The Grade [June 2024]

Yes, it exists on other platforms.

For fun, which real life route would you have used for The Grade climb?

I think Trollstigen Norway would have been perfect replicate for a short climb. You got 8.4% grade over 11km, with 11 hairpin turns and a waterfall next to the road.

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I would have used Col du Télégraphe (D902) from Saint-Michelle de Maurienne - it’s a fairly steady gradient.

Otherwise I would have picked Col D’Izoard which is another nice one that isn’t too hard - although it has some flatter sections that might upset pacing for some people.

For a longer effort (for those who demand the 1 hour power tests) this one is excellent:
Grand Carrey to Co de La Loze, 1430m+ 21.97km

The fast people do that at average ~300w and 18km/h average speed (just over an hour)/

It is relentless (past Le Praz for instance) as you go up through the different levels of Courchevel - but given the steady nature you can get into a good pace. It’s only the Co de la Loze section at the top that isn’t steady, it has some extremely steep sections at 16% or more.

Is the FTP also calculated if I don’t finish the segment? For example, if I only ride for the minimum 8 minutes mentioned?
Or if I don’t complete the entire segment because I blow up after 12 minutes?

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Until we either find out in a few day’s time by testing, or someone from Zwift answers hard to say.

But I can say, it will impact your zFTP curve of course; so it can impact your pace category if you hit PR’s.

The in-game FTP is it’s own thing, and really only tied to workouts and training zones.

I always mix up the Madeline with the Madone, but one of them.

Wow that new road behind the temples to halfway the Grade is amazing. Really good for races.

I agree. When people ask for a velodrome I wonder ‘have they ever really ridden on one and do they understand the dynamics?!’

I have ridden them (the one from Sydney 2000 Olympic Games) and some flatter outdoor ones.

My guess is people just want a dead flat course to do their 100kms in shortest time. As long as you stay on black line it is fast.

Elsewhere in Zwift flat courses are never fully flat, especially the newer ones. Maybe that’s why they want a velodrome.

You would really need a fixed gear trainer bike to make it really realistic. And if it detects someone stop turning then pedals they should be crashed over the bars and out.

My fixed gear by is a Langster Pro. Crazy light bike for alloy!

That depends they don’t need to make it pan flat. e.g increase resistance as you go up the bank. Potentially look at making more use of steering.

Pan flat velodrome if it came with associated race formats to make the most use of it would still be welcome though.

I ride a 96 inch fixed on Zwift on Wahoo Kickr Rollr. I’ve tested cycling tech for a few years and this is THE best ride out there. I’d suggest that anyone asking for a track nip to Derby or whatever is near them and get accredited.

Elimination races are perfect for it.
Or, if Zwift wants to keep going down a road they’ve been playing with; the Gamification Crit City boost and brake pads.

I am indifferent to the whole velodrome that folks are always asking for (I don’t see the obsession over it, and I don’t believe PD and how the steering functions do anything but work against it).
But Elimination races? Would be hugely fun.

An extra large one able to hold like 40+ people too, could be engaging.

For ZHQ though; these additions to Watopia have been great.

BUT PLEASE, can we get some attention on the old worlds and expand them?
Watopia is starting to look like an entirely new game compared to the other worlds.

France doesn’t have a day / night cycle, which is the weirdest bunch out of them all, and would is a great canvas for more roads (but please at least give it a day/night cycle for crying out loud). I don’t even need to say how many roads could be added; some of which all seem interconnected anyway but we can’t ride them; including the road that goes out to St Michel…

Innsbruck still has some wonky clouds; but another city with beautiful river passing through, along with one of the most well known airports in the whole world which is literally there in the map zone that would be worth being able to ride out to, along with the mountain range up to the skiing resorts to the north.

Richmond’s sunrise/sunset looks like it’s still from the release of the map, with tons of city area that could be explored, along with the entire James River coastline and national parks; Belle Isle could be added as well. A very beautiful area that greatly deserves attention.

New York; streets of Manhattan have tons of flat roads to offer.
Everyone seems to love flat roads in Zwift (Tempus). Manhattan is a great opportunity to offer another “tempus” like road everyone seems to want.

Yorkshire… poor yorkshire. Is it even on the monthly calendar anymore? A tiny shame because I love the squirrel gnomes; but, I can understand why this is probably the least favorite map on Zwift thanks to how hilly it is.

Bologna; another missed opportunity to expand a beautiful city with a great countryside to the south end of the map.

I beg you ZHQ; Watopia and Makuri are good for the time being; let’s see the old worlds get the love they deserve; they’re being left in the dust, and are beginning to look terrible compared to Watopia, Makuri/Urukazi/Neoyko, and Scotland.


Forest City, 51 degrees


It appears to me from the Gabby, Nathan, Eric data that the power depreciation to get FTP is higher with this test than it is on the 20 minute test.

This may make sense since the formal 20 minute test has a hard 5 minute effort preceding it. That would reduce W’ somewhat.

My calculations suggest the W’/CP ratio assumed in this test is approximately 130 seconds, which is on the high side. This implies that more of the power up the relatively short Grade climb is assigned to W’ not part of FTP. This calculation assumes FTP = CP ( 1 + 130 / 3600), (ie you use all of W’ during the hour, not FTP = CP. If it took me 20 minutes to get up the grade, and I did 100 watts, my FTP would be 93.5, not the 95.0 assumed in the 20 minute test.

But on the pragmatic side if Zwift FTP is used a a race predictor, since anaerobic work capacity (AWC or W’) is important in racing, it makes sense to use shorter efforts to bin riders. So a 10-15 minute test may be more relevant than a 20 minute test.

If I’ve understood this “The Grade” FTP calculator correctly…

It’s going to give a different value than 95% of best 20mins as well as Category Enforcement zFTP.

For someone like me assigned to the lowest racing pen, getting to the KOM banner to get a “The Grade” FTP estimate is going to take longer than a ramp test, or getting an estimate from a threshold 20min+ effort doing a Tempus Fugit TT etc.

I’m not sure who this “The Grade” calculator is supposed to appeal to, I’d much rather have had an intresting ascent, such as a series of Cat 3/4 inclines (~260-1000 feet at 3%+) spread out with some flatter sections up to the intersection with Epic KOM.

We know a Roubaix style velodrome is on it’s way.
New York should be ripe for expansion, as it’ 100% Zwift, ie no 3rd party contracts, I’d love more NYC roads !
London, not sure if it’s tied to any 3rd parties or if Ride London just used an existing planned world.
UCI worlds, not sure Zwift wants to do much with them while they are branded on top of any Contract.
France, maybe the upgrade money goes to the IRL race ?? :slight_smile:

Assuming it doesn’t change over time cough Epic cough, it’s at least a baseline you can give yourself, and use as a reference such as ADZ is; except… at a more reasonable scale time wise (ie, most races in Zwift are barely 30-40 minutes, an average 60+ minute ascent up ADZ for most folks, isn’t going to be the most telling of fitness).
Plus, ADZ time is affected by some draft, there isn’t a ton, but there is more than none.

Looks like The Grade will have as little as possible impact from drafting, given its location. It appears GPLlama’s now famed “bailout road”, is the only draft-able location on the climb of The Grade itself, which is only a few second’s worth of flat for the turn point.

I don’t expect to see people going up it all too often, but, regardless it should be a welcomed feature; that doesn’t technically involve going into sub menus of different menus of different pages, just to do a “test.” That as a feature alone, IMO is quite big. (Similar to climb portals being featured in the maps and don’t require exiting your ride to do it).
Sure, you could end your ride and go straight to it, but the fact it’s a location, and not a workout mode, is a welcome feature.

Daniel put it correctly though; as stated, since Zwift races are so short anyway, everyone wants their harder, yet shorter, efforts realized; this is a good test. And again, assuming nothing changes… it’s just a data point that shouldn’t be affected greatly like other climbs.

Most races in Zwift are determined by real efforts under 10 minutes; not by a total 1 hour + capacity, because those races mostly don’t commonly exist short of a handful of events (and rarely / maybe only once per year by Zwift themselves).

Regardless; everyone here on the forum by now should know FTP varies daily, and hourly, and the differences in a handful of watts is mostly meaningless; it could be the difference in stress, food, 20 more minutes of sleep, etc.

These shorter tests, should definitely burn you out more.

Personally, the handful of times I’ve done the 20 minute FTP tests, I likely could keep going, but lack the interest at staring at numbers on the screen for that long of a period, and just watching the timer count down; and might as well not even be doing it on a Zwift world in the first place. But at the end, I still always felt like my legs could easily keep going at the same power for at least another 10 minutes… if I could force my brain to want to keep going.

These shorter effort tests will really, again as Daniel mentioned, impact your body’s capacity, and will really bottom out you W’, where on a 20+ minute test, you try and stabilize into your CP zone so you can survive it.

FTP for the record should be something like that indeed 95-96% CP.

Regardless, as mentioned; a handful of watts here and there shouldn’t matter that much, daily differences will create bigger gaps.


Least they can do then is provide rebel routes or make new ones at least for the time being; especially London.

Regardless, it’s definitely a fact that the older worlds seem to have outdated lighting or at least outdated sky models from years past of when they were introduced.

Sunrise in worlds like Yorkshire, London, Richmond, Innsbruck, look nothing at all like the ones we have in Watopia currently.

Though, I’ll still continue to wish and dream for more weather in more worlds; including snow for those higher up biomes.

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No one said a velodrome is coming.

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Maybe not explicitly, but we had that screenshot from Eric Min back in February.

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