In an ideal scenario when you join a new team you are getting a captain that is fully up to speed to how things work and makes it as easy as possible for you.
At a basic level that is just deciding who races each week and share the race pass with any key info on team tactics or points to note in the course.
Teams should be balanced and not too big or small so that a full team of 6 is put out every week to be competitive but you don’t have half the team bench warming and not getting to race.
After that it’s how you interact with the team. Teams will use various forms of communication from messenger, whatsapps, discord and othere things. Personally I use discord for zrl teams and our wider race team so the interaction is not purely just the zrl race once per week you can get invovled in everything.
When it comes to race time it’s great nearly all our riders will be on discord live chat and i’d encourage anyone not racing to act as a DS for the theam pointing out key parts of the course or anything else they see relavent.
Personally I probably watch as much zwift as i do ride sometimes to try help others is sometimes just as much fun.
This is more anecdotal, as I think Gordon hit the important notes.
Things I like about ZRL:
Tactical decision making, team decision making, working with my team and coming up with a plan prior to the race, and the extended “social” aspect beyond in-game, along with the encouragement from others while things are ongoing.
Not to mention, tighter races due to the division system (less sandbagging, if there is any, it’s obvious, and is taken care of [eventually; but is dealt with])
What I’ve heard from some folks who don’t see the point of ZRL:
Standoff-ish captains, a team who never speak to each other or really work together. Basically removing everything i just wrote about that I personally like about ZRL with my team.
Which, those teams absolutely do exist; so if you find yourself on a team, and you see tumbleweeds and hear nothing but the wind… chances are that’s how it’s going to remain.
I don’t know if this is rare, or common; just stating its existence.
For me though it really is finding an excuse to do a lot of research in the background and do a lot of side projects.
As an example; the past month I’ve been loading up a massive complex spreadsheet with things like each teammember’s previous year’s power data, a TTT calculator so captains can figure out who needs to pull for potentially how long and give the teammates a rough idea where they need to be power wise, and a new section I started working on that references all KOMs and Sprints on every world/route so captains can call out upcoming segments.
So again, for me, possibly majority, of the fun is actually spent outside of the races, than it is during the actual races.
I realize not everyone wants this; so they find more quiet teams, and treat them like normal races that are again just a little tighter than normal. Nothing wrong with that method. I just like the addition of preparation that can go on in the background.
Short and sweet:
ZRL to me is fun because I/we as a team go in with a plan.
normal Zwift races are just loose canon chasing efforts (by comparison).
Fully agree with all your points other than sandbagging. it’s probably the worst series on zwift for sandbaggers and it does not get taken care of in any way more than a normal ce race would.
If you are not near the top of your cat then zrl has become quite a miserable expereince in a lot of ways. Maybe the re-sorting of the divisions will go some way to resolve that but it does requrie that teams register their full roster before the sort which i suspect is not going to be a requirement.
The addition of pd4.1 and scratch races is welcome hopefully that addresses some of the issues with zrl format.
For me think i probably had the opposite experience of zrl to you and find them boring being dropped efforts riding for minimal points. where as other series like dirt/tfc/5v5 allow all ablities to have fun in a much more tactical race.
We are still doing ZRL but for any rider that is not near the top of their category i’ll encourage them to maybe try giving Dirt series a go
Thanks Gordon & Andrew! I didn’t realize that all these leagues are happening at once. I love your approach Andrew - its exactly what I would be looking for in a race team - I did spend a bit of time with a very large race team in ZRL last year, and they were more interested in sharing mascot photos. Pushed me into a class that wasnt sustainable and never offered any coaching other than a recon.
Where can I find info that explains these alternate leagues, their differences and their integrations with like ZwiftRacing.app / ZwiftPower, etc?
Yeah; definitely take Gordon’s advice here; there are a lot of series.
ZRL just works out for me, fits my scheduling etc.
But there are indeed lots of other series out there to keep an eye out for.
Short of other WTRL events, are there really any other large team-effort focused events? (asking to learn; because I’m not aware of others that have quite the team-direction as WTRL does)
As an aside; I’ve only did ZRL last fall and earlier this spring; where we did have a major sandbagged team in fall we had to compete against who wiped the floor and had more than double the points of the second place team.
I assumed it was WTRL that asked them to be pushed up as they were Cat A in the spring season. But I could be mistaken.
Spring for me earlier this year however felt as tight knit as I could ask for.
Bearing in mind of course that CE is still a broad spectrum; other series I know does do things like the lower half of a Cat.
WTRL just go on whatever your category showed in ZP. I’ve not heard of them before volutnary asking a team to ride up.
Other series require a bit more leg work to organise is only WTRL have the API access to make the signupa and results process really slick. Dirt is going head to head in terms of dates and times this september so i’ll likely be doing that myself i think. I’ll probalby still be shouting at my zrl teammates to try help them during races though.