After another day in which I ended up in a small group (3) of riders who were happy to sit on my wheel and put in a bunch of watts to catch me whenever I tried to drop them but wouldn’t put those watts in to take a pull (and so we got caught from behind), I would like to see an XP bonus for having people in your draft.
And if we want to really go for it, an XP deduction for sitting on the wheel.
What about 25xp/km if you rode at least half of that km with someone on your wheel and you were not in anyone’s draft? And 15xp/km if you were the one sitting on a wheel for at least half of that km?
Maybe do away with these in large bunches–it’s hard to position yourself so you stay on the front when the group gets to 7, 8, 9 riders even. But when it’s three people–if you can do a minute at X w/kg to catch me, you can do a minute later at X w/kg on the front after you’ve caught me.
(Could even modulate this depending on how close the group is to your watt limits. If you’re just barely hanging on, that’s different than just not wanting to pull.)
Oh I know. There’s just nothing to be done about it in real life except look at the person and say “Seriously?!” Maybe do the finger-circle. (I mean…both IRL and on Zwift you can slow down to try to get them to the front, but in both cases you’re defeating the purpose of, you know…trying to go faster.)
It’s honestly hard to communicate with people in Zwift in moments like that. Do they have the chat up? How many buttons do I have to push to do the Elbow? Do they know what the Elbow means?
But then most people don’t care about XP so that could be a hollow punishment. And to be fair if I’m racing and wheelsucking with a view to saving energy for a sprint I’m not going to worry about a few XP when a victory is at stake.
There’s of course reason to do that. But when you could, if you pulled, help keep a group of three off the front so you’re sprinting against two people, or you could not pull and get swamped 2km from the finish by the group of 15 behind, I am less sympathetic. But that’s me–when I see riders in the break looking at each other in the last KMs, I start hoping that they get caught. People who’d rather finish 20th than pull a faster sprinter to the line and finish 2nd just baffle me.
If you did a break, I’m happy to sit on your wheel. Especially when you show that you want to stay away. When you try to drop me, you show you’re the stronger rider. I will never take over. When you ease up, I might consider to do a ttt with you, depending the circumstances.
I think this assumes the person following you is the same ability and body type as you, which isn’t always the case.
Sometimes, when I feel good, I’m the person helping a group close a gap; sometimes I’m desperately clinging onto the group with no energy to go at the front. I had that last week in the ToW; someone wanted us to push but I was flat out trying to hang onto their wheel! It was on a flat section where I don’t think I have the outright watts to really push; I was only able to push and help when we hit a gradient.
If this was a race, I would probably refuse to work if there was no sign of cooperation. The result is what it is. If it’s not a race then I tell people to form an orderly queue behind my wheel, no fighting please.
So you’ll only work with someone in a break when they decide to ride slower? Here’s me thinking that the purpose of a break is to stay away by riding faster, or at least as fast, as the group behind.
You’re happy to sit on someone’s wheel when they show that they want to stay away.
You won’t work with them unless they slow down.
So…you’re not going to take a pull in a break that wants to stay away. Okay.
It sounds to me like you don’t know how a break stays away.
When I try to drop someone in these situations, it’s because they’ve been sitting on my wheel, at slower speeds, doing wattage I know from the formation of the break that they can do more than, and yet they aren’t pulling. If I slow, they slow right along with me. I try to drop someone only after they have made it clear that they are unwilling to help with the break. And you think that me trying to drop them ‘shows that I’m the stronger rider’, as opposed to it showing merely that I’m unhappy about towing them to the line. The fact is that it only ‘shows I’m the stronger rider’ if I successfully manage to drop them. And at that point, whether you’ll work with me or not doesn’t matter.
Someone trying to drop you doesn’t show that they are stronger. It shows that they’re sick of you not working with them. Someone actually dropping you shows that they are stronger. And you should of course feel free to not work with someone after they’ve dropped you
For sure, and I mentioned that as part of it. If we both do for example 5 w/kg for a min+ to break away from a group, the evidence is there that you can do 5 w/kg in the same conditions I can. If you then sit on my wheel while I do 4.7, and you’re doing 4.3…and not putting in the effort to come around for a pull…after I even maybe ask in the chat…and if I slow to 4.3, you slow to 4.0…and you ramp back up to 4.3 when I ramp back up to 5…and rinse and repeat…I’m going to take from that the following conclusions:
you can do 5 for a minute.
you can do 4.3 sustained.
you could do 5 for a few seconds to get ahead of me, and slow to 4.7 while I drop to 4.3
you could even keep doing 4.3 when I slow, rather than slowing to 4.
That you don’t do those things tells me that you’re not just hanging on, you’re refusing to work.
That’s your prerogative. It just makes you someone not to be in a break with.
But for sure, someone just hanging on can’t take a pull. But there’s evidence that someone is hanging on, and there’s evidence that they could do more. For example…when I finally get sick of towing, and I go up over 5 to drop you…and you proceed up over 5 to stay with me…only to drop back to 4.3 once you’re on my wheel again. That tells me you could take a pull, but you’re deciding not to.
And that’s great race strategy for you, right up until we get caught by the group behind. Again, I don’t get why people would rather not pull when the choices are A) pull and stay away or B) don’t pull and get caught.
Right, there are people who are happy every time to sprint against 25 people instead of against 1.
To me it entirely depends on who the one is. And quite often, if it’s a stranger on Zwift, I’m much happier to sprint against my fellow breakaway partner and maybe get 2nd than to sit up and sprint against them plus the 25 people behind us. “We could have gone 1-2” - “Yeah, but I didn’t want to sprint against you when I was tired, so better to end up 17th.”
It’s what I said above, many times I’d much rather put in the work to stay away and sprint for the win than get swamped and thereby be much more likely to drastically lower my chances. If I don’t think I can outsprint my single breakaway companion to win, why would I think I could outsprint the 25 other people behind us who are going more or less as fast as us? Makes little sense to me. It makes sense to some people, but not to me. And I’m a sprinter too.
As @Milan_Rost mentioned below, outright watts matter more in some places than others. So in the example I gave from last week, I actually made the breakaway happen over the hill onto Fuego Flats but when we got onto the flat, I didn’t have the outright watts to push ahead so had to leave it to someone who could. In my case they asked for help, I said “I can only push on hills” and I pushed on the slight rise in the desert which helped us close to the next group. But then I’d burnt all my matches, so I had to leave them to chase the next group while I sat in the first group we caught.
And “burning your matches” brings me to the bits in your reply which I’ve highlighted. If I ever do 4w/kg for a minute in a ride, it does NOT mean I can do it again in the same ride. If I’ve done 3.3 w/kg “sustained”, it doesn’t mean I can sustain it forever. In my example above, I was trying to balance keeping up with recovering ahead of the next climb, so my data probably looked like the type of person you’re complaining about.
If I was riding with you I’d want to do my best to help the breakaway work, I’m definitely with you on that one, I just want you to know the data doesn’t always show the story you might think, and my avatar’s steely expression doesn’t necessarily show how hard I’m pushing in real life!
Maybe if people could give the same rider ride ons more than once (one every X minutes or something) so they can at least acknowledge the person in front. You’d get extra drops (do people really need them?!) for each one so at least better than nothing.