What about authorising local bike shops to verify height and weight + power meter that is being used. It would drive people to their LBS (a good thing), and for a small fee they could get a ‘verified’ badge that would display next to their name, or on their jersey.
How do you prevent riders from recalibrating their powermeters/trainers after getting verified? Also, how do you prevent them from sweating out a weight loss just for the weigh-in?
If you’re letting riders participate from their own home, I don’t think there’s any way to prevent cheating or even make it that much harder. I think the solution is either to create a format where such “electronic doping” doesn’t matter or to just compete against people you trust.
There must be a wattage that would be humanly impossible to attain and, also, averages over various time periods that are impossible to maintain.
Anyone showing those figures could be highlighted as having “probable misconfiguration issues” and a pop up message shown on their screen. That would show that their results are invalid without accusations of cheating. Genuine people will correct their settings.
However, sadly, people with a tendency to cheat could change their settings to just the right side of those thresholds.
The thing I don’t understand is that, for us cyclists, riding indoors is always about training. We call Zwift a “game” but really it’s a way of making our training more enjoyable and social and keeps us motivated. To have people better than ourselves makes us work harder. To have targets that are out of reach makes us work harder. The person who lapped me several times yesterday with really high w/kg and got all of the jerseys will soon get very bored with this and will eventually realise that their rides will be viewed by everyone else as “suspicious”.
If it’s that important to people, what about ANT+ scales verification? Sure, it can also be “cheated” but then just about any form of verification can be cheated and it always boils down to the simple fact that some people just like to cheat.
I think most people paying for a premium training system are doing so because they like data and accuracy. Doctoring this information only makes your own profile floored so what’s the point?
There has to be some sort of trust or verification system.
“This above all: to thine own self be true…”
B’ys, what is everyone worried about here? Are you really worried that you are being shortchanged in the virtual Zwift world? I believe in honesty and good sports(wo)menship. I’m aware that for all of my 35 years on earth, not everyone has shared my feelings on that. I don’t care. I’m not loosing a TdF jersey to a doper. It’s all about PBs for me and the spoils of my labour will be seen on the road when the snow melts. When someone blows past me doing 11.0 W/kg for a lap, I wonder why they spent all the effort cheating or assume they made an honest mistake in inputting their weight. Either way, it doesn’t weigh on my mind for more time than it takes me to shift down one cog and push harder.
I completely agree with Richard, I have better things to worry about than someone cheating in a virtual world. Definitely a first world problem.
I’m with Richard too. It’s a damned video-game. I get my workout, have some fun, and am happy. Winning at Zwift is even more meaningless than winning the local Tuesday night training ride. If it comes to going to a bike shop to verify my weight, or purchasing a scale to use Zwift, I won’t be subscribing.
That’s fine for you guys who aren’t competitive. But some people are competitive, and the nature of competition is that it has rules. We’re just trying to work out how to apply them. I race in real life, so I’m not taking this too seriously, but it would be more fun if it was a level playing field.
If I was told that I had to go to a LBS to verify my weight, there is no way I would use Zwift. I use Zwift because it kills the boardom of using a trainer. To be honest, I barely notice the other riders when I ride. I ride it to try and beat my personal best times. To be honest, I don’t even view this as a video game, I see it as a Fitness Application that lets you ride with other people.
Maybe just watch riders performances and give them a tag of “suspected doper” that would be perfect.
I can see where people are coming from with this. Some people aren’t that competitive, and don’t want the hassle of having to verify anything. Some of these people are probably not bothering to calibrate or ensure their zPower is correct - they’re not cheating, they’re just not that bothered. And for some people Zwift is a journey, not a destination. I don’t have a problem with any of that, I think this is a big part of Zwift’s customer base, and I ride like that myself sometimes. But another bunch of Zwift customers are going to want to compete for jerseys - and they may be willing to go to an extra hassle or expense to ensure that they are competing against a subset of users who, like themselves, have accurate power and weight data. I don’t know how Zwift is going to make this happen, but it’s important, because most of the discussions are about it.
Good points Tim H. I would imagine the large majority of potential users of Zwift won’t have pm’s or ‘smart’ trainers and as you said won’t really be too bothered about total accuracy of the power figures and segment times.
Getting a good balance between these users and the others will be important.
I would rather it remained open to everyone but can see a need for separate leader boards.
It just comes down to the jerseys. I enjoy rolling around in the Orange jersey or the KOM jersey, some people don’t care which is fine. I have said this before in posts, it all depends on what the long term goals of ZWIFT are. If the goal is to have “real” off-season races and competition in the game the irregular numbers have to be sorted. Personally, the longer I ride in ZWIFT the less I care about what motivates a rider to skew their numbers to get a sub-50 KOM time. It is annoying to watch riders put down scientifically impossible data, but it is what it is. Probably many of them get dropped in their local rides and ZWIFT now gives them an opportunity to be something they are not, I get it. I have noticed lately when this is happening other riders ridicule them with messaging. I have even seen a few times after being called out riders leave the game and then come back with more believable data. So, this says to me that riders do care what people in the game think about them. Community is king in multi-player games.
Yes, that’s true. I have seen the calling out also. And if you’re pushing those numbers for real and you get called out, you get the pleasure of explaining that you’re for real (my figures all too believable sadly).
T.H. One who is legit and is called out has 2 choices. 1.) ignore it then crush it harder. 2.) post racing rankings. I suppose ZWIFT could add a riders racing category to their profile in the feed. This could easily be verified through a data base and racing license number. But, that might be a bit much. I dunno, RIDE ON.
interested to hear how exactly one should politely ‘call out’ a rider. i have done it once. i said ‘wow unbelievable w’kg - you should either go pro or take a look at you calibration’. i think it worked. next time i saw the rider he was dialled down a lot.
Or, just say “check your data”. Or, “your data seems off”. It’s good to know what is possible and what is not. Some riders can easy tempo at 3.5 W/KG all day without too much effort and LT at 5 or 6 for 2 or 3 laps. This is completely reasonable. If someone is consistently at 7 or higher and at over 10-11ish W/KG for entire KOM it is suspect for example. That is just my opinion though.
Yes, I do think a convention of politely calling out a rider would be useful. We don’t want to get nasty. And if we all become more educated about what W/kg corresponds to what level of riding. For example, riding consistently at 3.5 W/kg for 3 laps isn’t too hard for a Cat 2/3 rider, but to do 3 laps at 6 W/kg you would have to be Bradley Wiggins.