Pace Partner Upgrades

I have been using the pace partners a lot so far, over the past 2 weeks I’ve incorporated them into my daily workouts almost on a daily basis. I think this is an amazing feature that I really hope is developed forward. By far the best feature released since supporting group rides and events.

Here are a few ways that I have seen to improve on the pace partners we have today.

  1. Have the Pace Partners available 24/7 every day, or at least all 4 every day with overlapping availability. I don’t see any reason to limit the availability and it’s nice being able to select the workout intensity.

  2. Pace Partners need a minimap icon. When we get peak zwift numbers I have a feeling these pace groups will be hugely popular and we need an indication of where the pace bot is.

  3. Make the Pace Partners joinable while already in a ride. If I’m just finishing a race, have something within the companion app so I can join Dan or Coco for a cool down.

  4. Increase the ride assist when first joining the Pace Partner. Current assist lasts for 3 seconds I believe, not enough time to locate the pace partner, adjust pace and ease in. 10-15 seconds of assist would be an improvement.

Again, great new feature and I really enjoy it. The pace groups make riding accessible, convenient and engaging. And if I ever get the stones to ride with Amelia it will also be challenging.

I think it will be helpful if the pace partners is added to our friend lists. that way it will be easy to see where they are riding, so after a race or workout you can see where the bot is and go ride with the bot.

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Me and Coco. I love us :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes:.

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Careful @Shawn_McAfee_DIRT, looks like a whole lotta dudes are after your girl!
:heart_eyes:

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Clearly this is the proper reason to launch support of elimination races.

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I just squared off a dual request for this very thing for CoCo. I am awaiting my challenger to except my request for a race off…

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Wanted to draw your attention that the Pace Partners will return in a few short hours. See the main thread for details.

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@Shuji_Sakai thank you for letting us know. I’m so happy to have my sweet Coco back.

#TogetherForever

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Credit where credit’s due: the Pace Partners are much better now with the addition of the Drops Game - big cohesive groups around each bot, nobody wants to be a flyer and lose their multiplier! :+1:

Just one request: could there be a set w/kg for each of them or change them to a set schedule? I ask because I’ve been itching to use them to organise unofficial group rides, where I don’t have to lead but can instigate a bit of social banter.

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Another thing that I think would be fantastic is the ability to warm up ahead of a pace partner, and have it catch you to jump on. For example, it’s impractical to jump straight onto Amelia at 4+w/kg without a warmup.

It would be fantastic to be able to set a distance/time in front of a Pace Partner to be loaded into to use as a warmup, having the Pace Partner slowly catch up over time. For me personally, the option to load in at 10-15 minutes in front of a pace partner, assuming my warmup averages around 2.5-2.8w/kg, would be perfect. The Pace Partner would slowly catch up to me while I warm up, and I’d then be able to draft behind once I’m warm. The timing may not work perfectly, but I think this is a great feature. I don’t want to have to go and warm up for 10 minutes, quit and reload Zwift to then be with a Pace Partner.

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Agree fully with you that jumping straight in to Amelia at 4+ without a warmup would be silly. (for mortals)

My original point #3 above “Make the Pace Partners joinable while already in a ride.”

Really just anything to do a “ride with” from in-game without having a full restart.

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I agree with your suggestions, and have a few of my own!

  • The mini-map icon should be supplemented with a clear map icon on the Companion App;

  • The “Stay With Pace Partner” animation should show a pace partner in FRONT of the rider’s icon when ahead, and BEHIND the rider’s icon when behind… not always in Front.

  • Improve (smooth) Pace Partner’s game physics so as to provide a more consistent experience.

Below are my power/cadence stochastics in my extended ride with Coco Cadence yesterday. After an initial 5k warm-up caused by my immediately flying off the front of the group, I was forced to vary my power through about 100 W in order to successfully stay with the Pace Partner through 3 full cycles of 2.0x multiplier dynamics. This requires some explanation - but will be immediately familiar to anyone who’s ridden with a Pace Partner (and has been echoed by even professional riders).

Below are my power and cadence stochastics on my most recent ascent of the Alpe in workout mode staying at a consistent power (except for a summit sprint):

Clearly these are VERY different riding experiences!

As to the “Stay with Pace Partner” animation, the below screen shot helps to understand. Note that I cannot tell WHERE the pace partner is in relation to my own position from the screen. In this case, I was in front of Coco. But the animation clearly indicates that Coco is forward of, ahead of, in FRONT of me. Were a rider to accelerate as the animation suggests, they would immediately find themselves ejected from group dynamic.

Note the “helpful” red dot on the mini-map? This would be useful if it were the Pace Partner. But it’s NOT! It’s a ride leader that joined the pace partner with a group of his own. The Companion App, confusingly, showed HIS position on the map, but NOT that of the Pace Partner…

Respectfully submitted,

@wesfree

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Defo plus to join whilst in a ride, and if the pedal assist could be user adjusted in settings, this would also allow you to set it to say 10 minutes, so you could warm up without having to fart about switching out of zwift and back on again for those users who want to warm up on the pace partner.

Hi Wes, where you’re talking about smoothing the pace partner, do you mean you find they jitter their pace wildly between flat and the hills? If so then yes plus 1+ on this

Sort of… When I first started cycling with the Pace Partners, I thought they were riding VERY erratically. In fact, I’ve seen lots of YouTube vids (a couple by professional cyclists) where their in-game experience was similar. Strangely, when I learned that the 'bots are each pushing precise, fixed power output(s) regardless of terrain, it boggled my mind. Even with extended experience riding with all but Anquetil, during which times I am able to stay with the partner through multiple evolutions of x2.0 multipliers without being dropped or running off the front (more common), I STILL find myself having to apply variations in power of about 80-100 W to do so. In discussing this phenomenon here and elsewhere, the explanation seems to be “game physics”. In other words, the Pace Partners are ALSO being affected by the behavior (and magnitude) of those around it. However, comparing rides with a pace partner to group rides where the same game physics (aero, drafting, terrain etc.) are at play, the experiences are quite different. So YES, some sort of “smoothing” seems to be in order, so that the riding experience with the 'bots is closer to other group ride sensations…

That said, I’ve adapted my own requirements to this phenomenon. I’ve actually found tremendous (unanticipated) physiological and adaptive benefits to riding with “COCO LOCO” (and the others) precisely BECAUSE I must randomly apply such large power output variations to keep together. The time flies by, and the skill requires quite careful alertness and concentration. There are benefits to the seemingly weird, random behavior of these 'bots that are completely unexpected from a cyclist ostensibly pushing a precisely fixed power output.

@wes_free

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To add a few points to what has been said/suggested above. Would be nice:

  • PP to actually change w/kg within set limits. For the last couple months, I always find them riding the same exact w/kg: CC 2.5 and BB 3.1. DD and AA are probably the same.
  • PP to change their routes. Riding Tempus at 2.5 every hour, every day is on the opposite side of the spectrum from exciting. Considering that BB rides the same Tempus section it’s even less so. Each PP has some terrain preference assigned (hills/flats/mix) but they ride at constant w/kg so why would it matter if it’s a flat or a climb when you do a fixed 2.5 w/kg? Same cadence, same gear. Both CC and BB can easily do Volcano, Mountain, or even Alpe at their “pace”.
  • Power jitter is quite annoying. I often find myself doing 3+ w/kg just to stay in CC group. There are a few flat areas where CC always gets ahead of the whole group (and you see power numbers jump for all riders around you as they are trying to keep up) but there are similar areas where CC drops to the very end for no good reason.

Part of the answer to your question (as you know from your erratic power swings during these rides) is in your own comment! Even though the PP is ostensibly pushing the same power at all times, the terrain mixed together with game physics (including the number and skill levels of the riders in the PP peloton) actually produce substantially differing results. So while the power may be the same, these dynamics make a huge apparent difference in the ride feel (and speeds). I’m the same as you, even after hundreds of practice km with the PP: for example, when with CC, it’s not uncommon for me to have to frequently run through 100 watts in order to NOT run ahead or be dropped from the PP pacing band.