HI! Our group has been having regular keep-everyone-together meetup rides for more than a year now. Lately, the meetups seems to be too slow, even when everyone pushes the w/kg, the speed doesn’t seem to be commensurate to the effort. We end up with free riders passing us even with a much lower w/kg.
This discourages the others from joining what used to be a fun, relaxed group ride
Is the situation a bug that will be addressed, or are no-drop meetups really meant to be slower than free rides?
I stopped using E category Rubber-banded group workouts after my first ride for this very reason: all my metrics were skewed. As far as I’m aware, Zwift has not disclosed the exact algorithm by which the “rubber-banding” effect is applied to all riders, but it definitely causes problems of the nature that you and I both describe. However, from my experience, it’s doubtful that “everyone” was pushing the watts that you’d hoped. As with communism, the lowest common denominator is going to be the dominant factor, if even one rider is simply drifting along. “Averaging” the riders in a rubber-banded group ride are going to give you only average (or below average) results. Turn-off the rubber-banding attribute, and activate a sweep for your slower group riders, and your metrics will improve to “normal”.
BTW, who is “WE” pray tell, and how do I enter one of these fast, small-group meetups? I’d like to experience and evaluate the rubber-banding effect that you describe from a different perspective. I’m doubtful that the algorithm is accurate for even the one. That’s why this issue feels like something larger (a bug). It doesn’t get much attention, I suspect, because of the demographic of its users. Serious cyclists are using their own workouts (including third party workouts) as opposed to the E category events which seem to be targeted towards the would-be Peloton crowd. And that demographic is not likely to be in the forums seeking the latest information about the platform. No squeaky wheels as a result.
Clearly, I’d already examined the photos. But that’s certainly not the same thing as evaluating the issue from the perspective of my own equipment on a ride. I suspect this bug (feature? anomaly?) explains why the group Alpe ascents are being popularized and leading to all kinds of essentially fraudulent (sub-60 minute) climbs by 75 year old grandmothers and persons with heart rates in the double-digits. Issues of this nature distort the metrics and enjoyment of the platform for everybody, even if they weren’t the victim/beneficiary of this glitch. I’ve got an idea I’m going to test. I’m going to arrange for a no-show meet-up with me as the only rider, but turning rubber-banding on. I do these all the time, but never bother with the keep-together toggle, for obvious reasons. I’ll see if the metrics are equally twisted.
The term “small” as relating to this glitch in “small groups” is quite vague. Is it only happening with two-person groups? Is 80 persons a “small” group? Well, of course, in comparison to a Tour of Watopia ride, perhaps! It’s also clear that the duration of the ride matters. Some get slow. Some fast. Some both.
Given the fact that all these rides are Virtual by their very nature, and the metrics are ALL calculated, AND that Zwift’s priority is clearly to foster the social aspects of the platform, then it seems logical that the fix would involve the following:
Visually display the group as being together both on-screen and on ZCA, allowing group riders and workout participants to “feel” as if they’re in a bunch, chatting away;
Display on the Heads-Up-Display (HUD) and post-ride metrics the correct data;
Zwift obviously calculates for every data-point the rider’s speed based on data received from the rider’s set-up, combined with rider position and other game “physics”. The only aspect of the metrics that would not be reflective of “reality” then, would be the drafting effect. Perhaps, then, E category workouts done in groups should be evaluated and reported as if the riders were on a standard Time-Trial bike, with game physics restricted.
I certainly would join in more group workouts if these metrics were not so mal-adjusted.