Staying with a group - delayed response to power increases

Hi all,

I’ve been trying a couple of races and group rides and really enjoyed them, but I am finding it difficult to gauge my effort to maintain position within the group. I tend to oscillate between slipping back and then shooting through the group and off the front. I think this is because there is a delay between the efforts I make and the response of the avatar. To be clear, there is no delay between my effort and the displayed power (and I have turned it to instantaneous) but what happens is I will push for 10 seconds or so and nothing happens, then even if I ease off at that point I will then shoot forward and go off the front of the group. Is this because power is translated into speed which is then retained for a while? I guess practice may improve this but it’s slightly weird that it takes such a long time to respond to increases in power. I suspect “sticky draft” may also be having an effect.

Just wondered if anyone had any advice to help. I’m using a Tacx Vortex smart trainer connected by Bluetooth to iPad.

Thanks all!


It is normal for there to be some delay between your real world actions and that of your Zwift avatar. However, 10s is far beyond ‘normal’. You might consider being less abrupt with your application of power, think smoother. Also apply big power slightly before you need it (e.g., off the back). Once you lose the draft, you will definitely need an even bigger boost of power to get back on. If you have truly gone off the back, you will typically need to chase around at least 1W/kg more than that of the group. Lastly, as you get used to the courses/routes, you will know when the group tends to speed up or slow down as well as to what extent.

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Are you sure that the 10 seconds delay is not an exaggeration. There’s bound to be a small delay between power applied or reduced as the 1’s and 0’s wing their way across the ether, but 10 seconds is way too much. I also use a Tacx Vortex with Bluetooth to Apple TV box, and I would say the delay is nearer 2 seconds which after a time, you learn to anticipate.

Could be! Is it easy to capture a video?

Yes you can sed OBS studio it is very easy and free. there is a lot of info on the web.

I’m using a Vortex and Ant+, so not the same situation - but I think there’s about a 4 second delay for me. Certainly it’s anything but instantaneous.

As others have said,10 seconds sounds unusual if not unlikely.

As for learning to ride in the draft; that’s exactly what it is. You have to learn how your trainer responds to your input, and ride accordingly. For me, if I’ve ridden hard to catch a group I ease off the power several metres before I catch them. I also watch the riders nearby list, and the little nameplates at the bottom of the screen. If I see a group is catching me, I accelerate to anticipate the catch.

You ask “Is this because power is translated into speed which is then retained for a while?”, and absolutely that is the case. As with real riding outside, you don’t slow down as soon as you stop pedalling. Well, you do, but not quickly. If you ride at 15mph then accelerate to 20mph and stop pedalling, it’ll be a while before you’ve coasted back down to 15mph again. It’s the same on Zwift. (Obviously if you’re riding up a hill the deceleration is much faster…)

My experience is the same as Richard’s. I haven’t timed the lag I experience, but 10 seconds sounds about right depending on group/ride size. As others have mentioned, learning to anticipate the lag helps some, but I still have to constantly adjust my effort to maintain position in large groups too. Only thing that sort of works for me is to catch a smaller group, outside of the main pack, that are riding near my planned ride effort level. The lag seems less in small groups for some reason. My setup is Windows 10, Wahoo Kickr, and ANT+, so I don’t think the lag has anything to do your equipment config. It just seems that calculating all the ∆v’s in a large group isn’t speedy, and the ∆v’s don’t seem to be applied at the same time for all riders in the group?

10s is not normal. Anything more than 2-3sec is not normal. Even if doing TdZ stage with 5000 other riders, you should not be seeing 10s delay in your actions. If it is really 10s, then I would expect that you have some network connectivity issues, as in delay in your upstream network connection and/or packet drop.

There is also another factor to consider.
Imagine a group of 5 riders putting down the appropriate power to stay together. The riders may not be producing the same watts or the same W/KG because their wts may vary.
anyway, they are all riding together.
the person at the back will have a slightly faster speed because of the draft and will move to the front. There, he feels the wind resistance and will slow down and drop to the back of the group where he will again speed up.

If everyone in the group stays smooth and consistent, there will be a natural cycling and everyone will take a pull.
No power variations are needed.