Matching group pace trouble

I’ve been Zwifting for a few months and just tried joining groups, both telling the app to join a group and trying out a TDZ event. Both times I soon gave up.

In both cases I found it almost impossible to stay with the group. If I pedaled at a comfortable pace, I’d get ahead of people pretty quickly. So I’d slow down and try to rejoin, but then I’d be going too slow and the group would pass me. I’d work my ass off to catch up, slowing down as I got closer, but even if I stopped pedaling completely I’d zoom past. At first. Then they’d pass me and I’d do the same thing again, and again.

After a few repetitions I just left. I was spending all my time just trying to stay with the group, with no success at all. What am I doing wrong? I hang trouble riding a steady pace on my own but I can’t get this to work.

Please post your entire Zwift set up. Hard to give any constructive help without that info.

ride the same w per kg as advertised by the group description/leader thats it.
if you still find yourself loosing the group you may put some 0.x w/kg to less and get dropped after time.
try to push the same w/kg or 0.1 to 0.3 more.
without a pace bot the w/kg goes up mostly on hills/climbs because people tend to push harder based on felt resistance.

en top of that if you do everything right there is this sling shot effect which they call drafting. its the most incompetent feature inside this game of all … so you might find yourself going infront and back the group if the group is large enough making staying with the pace bot absolutely close to impossible for a specific amount of time …

Sounds unusual for group rides. I’ve noticed this with pace partners but not group rides. TDZ is a little different because the pace isn’t ‘policed’ with a beacon and fence, to be honest it’s more like a sportive. However, formal group rides with beacons and fences are not normally hard to pace if you are joining a pace group within the middle of your capabilities. Are you sure you’re joining the right group banding (A,B,C,D)?

I use a Schwinn IC4 with Swift on an iPad. Let me know of other details would be useful.

I don’t think it’s a question of watts per kg, because I have no trouble keeping up. The problem is that I can either run away from the group or they run away from me, but I can’t match them. Staying with the group is like a delicate balancing trick that I can’t master-- I’m either too fast or too slow, and I go back and forth between the two but never get it right.

I may have misspoken by saying “group”-- I’ve never done anything with a beacon and fence and I don’t know how those work. I’ve tried using pace partners in Watopia and I’ve tried TDZ, and gave up on both after a few minutes because I couldn’t get things working right.

Ok, I see. I find the Pace Partners a little erratic too, B and D have the worst reputation for it. I ride with B a lot and the rolling terrain makes the bot seem erratic due to it’s higher weight than me (it’s fast down, slow up). I don’t ride with D but have heard similar. C bot isn’t normally so bad because the flats keep the draft effect high.

It’s particularly hard at the start when there’s a pedal assist for a few seconds, you shot off the front, slow down and then you might not be warmed up if you’ve jumped straight on. If you can settle into the rhythm after 2-3 mins it might come easier.

As for TDZ, it’s basically a race. Some people will protest it’s not, but it has a ranking on ZwiftPower so it is, even if not everybody is trying, so there is no pace to match there. If you can go off the front and finish 1st, go for it

If you are struggling with the Pace bots on undulating terrain you could set your difficulty to zero, then your even pace will match their perfectly even power based pace better

I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong. Pacing in a group is a fine art and takes some practise.

You can easily get caught in a draft and carried along and thus ease off a little. You’ll then find yourself passed by the group and spat out the back.
You’ll then over compensate and put so much power back in you’ll fly past everyone.
I find this more common when riding at a slightly slower pace to your normal cat.

I tend to fly out from the gun and stick with the fast lads as long as possible and then slowly drift back through the packs before settling into one where I can hold steady.

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Did a long endurance ride today with both Bowie Brevet and Cara Cadence, and it was pretty frustrating at times. Riding with Bowie was the worst what with the constant surges required - I averaged 3.3 W/kg for the 50 minutes I spent following him, but that was with painfully regular blasts up to 5+ W/kg and beyond just to keep up (Bowie is 11kg heavier than me, which doesn’t help), so it felt far more like a B race rather than the mid-tempo pace workout I was hoping for. Last time I rode with Amelia I averaged 3.6 W/kg for the ride and it felt easier because the pace was much more consistent, and that just doesn’t seem right! I gave up with Bowie in the end because I was looking for a more consistent pace, so I detoured round Sequoia Circle and caught Cara Cadence’s group on Tempus Fugit. That was more consistent in terms of power output required, but it was still hugely frustrating trying to stay with the group. I think the sticky draft is partly to blame - what with the massive size of the group everybody on course kind of blends in together, it can get hard to keep track of where Cara is, and overtaking others often means getting stuck in their draft and dropping back without even realising they’re not with Cara and you’ve been left behind. Maybe an option to hide riders not with the pace bot would help this - then you’d only have your own group to worry about, making pacing and following much easier. Another useful thing might be to make all the pacebots the same weight - at least then the jump in difficulty between following each would be more even…

Are you on a TT bike?

no, a Tron. I’m tempted to use a TT bike next time I ride with Amelia, because that felt too easy compared to what I was looking for - her W/kg is a bit higher than my FTP so I was looking to follow her for as long as I could manage. As it turned out, her light weight plus the draft meant I wasn’t anywhere near my FTP for the ride. Conversely, I suspect trying to follow Bowie on a TT would be an exercise in pain and misery :rofl: