go ask them personally

The cut off for cat C is 3.36W/kg zFTP, or 4.1W/kg zMAP


For me (and quite a few people) zFTP is roughly 40 minute power and zMAP is roughly 5 minute power.

I agree with Dejan that your ZwiftPower profile doesn’t adequately explain why you are in B, but your PRs on your profile on my.zwift.com will.

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haha tell me about it :smiley:

Interesting. I didn’t even know Zwift offered these numbers anywhere. I’m happy to share, and actually, this may have given us the reasoning for my bump. It looks like my zMAP may be the culprit here. If it’s being roughly based on 6 minute efforts I may have just squeezed over the line. On the 12th it looks like I did a ramp test (which I use to try and gauge my max HR. I find it rubbish for FTP).

Edit: Also- just to say again, it’s cool to have found the “why” for myself in the equation but even though it makes for races I know I can barely hold on to, I don’t mind being in Cat B. I was mostly curious how/why others that seemed stronger weren’t being enforced similarly. I have no issue trying to hold onto a strong crowd, maybe it’ll help push me along. “Ride with stronger folks to get stronger” mentality.

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Yes it looks like you got a zMAP upgrade

The weight it uses to divide zFTP/zMAP will be an average of the weights from your PRs, so it’s a little bit difficult to guess exactly what weight they used in the calculation, but the MAP numbers are high enough that we can say that’s the culprit. They don’t share that number.

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Yes the last 5 or 6 minutes of a Ramp Test has knocked a few people over the zMAP limit and taken them up a category.

The same Ramp Test suggests your FTP (3.6 w/kg) is a little higher than your zFTP and possibly the reason why you are able to hold the back of the B cat bunch.

Answering your very first question as to why there are C cat riders showing higher 20min power than you is more difficult to answer. My general answer is that:

20 minute power doesn’t always correlate closely to zFTP using the Zwift power curve to estimate zFTP. Occasionally racers can exceed 20 minute cat limits by 0.1, 0.2 and sometimes 0.3w/kg (ignoring very light racers who can exceed by a lot more) and still remain in cat due to the zFTP calculation. When I say 20 min cat limits I don’t actually mean 20 min cat limits I mean zFTP cat limits but so many people don’t look beyond the 20 min power figures they can easily find on ZwiftPower.

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I’m answering my own question now after looking at folks’ 5 minute powers on ZRL last night and not seeing any upgrades.

It’s the fact that… everything “Pace Category” (remember, this is the new word!) now is related to the “z” numbers, not anything else.
(Note the excessive use of the words zMAP and zFTP by everyone.)

Was thinking the same thing after seeing B’s in my ZRL race last night hit 5.5w/kg, and not getting upgraded.
And it’s nothing I get to see; because it’s hidden in folks’ profiles.

Welcome to Cat B OP! You’ll fit in just fine :sunglasses:
As to your question about “others seemed stronger and weren’t being enforced” well… welcome to where we are right now in category enforcement on Zwift; where literally someone in last place in a race can be upgraded. There has not been an update from Zwift on their points based system in some time now; so unfortunately, we’re stuck with what we have.
zMAP/zFTP are made from critical power curves; and those curves aren’t visible to anyone publicly (not even our own), which is where the area of confusion sets in. Some stronger efforts past 20 minutes might lower your MAP power on the curve, and vice versa, just due to the calculations.

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I assume this is still true in which case it is PBs set at 3,5,12 and 20 mins.

We have somebody very similar right on the edge of the calculation between cats and the numbers seemed to tie up so i think it is still accurate.


Remember, keep doing your cat B races and try to hold on a little longer each time then spice it up by “racing” a group ride.
Group ride racing is a wild west show but you will almost always be in a group and you can have some coffee too!:blush:

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It always takes a bit of time for an upgrade to filter through to zwiftpower. A few from that ZRL race that did 5.3 for 5 min did move up to A if you look at their profile on the companion app.

As a basement dwelling B who has yoyoed between it and C, I feel your pain. I’m OK if I can find at least some group to ride with and against, but have stopped riding the more competitive races / fields like WTRL as I just get dropped and riding for 45 mins to an hour in no man’s land isn’t fun, and isn’t a good workout - the main two things I want from a Zwift race!
The changes over the last year or so has meant a lot more former A riders are now B, which has made it doubly hard. I just can’t keep up with some a lot of the short efforts, especially at the beginning of the race. Another consequence is that category A is now a ghost town.
The whole thing is worse than it would have been than if they had just category enforced the old ZP categories and system.

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Good to know; I hadn’t had time to check companion as of yet this morning.

Nobody coded out though; classic! :upside_down_face:

In the meantime though, among the other advice here for OP; look into different series instead of maybe your typical Zwift Racing Series (unless it’s jammed full of people, giving a broader range of power (small races are more likely just to be full of people near the upper area of the categories)).

But check out things like… waiting on Dejan to pop in here and say check out VirtuSlo!
Among other series, like the Club TT, Club Climb, and hunt around to find a footing in the category as a whole.

As also stated; nothing wrong with “racing” big group rides (the recent Tour of Zwift for example is perfect), where the rides end up with thousands of folks, and you’ll always end up with a huge bunch, some who like to sprint finish.

Series like FRR (I know there are tons of others, but this is the only I’ve done), have smaller, tighter categories as well, where you’ll be far more competitive than the standard Zwift cat system.

Shout out to the 5v5 club ladder as well. It uses zwiftracing.app categories.

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Would be nice if if WTRL would sync the ZRL scratch and points races

Now you need to look for events with Split-Cats this way you will get more enjoyable racing.

We offer Races on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

On Monday you have TFC Mad Monday

Interesting. Split-cat I hadn’t heard of it. I think I’ll target one of these after my current BL13 series is finished. Virtuslo doesn’t have their next series posted but I’m going to keep an eye out. :+1: