Stop race category cheats - opinions?

I’d like zwift to re-categorise racers on their average w/kg to the correct category. Its pretty clear that in some zwift races, people are dishonest about which category they should be in and win their races by a mile. Its not a big deal for some (including me), but others use their results and points for possible team and sponsorship deals.

I’ve asked zwift support about this, and their response was essentially “we rely on honesty, but clearly this is flawed and we have no plan to change it at the moment. If it gets some traction in the forums, we might take more notice…”

So, what do people think? (I’ve posted this in the feature request section too.)

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Seems like this would be fairly simple for Zwift to implement and would add legitimacy to the results.

I’d look at Zwiftpower as they seem to sort the results but not everyone is registered there so they’re not really accurate.

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I look at it slightly differently. If a person is not registered on Zwiftpower then they do not count in the race results from my point of view. It is not a secret that Zwift infused some cash into Zwiftpower to keep the lights on to cooincide with the KISS super leagues. The other problem is that Zwift itself wants to be inclusive to all people who want to exercise and that means accepting classic trainers as a perfectly legitimate tool to get fit. When it comes to racing, don’t bother signing up because your classic trainer doesn’t have the accuracy to be considered legitimate. This where a marginal third party actually makes sense in some respects. Maybe in the long term, if enough people actually come to care about eRacing, cycling federations will take part in the process of verification with respect to racing online along with the UCI or something (meaning help pay for it). Maybe Zwift can figure out how to merge those two different business models but in the meantime for those of us who are merely human and like to race we either have to ignore the 50 people who averaged 4.3-4.5 wattz in a C level race or check out Zwiftpower to see how you did.

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Opinions?
My opinion is that w/kg categories are at least as st***d as they feel. Get rid of …

Paolo

I agree with your suggestion. Race results should be categorized by actual w/kg regardless of registered category. That would eliminate any benefit of cheating and motivate all racers to improve and achieve a higher category - which I think is the objective.

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Well…cheating is something that demands control. And when speaking about virtual gaming the “path to cheating” becomes easier than in real life. So…, with all due respect to all, but “rely on honesty” is a a very honest position ))), but contradicts slightly with the reality and the so-called “social-mass behavior”.

I do think that there should be some mechanism, automated one. Also, maybe something close to search-engines algorithms with the automated analysis of users past behavior vs present.
In addition, it would be really great to have ONE system and not some third party website where the users should go to check their results, although…even with the third party tool it could be good in case if the integration is made inside Zwift directly.

Bottom line: it would be great to have a smart-type of system categorization. And I do not think that average w/kg categorization could be consider as a “smart system”.
I would take more data than just average w/kg (lets say in past 30 days). Maybe also last 10 races positions vs types of rides in those races. Could be wrong, but I think that Zwiftpower already has in place some type of parameter with the “race difficulty” - since different races have different difficulties even if those races are in same category. But not sure what is included in the “difficulty parameter”, is it just riders, or maybe the distance + elevation also?..

Zwift could continue their present “open to all” policy but allow the race organizers to enforce w/kg standards for the racing groups.
But the problem is Zwift’s current FTP is modifiable from the users settings page.
I have modified mine when I wanted to change my workout difficulty.
I found I could do the same by sliding the workout bar while in the workout.
But, the point is, Zwift would have to monitor FTP, make non user modified, and allow organizer to apply a restriction PRIOR to the race.
ZwiftPower does it after the race.
I think this would be easy to implement.

Something really should to be done about this. In a recent race the first three finishers in Cat “C” averaged 4.0, 4.3, and 4.1 w/kg. That’s nearly Cat “A”. I burned a lot of matches attempting to keep up, blew up with a lap to go, then got caught by the group I should have been racing with about 1 km from the finish.

If Zwift won’t automatically put riders in the appropriate category, maybe there could at least be an identifier for racers who are riding out-of-category. If the riders average is 110% of the category limit a “cone of Category Limit Exceeded” appears so other racers know who they need to chase, and who they can ignore. Maybe the cone appears after 10 minutes of racing and becomes a rolling average at that point…?

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YES YES and YES.

I think that more people will do races if Zwift auto categorize racers. Zwift can use the ZP ranking system for racers that have a ZP profile and for those that don’t there best FTP and highest weight over the last 3 months will be used.

This will make racing exiting again.

KISS started to use only one starting group and filtering after the race based on ZP assigned Category this is a step in the right direction, but if this could be done before the race start it will be a lot better.

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Thread for this in Feature Requests:

https://forums.zwift.com/t/auto-assign-race-categories/14243

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Ha yes it is hilarious. I just marvel at the superhuman performances that are on virtual display! Great fun anyways

Meanwhile I am just trying not to get dropped in my weekly 2.0 w/kg “social” ride. LOL
Everyone looks like a cheat to me! Even you OP and your super fast self!!! :slight_smile:

This would be a HUGE improvement to racing. The first race I entered about four months ago was Cat C, I got ripped apart by a huge group of riders, it put me off so much that I’ve only entered one race since. I did that in Cat D and then become one of the tossers… Sorry to the D’s in the race, but I did have fun with some of the C’s. I won’t do it again as I don’t want to be one of those people.

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Fully agree.

I proposed auto-assigning groups for races 3 years ago already. They have more than enough data for each racer to do this.

Many posts suggesting this can be found in this forum. Keep hoping that one day they will do something about this.

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IRL you can’t get away with it, so why in Zwift.

For me Zwift needs three changes to racing/categories:

  • Pre race auto-categorization based on recent history (zwift has this). With option to enter a higher, but not lower category, or if you enter a lower category you are not included in resuts, eg. to ride with a friend.
  • Post race auto-categorization based on performance in the race.
  • Start groups separately, I know some races choose to do this, more should do so.
  • Different kit or coloured bibs for riders in each category, I know some rides do this, again, more should do so.
  • Don’t allow a racer to draft riders of a different grade. IRL D grade is not allowed to draft C or any other grade.

I know newcomers to Zwift who have hated it because there is nowhere for them to compete because of all these dishonest cheats. By not fixing this racing cheating/categorization issue, Zwift is probably losing it’s appeal to newcomers, without which their growth will be limited, leaving the door open for competitive platforms to fill this gap.

Personally, I don’t see the fun in riding D grade if I could compete in B.

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In my opinion power/weight categorisation should be switched to age categorisation, similiar to real world. I’m VET on zwiftpower, sometimes I’m A+ , but I have no chance, when racing with masters or younger riders. I would like to race with cyclists in ma age category, and OPEN.

YES YES and YES. But there should not be an option to race in a lower cat or atleast with some penalty. It is people in lower cat’s that spoil the race. My first thought was is you drop down than no one can draft of you and you can’t draft of anybody, also they should have there rightful cat showing so that we know not to race Mr. Training race guy.

I think there should be more options. Some race series are made for age based racing and other based on performance.

I would prefer a ranking system rather than w/kg but lets just start with w/kg to get the concept out.

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Another problem is how one goes about making sure anyone racing has properly calibrated their devices so that power readings are relatively accurate? If you don’t have a Neo, or other non-calibrating device, everything is suspect from one point of view regardless of height and weight discrepancies.

This is only a problem for the A+ cat or if there is prizes involved.
As long as the trainer constantly read x% high or low it should not affect the pleasure or effort of the other racers. we have to assume that Zwift and IRL performance can be different.

I would not mind racing a guy on zwift that has a trainer that read 20% high, as long as it is always 20% high. He will have to try just as hard as I do, because he is in a higher Cat than he should be based on his “better” performance. Yes IRL he would not be able to hold my wheel, but on Zwift we are matched. One day I win the other he wins, we both get a good workout and we have fun.

I am not talking about people deliberately cheating, that is just wrong. And that can be seen in there post race data. An algorithm that scan past data will be able to pick up equipment changes like that.

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I’m not sure if it is only a problem for cat A+. I personally don’t care because I’m in it for fitness but there are definitely those using zwift who want to know exactly where their racing puts them in relation to everyone else as they move their way up the categories. The odds of the multitude of power meters and bike trainers being used with Zwift being consistently incorrect, or more helpfully correct, at all times doesn’t seem to be likely. I don’t think the vast majority of people are actively trying to cheat either though, even though it is so easy to do with devices that need to be calibrated.

That being said, a well documented racing past full of data can go a long way to alleviate any concerns. Nothing will ever be perfect but I am sure with a little effort the system can be made to be pretty good with some of the changes you folks have been talking about.