Tour de Zwift Fence

Just finished Sage 3 of the 2021 Tour de Zwift/Rookie Race (open to all categories of riders) and I’m confused by the fence. I’m pretty new and pretty slow – I finished about 3/4 of the way back – OK by me! But I kept getting messages over and over in the middle of the screen: RETURN TO THE GROUP.

From what I could see the red fence and the yellow… uh… beacon? were both pretty far behind me, with the vast majority of riders ahead of me.

Any words of wisdom on this much appreciated here!


You will see the fence if you are in front of the leader (yellow beacon)

Correct, but in a group of 500+ riders the “leader” was all the way at the very back of the ride, with a very small space between the fence and the leader. Something seems wrong here! This was an all-groups ride, so if a slow rider like me was in front of the leader, the A-riders were REALLY far ahead.

I think the Rookie Rides are all scheduled to run between 1.2 and 2.0 W/Kg, so that’s what the leader / beacon would be doing, and the fence appropriately near there.

Only the Rookie Rides had that sort of thing. None of the non-Rookie Rides had an advertised pace, leader, or fence.

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Thanks Andrew – interesting!

This is a bit tricky, especially for a newcomer like me.

This WAS labeled as a Rookie Ride, yet it ALSO listed the W/kg at between 1.0 – 5.0 – a pretty big range! As mentioned, I’m pretty slow, and probably average about 2.0 W/kg. How could I possibly have been so far ahead of the gate/fence at that speed? (The 5.0 W/kg folk would have been REALLY far ahead!). As noted, I was probably about 3/4 of the way back in the pack. Hmm!

Your advice is excellent but this is still a bit mysterious-o!


It takes discipline to stay with the beacon particularly when a majority are going faster and drag you along in the draft but essentially, you should have eased up from the beginning and stayed with (or just behind) the beacon.

Since Zwift stopped zapping people for going through the fence, its become a free-for-all in large group rides as the beacon is powerless to reign in flyers.

Some clubs do private meetups for some of their rides, and/or just DQ flyers in ZP.

EDIT: ps. the 1-5w/kg range will probably always have the problems you described - not very common as most rides target a specific w/kg

Hi there,

I think the idea of the Rookie Rides is to help people who are new to or nervous about group rides - whatever your ability - by having a leader who keeps a group together and makes sure no-one feels they’re riding alone.

From what I’ve seen the ride leaders are taking up a pace around 1.5w/kg but many who want to ride faster just seem to be finding their own pace, and ignoring the fence, which I think is okay. Just find your rhythm, and ignore the “Return to Leader” warning.
If you’re finding the Rookie Rides slow, do try the regular TdZ rides - you’ll always find someone to ride with.

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Right/better answer right there :arrow_up:

Excellent advice – thanks!

Oh yeah… the other thing I find funny about anything on Zwift labeled as for beginners or newcomers or rookies – there is absolutely no instructions provided whatsoever! If you’ve done a lot of group rides you don’t need this, but since this is specifically pegged for ROOKIES it would be nice to have a link: “New to event rides? Here’s some information you need to know before your first Rookie Ride!”