Racing as a C cat rider

(Vince Kim🤖 [WKG]) #1

I’m a C rider and like to race sometimes. Most races are mass starts with all the cats (A B C D) all starting together. One thing that this causes is lower cat riders (like myself) trying hard to hang onto the wheels of much stronger riders (like A and B riders). But more often than not I end up blowing up and totally throwing away the race. Most times I see other C riders in the front group and so I feel like I have to go with them.
My question is (to C riders especially) how often do you make the front group with the A B riders and not blow up. I wonder if this is a good tactic.
Thanks all for any replies.
Race on!

Zwift newbie help
(Greg H) #2

You have to race at your endurance level so you can finish strong. I like to think of it this way. If I go full gas at the start to stay with stronger riders, or to stay up front I’ll bonk. Or worse, I’ll have nothing left in the tank with a quarter of the race left and then get passed by riders I know I can beat. …in Crit racing I learned to watch the riders that finish in the top 10. Watch how winners ride their race.

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(Anton Kovalnogov(B)) #3

Tactic depends on a race distance and height profile. Basically you should get to know your heart rate zones. E.g i can hold ~160bpm for one hour, but without attacks and strong finish. Then i can choose the group of riders with appropriate speed.

(Lin) #4

Treat it like a real life practice crit. Go hard from the get go. Even if you know you’re over your limit, hang on until you blow. Then you either drop back to another group of riders or you recover and rejoin the main group when it comes around again if it’s a small loop.

Look at the rider list which shows A, B, C, D. If you’re a C, look for a group of C riders or if feeling ambitious look for a group of B riders to go with.

The beauty of Zwift is there are lots of races. Everyday at most hours there is something going on. This affords you the opportunity to try things, blow up, learn, and try again. You’re not ‘throwing away’ anything.

Aside from fitness and/or power, learning to race is another thing. I’m talking about relaxing, drafting, being efficient and saving energy, knowing key points of the course, learning to recover at threshold, etc… Know that you’re going to suffer. Embrace it.

Don’t look at numbers while racing. Why? They can become self-limiting. You’ll find yourself pushing beyond what you thought was your limit before you know it! You’re either on that wheel in front of you, with the group, or off the back regardless of what the numbers say. Look at the numbers afterwards.

(Danny) #5

Im usually always near the head of a C race.
As others have said, you go hard to start with. as soon as those gaps open at the start, you will not close them, unless you do some huge effort (resulting in a blowup)… once away, you focus on following and riding as smart as you can.
Having said that, ive ridden off a couple of times and let the front go, only to get a good working group and we catch a few of the front runners along the way.
Contrary to what Lin said, Im always watching the numbers, mine and everyone elses.
Knowing the course is a BIG thing. you can always go into the red, if you know theres an easy bit coming, or knowing how people are going to ride sections - ie going hard on every climb is going to happen. normally it will ease after, but last laps etc, its going to be pain the whole way.

The thing about all those C’s and D’s riding up front/leading with the A-B group, (especially the D’s) … a lot of them are not on correctly reading equip (or) they are cheating with weight (or) riding ZP or some crappy wheel-on trainer with a massive advantage (or) they are not legit C’s/D’s. Its massively frustrating to see a good working group get caught by a D grader who is pulling a group up, and a whole lot of those C’s you worked hard to drop in the first part of the race.

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(i van) #6

You’re better off trying to stick with the other rides in your category. IMO it’s better to save your energy for the sprint at the end versus other riders in C rather than trying to stick with the A’s and B’s and blowing up early in the race. If there is another C rider holding on with the A’s the entire time… let them go. They are most likely in the wrong category and will get DQ’d on Zwiftpower anyway for joining the wrong cat.

(Sven) #7

Continuing the discussion from Racing as a C cat rider:
Hi, as one of the wanderers betreten C and B due to seasonal weight issues :wink: I am I can only agree to what the others recommend. – dont try to stay with the big animals - ya will blow and get handed through in the latter phase of the race… not a very nice feeling. For me it proved a very good strategy to stay with the SECOND group. I try to stick with the front ant the very beginning and as they break away a group that fits my range automatically forms as the poursuivants Normally a lot of the C guys that are able to follow the lead group will be disqualified later on cause of w/kg exceed.
One more thing. Choose ya races wisely according to your strenghts if ya are looking for medals :wink: For me as a relatively „heavy“ rider flat and short to medium long races are most promising if I am after the winning podium. But tbh the sweetest victories are against ya direct peers - no matter if ya are sprinting for 1st, 2nd or 18th place… :slight_smile:
In this sense: Enjoy and race on!

(Vince Kim🤖 [WKG]) #8

Here’s a quick update. I raced yesterday. It was a staggered race so I started with only the C riders. It was a MUCH easier start and race through much of the race. I only attacked at the last climb with about 5 miles to go. Too bad I got counter attacked and dropped. I finished 4th, but took podium as one rider must’ve gotten dq’d or was using zpower.
Thanks all for the feedback!

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(Alexander Perdon (CTWT)) #9

In my opinion races on Zwift mainly do depend on the raw wattage you are able to produce for a certain period. The whole category system does not really apply for most races on Zwift.

Just an example. My FTP is 220 and my current weight is 62. During the summer it was 59kg. However if (IF) I would change it to 55kg (a weight possible to reach), I still have no chance in all categories, even not in D.

To be able to compete in races you must be at least around 300 watt @ FTP and be able to hit 400 watt for one minute after the start.

For races, don’t look at watt/kg just look at wattage.

(Anton Kovalnogov(B)) #10

Weird. My ftp is 265w, 73 kg. Able to race in B, not for the podium, but definitely not for the last place in category