Racing mockery

Why do people who are in groups A, B or C want to race in group D? What does it prove?

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Challenge them and they throw a right wobbly! It will go on and on until zwift auto select categories for race entrants

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I completely agree- it is sad that these clowns would rather make themselves feel superior against true beginners rather than get better against appropriate competition. It ruins cycle racing in the real world and will eventually hurt Zwift as well.
Racers: if you lap half the D group twice in an 8 lap race- you need to take a hard look in the mirror

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@J_Bertag, why should they take a hard look in the mirror? They aren’t breaking any rules. They are doing nothing wrong. If you’re frustrated, don’t hate the player, hate the game. The game (the rules) created him.

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They may not be breaking any rules as you put it, but is it in the spirit of the race? I just hope those who are in A B or C feel proud and have a high sense of achievement at being able to beat those in group D. As for me unless Zwift address this issue I’ll not bother with the races, or maybe not bother with Zwift anymore, which is a great shame, there are many other sim providers after all.

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@Alan_Floyd, if Zwift says it’s in the spirit of the race, it’s in the spirit of the race. They are not unaware of the problems but this is the way they want it. It’s what you’re paying for.

Let me quote the ZwiftPower Update Sep 2020 (you’ll find it here in the subforum):

What’s not changing anytime soon

This is where we stand. Nothing on the horizon. Oh, except new hardware you might have to buy into later on if you want to keep getting cheated on in races.

Don’t hate the player. He is the symptom and not the disease. We have ways of cheating in Zwift that don’t exist in any other sport. But isn’t it all too convenient, although perhaps not all too bright, when your subscribers are bickering among themselves instead of voicing the actual problem, which lies with you?

There is only one way to stop the cheating in Zwift, but it’s ridiculously easy:

1. Enforce categories

2. Remove the performance ceiling in races and stop punishing racers for being "too good"

3. Base categories on past results, not past Watts

That’s the insta-death of sandbagging and cruising. You don’t go after individuals. You go after the system, and through the system you make it impossible for these individuals to do what they have been doing, and you give them an incentive to do something else instead. Like put on an effort and race fair, since there is no other option afterwards.

Every other sport already implemented the above three simple principles a long time ago. But Zwift resists. They don’t want to, or they would have done so already. It’s not exactly rocket science. But hey, they gave you steering instead!

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First rule of Zwift racing: there are no rules.

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They literally are breaking the guidelines for racing. When they click on their category entry, where it clearly states what their category should be… they make the decision to enter a race that is below their ability.

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A guideline is just that. A guideline. It isn’t even clear who the guideline is for. Is it really for the others, whose race gets destroyed for your entering from a higher category? Or is it just for you, the individual racer, like “here’s a category that could be suitable for you given what little we know about you, join it if you like”?

People need to understand that the problem isn’t with the ones entering “the wrong” category. The problem is that you can. That there is no rule, just a guideline and then a whole lot of strong subscriber opinions.

And the worst part of all is that you have two disparate rule sets. First we have Zwift saying “here are some categories, do whatever you like with them, enter whatever cat is the flavor of your day” and then there’s ZwiftPower - which is actually Zwift nowadays to make things worse - saying “uh-uh, Zwift may have said that what you did was fine, but it’s not in our book, so now we are going to DQ you after the fact”. It’s like having two umpires in a ball game saying two different things and two rulebooks too. It’s just such an incredibly stupid solution.

In the Minterviews in the Zwift Podcast you can kinda hear Eric Min’s hesitation to impose too many restrictions on subscribers and what they are allowed to do. And on paper it’s a nice thought, I really do think so. But in racing you end up in situations where different subscriber needs and wants end up in conflict. And then you have to make a choice as a service provider.

I don’t like Zwift’s implicit and very passive “umm… let 'em duke it out among themselves” solution. That is the problem, not that different subscribers with different tastes make different choices since you let them. Why wouldn’t they?

“You ordered chocolate icecream! You actually had the nerve to order chocolate icecream! (Which we served you…) BUT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO ORDER VANILLA! NOW GET OUT!”

The other day I was in this weird race, where I cheated BTW since Zwift still lets me. And literally 90% of the ZP registered participants in the cat I joined had joined from a higher cat. So you could say in this particular race Min is actually making a sensible choice, albeit in a short-sighted way. 90% want to “cheat”, 10% don’t. You have to choose. Which customers do you satisfy and at which customers’ expense? Well, of course you go with the majority. I would. You have shareholders to worry about.

But this situation is unusual and happened because of completely different flaws in the rule set, which are not the topic for discussion here. Normally the sandbaggers are in minority. They are always there though. I haven’t participated in one single race this year where there weren’t sandbaggers, even ZP registered sandbaggers. E.g. in my next race there were only roughly 30% ZP registered sandbaggers. And 30% is more of a normal figure. You have to expect something like that whenever you sign up to a race in the “right” category. So there Zwift actually allows the preferences of 30% to make the race less enjoyable for the remaining 70%.

Why??

I cannot for my life understand that choice. It’s crap customer experience management. How is it even profitable from a crass financial viewpoint? Is it really?

Just enforce categories and suddenly all these evil, despicable sandbaggers disappear. Poof! Like magic! It’s so easy. It’s that easy. The solution isn’t subscriber moral standards, it’s simple programming. And exactly who would complain afterwards? Customer Service gets clogged by a bazillion angry subscribers going “WTF I can’t sandbag anymore! Imma cancel my subscription!”? Likely scenario? Come on, Zwift…

Treat the disease, not the symptom. And the ZP culture is 100% about symptom management, nothing more.

I was so dumb. They really had me fooled. When Zwift announced the ZP takeover I applauded it. It made so much sense. You can’t have two conflicting rule sets, one lax on the inside and then one more strict on the outside with no actual authority to enforce the rules. And ZP also made rules that Zwift may never actually have intended or fully agreed on. It just happened, over time. And it happened using W/kg categories for something they aren’t fit for and should never have been used for (race categories). So I expected Zwift to shut the whole damn site down and finally take responsibility and charge over racing. But now ZP is supposed to remain as is for the foreseeable future, to quote the community management? What are they smoking?

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People need to understand that the cause of the problem is people CHOOSING to enter lower categories and that the solution is enforcing category entry.

It is very clear who the guideline I’d for… Everybody. I understand it, people being challenged understand it (they always have an excuse).

The problem lies completely with people cheating and entering lower categories… Zwift can solve the problem of the utter contemptible selfishness of category cheats by enforcing category entry.

The key here is that, without the cheating, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

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NO. I completely disagree.

If Zwift had foreseen that racing would become a big thing, or if Zwift had at least taken the time to sit down and talk racing through at some point over the last X years, then there would have been no cheaters to begin with.

There’s this saying or quote. Sometimes Kennedy is credited but it’s actually from one of those old modernist sociologists, I don’t remember exactly who. But it goes something like this:

Any society gets the criminals it deserves.

And this is so true, especially when it comes to Zwift. As opposed to society, where you can’t actually prevent crimes, Zwift could have created a rule set that subscribers are forced to follow (because that’s how the Zwift app works), one that didn’t put subscribers into so much conflict with each other.

If they had enforced categories right from the start, there would never have been any sandbaggers. They couldn’t exist and we wouldn’t even have made use of the term.

If they had created a results based categorization, like in any other sport, we would never have had cruisers, light riders would never have been disadvantaged, there wouldn’t be a problem with races of varying length etc etc.

You reap what you sow.

It’s just that it is the subscribers who have to reap what Zwift sows. And isn’t it just all too convenient for Zwift and their rotten seeds that the subscribers blame each other for the bad crop? Now they won’t have to do anything. Not until the subscribers start to hunt down the system instead of the criminals will there be any change because until then Zwift has no real incentive to make any changes (they should have but they don’t see it, they need it in the face apparently).

You know what I think is the dumbest thing Zwift ever invented? The Beta Crit Races. They organize races without category enforcement. Then they add different mechanisms to them to spot and punish riders who are in the “wrong” category. It’s stupid. It’s sadistic. And the mechanisms don’t even work! I have cheated successfully in them myself.

So if it’s too scary to just do the right thing and start enforcing categories across the board, how about scrapping the Beta Crits and start experimenting with a new beta version race type instead? It’s total crap to use W/kg bands as basis for categories but you have to start somewhere. So the new Beta Races (small scale like once per day for starters just like the Beta Crits) would have enforced categories. That’s the only thing that would be different about them. And then Zwift can find out for themselves i) are they popular, do they get many signups, and also ii) do certain active racers tend to stay clear of them. And then if the answer to i) is “yes, very!”, then they can make the big(?) decision to enforce categories always and in any race. How’s that for product development? Reasonable, yes?

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Ah, I see. So when people berate category cheaters, you take offence because you’re a category cheater… absolving yourself of your responsibility because ‘zwift allows me to do it’. This once again confirms the problem at the moment… It IS the cheaters that are the problem… Now, zwift can sort that out and should do but, in the mean time PEOPLE NEED TO STOP CHEATING.

Happy for you to have the last word as we’re now just repeating ourselves.

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I feel the longer that Zwift ignore this problem and all the other issues of the whole “Zwift racing scene” the worse the situation gets.
It’s a total free for all at the moment, so why not ride as you want.

If Zwift don’t care, why should the Zwifter?

There are obviously plenty of Zwifters who want to have the enjoyment of a race without getting dropped from the main group, or perhaps having to work too hard.

Part of the problem I would say is each of the groups power widths are way too wide, so many Zwifters feel they have to drop down to have fun, get a result or ride with the main group etc.

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I was going to add something but Andreas, Tim and Troy pretty much covered all of the ground to be trod.

I’ll say this: It really sucks to be racing in my correct category, C, ride On The Rivet for the entire race, right on the limit of the category and get dropped by a bunch of B riders who can put down 3.9 for an hour. Really takes the steam out of the event.

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No, I don’t take personal offence when people berate cheaters. I don’t think there should be any cheaters (like very very much) and I don’t really see myself as the cheating type, as someone who would normally cheat. I do cheat though. Better say that again so that nobody misses it:

I CHEAT IN ZWIFT IN EVERY RACE!

As long as the race rules remain as is, anytime you see me in Zwift, expect me to cheat. Change the rules and I will disappear (how could I not?) I won’t cheat tonight, but I thought I’d try take the time to cheat again tomorrow night. Just a heads-up.

I won’t be a category cheater from Oct 1 and onwards. I will still cheat though. And I will cheat not only on other racers but also on ZP. I will look legit to ZP, racing in the correct category and everything, but still be cheating. Because that’s yet another thing people need to understand (the first thing being that it was always in Zwift’s hands to make sandbagging impossible, like we discussed earlier).

People need to understand that the sandbaggers is just half the problem with cheating in Zwift races. We also have the cruisers. It’s a massive problem but most people probably don’t even notice. And cruisers, much like the sandbaggers, don’t exist in other sports and only exist in Zwift because of stupid race rules.

And that’s basically why I cheat. To make cheating in general and cruising in particular visible. To show it can be done easily, to cheat and still look legit. To show how it’s done. To give the inside view of what it’s like to be a cheater. To expose the rest of the cheating in the races I participate in because, believe me, I’m never alone. In fact, other cheaters are typically the main opponents in any race, it’s primarily them you compete against, not the “legit” racers. Who is the best cheater? It comes down to that.

And obviously, this would be completely pointless if I didn’t tell anyone about it. So I do. And you can read all about it on my blog. Full disclosure. Enjoy! Then come back and tell me if you still think WKG cats, no cat enforcement, after-the-fact DQ’s and people like me is what we want in our races “for the foreseeable future”, as community management put it (they’re just the messenger, I get that).

And yes, we’re discussing in circles. Let’s stop here. (I’m easily baited though.)

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I don’t cheat. Even to prove a point (that can be done by talking on here, or by contacting Zwift direct).

All consistent cheating does, even to prove a point, is inspire others to do so… I fear that, despite your best intentions, you are part of the issue.

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See? Now I got baited again.

No, proving my points couldn’t be done by talking. Not by me at least. I tried. People didn’t believe me when I talked about cruisers. Now I show them instead.

You’re absolutely right I am part of the issue. Intentions don’t matter at all, and that is a very important point. I’m convinced people cruise, and sandbag too, for many reasons. It’s all too obvious that this isn’t a people problem. It’s a system problem.

There are definitely sandbaggers who aim to smash their races. But lately I have also had the impression in some races that cat B’s join cat C sometimes just to get away from the pressure in B, e.g. in races with a format that doesn’t suit them. They will still smash their races of course as they are too strong for the cat C’s, but I don’t think it’s always their intention. It just happens, like when you accidentally step on an ant. Oops, sorry! Didn’t see you there, buddy! There’s nothing black and white about cheating in Zwift. There’s just a grayscale.

And cat A’s seem to join B quite frequently just because A is so dead in most races. Not much fun racing against two others, one of which is A+ and way above your level. Now, if you’re cat A and you know your cat mates think like this, then what cat do you choose for the next race if you want to race against the few other A’s out there? And that’s perfectly fine by Zwift.

As for the tricky cruisers, they come in all kinds and flavors. I know of several cruisers who have been at it for years. Devious ones who never screw up in-game, they’re really good, but they reveal themselves outdoors. Should have kept their Strava profiles private. In Zwift they have unbelievable race histories in a lower-than-reasonable cat. And then they have the stomach to humblebrag about their wins and scoop up the applause from their networks on social media. Thumbs up! Congrats, dude! It sickens me, but mostly so because of the people around them. They know these guys and still pretend like the emperor is fully dressed although it should be obvious to anyone close enough that the little #$%& is buck naked. But there are also other cruisers who just like to go slow, who don’t seem to enjoy hard, like ever. You cannot honestly tell that kind that they shouldn’t join their cruising cat when the Zwift rules clearly state that they are welcome to any cat they like. And who am I to tell them how hard to ride? But sitting at the upper end of a cat they still get an unfair advantage, regardless of their intentions, just like with the sandbaggers. And it’s on Zwift to fix that, and they could.

We come into a platform that has almost no hardcoded rules at all. And we come bringing with us ideas of what bike racing should be like based on outdoor cycling (ideas which could never become real in Zwift as long as we have a WKG system). But in Zwift almost anything goes. Only the subscribers aren’t content with that. So some of them, people with influence, start to cook up rules (rules that don’t make any sense BTW), which then get half-baked, half-formalized on some website called ZP. If you break these made up rules, you get an angry community posse on your tail, influencers and a bunch of yeasayers. And Zwift just looks the other way and whistles as someone gets a pitchfork in his butt. What about taking some responsibility for your product? Take ownership, dammit! It’s a very unhealthy situation. “Oh, but what if someone doesn’t like our decisions?” [More pitchforks] “Better not hurry this, let’s wait a few more years and we’ll see. Wouldn’t want to interfere with the community too much…” [Some more pitchforks]

I won’t deny the importance of the community as organizer. Can’t be overstated. The schedule rests on it. But I don’t want my racing governed by an opinionated but powerless community. I pay Zwift, not the community. I want Zwift to set the rules. We need more hardcoded rules. We also need new, less informal and less stupid rules, because the current “rules” don’t work and wouldn’t work even if people “stopped cheating”. Some cheaters have no intention to cheat and, besides, there are still lots of other unfair advantages unique to the ZP rule set that have nothing to do with cheating but are still there, affecting races on a daily basis.

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It helps to listen, rather than just try and ram one’s point home Andreas.

The rules are clear, people chose to not abide by them (you do as well). I’m all for enforcement of the rules by code but I cannot stomach the hypocrisy of being lectured about the rules by somebody that choses not to abide by them.

This isn’t baiting… This is simply somebody trying to communicate with you but being ignored while you absolve yourself and cheaters of any responsibility.

Responsibility of the individual happens in all sports… Unfortunately, the anonymity of Zwift (and the psychological condition of de-individuation) means people feel that cheating will bring little consequence.

You’re attacking the wrong people, challenge the cheaters, not the community that don’t cheat.

Bye

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NOOOO! Why don’t you get it? I’m NOT attacking the community!

I’m attacking ZWIFT!

Take the Beta Crits as an example. They are the pinnacle of stupidity. They are an exhibit and a precise measure of exactly how low you can sink (you wouldn’t think it was possible):

  1. You (as in ZWIFT) refuse to enforce categories and let elite racers smash beginners in the Crits. Remember, in a sport the rules ARE the ethics. So you’re in effect telling your seasoned participants that it’s fine and fair to go invade every beginner game and smash them. People beg you to stop, to change the rules, but you won’t listen. You stubbornly insist that you are doing the right thing.

  2. But then you get swayed a little after all. Hmm, maybe something needs to be done to quell the whiney subscribers? So what do you do? Enforce categories like they asked you to, which would have fixed the sandbagging problem instantly? Nooo. You invent some silly mechanisms that are supposed to detect elite racers who join the Crits to smash beginners.

So first you welcome what the community perceives as cheaters into the race, which is the same as telling the community that you think it’s fair (the ethics). They complain. So you act on it with some reluctance. But even though you could easily make those cheaters go away instantly by simply enforcing categories, you don’t. Instead you set out to hunt down and punish the “cheaters”. “Behold what a forceful and just ruler I am!”

The cheaters in the Beta Crits don’t become cheaters by somehow “cheating” in the race. They become cheaters by definition by merely entering the race. Their mere presence ruins the race. A cat B is not supposed to be in a cat D race. But you let them in. First you welcome them with your arms wide open. They become cheaters by entering. Then you punish them for being who they are, instead of just not letting them in in the first place. This is symbolic politics. Incredibly stupid symbolic politics. You create criminals. Then you punish them. Stop creating criminals!

  1. And then it turns out that these mechanisms that are supposed to hunt down and punish the criminals that you yourself created DON’T ACTUALLY WORK! You can still cheat easily because of your stupidly thought out cat system.

The only reason why I would not win every single race in the Beta Crits is because of a) competition from other cheaters, and b) competition from other racers who Zwift gives persistent unfair advantages due to the moronic W/kg cat system, like e.g. heavy riders. The “legit” racers don’t stand a chance, they never do. It’s completely pointless to race if you are legit. You are forced to invent a reason for yourself to be there at all, like “umm… I try to forget about the cheaters… I… compete against myself… and… try to get a good workout, that’s all.”

So if you live in London and you want to deliver a valuable package to Paris, what do you do? Send it by car or train via the Channel Tunnel? Nooo. You buy a decommissioned airliner that goes north, over the North Pole, then south across the Pacific and across the Antarctic, then back up north again along the African coast and up over Europe and have it land on the Charles de Gaulle airport. Only the airliner crashes in the Arctic because of technical failure. That’s Zwift and the Beta Crits.

And then the people down in Paris who expected your delivery start blaming the crew in that airplane for the crash instead of you (the wing just fell off, the crew should have used more duct tape). That’s the Zwift community. How very convenient for you! (Zwift)

Blaming the cheaters and putting all the spotlight on them is so incredibly unconstructive when the cheating would insta-poof with just three small adjustments from Zwift. The cheaters could then not even exist, so you would have no one to blame. Everyone would be happy - you, me, Zwift! It is in Zwift’s power to do this. And it is NOT months of work, like adding rowing to Zwift (shouldn’t we have curling and darts in Zwift too?)

But here and now the prison guards just stand there amused, watching the inmates fight each other over food scraps. Give them proper food, dammit!

This is horribad customer experience management.

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Heavy riders? Bull. I get dropped on every hill. I agree with you up to a point and then you make it obvious that you simply want the formula to benefit you… the w/kg system fits with the metrics that drive the Zwift engine - to suggest it’s moronic is ridiculous. This is computer code, not real life.