Sticky draft, is it a play thing?

I’ve been dealing with an apparent “sticky” draft problem for a few months now, and I’m curious to know if it is affecting others. I have play controllers, but I only use them to give ride ons and use power ups, so some sort of auto steering is in control 99% of the time.

Long story short, my avatar is petrified of taking the wind and seems to even slow down to hide behind other’s wheels. The auto steering is fairly aggressive finding wheels and less so about passing. It’s like the sticky draft all over again. I have to ramp up power to break past a rider, well beyond what the lead rider is doing, and this can result in slingshotting forward once I’m finally on the front.

Haven’t experienced that myself in recent memory. Often I find myself overtaking other riders without intent to do so. Tell us, do you have steering control on your device?

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Sounds like the standard PD4+ blocking/braking effect to me.

I’m assuming you’re on the lighter side of the scale in terms of weight?
Welcome to PD4+

This is just the way it is.

I almost got dropped on a race the other week on Ocean Lava Cliffside loop, where a heavier, much stronger person got in front of me, and blocked as we turned into the Epic Bypass segment, and was allowing a few second gap form between myself and the lead group.
This was a purposeful block by the way; it 100% is a method heavier/higher wattage folks can manage.
It isn’t as effective as it was at the first iterations of PD4.1 for example, but absolutely is still part of the current PD set.

Only thing I could do was give myself a few second rest period and sit in their draft, and then quite literally sprint past them to bridge the gap.

Of course… said blocker had no issues catching back up, they’re like twice my wattage.

Quite visible on the race report file on ZP as well where I had to put in that serious dig to get past them.


Okay, just making sure it wasn’t something that I just need to steer around. And I feel your pain. I’m about 79 kg, so mid weight? The PD/steering/braking seems to hunt down and trap me behind the closest wheel, regardless of what the larger pack is doing. In other words, when approaching a pack from behind, I’m most likely to cling to the wheel of a rider that is dropping out the back unless I push about 150% more power than I’d need to hold position mid pack.

Alternatively, if I come up on the pack with a lot of momentum, it’s not uncommon to rocket off the front. Likewise, it’s punishing to get a small gap on a climb because the pack will do the same to me on the descent.

Another observation riding with Coco, if I’m on the back of the pack pushing 3w/kg, it takes sometimes 20-30 seconds to slowly move to the front, but once I actually hit the front, it’s not hard to open up a gap.

Sorry for delay, but yeah; basically what you’re talking about entirely encompasses PD4 since its release.

This is just the Zwift “pack physics” as it were; the more you understand it, the better you can get at things like races!

Read post 1 of original Test for new PD 4.1

  • Overtaking someone that is not drafting should now be harder. With the goal of reducing “churning” at the front of groups, for you to overtake someone that is not drafting you will need to put out enough “net power”.
    Net power, is the power to overcome the opposing forces like if you are not drafting. So basically you will be tested like if you are not drafting to see if your power is enough to produce the speed to overtake. This doesn’t mean you need to do more raw power or watts/kg than the person in front.

If i wanna move up i’ll do like two seconds at 400w or something until i see my guy visibly detach from whatever wheel i’m on, then i can back off a little and move up normally. seems to work ok and doesn’t cost much energy really


Other alternative is to ride where a whole lot of folk don’t want to go, like Alpe du Zwift or Ven-top (Ventoux). Then you avoid the PD4 sticky draft effects almost completely.

I am light so this affects me quite badly. I don’t care about or want to learn the intricacies of pace dynamics formulas and exploits, I just want to ride. So I avoid group rides, races and robo-pacer groups, I won’t use those ever again. I prefer to ride alone.

Sounds like we need some “pace dynamics” to address those effects too. :cowboy_hat_face:

What about a “power down” power up you can hit the blocking rider with… :wink:

The whole reason you are not passing riders is because you would be slower on your own when you have 0 Draft.

The Churn before was just doing the washing machine effect. Yes heavier riders are more likely to stay in the wind because of more watts in W/kg type races…but there is a few organizers around that are using Compound Score to promote heavier riders sooner.