Race help

So I have been zwifting for a while now and ride the crit races pretty well. All other races are crap. It feels like I have to put out more W/kg to stay in the pack…I’ll be 3.8/4 and it seems most are low 3s. if I come off the power I drift to the back.

Any long hill over 4 percent I get blown away even if hitting the pedals hard.

Tarmac sl3
Dswiss wheels

Kickr snap

Difficulty is 30 percent(ish).

Any help on bikes/wheels/settings etc…would be amazing.

Your weight is on the lighter side, right?

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I looked at the power figures of your last 4 crits and your 20min w/kg avg (which fairly well covers the entirety of the event’s durations) is on par with those you finished with. As Steve suggested, you are lighter than most people you race with so I’m not seeing anything abnormal.

Any gains to be made/lost through bike/kit changes will be immaterial for short races imo.

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Thanks for the input.

What I don’t understand is the race today(5 30 sprint race) was well within my limits to be at the front(until sprint). But as soon as we hit a decent hill I go backwards. This along with being in the lead group who all seem to be cruising along at low 3/kg…where as I’m high 3s. Looking at the results most are sub 4 w/kg for the race which I can do.

Weight is 68kg.

On the flat road you will have higher w/kg because gravity doesn’t play a big roll.

Even on small 4% climbs does gravity not have big impact.

W/kg is not a good metric for anything under 5% or 6%.

It looks like you focus on the short flat races and that may give you a higher race category. It also don’t train you for the longer climbing races.

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The race today was 23k…about 8k longer than the crit races I do - and ride pretty well. I just don’t understand why I can’t keep up, even though pushing higher W/kg in the sightly longer race than most. I have done a few TT around 25 mins and held about 4.4.

Something just doesn’t seem right. As I say today I had to push around 4 w/kg to keep mid pack while others are low 3. If I come off the pace I’m at the back.

Are you often “in the wind” or do you settle into the middle or back of the pack you’re in?

I try to settle in but always find myself putting out more w/kg that riders around me. I then start drifting back especially going around corners. It’s just really odd I can easily keep up in crit races, everything else I’m rubbish.

What’s the general setting for trainer difficulty? maybe I could tinker with that.

As I said don’t compare w/kg on a flat road. look at watts.

see below 2 riders riding together for over 2 hours on tempus fugit (super flat) in a big bunch. The heavy rider did 2.9w/kg but 270w the light rider did 3.2w/kg but only 200w.

results in w/kg

Results in watt (w)

The default is 50% but people race with different settings. The E-racing rules state minimum of 50%

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Thanks for that…makes sense. I always thought the higher W/kg the faster the rider.

I get the absolute (w) versus relative (wkg), but the crits are flat and he’s keeping up there, so why is he dropping on climbs? My assumption is that at low% climbs the draft reduces enough whilst the weight disadvantage for heavy guys doesn’t yet kick in but I’d be interested to know. I’m similar and experience similar issues in Zwift. My last race I won a Cat A crit at 66kg. In real life I’m a great climber, like really good (on a local IRL hill I’m one second off Tejvan Pettinger’s KOM that he set the year he won the British hill climb champs - I know that’s boasting but it’s important context). But in Zwift I too don’t compete well in hilly races. I struggle with those physics.

As I said before even on a 4% climb gravity does not have a huge effect. So stronger riders will still go faster.

Also remember the Crit races has the anti sandbagging control so racers tend to better sandbag i those and keep the power just under the limit. On other races they will go all out on the climbs knowing there is no limit.

Not in Cat A… (admittedly the tactics are sharper in Cat A, but not sandbagging per se)

I can hang in there on the flat- work hard to do so. But when a decent size hill comes it’s goodnight. Even if I’m pushing higher w/kg and being 68kg pretty light - riders just steam past.

The crit race does have a decent short sharp hill per lap which I manage ok.

I dunno what “SL3” is but anything “Tarmac” is crap for flat races i.e. Crit City
see here: Zwift Speed Tests: Frame Ranking Charts - Zwift Insider and pick the fastest one you can unlock

Also if you don’t have Tron bike unlocked, start working on that, as it’s mega OP in any non-pure climbing races.

There are several DT Swiss wheels, ARC 62 are ok but not the best for pure flat courses. Zipp 808 are very cheap good wheels for flat courses, and there are many others that are even better if you have the levels/drops to unlock: Zwift Speed Tests: Wheel Ranking Charts - Zwift Insider

Every single Zwift racer knows it is most efficient to attack on hills, so most riders will be chilling on flats and nailing it above threshold on climbs. If you are already on the limit on the flats, ur gna have a bad time.

68kg is not what I would consider “lightweight” - it’s fairly normal. However there are a lot of 80-90kg riders in flat races that will destroy you at the same w/kg, and if they hold the cat limit, if you over-take them you are likely to get DQ’d anyway. (see here: Speed Tests: Steady w/kg Across Various Body Weights - Zwift Insider )

Want to get better in races?

  1. Unlock some better frames/wheels (ideally Tron)
  2. Work on your 15sec / 1min power and repeated efforts
  3. Spend more time drafting in the middle of a large pack, less time off the back/front
  4. Learn how to use powerups correctly
  5. Ride to your strengths - if you’re not a sprinter, don’t wait til the final 250m to make a move. If you don’t know your strengths or don’t work on your weaknesses, then don’t expect to win any races if you don’t have a plan for how you are going to win…!

Hi Ben

What would you recommend for Crit races and flatish races with some small climbs.

Currently have Tarmac SL7 and DT Swiss Arc 1100 wheels.

ideally you want to be on the Tron bike.
if you haven’t unlocked it - start working on that, as it takes quite a while.

failing that, Canyon Aeroad 2021 + Zipp 808 (flat/crit) or ur current DT Swiss wheels (flat+hills) are a good budget setup (but prepare to get smoked by Tron riders :smiley: )

SL7 is pretty weak on anything that is not climbing and is also currently bugged and slightly heavier than it should be (unless they fixed it but I didn’t hear it yet).

Cheers…changed to the Canyon and thought it was rubbish during my last race. Then realised trainer difficulty reset to 100 percent - what a difference that makes.