First question, was double draft enabled for the Tiny Races?
Onto my thoughts
Cat B - Tiny Races
Race 1 - Seaside Sprint finishing in the volcano
Started fast and stayed that way. You needed to be doing 4w/kg to stay with the group.
Race 2 - Road to Sky finish at the base of the climb
I chose the gravel bike and knew I had to push the start to avoid getting dropped and then I could use the gravel to my advantage. Coming over the hill at the start I was in the top 10 and all was going according to plan. Then someone blasted past and before I knew it 100 people had passed me and I couldn’t catch the draft. It was at this point that I thought something is off with PD4. I gave up and just rolled in the rest of the race.
Race 3 - The 6 Train rev
Right from the start people were slowly getting dropped out the back. Much like the first race this was just a relentless full gas effort to try to stay with the lead group.
Race 4 - London Classique Reverse
A slow start had people wondering if PD4 was active. We trundled along the river side doing 3w/kg until the rise. Full gas up the rise kept me with the leaders over the top. The pack splits up on this rise but usually comes back together on the downhill but with PD4 this didn’t happen. Still, I was struggling to stay with the leaders and got dropped as we turned onto Constitution Hill.
Then something really funny happened.
I dropped down to 3w/kg expecting to crawl to the finish while the riders rode off into the distance. Just like they always do. But a few seconds later I could still see the leaders and I was actually gaining. A quick sprint and I was back in the lead group. After the U-turn I got dropped for the final time.
There is something really weird with the pack drafting in PD4. It feels like, if you have lower w/kg than those around you that you get pushed to the back of the pack and you seem to lose any draft (like what happened in Race 2 to me). Too many times I was at the back pushing over 4w/kg and still dropped off the back.
The funny thing that happened at the end of race 4 was very bizarre. To get dropped, reduce the w/kg and then start gaining on the lead pack was very weird. It’s almost like when I was riding in the pack there is actually a greater amount of drag applied than if I was riding solo.
I get the feeling that PD4 is increasing the aero drag if you are in a pack and you are not pushing more w/kg than everyone else. This led to packs where everyone is pushing high w/kg just to avoid getting pushed out the back.
If this is the future of Zwift racing then I can’t see myself being a part of it. If you are in the bottom half of a category then you need to rely on the pack draft to stay with the leaders. PD4 seems to punish those people who trying to hang on at the back of the pack because they don’t have the w/kg to ride at the front.