What's the point of the Rookie Rides if it's treated like a race?

Joined the Rookie Ride tonight for my first group ride experience.

The event text (and the ZHQ staffer at the time) say: “We’ll keep a chill, steady pace in the 10-15mph/16-24kmh range”

So when the ride starts - everyone zooms off at 30kph+, and within 10-15 mins, I’m 3-4 miles from the front pack.

What’s the point in that? I can do 16-24kmh for an hour, I can’t do 30k+ - if it’s going to be 30k+ for an hour, put that in the event description.

I was hoping to experience a first group session, but I’m not interested in getting my behind handed to me by folk who can obviously ride a class or two higher than the event category. Sitting at the back, miles from the group, at the top of the listed event speed, isn’t particularly fun.

Dropped back in later as the companion app wouldn’t stop spamming me about the event, and Zwift then disconnected from my Tacx and HR and wouldn’t reconnect, so I quit in disgust.

Doubt I’ll bother with one again.

Sounds like poor ride leadership from Zwift, I hope they see your post here and can help explain what happened.

Were you pedaling right when the timer hit zero in the pens, or did you start from a dead stop with zero watts?

I had a similar experience when did my first group ride. I know that the HERD and PACK groups have decent slow rides multiple days of the week.

There will always be fliers in the groups, but don’t get discouraged by them.

I believe the “fence” feature is also disabled for now across the Zwift platform, so you may have better experience once they get the bugs worked out and turn it back on for the ride organizers.


Strangely enough, as a newbie, I wasn’t aware I had to be holding about 2-3Wkg off the starting line…

Herds and packs - fair enough, I’m just disappointed that an event which I thought I could do and keep up with the group left me instantly outclassed and at the back, miles from anyone. No point sticking in with that - I might as well just ride a route myself.

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There are always people that zoom off the front, you should just ignore them and stay with the ride leader. The leader has a yellow beacon and he/she should be riding at the advertised pace.

Leader Beacon.

Yeah - the ride leader was +3 miles ahead, with the lead pack at 30kmh+.

They did slow up into the caves on the Feugo route, but then headed off again at the same pace, so I had no chance. I never got near them.

Not in group rides, it does help to be already pedaling but Group rides should start nice and easy.


Yeah, if you are not producing watts at the start I can see how you would be instantly dropped. Hopefully the ride leader was holding the advertised watts/pace, but if you were at 0 watts when the ride started you can kiss the pack goodbye.

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Ride leader was with the pack for the first 10-15 mins, and that was definately over the advertised average - there were several of us at the back who were slightly surprised by the pace.

I fall into the total rookie category - new to cycling, and new to Zwift. Obviously most of the rookies on that ride have way better performance than I do and are maybe new to the platform but not to cycling.

That’s fine. I know I’m rubbish, but I do object to joining an event for a stated average speed and have that blown out of the water from the get go.

Did you save your ride to Strava, can you share the link.

Looking at Zwift power it seem like the pace was low but all the results is not loaded yet.

Here’s the link (I think!): https://www.strava.com/activities/3131683496

(not sure if I’ve done that right - I can see the segments but if I use the link in another browser I dont).

As far as I can see from that, I was above the 10-15mph advertised range at 17mph and I was at the back, I think 3rd last, and not catching anyone whatsoever.

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Thanks for that info it is very helpful.

Looking at the flyby you can see the leader (Chrissie Canino) in blue ahead of you with the gap increasing over the ride.

You did decent speed.24.9km/h average is good, and it is faster than the spesified pace stated in the ride instructions (steady pace in the 10–15mph/16–24kmh range)

Your start was a bit slow, I would sugest getting your power up to 80w just before the ride start.

So I would say you did all the correct things (apart from the slow start), I would think a leader leading a Rookie ride should not start so fast an experienced ride leader would have started from a complete standstill.

@Slopey Don’t give up, group rides is fun.


On top of what @Gerrie_Delport mentioned not sure if the start just got off crazy then calmed down since Chrissie’s Strava profile is private so can’t see detailed speed analysis without being approved. But this screen shot from her ride via the Zwift Companion shows a pretty slow pace at the 3/4 mark, after you had ended your ride.

Don’t let this discourage you, I’d echo what was said above about some of the club group rides. I ride with The Herd and their rides aren’t based on speed but w/kg for the ride and they have ones for all abilities throughout the week. You can find them on the companion app.

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Thanks - glad the Strava linked worked!

Pedaling before the start is exactly the sort of thing it would have be handy for me, as a Rookie, to know - go figure.

I may try another one in the future, but I’m using Zwift to get generally fitter - I don’t need someone else showing me how fast they are - which seems to have been the theme of that event today.

Look at the top 3 for example - 2nd place was doing 3 stages, B class,Tour de Zwift last week - how is that Rookie? And why join an event advertised at a slow pace if you can average 175W over 42km - just to show off? If Rookie events aren’t for rookies, then Zwift should just say so, and I’ll know to avoid them.

@DKE_Watson - thanks for the screenie - I dropped out at 25 minutes - I wasn’t hanging around to see if they’d slow down - I figured I might as well just go do a route myself and not have to ‘compete’ just to catch up. Good that it slowed down later, but that wasn’t really the point as far as I understood it.


I agree. Here are some upcoming group rides that are lower w/kg coming up. Just remember that when group rides post “average of ‘x miles/hr’ or ‘x w/kg’” that is the average, there may be points that those numbers get higher but over the entire ride that is what it should be reasonably close to. If you click on the link below you can search for group rides (“Rides”) and select either “D” or “E” for slower paced rides. Additionally, Herd rides include sweeps that can help get you back with the group if you get kicked out the back


Thanks for the link to zwifthacks - very useful. Obviously an average is exactly that, I don’t expect it to be a fixed speed. I’ll have another go in a few months once I (hopefully) know I have a chance in heck of keeping up out of the blocks.

But as a “rookie”, I must say that all the Rookie group event has done so far is turn me off group events in general for now :frowning:

Hey ho. I’ll take this as a rest day and get back to my own routes tomorrow.


Hi @Slopey thank you, firstly, for joining the Rookie Ride and for your feedback. It’s very valuable. Since my only goal was to make this a positive first group ride experience, I take this criticism constructively. As this is the first in a series of Rookie Rides, I admit I made some rookie mistakes in leading the ride, ones that I intend to correct for next week’s ride. While my Strava reports that I did end up maintaining an average speed of 13 m/ph and, I realize that the beginning pace was too fast and will be more mindful to control this common tendency to fly off the front…which is surprisingly really easy to do when you’re getting that big group draft. Typing and pacing is delicate dance that I got better at as the ride continued. I will also try to improve my messaging and set more realistic expectations in the group. I do hope you return for another ride! Next week, I’m bringing on a sweeper.

Thank you, everyone, for your responses to this thread. I’m going to go ahead and make my Strava profile public if it can be of more help.


Hi Chrissie,

Many thanks for commenting - much appreciated :slight_smile: Just to say, I enjoyed the tips and interaction you were posting throughout the event (albeit while I was there). None of my criticism was aimed at you per se - as I understand it there are no fences currently, and if everyone shoots off from the the get go, there’s not much you can do about it. Ride On!

I’m sure I’ll try another one at some point.


A thought on this ‘Rookie Ride’: In my experience on Zwift, the draft can end up being a hindrance on group rides, especially when the group is large and the riders are inexperienced. In an effort to combat this, what if this ride put everyone onto the Zwift TT bike? I wonder if not having any draft might make it easier for the group to stay together, since ‘the blob’ wouldn’t have that extra advantage over someone just starting to lose contact, or if this would end up just creating additional issues. Thoughts?

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Thanks for dropping in @Chrissie_Canino.

And Welcome to the forum. :+1: