Rides not sticking to the kg power set at start

Once again I join a ride that’s well within my power output only to find instead of the 2200-2800 stated I am pushing over 3kg on flats and over 4kg on hills. We get told easy at start and leader is off the front with us doing 40 mph to catch up. For a big ride at moderate pace NY is not the place to go to many up hills that split the ride. I was not the only one that complained in ride that lasted 5 miles for me

The main issue is that not all people have the same weight. When I join a group ride and for example 2,5 watt/kg is called, then I multiply this by 80kg and go for 200watt.

But I fully agree that NY is not a great place for any group ride at all. The Innsbruckring is however great since the riders with lower raw wattage but high watt/kg can take some advantage on the hill and try to keep up after on the flats.

You should said a ticket to Zwift with the ride information and the name of the leader so that they can investigate.

There is a big difference if the ride leader weigh a lot more than you then you need to put out a lot more power on the flats, but you will go up the hill a lot quicker.

I have ridden with this group a few times and been ok but this was the second day in a row that I have joined a ride and the kg was not stuck to. The five miles I rode today I did 3 new PB’s on a course I have rode a few times. I know that the kg is different to riders but was just annoyed that the start was more like a race than the moderate ride that was posted. At 70 years old I have done plenty of riding over the years and fast starts don’t suit me now.

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One of the reliable series is the group rides hosted by PACK. There are other groups that also don’t exceed the published target.

As soon as you get dropped you’re stuffed and with NYC it’s so easy for splits to form. People are always hammering the little hills at 4w/kg and then the big group draft makes it impossible to chase back on the downhill. It’s not helped by people who join group rides and then fly off at the start like it’s a race.

I wonder if a distance/time to beacon display would be useful. The big yellow beacon is useful for those behind but those in front have no idea where the beacon is. The rider list on the right of the screen is only useful for the handful of riders near you.

Group rides are almost always ridden at a higher w/kg rating than advertised. A simple solution is to have automated ride leaders who nail the advertised ride power/weight rating. You can choose to follow the leader or go off on your own.

The bigger problem seems to be how the ride leader views the stated range. Is that range where the AVERAGE w/kg should be at the end of the ride? Or is should the w/kg stay within the stated range at all times?

The AVERAGE approach simply doesn’t work, as perfectly demonstrated on a recent ride. The stated range for the ride was 2.5 - 3.0 w/kg. The leader did a good job of keeping to this range along the flats and indeed at the end of the ride, the average power was within the 2.5 - 3.0 w/kg range.

But, up the single significant climb, the leader held 3.7 - 4.1 w/kg. The pack stretched and splintered as riders who were not capable of holding that power output (and were expecting a 3.0 w/kg max pace) were gradually dropped.

Over the top and on the ensuing descent the leader dropped the pace to ~2.0 w/kg, but as we know, riders off the back stand no chance of catching a large group on a descent. The Leader and the riders who were able to stick with the 3.7 - 4.1 w/kg pace up the climb were gone.

The leader then seemed genuinely confused why the dropped riders were complaining.

Perhaps a Ride/Ride Leader feedback or rating system would be beneficial.
Rating Ride Leaders

Zwift Insider has some ideas:
Opinion: It’s Time for a Zwift Event Feedback System


My opinion as a ride leader is that the leader should be with in the limits at all times.

I would also look at the riders around me and make sure they are also in that range.


I had a reasonable ride with the SAS group some time ago.

But it’s really the weight difference that makes things tricky. If the group is told 3.0w maximum fine, but for a light rider they have to do 3.8-4.0w otherwise they will be dropped. I deliberately stick to exactly 3.0w and ended up far back, then chased the group at 6.5w/kg.

Lighter riders have a big disadvantage on the flat or downhill sections.

That 15mph downhill bug I read about is a great thing! :wink:

If part of your group is dropped downhill then the front group should ease right off to let the others catch up again.

Weight does make a difference. However this is mostly a known factor. If you’re a lightweight rider and considering a group ride on a flat route, figure that you’re likely going to have to work harder than the advertised pace.

Good ride leaders are aware and compensate for this. If the ride leader is heavier, they stick to the lower end of the range on the flats. I’ve even seen ride leaders calling out the pace in terms of watts instead of w/kg.

But none of that helps if the leader suddenly decides to blow through the top of the range by a full w/kg (usually on a climb) while continually pointing out that their average is “right on target”.

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if it says 2.5 - 3.0 w/kg then that usually means 2.5 w/kg on the flats and 3.0 w/kg on the hills.

if leader goes racing off at >3 w/kg just leave the ride and make a mental note not to join that group again.

loads of crap leaders, also some good ones, if that group isn’t for you then find another :+1:


I wonder if the Trainer setting can effect rides as well. At 100 % I believe you go downhill slower than those at a lower setting. Zwift normally sets at 50 % and some don’t adjust the settings.
I ride at 100 % when riding solo but adjust it for races n large group rides to about 60 %.
I’m old n large at nearly 14 stone, so always have trouble keeping with the whippets.

you don’t go downhill “slower” per say, but because resistance is so low, you have to change into harder gear in order to keep the power output up. if you run out of gears and are getting dropped then yeah you got a problem. (but this shouldn’t be an issue unless people are sprinting on the downhill which is kinda dumb anyway).

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I lead a weekly C ride (Major Taylor 1899 Whirlwind Wednesday) where the stated range is 2.4-2.7 wkg. During the countdown I’ve been asking the group not to shoot off at 3+ wkg and reminding everyone it’s a group ride and not a race. I admit we have been toward the upper end of the range the last couple of weeks, but we tend to ease into it keeping the majority of the group together and I ask everyone to keep their eyes on the map in case we need to ease up accordingly.

I even try to use light-hearted sarcasm like joking I will be making visits to check trainer calibrations since I know many of the regulars IRL and that “2.4-2.7 is less than 3 in any language”. I also mention that I will not chase after flyers and it’s THEIR responsibility to ease and slide back to the group if they choose to sprint.

I can only control myself, but I just make the expectations clear. Not much I can do if riders treat it like a race.

P.S. - I actually like NYC Park Perimeter route, because I find the rollers tend to keep most flyers “honest” if they’re on the heavier side, but yeah smaller and lighter riders will need to push a higher average wattage to stick with the group.

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