Prevent use of ERG mode in races

It appears that some Zwifters set their trainers to ERG mode while competing in a Zwift race. Their power stays locked at one level (e.g. 4.5 watts/kg) for most or all of the race, regardless of pack position (i.e., drafting or not), incline, etc. I assume they do this by de-selecting their trainer in the “Controllable Trainer” window of the pairing screen and then running ERG from another app, such as the Wahoo Fitness app. Or, perhaps they custom-make a structured workout and then, at the start of the race, they start that workout using ERG mode.

Regardless, unless everybody is in ERG mode (which would make for very boring races), it is not fair to be using it, so it seems that race organizers should be given the option to prevent use of ERG mode in their races.

I’ve seen no evidence of this. What’s more likely is some users don’t have their smart trainer selected as a controllable trainer or they have the difficulty set to 0%. That way their trainer essentially becomes a dumb trainer and they change resistance by changing gear.

In a race you’re best to stay in the bunch with the objective of staying with them (as you’ll move quicker) and conserving yourself unless you’re really strong and can ride off the front. Riding in ERG mode would only make some sense if you were doing a TT event on TT bikes with no drafting.

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Niger Doyle, if what you are saying in your first paragraph is true, why would their power stay locked at a single level for an entire race? It’s hard to imagine that gearing changes mid-race could be so precise as to maintain a single power output for the entire race. But, maybe that’s how it works?

Regarding your second paragraph, my point is not whether riding in ERG mode is a good idea or not. My point is that it is not fair and that organizers should therefore be given the option to prevent it. For sure, an ERG setting too low will not help in a race. But an ERG setting at, say, FTP would remove all of the power changes that disproportionally contribute to fatigue and, more importantly, eliminate the potentially exhausting mental component of races. In other words, if you know your FTP you know that you can hold that ERG setting for an hour (roughly).

Have you asked the people who’s power is constant what they’re doing? At the end of the day they still have to put the power out. If you feel so strongly complain to the race organiser.

I can’t hold my FTP for an hour by the way and it’s usually accepted that you can’t. It’s more a measure that gives you an amount to use as a base for training against.

No, I haven’t asked them. That’s a good idea, and I will consider it next time. You are right that at the end of the day they DO still have to put the power out, regardless of ERG mode or not. Nonetheless, I have finished numerous races over which my average power was well below my FTP, even for races that are much shorter than an hour. If instead I had simply ridden those races in ERG mode set at my FTP (or even 75% of my FTP), I would have done better than I did.

How would Zwift know that you are using a 3rd party app to control their smart trainer using Erg mode as Zwift will only see the paired power meter (or smart trainer linked as a power meter).