So, what does an A, B, C, D group level really mean?

Continuing the discussion from Another Group Workout speed topic:

I had a different experience. I just completed my first group ride. I intentionally chose a D group. I knew I could handle the 2.4 average pace for 18 miles. That was NOT the pace. I realize I am smaller, but the front took off, and the field was so stretched out. The leader and a few obviously pros took off (by conversation they had I figured that out.) A few of us at the middle and back of the snake commented on the pace, but we were not a part of the group. Comments were only to the front of the pack with lots of positive reinforcement for regrouping. Our sweeper made one comment to the leader, but no response to that.

So, is there a remedial D group?

Hi Jenna,
well there is some sort of “official” metrics for each category:

But from my own experience in Zwift the reality is slightly different from those numbers.
When I’ve started with Zwift I could barely hang with the D cat and the real numbers were different.

So, there are some numbers of categories metrics with the FTP, but in reality if you would like to be in the middle of group D you should be able to hold 2.5 w/kg for at least 30 minutes and you should be able to push at least 2.8-3.5 w/kg up the hill. To be in front of group D you should be able to push 2.5w/kg during the whole race. For cat C in order to be in the middle you should hold at least 2.8-3.1 for at least 30 minutes and push 3.5-4 w/kg up the hill. In order to be in top of cat C you should be able to hold the whole race (in some cases 60+ minutes) with non-stop 3.2 w/kg, push at least 4-4.5 up the hill and sprint no less then 6.5-7+ w/kg.
With the reality of today, in order to win cat C race with high level of participation one should be able to ride at the level of cat B at least. Same for the B cat, one should be able to ride at the level of A cat.

By the logic of things it shouldn’t be like this, since if the max FTP for group C is 3.2 w/kg you would not expect riders, even in the top 10 to hold this speed for an hour, but the reality is different. Same for group B.
So, at least for the front riders of each group always expect much higher numbers. There is also another side of the coin when there are more strong riders in lower categories. So you could find A, B, C riders in D cat. Or A and B riders in C category.

You could always subscribe to zwiftpower.com and connect it to your Zwift account. This will allow you to see your race stats in different manner together with own rating and your place vs other riders in the zwiftpower rating system. In some races results zwiftpower will place riders in appropriate categories automatically by using the race data. So, a lot of riders are using this source as their main “real results” race source.

The whole topic about categories and rating is highly discussed in different forum topics and this is definitely something that people care about.

p.s.
ah…concerning the start of events
races for D cat, the front group will ride probably around 3w/kg for the first one or even two km. The first 500 meters with 3.5-4 w/kg start.
races for C cat, the front group will start the ride with something like 3.5-4+ w/kg for the first km or two. And the first 500 meters with approximately 4.5 or even 5 w/kg
For social events with an advertised average of 2.5w/kg, if this is a big event with a lot of participants, would be a good idea to start the event with 3.5+w/kg for the first 500 meters and then hold around 3+w/kg till the first or second km. Probably during those events the speed up hill will be around 2.7-3w/kg, and around 2.2-2.4 w/kg on flat.

1 Like

Jenna:

Some groups ride at the advertised pace, others don’t. There are leaders and groups you can join and reliably get the advertised pace. A couple of groups/leaders I’ve found reliable are Pack rides and Herd rides. There are others.

When I’ve joined group rides that aren’t what I’m looking for, I look for another.

Races are another matter altogether …

I would also want to add that it is important that you read the ride description, even if it is rated D they may be on the high side of D or on the low side.

Also don’t do a group ride that are at your FTP. My personal feeling opinion is that a group ride should be a Zone 2 ride (blue). That is between 60% and 70% of your FTP.

1 Like

Ahem … about group rides, will be maybe technically possible within Zwift to disable drafting for riders, say, 30 seconds in front of the leader? Something like to put them on a TT until they rejoin the blob?
Paolo

Google brought me to this post, so responding to an older thread for those who may also be reading it later.

I am new to Zwift, but I attempted racing in the real world for about 3 years - I wasn’t very good at it, mostly getting dropped.

But when I first signed up for Zwift, I did a test race, doing theworkout at 3.0W/KG average, and that placed me in Cat C as my initial category (I didn’t even know I was doing that).

So I was a Cat C for 5 races, and won 3 of them (never had success like that in the real world! loved it).

But yes, I might do 3.4 or even 3.5 w/kg for 20 minutes (because first multiply that by.95 and then realize that you get a .2 w/kg variance to encourage people to exceed their FTP, without being penalized).

I totally think your description is spot on, except one thing. You can ride your FTP for an hour, because by definition, that is precisely what FTP means - your functional power for an hour.

The races I won were at 3.2 w/kg for the race, and included periods much higher than that. Eventually I got bumped to Cat B anyway, once my 3.0 W/kg was no longer in the top 3, it stopped weighing down my average and so now I race Cat B. I can still get a trophy, just have to find a very poorly attended race, haha