Tour of Watopia Pace

Hi I joined my first proper group ride yesterday which was the TOW Stage 1 Rookie Ride. I thoroughly enjoyed it but was surprised by how quickly everyone rode considering it was a 1.0-1.5w/kg ride. I reckon the Beacon rider was the last to get home!! Is it always like that with riders hammering the pedal?

The TOW is not at all a typical group ride, I think most riders treat them as races (even the rookie rides). You usually have a defined w/kg range in group rides, for example 1,6-1,9 w/kg. The good ride leaders stick to that pace closely and encourage the group to do the same and build a tight blob. After all that´s the point of joining a group ride: being in a tight blob and enjoying the draft and the company. Sometimes the fence is used to help prevent flyers, but I know many group rides that work very well without the fence.

Some group rides work better than others, it depends on many factors. You just have to try which ones work best for you. But the TOW rookie rides are definitely not a good example because there´s far too many guys viewing them as races :upside_down_face:

How completely predictable. What a shame

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well, I can’t even see the Rookie Rides, so they must have some kind of filtering going on to stop more experienced cyclists from joining :smiley:

“is it always like that with riders hammering the pedal?” - yes sir - better get used to it now, ignore the fliers, find a nice group, and ride your pace. most people will ride at the advertised pace, but there’s always a few morons who just wanna show off.

Rookie Rides should absolutely not be races.

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I feel one of the reasons there’s confusion over the pace of the rookie rides is because they’re described as “E” events. In other Zwift events this tends to mean “for Everyone, whatever pace you ride” - e.g. group workouts where everyone stays together, or group rides where everyone’s encouraged to finish at their own pace.

But Rookie Rides are actually led at a pace in the “D” power range and - if they were organised by a club - I think they’d likely be classed as “D”, helping people who are looking for a D-level ride to find them.

But Zwift doesn’t do this - which suggests they’re trying something different - maybe trying to get people into their first group rides by saying “hey, don’t worry how fast you are, these rides are for anyone!”

This may attract some new people to ToW events but it also seems to create confusion. I’d prefer labelling of Zwift events to be more consistent and I hope the benefits of the positives people get from these rides outweighs the confusion.

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Shuji at Zwift HQ here. Sorry to hear of this poor experience. Rookie Rides are supposed to be welcoming and informative rides for our Tour of Watopia newbies, and not hammerfests.

I agree with @S_Bierbichler. Don’t feel pressured to keep up with the folks who want to turn every ride into a race. You do you!

Did the ride leader do a good job leading the conversation and guiding the group along?


Thanks @shooj I didn’t struggle and found that I too had to ride a bit quicker than the beacon to keep it comfortable. I was simply surprised at the pace of the rest of the field. It took me some time to work out where the beacon was, as I had assumed he would be in the pack ahead of me somewhere, about 5 miles in he said where he was and it was only when I zoomed out the map I realized he was behind all of us!

To be fair in terms of guidance the Beacon did a really good job of coaching and explaining the way things worked.

I very much enjoyed the ride. I had planned to do stage 2 last night but a combination of sons birthday and Wife needing picking up from somewhere meant I had to can it so will be looking to complete it in the mop up week…


I think this one might fall into the same bucket as all the other problems assosciated ( with racing mostly) of enfoced entry categorisation rather than letting people pick there own incorrectly or not.

Pretty clear that a significant number of people just join the next available event when they want to log on and probably pay lipservice or even no heed whatsoever to the appropriateness of the event for there intended pacing . Particulatrly potentially looking for events with big entrants perhaps with he view that “I will find someone more likely in this one to ride along side”

Zwift could do something about this , but so far anyway appear reluctant to do it and expect everyone to just play nicely and/or read the manual, sooner I hope than later they will realise we dont ,

It wouldnt be difficult for example to limit entry to rookies by (just an example) checking if they have taken part in a certain number of events before ( or in the last few months ) for example if that was the target audience and just offer a suggested alternative ride if a user did not qualify. In this case , joining the proper TOW event that I think runs concurrently.

Seasoned users of Zwift of course learn to ignore those who turn up and ride inappropriately for an event but it is needless distraction even then from a totally positive experience . @shooj as this ride is absoslutely geared for a specific purpose of introducing new subscribers to the zwift experience I would think more than anywhere else making sure that experience is super positive would matter to you ?

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or read the manual

There’s a manual? :laughing:
I thought that the lack of manual is why Zwift Insider and GP Lama exist!

Anyway, I think that Zwift are in a pretty hard place with this one. The Rookie ride paces are below what many new joiners to Zwift will ride at.
So Zwift could call it the “slow” group instead of Rookie, but that could be pretty demotivating.
Zwift could post it as Rookie with a beacon riding at the advertised pace and make it explicitly optional to follow the beacon. And encourage anyone wanting to ride above 1.6WKG to join another event.
They just can’t please everyone.

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No, they can’t please everyone but they made no effort to try and limit this completely predictable outcome.

They could limit rookie ride to riders with an FTP of say 2.0w/kg, they could have limited them to riders who have done under 1,000km. Or limited it to riders who have signed up in the last 3 months. They did none of those things and instead find that riders are racing off the front even though those riders could have enter either of the other rides.


A wise person once said “If it’s predictable, it’s preventable”. Great advice that Zwift should consider.


Making the “Rookie” rides rubber-banded using the “keep together” function would have eliminated all these issues, which were completely predictable. I checked, though, this evening, and there is no “filter” preventing experienced Zwifters from entering these rides (AFAICT) - but I didn’t actually click the button.

However, more importantly, this Rookie rider’s experience, @shooj highlights to specific areas that Zwift does need to attend to:

  1. “Where is the Ride Leader/Pace Partner”??? This question arises all the time, in many different, easily cured circumstances. It’s my suggestion that Zwift apply the “close the gap” animation, updated end January (update-1-0-61217/ for the Pace Partner, but quickly abandoned for unknown reasons) to create a virtual linkage between a rider and the Ride Leader or Pace Partner. This “linkage” would be indicated by the animation (already deployed and tested) which continually shows the relative position of the RL/PP (ahead or astern), the distance (in meters), and the rate of closure.

  2. The chat bubbles lead many users to assume the wrong position for a rider merely because the bubble pops up at the TOP of the “Riders Nearby” list, regardless of the rider’s own position with respect to the messenger. If a message arises from a person who is astern of the user, the chat bubble should be placed at the bottom (under) of the screen - indicating the rider initiating the message is behind the user. If the originator of the message is ahead of the user, the chat bubble should remain at the top of the riders nearby proximity board at the right.

The PP animation (clearly based on the “Close the Gap” tech), has wide ranging applications that are demonstrated and tested. Imagine how many users’ comments just in this forum alone would be “solved” - not by changing the color of Coco Cadence, or placing a towering light above her head, but rather providing an “always on” proximity animation which actively indicates relative position (ahead or astern), distance between (the user and the PP or RL), and rate of closure/opening (by matching animation closure/opening).

This function is already in existence and has not only been demonstrated, but actively tested during the month of February - and used today. Except the current implementation of this extremely useful animation only pops-up when it’s too late to make the smooth incremental changes to pace/cadence necessary for least disruption to the pack dynamic. This is huge, and an easy fix!

The animation adaptation that I have in mind is illustrated below here with “Catch Up to C.Cadence”… I really can’t see CC, and I don’t need to! I do know that she is ahead of me by 7 meters and the speed of the separation or closing of the User/PP icons tell me how fast that distance is opening or closing! Easy-peasy.

hey made no effort to try and limit this

Well, I don’t see the Rookie rides available to me, so I guess they are doing something.

I know it’s not perfect, but considering the scope of users it will never be. Let’s take your suggestions as an example:

limit rookie ride to riders with an FTP of say 2.0w/kg

2WKG is significantly over the rookie ride speed, so you’ll prob still have fliers.
Many rookies will not have done an FTP test or want to do one.
You will then have some riders who want an easy paced-group ride or coming back from injury and will be angry that they’ve been blocked from this ride.

limited it to riders who have signed up in the last 3 months

Many of these riders will have FTP well over the ride pace of 1.5WKG. So you’ll still have fliers.
Some other riders will be infrequent users, who consider themselves rookies and will be angry that they’ve been blocked from this ride.
Some riders will have signed up briefly, then paused their subs and only recently restarted Zwift. They will consider themselves rookies and will be angry that they’ve been blocked from this ride.

It’s the same issue that has bugged group rides forever. The only solutions are to put a fence in to stop flyers or ignore the fliers, chill out and ride with the group at the advertised pace. Most Zwifters seem to just roll with the second option and enjoy the ride :slight_smile:

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You’re right, I can’t sign up to the Rookie Rides either. I wonder what criteria they are using to determine that? Also amazing that they can implement this but can’t sort out auto category assigning for races.

Are you two looking at the same event as I am? I’m able to sign up without issue. I’m no rookie either, level 39 and almost 2.5 years on the platform.

My bad, thought they’d be just another cat in the existing events.
Just found one and just signed up to cruise with the rookies because that’s what a Level 40 rider should be doing!

(didn’t really) :slight_smile:

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I assumed the same as @Tim_King - didn’t realise they were their own events.

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No worries, there are only a few Rookie Rides per stage and they are at the same time as the normal rides, so it seems very strange that anyone other than true rookies would sign up. But then again, some people have a very hard time reading event descriptions or even having a basic understanding of what they are signing up for. :man_facepalming:

I removed my registration as soon as I took the screen shot too, so I won’t be there to ruin it for anyone.


Why would you ruin it for them, it may actually be nice to have a few seasoned riders in the group to answer questions and to give tips.

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