Testing Pace Partners as Event Leaders

Hi everyone,

Thanks to all of you that took part in last week’s Alpe testing events. Thanks especially for your feedback, which I think essentially came down to 2 things - you’d like more of them and the lead in needs to be a bit quicker! We will have more events like this in the future and I’ll make tweaks to the warm up.

For the next 3 weeks, between Tuesday and Thursday, we’re going to be running a series of tests with group rides led by an Event Pace Partner. These will be as follows:

Week 1 - Staggered Starts with various paced leaders around Triple Flat Loops
Week 2 - Mass start with various paced Event Pace Partners around Wandering Flats
Week 3 - Single Event Pace Partner on Watopia’s Waistband, sharing some fun facts and even some trivia!

This events will take place every 4 hours, but I’ve slightly changed the times from week to week to give everyone a chance of joining in.

See the events here: The at Home Cycling & Running Virtual Training App

Are there plans to allow organisers to set a Pace Partner if no assigned leader turns up?

I’m lucky to have excellent backups for my own weekly ride but I have joined other ones where neither leaders nor sweepers lined up and it inevitably became more chaotic than a race, as Zwifters are notoriously undisciplined when left to their own devices! :smirk:

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Not currently. It’s a fairly lengthy process to create them.

We should be looking at events where there have been multiple instances of leaderless rides and encourage them to ensure that this doesn’t continue to happen. Bit of an hours in the day thing currently though

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Interesting effect around the Pace Partner!
(Win10, 1050Ti card)

Whole heap of fun, would do again
Maybe add drops to help keep the group together a bit more, but it’s great as it is!

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I’m keen… but I also need to know what world/course the event is on before I sign up.

Why isn’t this information visible on the sign up page?

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Apologies - oversight on my part. I’ll include it in the event copy next time.

This is currently due to be fixed in 1.27. Really sorry about this.

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I took part in one of these rides about an hour ago (Dennis Départ, 1.8 W/kg, 45 mins). It was all as advertised, but I’m struggling to understand what the draw to such an event would be, over a basic Pace Partner ride.

The beauty of the standard PP ride is that we can join whenever we want (or are able) and stay for as long as desired, rather than having to fit to a rigid schedule. Even if there were a ride starting every hour, or even every 30 minutes, which would be an extremely dense schedule, these events would still feel far less useful or attractive than the permanently-available PPs.

A plus on top of that — for those who are still filling their garages — is the drops multiplier increasing riders’ ‘earnings’. While the drops don’t motivate me any more, I find the game of having to stay close to the PP to maintain the multiplier progression a stimulating tool.

The event leader bot today was mute (not necessarily a bad thing!), but that rendered its presence even more superfluous. With literally no reason to stay with the leader, the 35-rider group inevitably split into bunches, with only a small core staying with the bot throughout.
When the programmed duration ended, the PP disappeared. It felt like that didn’t change anything for me.
Honest question: what am I not getting?

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Hi @Roule_Thoune, I think James has said many times that these are just tests and wouldn’t replace community ride leaders, more of a proof of concept perhaps?

I can see a use for them in large tour events like tour de Zwift or tour of Watopia. Other than that, I’m not sure the use case for them?

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Not presuming to speak for James, I could see a Pace Bot Event Leader as a tool for running regular Route and Badge Hunting rides. Not a lot of people want to commit to hosting an “earn the Four Horsemen badge” ride (Zwift Insider has done what? One in a year?) but regular bot-led events where I KNOW what the pace will be would motivate me to finish off the last few epic routes I need.

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To clarify (again) I am not intending for Event Pace Partners to replace ride leaders.

Badge Hunting rides is definitely on the list.

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Sorry, James. Didn’t want my feedback to be perceived as some kind of knock on your efforts. Just reporting what my gut reaction was after doing one of the test events.

No, not to worry at all. This comes up quite a bit so just wanted to be clear.

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Hi James,

I took part in a Week 2 mass start event earlier today. Pretty much as expected. I would definitely use it again. I like how we start in the pens and know what what’s in front of us, rather than getting dropped in at a random spot (why do I always get dropped in on the base of a climb when joining a roaming PP!).

A few observations:
Alyssa, Brian and Chelsea were all together for the first 8 minutes or so, so we had a good sized bunch at the front. I’m not sure if those expecting a 2.3 ride were getting pulled along at 3.3 pace of Alyssa, or we were all doing a similar warm up pace. Pace seemed fairly cruisy (for me) at this stage.

It took 30 minutes for Alyssa to drop Brian at the start of the climb.
If your intent is to split the bots/groups up sooner, you might want to dial back the drafting, put the bots on TT bikes or utilise some lumpier routes.

The bots are bit difficult to spot in their ninja attire. In a future iteration, you may want to give each bot a unique coloured beacon, tron and/or kit. Not a biggie, but would be useful in a mass start event where the first few seconds are spent looking for your pace leader.

Keep up the good work.

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Thanks Benjamin.

I’m pretty sure that the ninja attire is getting fixed in the next release!

The intent if for the bots to ride along at a pace that whoever wants to join them can do so - so if a 2,5 bot was hanging on to people doing 3.3, then that works for me.

Grateful for comments around when the bots were being dropped by faster riders!

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Hey James,

I did the 9:00am (pacific) ride today. A and B bots together for first 10-15 mins of ride. I was near the front of the lead group for first couple of descents and we gapped the A and B bots by a few seconds on each. The group seemed happy to slow the pace and regroup. Not sure if anyone went off the front (didn’t see them go on the map if they did) as there were no results on Zwift or Zwiftpower. Finished with what may have been the lead group with the A pace partner and a group of around 10 others I would guess. The B group was more than 2 mins back by the end. I averaged 2.6 w/k. Felt like not quite C race pace, Great longer ride pace for me personally (~3.2w/k ftp). Felt similar to some of the stronger C group rides (AHDR Bacon rolls, or HERD Gallops) but maybe a little more relaxed or less surgey on the climbs.

Also loved the ADZ pace bot rides.

Hope this Helps. Thanks for your continued efforts on this.

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Tried the 5pm (uk time) event last night, I like the idea although got lost picking up the bots at the start. Ended up catching the C bot about 10mins in and overtaking with a small group.
I do like the fact with enough riders it’s no problem pacing between the bots, and at least early on you could catch or fall back depending on how you wanted to ride.
Echo what others have said, making the bots stand out would be a great improvement but all in all positive and a nice alternative to the standard pacers

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Just finished a 1.8 ride around the Waistband. Several people in our small ride got dropped early on. I was dropped about halfway through the ride. Sure would be nice to have a sweeper function. It could be:

  • another pace partner sweeping
  • a “return to group” button that would take you back to the ride leader
  • a pedal assist option that would cut in when you fall back x distance and would cut out once you’re back within y distance of the leader

Another idea - turn on the fence and add ride leader nagging. That would make it more like a normal group ride. I’m not sure I’ll do it again.

To echo other replies, overall I don’t see a huge benefit of this event vs. just riding with the regular pace partners.

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Just on the sweeper note, because they’re not “intelligent” this doesn’t work, but we have had a play around with a second “leader” that is slightly slower than the first to potentially form a grupetto for those that drop off the group.

For some context - in our major events (like Tour de Zwift) we know that the experience for seasoned zwifters is more positive than for new ones, due in part to how everyone takes off in those sort of events. We hope that by forming Pace Partner groups at the lower end, this will result in less people being on their own and make it a more enjoyable experience.

They are not a replacement for event leaders in group rides.

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