Seeking solution to my difficulty with race categories

Hi all, I’m fairly new to zwift. A little background, I am using it primarily because with COVID I can’t train and play my sport which is squash, which I still compete at a reasonably high level. However, I’ve always enjoyed cycling. A bit of an irony is I hate exercise for the sake of a workout. I enjoy games and competition, so I have primarily only used zwift for racing ( aside from ramp tests to establish a baseline ftp). I always finish a race (if I just worked put, I would not push as hard and prob quit sooner, lol). The longest race I’ve done is 24 km, so abt a 40 min worko
The problem is that I went from D to C rather quickly and I feel I should be in D. I always finish close to last in C races but I don’t really care abt that. But, if I’m outclassed by my whole division, I’m basically not racing anyone but riding by myself most of the time, no drafting or catching up to someone or trying to lose someone (again with the need for motivation to exercise and push myself).
I realize, the simple answer is just to get better and stronger, but, why do I see guys finishing in D way faster than me but still in D? Are they that heavy?
So, is there other ways to ride somewhat competitively, like groups or something so I can ride with others at a similar ftp or w/kg, because my current way isn’t working. Thanks for any insight or advice

If Zwiftpower upgrades you then you are a C.

Look for the tour de Zwift “rides” no categories and most treat them as races.

Thanks, I will look for those

You could just enter D cat races and ignore ZwiftPower. It’s what all those other people in D cat are doing. Of course, that would just make you part of the problem.

Your other option is to enter races where all the categories are visible. That way, even if you are running last in C cat you will be able to ride with the D cat riders who are of similar strength to you without getting DQed on ZwiftPower.

The best way to find these events is use the Zwift Hacks events listing: Events .Select filters, then Show more filters and select “see only event riders”. “See only event category riders” are rides where you only see the people in your own category but see only event riders are rides where you see all the categories.

Gerrie must be getting old. Tour de Zwift finished weeks ago. Tour of Watopia starts on 29th Mar and will have open cat rides where you can usually find someone your own pace to ride with. Tour of Watopia 2021: Stage and Unlock Details for Riders and Runners - Zwift Insider

Your biggest limiters are probably technique (tactics/drafting) and possibly short-duration (5 seconds to 1 minute) power and/or applying it at the right times (technique again). These also explain why others are performing better with lower average/20-min watts.

In C races you’ll at least get instant feedback on your improvement as you make it to the finish in a more and more forward group (or, in the worst case, at least get dropped later and later in the race), plus racing with a harder group is good for your development.

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Thank you Aol,
I will check it out

Anna, thank you for your advice. Definitely my technique needs work!. I have noticed that my avg cadence is much lower than others that do better and I realize that my efficiency is poor. As far as drafting, I usually start a race trying to stay with the pack at least but within 2-3 min get dropped and then ride alone for most of the race.
I will try to improve these aspects but with baby steps and try to find the rides with all categories showing up, so I can work on tactics and technique, but hopefully not alone lol.

I’m happy to report that I entered the tour of watopia (1st leg) and enjoyed the experience. I was pushed harder because I could have groups to try to keep up with and then also able to draft sometimes as well, all due to being able to have nearby groups of cyclists to interact with. My overall speed was 35.5 km/hr which is just a couple of kph better but I think significant with the drafting.
So, one cyclist that I was riding for a good distance just all of a sudden left me in the dust, which could be him turning it up a notch, but I also saw a truck icon pop up before it happened.

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Pros can hold 6w/kg for 20mins so yea there will be quite a few ppl on Zwift who can leave you in the dust :wink: truck icon = draft boost and it’s fairly useless. Gives you 30seconds of bonus draft effect, but you have to be behind someone for it to have any effect, and the effect is so small you won’t notice it. It’s more useful for recovery than attacking, although it can be used to help launch an attack from the middle/back of a group.

Tour of Watopia is great for training cos you can get that competitive racing buzz, but because there are no category limits to worry about people are spread evenly all over the course so there is always a group at your ability to draft from / race with.

Once that’s finished, hopefully you’ll be closer to the pointy end of Cat C. Otherwise - if you stick to Cat C “group ride” events rather than races, those tend to be a bit more chill, or you could give structured workouts a try…!

Thanks for the advice Ben. Being able to have mulitple groups in a big ride like that definitely made it more useful. And I should do workouts, I did try the interval training workout over 30 min but it wasn’t as hard.
I have to say how impressed I am by the quality of cyclists out there. The hard work and training and talent is on display whenever I race and see riders whizz by, lol.
I know I’m not young anymore but I am pretty fit, at least in squash for my age ( I know muscle fitness becomes sport specific) and the fact that my max HR is apparently still around 182, so to see the quality of riders is daunting and motivating at the same time. I hope to continue and get stronger (at least til I can play squash again and who knows, maybe keep doing this for cross training) but man do I feel the pain at the finish line!

If you don’t find an interval session “hard” then you may want to check your FTP is set up correctly, sounds like it might be too low. Go do a ramp test and see how that goes :smiley:

There are a lot of quality cyclists out there, but there are also a lot of “quality” trainers, if you know what I mean… :wink:

Interesting, I’ve done the ramp test twice about 2 months apart and my calculated ftp was 192 and 193, so, no real change. Did the sevens workout, which I assume is based on my ramp test results, from what I see and what you suggest, and my avg power was only 143 doing it. And really it’s only a 20 min workout (with the warm up and cooldown not counting). My average power in races ranging from 20-40 min long usually is between 172-180 watts. This suggests to me I have to work on endurance and efficiency, maybe find a better cadence or at least manage my power and cadence better to get closer to my calculated ftp of 192…or maybe my original premise that I hate exercising (as opposed to playing a game) and I’m too wimpy, lol

give this one a bash: Zwift workouts: Less than an hour to burn » The Wringer | What's on Zwift? :wink:
120% FTP is some pansy cyclist “interval”, needs to be way higher than that imo to feel it :smiley:

avg power is meaningless on intervals. ur FTP is prolly accurate based on what you’ve written.
you might be a fast-twitch specialist (especially considering you are a squash player) which means you will find intervals “easier” and endurance “harder” (liek me!).

when you’re doing a workout, you can also increase or decrease the % setting by +/- 10% to make it harder or easier as well.

p.s. i cant ride anywhere close to my FTP for an hour either :stuck_out_tongue: