Pace partners, and their pacing

The actual pace of the pace partner is a problem for me. I’ve had bad heart failure and D Deisel is like riding with an erratic mentalist. Fast enough on the flat, and then slows down to driving miss daisy speed on the hills (and I’m verging on dead myself). I overshoot them on the hill without barely turning a crank, and then he cranks back up to speed like a stabbed rat as soon as they crest.

Then the fact that there is no overlapping of difficulty is a let down. Moving up to C Cadence is just too fast for me at this point. To have some overlap between difficulty levels (so you would maybe have 6 different pace partners with some overlap of difficulty) would be a lot better.

Lower trainer difficulty setting to 25% or less. It won’t make things easier per se but you’d manage to keep DD pace evenly between flats, small hills and descents.

Wont that just make it too easy on that flat as well? He is at the right pace once up to speed for me, it’s just too on/off. needs smoothing to the changes in pace is all.

The trainer difficulty doesn’t do anything on the flat.

0% trainer difficulty = everything is flat
50% trainer difficulty = hills are half as steep
100% trainer difficulty = hills are correctly steep

The cycling pace partners maintain the same watts per kilogram come rain or shine, first kilometer or their 500th, or even incoming nuclear missiles or dinosaur killer asteroids. They could be going up the Alpe du Zwift in a hailstorm and they’d maintain their power output. They could be going down the Alpe du Zwift in a hailstorm and they’d maintain their power output.

And that’s the cause of some of your problems. I think that two of them (B and D) are modeled as heavier riders (like 80kg), and those guys slow considerably when going up the hills. Yes, they maintain the same W/kg, but they slow down more than a lighter rider would. And then, when going back down the hill, where a sane person would coast, the pace bots keep up the same power output. That’s why you feel like you’re chasing your pace partner on the downhills. I get this a little bit with the B pace partner as well.

Personally, the C bot is OK for an easy-ish ride for me, the B bot is fairly challenging - I can stay away on the Titan’s Grove climb with a V02max level effort - and I think the A bot would eviscerate me and maintain her usual bland expression. I can see that the gap in outputs between C and D is pretty big, if you are in that power range. So I would support adding a couple of pace bots, and I’ve upvoted the thread. I don’t run on Zwift, but I hear that runners feel like the running pace partners are too spread out in paces as well (plus it seems like those guys maintain the same speed come ■■■■ or high water, not just the same W/kg).


Have you actually used a pace partner? (or do you work for zwift?)

They very much definitely do not behave as you indicate. Firstly if my W/Kg is all over the place, so is theirs, not hard to test. Other people have shown graphs from their trainers showing the wild fluctuations in power in output required to meet pace.

I am 80 kilos. and the problem here is that they slow down so much a man who recently nearly died of heart failure (me) finds it ridiculously annoying.

And the changes in pace do not automatically reflect a change in gradient. If they behaved the way you suggest then changes in pace wouldn’t be a problem as when we hit a hill the pace partners reduction in pace would more closely mimic a normal rider and would gradually vary as the gradient increased.

The changes in pace are on/off and some are in odd places and seem like they have been crudely drawn into a set pace program that is the same on every lap. D deisel slows down half way down the hill to the italian village as if he is expecting to slow down when he hits the cobbles (so you overshoot them significantly going into the sprint) and then on the way out towards oceans drive he starts speeding up again going uphill.

I have since revised my views on this anyway, I think zwift team have actually put significant changes in pace into this to make pace partners somewhat similar to a spin session and probably made these more dramatic on D/Deisel to gear this towards those riders, however the difference is that they have overlooked the necesitty for an audio or visual indicator of changes to the pace.

It’s less noticable on C/Cadence but still you see a marked difference in power output as soon as the gradient hit’s 1%, however as the change in pace is more modest, most riders just let themselves overshoot her on the hill and then let her catch up on the flat. The whole pack is generally miles in front of her on the hills.

What would help with D/Deisel is some shout outs. I’m smashing it now! or something like that. Just so you know to start building up the speed because you cannot see behind you where they are and the change in pace.

Overwise, you’ve just gone way out front of his dawdling ass on the hill, and whilst scratching your crack waiting for them to catch up you can easily be dropped to the point where you have to start plowing in 4W/Kg or more for a fair amount of time to keep up. If you are trying to avoid over working yourself this gets pretty annoying pretty quick.

I dont think you understand the problem I am describing. I can beat his pace uphill using my pinky fingers as legs and then when he decides to start plowing past you at 2.5 W/Kg you have nothing to notify you that he has just gone to full power and is about to blast past you.

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I understand your problem fine, my comment was about someone’s suggestion to change trainer difficulty, which doesn’t do anything other than to reduce shifting.

Yes, but no. My comment about difficulty reduction is a common knowledge on Zwift that lower difficulty helps smoothing power output between flats, up- and downhills. Applicable for both races and PP. Yours is just missing the point.

It won’t make flats easier (define easier though). You’ll still have to output same watts to go the same speed/time. However, it will make it easier to match, as in to make smoother, PP pace up- or downhill. You won’t shoot up the hill or drag downhill due to the cycling natural behavior of putting more watts uphill and coasting downhill because hills are flatter now and closer to actual flats with even power distribution.

Eventually you’ll learn how to pace yourself regardless of the gradient/trainer difficulty but in the meantime, you’re welcome.

I can relate to the same issue. I’m a heavy rider (98kg), but o the hills I need to slow down to 100w otherwise I leave Dan Diesel in the dust. Just on the brow of the hill he speeds up like a maniac and you have to do 300w to catch up. Also on some of the downhill stretches (like just before the cobbles) he does at least 2.5w/kg.

I like the idea, but it would be better I think to just let him ride at 1.5w/kg steady, and don’t let him have any draft.

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What I find, is that with Zwift realism setting at 100% even on a flat ride with CC, my power jumps anywhere between below 100 and above 220 if I try to stay relatively close to her, which feels very annoying. So yesterday, closer to the end of the ride, I tried a different tactic - I kept around 160-170W (2.5 W/kg for me) steadily and going ever so slightly above that on the false flats of Tempus Fugit. And it worked great.
I hovered around the very head of the bunch, and when I was going a bit ahead, I was naturally slowed down by aerodynamics and reeled back in by the group.

  1. I was going at my ‘own’ pace with a very steady power output
  2. I was going with the speed of the group
  3. There were still people around, but of course not as many as right next to CC


  1. Most of the time I was way ahead of the drop bonus zone

To be honest, there is not much use for the drops, so I didn’t care about the con much if at all. :slight_smile:
I’m now tempted to try it with another pace partner on a hillier route - don’t see why it wouldn’t work. I’d just be more careful if the group is reeling your in on a descent to be prepared to add more power to match the group speed a bit faster.