Starting Zwift racing - first impression

Hi Zwifters,

I just wanted to share my initial experience with Zwift racing, specifically as there is quite a lot of discussion around sandbagging.

I started zwifting and zwift racing just six weeks ago, and my initial impression is really good and positive. i have never been able to motivate myself to such an intensive and regular training. I do around 5000 kilometers IRL cycling, so I bring an ok level of fitness.

I started in cat C, because I thought that would be a good category for me. I got upgraded after three races with average to good results.
In cat B I was really struggling at the beginning, ending up in the last quarter of a race, without any option to stay in the front group. But I had a lot of fun, and there are learnings and improvements:

  1. by knowing when to use your power, you can really improve results. Pushing right after start and at key parts of the race.

  2. Know the courses. I‘m not good at sprinting, but I can keep the power up for 2-3 minutes. Hills such as the leg snapper are good for me.

  3. Take a bit of risk and try attacking at 800 to 1000 meters - that plays to my strength.

  4. Warm up is important, but for me 15 minutes and two short intense intervalls are enough

  5. If you race and rest, your FTP will improve.
    I gained from 278 to 303, while loosing 1 kg of weight. That makes a difference when racing!

Last but not least - focus on having fun and a good workout!

Actually, today I had my first Podium in cat BITT. but it was funny - during the race, I was 6th out of 26 B riders. Towards the end, i couldn’t hold two others, so ended up 8th. looking at the guys in front, I was expecting top5, as two had no heartrate, and the winner had 4.7 w/kg for 35 minutes ITT…

Looking at zwiftpower, I was really surprised… I finished 2nd, and the winner was a guy upgraded from C…

A lot to do regarding cheating, but the racing was and is fun! And a combination of intensive training and a bit of weight loss will produce great results!

enjoy riding!


Interesting and how many times a week you race ?


usually twice a week, sometimes three times.
More than training theory would suggest, but good to keep motivation up.

ride on

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Nice story @Lennart_Hintz, and agree with much of it.
My only counter point would be that as you are in Cat B, you are not seeing the worst of the sandbagging, which really ruins the race for a lot of Cat C and D riders. I still see them in B but nowhere near as prevalent.


yes, maybe C and D are suffering more from sandbagging. Even in B is a lot of it - I have seen many zwifters in B pushing longer periods with 4.5 or even 5 w/kg which is just not B.

My key take out is to focus on fun, even if I would like to see less sandbagging, races should be fun.

But probably the difference in C and D is way higher compared to B.

ride on!

Pushing 5w/kg for 5 min should be possible for a B rider. Zwift use 95% of the best 20min.

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maybe if ur sandbagging ;D

@OP: if ur attacking from 800-1000m out, make sure you start with a huge surge from mid-pack to get a clean break from the group. getting everyone out of your draft is critical when attempting a long attack. lots of people just gently ramp it up but good sprinters won’t let you get away with that and will just sit on your wheel til 200 to go and blast past after.

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according to trainingpeaks a rider with a FT of 4w/kg can do 4.74 that is if they have as flat profile. Some riders (All rounders and Pursuiter phenotype’s) can have even higher 5min power.


yes I know, I wasn‘t talking about 5 min effort!
But if you see 4.5 or 4.8 for a 30 minute race its a bit too much!

good hint with starting from mid-pack for a long sprint, you need a decent distance to keep the others out of your draft!