Never raced before, but I'm Cat A?

I’ve never raced before, online or irl. Just got setup on Zwift 2 weeks ago and wanted to try out a race, figured I’d start slow and try to get my bearings in Cat D/C, assumed my numbers would probably land me in C. But I went to sign up for a race and Cat A is the only option? Not sure how I could be Cat A without ever racing. I’ll give it a shot for sure but I’m pretty sure there’s no way I’m going to be able to even hang on the back.

I did an FTP ramp test last week and got 335w which is crazy, that’s way too high for me, I think I incorrectly passed the last couple blocks because I didn’t stop pedaling when I couldn’t hold the wattage anymore. I did the longer 20 minute FTP test this week and got 225w, which is 2.95w/kg which is definitely more accurate.

Does Cat A sound right based on my numbers?

zwiftpower /profile.php?z=6078047

You probably pushed a very high 5min power for your weight if your ramp test made it to 335W FTP. If you look on your profile on your Zwift feed under the fitness tab at what do those numbers look like?

Edit: Your best 5 min power was probably just over 400W on that ramp test correct?

Edit 2: Given you’re weight of 76.2kg and zFTP you’re definitely at least B cat, so won’t be able to enter C or D cat enforced races. If you did hold an average of 400W for 5 min in that ramp test (for that 335W FTP estimate) I wouldn’t be surprised if you can hang with A cat.

What kind of trainer or power meter are you using?

What I read: “I have never raced before and I am new to all this but I am faster than most of you so deal!”

:smiley: j/k

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I noticed this part of your post, which seems a bit weird. So usually the ramp test takes your best 1 min average power (the last minute of the test typically), multiplies that by a scaling factor of 75%, and calls that your FTP. If you didn’t stop pedaling I would expect the test to still use your best 1min actual power, not the power of the block (you don’t even need to use ERG mode for these tests, so they would need to go off your actual average power for the strongest minute).

I would suggest going to your Zwift profile on, and taking a screenshot for what it shows for your zMAP and VO2Max, and also the top 5min power it has for you.

If that does show a huge zMAP, VO2Max, or 5 min power, and if you don’t feel you are that strong a rider, then it could be some miscalibration from your trainer, or some other weird issue.

Ok I didn’t believe you so I looked at the data from that ride. Looks like I did in fact pull 400w for 5 minutes on that ramp test. I still think the FTP is too high but I will trust the data and go for it.

What kind of trainer or power meter are you using?

Stages SB20

What I read: “I have never raced before and I am new to all this but I am faster than most of you so deal!” :smiley: j/k

Haha, I’m used to being one of the slower people in the groups irl so this is a surprise to me.

It looks like it worked as you described. That ramp test was my first or second ride on Zwift, I didn’t know what ERG mode was so I think I did it without ERG.

I bought the trainer used, maybe there is some sort of calibration needed. But I think after looking at the data it must be correct. I just don’t see myself hanging on in A. But I will try! Thank you for taking the time to reply!

The FTP from the ramp test is doesn’t directly determine zFTP. The zFTP calculation pays no attention to the ramp test’s result, so it doesn’t matter if the ramp test’s resulting FTP estimation is right or wrong. In a ramp test you’re more likely to set a PR in the range of a zMAP effort.

With 5mins at 5.25W/Kg, your zMAP is going to be estimated to be very close to the 5.1(?)W/Kg threshold that would make a rider be restricted to pen A.

I’ve never understood why the 6min zMAP has been an estimation rather than being based on actual data.

And in my opinion/experience with long covid over the last ~13 months (mainly of the fatigue type these days), there’s a big difference between marginally exceeding the zMAP threshold with fresh legs right at the start of a day’s session, compared to doing a threshold exceeding effort a good 15mins+ into your first session of the day.

Recommend you download Stages Cycling App setup login and pair bike to app then ensure crank length is set to correct length in the App or power data will be incorrect also if connecting via Bluetooth select pair via Bluetooth.

You can also Zero reset power meters from the App and also check for new firmware.