Pace Partner Dan inconstant?

I ride a regular road bike with Dan Diesel a lot. On 2 rides it was hard work keeping up. Looking at yesterdays #'s vs today. Average power 108 / 140 heart rate 105 / 120. Big difference! I notice that occasionally to begin the feed is a bit sketchy with riders disappearing off their bikes and the video jerky. Could it be my internet download speed? It is Sunday afternoon and I’m sure a lot of people are streaming NCAA basketball, golf and whatever. Otherwise any advise on why it requires so much more effort to ride with him? Thanks in advance.

Please provide a full run-down of your Zwift set up. Hard to help without that info.

Saris H2 purchased fall 2020. Zwift App on Iphone 8, streaming on 3rd gen. Apple TV.

Hi it’s not you it’s Diesel Dan I’ve been riding with him since the launch of bots last year with no problems and since the new update with different routes Dan is all over the place it’s quite annoying ps if you only see a few riders ie 10 around him don’t join this means Dan is having a bad function day if the group is more than 20/30 riders I think this indicates Dan is functioning as he should be if that makes sense

Hi Michael,

People sometimes complain about the pace partner bots being inconsistent, when they’re actually totally consistent. The issue is that total consistency isn’t the way people tend to cycle.

When we reach a hill we feel more resistance and tend to push harder. When we get to the top of a hill we feel less resistance, and tend to push less. Robots don’t - and the result is the same as if a human controlled their gearing perfectly to constantly put out exactly the same power.

You can do this yourself with practise, changing gearing so the resistance feels constant whatever the gradient, and your power output stays smooth. It’s a skill which takes practise, and practising this will improve your fitness.

You can also turn down “trainer difficulty” in the settings to 0, meaning you don’t feel hills at all, and so it’s much easier to maintain a constant power output.

For more on the subject read this page - especially the “CHANGE OF PACE” Heading:

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Hi Paul, Iv’e ridden with Dan many times and am very familiar with his pace up and down hills. My effort required yesterday was way harder than normal and my power and HR are proof. There is absolutely no way Dan was consistent.

When I first started joining the Pace Partners, whom I join frequently, I experienced something similar with Coco Cadence. I thought “she” was being inconsistent, and the results were clearly in my power and HR metrics too. However, when I stopped trying to stay out front (which makes keeping in the PP peloton a bit easier, I feel), and tapered my power changes to very tiny increments, everything settled back down such that my power metrics nearly always match that of the PP (2.5 in the case of the “C” cat. PP). This is not to say that there wasn’t necessarily something going on - on the Zwift side of things, (which may still be the case for you, too), but when I played the game of “how little power can I output and still stay with the PP”, the problem resolved itself in the way that @Paul_Rayner mentions above. Luck!

Hi again Michael,

Two things have changed recently which influence the pace partners, and I’m sorry I didn’t mention these in my earlier post.

  1. Zwift has recently changed the pack dynamics - they’ve changed the way we draft each other, to try and make cycling in packs more realistic. My first experience of this is that it felt a bit like I’m new to Zwift again - I’ve had to re-learn the subtleties of riding in a pack. Here’s a link to some more info on this:
    Zwift Tests "New AI" Pack Dynamics - Zwift Insider

  2. D. Diesel has recently started changing the routes he cycles on. If you were used to the old course, the new one may take some getting used to.

Could either or both of these be what you’re seeing?