First off, you guys are awesome. Especially with what you have done with the Events module. I will admit that the races are about the only reason why I come back to Zwift anymore … but they are a great great reason!
I have done my fair share of racing on Zwift and beyond. And while racing solo is fun, nothing beats racing in a team. The social aspect is more motivating for the rider, team tactics can drastically change a race (and are more interesting in my opinion), and shared victory is sweeter and shared defeat a little less … well defeating when you ride as a member of a team as opposed to riding solo.
And I want to acknowledge that there are several teams out there already to join.
But, if most Zwifters are like me, we simply do not have the time or energy to seek out a team to join. For most of us, it is all we can do to get down to the basement and join an event in time.
In know it is a long shot, but what if some events where “team” events that let you “join” a team right there on the start line before the race started? And I think a bunch of it could be automated. Here is how I “imagine” it would work…
- A player would join a team event. When joining they could select their category (ABCD) as usual.
2) Maybe a minute or two before the race starts, the riders would be somewhat randomly* placed into teams of 3-5 riders depending on how big the field is.
- I think teams should be as equal in number as possible
- I think that each team should be given a designated leader. How? Look at the number of riders in the race and determine how many teams there are going to be. Then take the riders with the highest FTPs or W/kg** and make them the leader. Then randomly fill in with the rest.
- If you don’t join the event with at least 2 minutes to go, you can still race, but you are a solo rider.
Have “simplified” race jerseys for the teams (blue team, red team, ect…) with “1’s” or something to determine the leader of each time.
While waiting in the warm-up section, you might be able to be given a “profile” of your teammates and there might even be a “team-chat” where you discuss tactics for a minute or two before the race.
* Maybe for riders who wish to ride on"established" teams (ex. KISS or a local group team), you could select you are part of that team in your profile. If there are other members of that team present in your race, then the “team selection algorithm” would automatically put you in a team with folks you know.
** I think that FTP or W/kg should not be the only factor. I also think # of recent activities should be considered as well. (ex. 5 riders with the highest FTP who have actually ridden at least 10 races in the last 12 months or something like that).
Example: I log in to Zwift and choose to race with other B’s at ZTR race. Its 10 minutes till the race starts, so I ride around Zwift for a while. About 2 minutes until the start, I get a message that I have been put on the Blue team with three other riders. There are 31 other “B” riders in this race, so there are 8 teams total (7 with four and 1 with three[although you could randomize this more if you want]) I see that our leader (Tim OKAY) has an FTP of 280 and he averages (when he is racing) 3.89 W/kg. Tim chats with us and says he is sort of a climber and that this course is pretty flat. He wants to get into the early break.
Long story short, we (the Blue team)help Tim get into the break and then stay towards the back. (there could be an algorithm that made it so that our avatars try to be near each other all the time). Unfortunately, the break is caught and Tim is pooped. We decide then to break up the race a bit and try to get two guys into the broken up group. It doesn’t exactly go as planned as we actually get three of us in the lead group. Now, the others expect us to do most of the pulling. We do, but one of us stays back a bit. At the final push for the line, we work together, and Bob (the one who didn’t work) gets to sprint for the line. We get second.