Study: Perceptions of Cheating and Doping in E-Cycling

I like this one:

“Have you ever deliberately manipulated your height and weight for an e-race to gain an advantage?”
95% of males and 96% of females reported they correctly input their details, and half of those who admitted altering their weight stated they purposely increased their weight to make racing harder.

If you increase your weight you’ll decrease your w/kg and then you potentially get down into an easier category. So that could of course be an alternative explanation…

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I can think of many others but this thread is not a how-to-cheat thread or advice about how to block cheaters. The study is just some customer feedback about whether people feel like cheating is happening much, and some loose ideas about what they’d like to have happen to cheaters. It should be considered relevant to the folks responsible for this aspect of the product when they decide whether or not to work on the problem. Bearing in mind that many people think they have been cheated when in reality they have experienced systemic unfairness which is a different class of problem (eg, a real 35kg rider with 149W zFTP ripping up D category - feels like cheating but is actually just unfairness).

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Perhaps naivety on my behalf, but I believe very few people are going to the length of writing programs to rebroadcast altered numbers to cheat. Though, I think a rebroadcast fudge of dual recordings is probably happening quite a bit in the higher cats to get over the dual recording requirement.

The thing about weight doping & inaccurate trainers - I kinda of dont care as long as they are consistent and it appears to be fair - If someone has knocked 20kgs off their weight, ok fine, as long as they consistently keep that weight then so be it - I cant do anything about it, If they end up in my category I just need to race them on the day - Id like my races to feel fair & level - So no abnormal jumps in performance, consistency etc

I probably class using exploits such as sticky watts and odd pedalling technique as unfair and think they should be dealt with - Though zwifts head in sand approach really doesnt help anybody.

Just to add to what you said, at community level it should feel fair when you race… I dont think we are there for a number of reasons, but thats a different conversation.

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if i am looking for it i will find it, but even if i found one or even two riders every race, which i will, that means there are 15-50 others who i have no reason to believe are not trying to represent themselves as honestly as they can

personally i notice people are usually more readily willing to disregard or ignore far more important parts of the ToS instead

Whereas I see Zwift as a game and any computer game I’ve ever played needed an understanding of the in-game physics and how to exploit them - within the rules of the game We’ve seen with the likes of Pack Dynamics that it can’t be a true simulator of “real life” riding.

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True, but I bet a lot would be willing to pay for it. Reason: It’s a game and it has a competitive mode.

Don’t ask why people want to pay for that; but I have played too many games - where it was far more difficult to cheat - with so many cheaters in it that I have no doubt that this is a thing.

I’m not sure i’ve ever seen blatant cheating in a race i was in, but sometime things are just a bit dodgy. But to be honest, i don’t really care. For me, Zwift racing is mostly about doing the best i can do. It’s a personal challenge, other people just happen to be there, if that makes any sense.
If, after a race, i feel like i’ve got the maximum out of myself, it doesn’t really matter if that’s for a win, or for 32nd.

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Within the rules is doing alot of lifting in that sentence :wink:

There is a rule regarding game the physics and exploiting them - Some rules are adhered to, some are there to be ignored.

New section 2.5.9 states:

Riders shall use equipment in a manner that is consistent with Zwift Cycling Esports events being cycling events. Use of techniques or equipment (other than a smart trainer or smart bike, or those relating to body heat management – fans, towels, etc.) that would not be permitted, or not be effective, in real life cycling events, shall be prohibited.

Note: This rule is not intended to prevent innovation, but simply to avoid the exploitation of “non-sporting” loopholes presented by the nature of esport. This includes, but is not limited to, exploitation of disconnections / lag / dropouts / software bugs, unusual pedalling styles, or use of equipment that is beyond what might reasonably be considered “sporting”. Any riders who
are concerned that an innovation may be limited by this rule are strongly encouraged to seek the advice of Zwift before using it in competition.

Simple, I don’t race - so I don’t experience cheating, so it’s not a problem and aren’t people who are upset about it just taking Zwift too seriously, it’s just a game, yeah… Maybe I saved someone the typing. :roll_eyes: [sarcasm mode off]

I notice those things and they bug me. I may be pushing myself on ADZ but it doesn’t mean I don’t notice dubious performances and I can still do simple mathematics to work out the weight of rider - so why Zwift hides that I do not know. All I can do is flag them - what happens then is outside of my control.

Good, so guys Chris is not racing so it not a problem. Solved.

I think you missed my sarcasm. I’m as bugged by exploits and cheating as anyone else - I’m very frustrated by them.

It just seems like no matter what we do, how much we flag or report these things, it’s just endless.

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It went right over my head… :woozy_face: :upside_down_face: :rofl:

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About the actual survey, how many of the people surveyed are actual cheaters themselves?

Because its unlikely they would say they were if a survey question asked them.

With regards to cheating, at the time I’m racing i guess i don’t care. Last night i did 6 laps of Rolling Highlands, and laps 2,3,4,5 had segment points on Breakaway Brae.

For the first three laps i couldn’t get past one rider over the segment. My initial mental process was, I’m doing my best he’s just better than me (not omg he must be cheating). I need to work harder / train more effectively and then when I’m up against a similar rider in the future I’ll hopefully see the change in performance.

If i found out someone i raced against cheated after it had happened, i still got the fitness bump from pushing myself to the limit trying to beat them. So ultimately, personally i still won.

While i don’t condone cheating and would like a robust system that makes it difficult, my perspective isn’t people who beat me must be cheating. As in the end I’m only racing myself. If i don’t have it on any given day. Then its irrelevant what others are doing

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When I see that a rider has changed their weight from 90kg to 50kg for a climbing race, I find that annoying. Similar for drastic reductions in height. These things definitely happen and are sometimes obvious. I agree there are many smaller manipulations that are much harder to detect, or could only be effectively detected by analyzing the power data during the event. For example selecting an inaccurate weight at the time the account is created, or artificially lowering weight by a small amount each week so it looks like normal weight loss. In the survey, roughly 4% of respondents said they engaged in weight manipulation, so I assume the real number is larger than that. Even 4% could mean nearly every race includes riders who manipulate their weight.

I try not to cheat (intentionally)

But because I lost a lot of weight, and I am terrified to gain this back. I weigh myself daily and sometimes multiple times per day for the fun of it (how much moisture did I lose gained)

I can easily differ 2-3 kg’s between 2 days (scale is first thing in the morning I do) and simply differ 2 kg’s between morning/afternoon.
For Zwift I use my monthly average weight, so am I cheating? Because I know my daily weight, others weigh themselves once per 2-3 months?

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For me, racing non-elite events, I would be delighted if everyone’s recorded weight was within a couple kgs of reality.

I weigh myself before every race. If I am doing a race outside, I would race with my weight the moment I start the race, I don’t know why racing on Zwift should be any different from that.

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Fully kitted, or “clean”
With or without waterbottles/ shoes etc?

Fully kitted. No shoes or waterbottles