WTRL - Zwift Chase Races

Entered. Straight to B (I just got promoted to ZP Cat B and I’m rapidly on my way back to Cat C - will see if my colleagues drop me as quick as the ZP Cat B’s). Couple of timeslots that semi-work for my time-zone (sorry @Mark_Crane_TOG_G_65y - though at least you are sitting this one out).

Not many entries visible on zp yet but I did get my first LOL of the morning at one in particular!

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Signed up out of curiosity, got put into C where I would once again feel like a sandbagger (same as the previous round of lolcat races), so thanks but no thanks.

Fun fact: in the weekend’s UCI qualifiers, among the top racers there were actually quite a few whose numbers didn’t even meet the A category limit, so that’s how useful the W/kg categories are.

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This from the FAQ:

Q: How is my category determined?
A: Over the last 18 months WTRL has developed several categorization algorithms each able to work with multiple variables such as power, gender, age, previous results, ranking and many more. WTRL will use your existing race history to determine the best category to place you in. Initially these will be fixed categories but in the future all ZRacing races will become dynamic.

I can believe that the FAQ says that, yes. As to how it is actually implemented, well, I have this bridge to sell…

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Absolutely. Let’s hope that it works a lot better than the Zwift Classics series.

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I’m assuming A to D auto cat don’t equal A to D in old money.

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not entirely but if it’s anything like the classics it was roughly the same although the problem with the classics there were some very strange looking auto categorisations in a few instances that looked clearly wrong.

hopefully they have fixed that now. It should be easy to tell once zp event data starts to populate.

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With so many of these races coming up, there should be plenty of data that can be analyzed and used to tune the algorithms. I hope that is part of their plan :slight_smile:

zp is populating now. Which on first glance looks in order of what you would expect. I can see a few outliers but that appears due to only looking at 30 days of data.

30 days is not long enough in my opinion but i assume like all things that can be changed if it’s decided it’s not getting the best results…and the time gaps. I reckon D are getting caught quite early. probably need an extra minute at least maybe 2. I also predict that the A>B at 2 mins probably should be 1 min so i’ll be interested to see how that goes.

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Judging by the ZP signups I seem to be a minority where I’m not getting assigned a category. The screen stays hanging on the yellow “assigning category” pictogram. I’ve waited more than 5 minutes, both on PC and on Android. I never have any issues signing on for ZRL nor TTT so I know the accounts are coupled correctly and there is sufficient rider history.

Anyhow glancing through ZP I’ll be very interested in how the race pans out. The “E” field seems to be very small and mainly Elite. Due to the size I doubt this group (15 thus far) will travel faster than the A field (just shy of 100 riders thus far). When I look at my B-category (which I assume I’d be placed in) then the spread is huge from 4.3wkg/350+W to ~3.4/250W. Superficially it seems like any other ZP race but with the borders changed only slightly, rather than utilizing the additional category space to its fullest.

Thus far I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt though I won’t be joining this first race.

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So it seems to be mostly aligned with conventional cats (E pen = A+) with a few obvious mismatches just like in the good old days of sandbagging :slight_smile:

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Gerrie Delport has successfully been added to event in group C.

This will be interesting.

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Thanks @Dean ! So I HAD to go and get entered even though I’m not riding, strictly in the interest of academic research. The 4:20am start would be the one I’d ride so I selected it and got Group C! And then I went to ZP to see what that group looks like and if I had my fitness from a month ago, I would be at the pointy end of the group and the entire group is fairly tight with 20 minute power. This would’ve been fun. Dammit.

Looks like they might’ve gotten this closer to right than the Zwift Classics. Is it possible WTRL learned something from their previous endeavor?

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The B group I’ve been put in is an absolute monster. Having a huge group compared to a small group will have a massive impact on the race.
There is a only a handful in D and E with B and C by far the most populated. I suppose this makes sense from a basic bell curve perspective, but it’s not gonna be that much fun for those at either end!

In principle chase races should be a fairly easy problem as 20 min power is probably quite a useful guide. Most riders expect to go fairly hard and there’s only one modest hill (reverse KOM) on the course. But in my (APAC) time zone they’ve still put a couple of very obviously strong A+ riders down in the A pen (which also includes a bunch of B cat riders) and a far weaker A up in the elite E pen. There are a number of other similar anomalies. I wonder why it’s so difficult for them?

From my experience, this is how these races are with the W/kg cats. B and C cats have the most riders. Some strong C riders are able to stay with the Bs if the course is flat. A and D are small and don’t stand a chance if the time between cats is too little.

Just signed up and it put me in D… Normally I race B, but ok.

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If I’m looking at the riders you are it appears to categorising them that way as their 30 day history does not match their previous ability. I think we’ll see pretty quickly that 30 day history is not a good metric which they hopefully increase.

To a certain extent correct but these races will have such huge fields I think most groups will have decent size peloton. Too big probably. With WTRL directly emailing thousands of users like Zwift do I’m sure it will be popular. Just frustrating that WTRL get all the access while the community get shafted again. Sooner the anti-sandbagging measures come in the better…if ever.

Agreed D cat is no where near enough i’d put money on that. I have been running a series very similar to this format for the last 6 months and reckon the D need at least 5 probably more like 6 min head start so interested to see results. Still that is an easy thing to fix and will be obvious

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Chase races are the easiest race format for a system like this. Races won’t be ruined by the odd outlier, unlike scratch races. Especially if there are a roughly equal number of outliers in each category.

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