I participated in a Zwift Academy group ride (Casse-Pattes) which promised a pace of 2.2 to 2.7 W/kg, that the ride would be “fenced”, and that the group would have a ride leader. Unfortunately, none of these were observed. The ride immediately turned into a race slugfest, with the top 19 riders turning in 3.5+ W/kg averages. I specifically joined this group for the advertised “Put your Academy work aside–it’s time for a social spin! … During these festive, fun rides we come together as one and ride at a nice and mellow pace.” This was simply NOT the case, and as a result my session was ruined, and my structured training plan was disrupted.
Group rides should stick to the advertised plan so that participants may make plans accordingly. Others on the ride, which was scattered all over the map as a result, made similar observations. Group rides should not incentivize racing behavior… at least to the extent that it violates the spirit and letter of the description.