I started Zwift this winter. I had roughly a 1.5 W/KG at that time and doing 10KM was way enough. I would feel dizzy after a ride because I pushed myself too hard. For a few months, I avoided the races as I felt I had no place in them. Indeed the D category was 1.0 to 2.5 W/KG. I always like a friendly competition and it’s that competitive aspect that has drawn me to Zwift so it was a bit of a disappointment to realize that I didn’t fit anywhere in the categories. Even the lowest category was way too good for my level and then the race length were too long or had too much elevation for what I could manage.
Suggestion: Make a category for beginners with a lower threshold than 2.5 W/KG and adapt the races to make them shorter for beginners.
Still, I continue to ride with the idea in my mind that one day I would be able to enter a race without feeling out of place. I gradually improved and at some point I decided that I would try a race even if I had no chance at all. I told myself that D was the lowest category so it must be full of beginners like me. Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad. I was getting close to 2 W/KG at that time when I pushed myself. I joined a race and, while it was fun to race, the situation was worst than I thought it could possibly be. While I expected that the races would be full of beginners like me, half the riders were sporting their fancy Tron bike. To this day, I still can’t understand how you can have a Tron bike and still be in the D category… but moving on. Clearly, my opponents were not beginners. At least, I thought that their power would be at most 2.5 W/KG since it was the D category. To my surprise, the winner ended with more than 3 W/KG if I remember correctly and half the group was above 2 W/KG. Of course, I ended in the bottom of the ranking.
Suggestion: Restrict the bikes that can be used in the beginner category. It’s demoralizing to compete against Tron bikes when it’s impossible for a beginner to get a good bike. And, fix the categories enforcement because it’s clearly not working.
I kept riding and improving. I raced from time to time and I was glad to noticed that I sometimes managed to finish in the top half of the racers. Still, I never came close to winning a race. This bring us to today… To my surprise, I was bumped to the C category. I did improve but to my knowledge, I was nowhere near the level required to race in C. Still, I tried a race. I gave everything I could and managed to do 2.2 W/KG, obviously finishing at the bottom of the ranking. At the end, I looked at the race results and the D category was still full of riders above 2.5 W/KG with some at 3 W/KG. If they can be in D category, why am I forced to be in C category? It doesn’t make sense.
Question: How can I get a good and enjoyable racing experience in Zwift?
So far, I don’t know. A racing system where you get bumped into a higher category based on your race results would probably work better than the current system that is exclusively based on power. For example, if you win a race in D category than you are bumped into C category automatically.