It seems there’s a significant misunderstanding on expected results.
It’s unfortunate that everybody cannot win races. However, in the real world it is very rare to win a bike race outright.
I run a real life cycling club with hundreds of riders. Many strong riders. I can count on one hand the number of riders I know who have won a legit and competitive bike race IRL. It’s very rare.
Now, I am in no way supporting Zwift’s rudimentary W/kg system, or the absolutely terrible category based racing. They are both fundamentally flawed.
However, for those more experienced with real world bike racing, you’ll understand that certain riders generally win, others generally don’t.
It’s for a multitude of reasons. A majority of your potential success is based on two metrics. Your power curve, and your skill at racing.
I can use myself as a clear example. I often win bike races IRL. It is not because I am fitter than the other riders. Most of the time I am far from the fittest. I do however, race incredibly tactically and have very high anaerobic power.
To be clear, I didn’t train it, I was born with it. I certainly train it effectively before entering a race. This means that if I make the finish group, I will virtually always podium, or win. I totally suck at most of actual life, so don’t feel like you lost the genetic lottery
If you race a criterium and in that race there is a born sprinter, who also races perfectly, unless you can match them over the finish both on positioning, timing and power. You will lose. This is more often how it plays out in real life, and on Zwift. Oh, and it’s exactly what we see play out in professional racing.
If you race Crit City and do not race efficiently and have a very powerful 15sec sprint finish, you will lose a vast majority of the time. As you would IRL.
Now, if you had a fantastic threshold ability and took that same crit racer on in a mountain top finish. It is highly likely you would win. BUT, the other riders with high threshold ability will also enter mountain top races. So, you’ll have more competition. Exactly like it is in real world racing.
The facts are, it is very rare to win a mass start bike race IRL. Very few people ever succeed at it. Of those that do, most are generically gifted and or talented racers.
It’s no different in E-racing. The genetically gifted do a majority of the winning. (And anyone on Zpower )
The solution. Have realistic expectations. If you’re not a sprinter, expect to never win a competitive crit race. If you’re not a climber, do not expect to win up the Alpe.
I’m not saying, don’t try and win, not at all. Race strategically, be very tactical with your course selection and use perfect timing. You may win, you may not.
Just don’t expect to win, or even regularly podium in highly competitive races. That is an unrealistic expectation, regardless of what category you race.
Obviously, with a vastly improved racing system Zwift could eliminate or greatly reduce the volume of cheating. They could ensure a fair and equal chance for all racers to win.
Take a long hard look at your power curve, learn where on that curve you excel in comparison to other riders. Enter events that feature decisive segments or climbs at your ideal distances or times. You’ll significantly increase your chances of success.
In short, hopefully Zwift actually listen to us and at least attempt to fix the rampant cheating. Until then, race smart, race hard and have realistic expectations.