Pacing back after dropped

Hello! Can anyone explain to me why once dropped from a group ride, it’s nearly impossible to pace yourself back? Sometimes I need to step off the bike for 30 seconds and it’s basically game over after that. IRL you’d be able to slowly reel a group back in by holding a slightly higher pace then the group until you catch. Thanks!

Hi @Kyle_D_Auria

Welcome to the forum.

Dropping off a pack IRL or on Zwift will take a huge effort to get back, with a 30 sec break I would say you would not get back on a moving peloton.

Peletons IRL and on Zwift are moving at race pace therefore a single rider won’t be able to overcome the group dynamics of the pack.

This is how you do it… watch KK get off the bike, lose the front, and then catch back on… amazing effort!

If you hold a higher pace, you’ll obviously catch back on. If your speed is higher than their speed, you’ll catch them. The problem is the effort it’s going to take a single rider to maintain a higher pace than the peloton.

IRL, catching back on is often easier in a non-race setting frankly because the group might slow up a bit for you :slight_smile: Won’t happen in Zwift, unless it’s a group of only people you know and you communicate with them.

Even pro riders need a caravan of cars to draft behind to catch the peloton after falling off the pace.


You’ve lost the draft of a big group and in Zwift this makes a huge difference.

If you look at Constance group on Tempus they can hit 44-48km/h in flat sections - on your own to do 48km/h you need enormous power.

IRL when I had mechanical I had to stop and wait for the car with the mechanic, I then was last so had to use all the support and team cars to draft back on to the pack, this lasted for a little while until a motorbike riding guy said no, then waved all the cars over… bah! :wink:

I had to ride at really high power.

I can’t speak to Zwift group rides but I suspect there’s a lot of variability from one group to the next regarding intensity.

In Zwift races, however, if the gap reaches 5 seconds it’s unlikely I’ll be able to close it. IRL, the same gap is easier to overcome. I’ve concluded that Zwift consists of stronger riders (worldwide) and the margin of error is less. Climbing races changes things a little.

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I you lose draft of just a single rider in front of you on a flat course, you will have to push 25 % more just to ride at the same pace. If you lose the draft of a larger group, you will have to push around 30 % more just to ride at the same pace as the group and even more to catch up again. For example, if the blob rides at 1.6 W/kg you need to push at least 2.1 W/kg just to ride at the same pace. If you want to catch up, you need to push even more than that. This makes catching up so difficult sometimes and sweepers in group rides so useful.

If double draft is enabled for the ride, then of course the problem increases.

Although with PD3 the group speed in artificially high, especially for large groups with the group as a whole travelling faster than the power of the front riders in the group . Hopefully PD4 will eventually fix this.

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drafting in Zwift is OP and groups move at crazy speeds, as you have noticed, once you get dropped it’s pretty much game over, so don’t get dropped is the aim of the game here :smiley:

(you can get back on by getting out the saddle and hammering it, but then you’ve burnt a match for later efforts that other riders haven’t - so keeping an eye on pack surges is really vital in zwift to make sure you don’t get dropped in the first place…!)

if you need to take a break every now and then, try riding with pace partners, because you can always just leave and rejoin the event and it will put you back in the group.

If the ride allows “Late Join” you can also exit the ride and re-join to get placed back in the group.
I believe there is a time limit on late join, so this only works during the first 30 minutes (I think) of the ride.
Hopefully someone can verify the time limit.

Yes Late join is limited to 30 minutes.

For reasons unknown. (Srsly they should allow event organizers to choose whatever limit they want.)

Thanks Scott, I didn’t know about the late join possibility. How can I tell if a group ride has late join as an option?

I’m new to zwifting, what are pace partners?

Glowing transparent robot riders who hold a (somewhat) steady pace and just keep riding–you can jump in with the pace partner, also called RoboPacers, and ride with a group of people at a reasonably reliable pace. If you stick near them, you also earn drops faster to buy new bikes and wheels.

You can find them listed on the Zwift home page after you login. They’re listed at different speeds and watts/kg so you can try to find one at the pace you want.


Thanks, that link is super helpful :+1:

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Depending on where you are finding the events, the description should say “allows late join”.
If you use Zwift Hacks Events, you can filter your search by late join.