That’s hardly cheating, especially in these days of most races using Category Enforcement to decide pen allocation (which use any single effort over 2mins), rather than the old Zwiftpower average of best three 95% of 20mins efforts in the last 90 days.
Sub 20min races are great for Z5+ workouts, that could be used outdoors to chase personal best times up smaller cat 3/4 hills.
Steve I don’t disagree short efforts are good training. I enjoy the short races myself.
I am highlighting riders who only enter these races and have a low category C/D but no 20min numbers. Category enforcement may help but the rider rankings are still based on the zwiftpower categories which use 20min nothing else.
My preferred solution would be the ranking and category system is overhauled to design out this loophole.
Category enforced races are still the minority and don’t stop the issues I am referring to.
There is a group of riders who operate in a way that is outside of the spirit of how zwift categories were intended. Not having up to date 20 min power is unnecessary and creates questions over whether the rider is in the correct race.
Zwift has drifted towards races of less than 10km recently and so we are seeing this more and more.
The sub 20 min race is a thing that has never existed in bike racing before–at least I’ve never seen an IRL sub 20 race. So it’s a new category of racing. Should people not be allowed to decide that they enjoy and want to focus on these super short races? Usain Bolt has never run a single continuous mile in his life–and that’s not unusual because the sprint in running is an accepted stand-alone category for people to get good at.
Apparently, the sub 20 virtual bike race is now something similar.
I agree that there may be some people doing this against the spirit of whatever, but there may also be people who have simply decided that they love that racing.
A better analogy for running might be the shorter middle distance races like the 800m which is very much a specialty and most 800m specialists don;t do longer 5000m or 10000m races (although they might do longer cross country races in the winter).
I’m not against the concept of different categories of racing. What I do have a problem with is when the system is set up for 20min+ and riders who are clearly avoiding that length of race to protect / sandbag their category.
Maybe the best solution would be a rethink of categories but that feels miles off. Until then we need more honesty in the community and call out the category cheats.
The issue is the system based on a single-point climbing metric, which is plainly a ludicrous way to categorise people except in pure climbing races. Most people seem to agree that a results-based system would be better. It’s being Zworked on.
In general the number of people on ZP that have a true, up to date 20 min power will be very low. It’s basically only going to be the people who did a recent 20 min TT effort, or people who did the 20min FTP test recently. For most people the 20min power is simply not accurate anyhow, so just because someone does a 40-50 min race there really is no way to know how far off their 20min time is from what they could do on a 20 min TT.
So, in this regard CE is better. While there are many issues on the boundaries it does stop someone from completely avoiding a massive category imbalance and only takes one effort to upgrade someone. Lots of issues with it though, but it boggles my mind that ZP landed on 20min power as the thing to use given the power demands of most races don’t require anywhere close to a 20min best effort.
Edit: I forgot that the 20 min FTP test won’t even help with ZP because it’s not an event. So it’s basically only people who’ve done a 20min TT recently that would have an updated 20 min power in ZP that is close to max power.
Edit 2: Forgot it’s average of 3. So only people who have an updated 20 min time are folks who recently did 3 20 min TTs. I do feel a bit bad for folks who like to mix in weekly TTs into their racing and end up bottom of the next ZP cat because of it.
My IRL races are 30-45 seconds, depending on the track. I don’t know why you think Zwift has to mimic road racing. Very few people participate in road bike racing. I certainly have no interest in it. The risk seems significantly higher than my BMX racing and just not worth it.
I don’t know why you think I said Zwift has to mimic road racing.
My claim above is simple: a sub 20 min road race has not been a standard race format before. That’s it. Given that racing on Zwift does not allow for many track racing tactics, but does have drafting, sub 20 TTs and IRL track races are not the same category of race.
So my argument above is this:
sub 20 road races have not been a standard bike race format.
sub 20 min running races are standard.
because 2, no one bats an eye if you point to a runner who only competes in very short races.
but OP was indicating that there is something suspicious with people who only race sub 20 on Zwift.
people would not be suspicious of that if 1 was not true.
given this new format of road bike racing, people should not be suspicious of people who only race sub 20 races.
That TTs and track races exist–different kind of racing that what OP is talking about–doesn’t matter for what I’m saying. Neither am I saying anything about what racing on Zwift should be or should not be.