ZHQ anti-sandbagging discussions for 12 year old

Looking for some thoughts and ideas here lads.

My 12 year old raced in the 16:30ZHQ anti-sandbagging Crit yesterday, but was ‘throttled back’ in D. Which was a shame, he was sitting in 10th out of 55 at the time on the road, but had been dropped by the lead group and 2 other riders in a pair. He was ahead of the next bunch by 9s at the time and about 1.5 laps in.

What i don’t know is how/why he got the dunce hat… Was it because he was over 200w too often ? Or was it his consistent power that was too high ? Or… I’m just curious what the criteria is… He’s got a 450w turn of speed on him, but being 12, that’s a short 20s power surge and his happy place is closer to 150w rather than 200w…

I did notice we’ve not adjusted his height or weight lately, so i’ve now set them higher… which i’m hoping allows him to race.

He doesn’t have the sustained power to win in D against the big units, but as i say, i’m just curious as to what aspect of his riding is getting him Dunced.

I’ve never understood how you can win a race tbh.
I’m a C racer and find far too hard to compete for a win on there…
Whenever I go in D, I am in the top 10, but get constantly hit by this “your power has been reduced” meanwhile I see people throwing more Watts and not get hit by this and just flying away with that…

I’ve come to this conclusion that the game can’t make up it’s mind when your in between 2 categories

Sorry that’s me ranting

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Oh i know how to win, i’m a regular at the pointy end in C. But this is more for someone of a completely different riding type than me because he’s 12 and racing against adults. I don’t think he can win in D with his size and power, but that’s OK.

Where i do get confused though is how some of the youngsters do so well in C races, on Friday mornings i’ve been beaten a few times by the small kids in C… but i don’t think for a second my lad could beat me in C for sure.

Steve: looking at the results on ZwiftPower, I’m seeing only 12 D finishers – not 55 or so – who averaged 2.7 w/kg and below. Is it possible that the 9 riders who were ahead of your son at 1.5 laps in were mostly, if not entirely, over the w/kg power for a D race?

Don’t think they were all kicked. But hard to say i guess. 55 was on the road, not ZP.

We’ve adjusted his weight and he’s just done well in the 13:30 champs Elysees race in ZHR, results pending, got an FTP upgrade to 136w at the end of the ride. I think now we’re racing slightly heavier he’ll be able to do OK and he was able to hold in with the fastish Ds for most of the race.

Can anyone clarify the D cat criteria please ?

Just want to be safe for this afternoons race for him.

I know it’s 2.5 w/kg but i think he’s allowed to go over that if he’s under a certain watts ?

Average the other day was 146w, so i’d expect him to again be around that. That gave him 2.7 w/kg.

C cat is 2.5w/kg AND 150w. That’s best 20 minute power, and not average.

if you want to win in C, you need to be able to hold 3.2w/kg for the entire race, sprint for 10w/kg at the end, and weight 90kg++ :slight_smile:

Cat D 20min power limit is <2.6w/kg.
Anti-sandbagging race has extra measures in place where you get a “cone of shame” if you exceed a certain amount of power over 1mins or 5mins.
Just have him race in C and you’ll have no problems, he’s clearly too strong for D. Make sure his height/weight is entered accurately as well…

There are quite strict rules in place around juniors riding in senior events in most cycling jurisdictions , for safety ,physiological and many other reasons . Putting that alongside the clearly less that ideal way of classifying and categorizing riders by w/kg and not results in zwift I think there is a strong argument in fact if have the same rules in place in zwift races. Separate Junior races which can be allowed to operating under different approaches to reflect the difference between a fully grown adult measurable and a growing one where marked difference are clearly evident in how weight and power output can be measured and compared . I know this doesn’t answer the OP’s question directly and is going to require changes to bring in this that a commercial gaming platform may not want to take as it is much more a regulatory decision. But perhaps you could seek out and find others with aspiring juniors to start forming league series.

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I get what I think you’re saying but I think I prefer to have the kids ride with the adults.
IRL, the kids never really ride competitively with adults because they can’t keep up.
I think Zwift would be best served if they can find a workable middle ground.
Initially, they were penelized do to light wt but now they’re supermen.
Youth series are great but the numbers just aren’t there.
It’s the masses that make Zwift so cool.

I won a C Cat race.

Winning C Cat at under 2.9 for 95% of 20 minute. It is possible!

For the youngsters I am 100% ok losing to a junior. Due to low raw power there are exceptions in Categorization allowing greater w/kg, sounds reasonable. I am perfectly good with a system that keeps kids engaged, encouraged to ride, and be active. I would have an advantage in any sprint and on flats and they have an advantage on any climb.

I’d be careful letting kids go all out for half an hour or more. If I check some of those U16 year olds’, in particular the younger groups, average heart rate, averaging at insane levels of 190bpm+, I highly doubt zwift racing is a responsible way of keeping a young kid active. Putting such strain on (heart) muscles that are in full development is not optimal.

Does Zwift have a comprehensive liability waiver that guardians need to sign before their kids are allowed to use the platform?

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Actually they have the advantage on flats also. The algorthm in zwift gives more speed on flats the lighter you way compared to riding outside. Its the reason why these 100lb riders can put out so few watts ( 120watts )yet still hang in a grp with someone pulling at 350watts ( 200lbs ). This would never happen outside. Formula gives them a good 3mph over what the outside world would give them on flats.

Oh, I suspect it is much more than 3 mph.
I think Zwift gives me 4-5 mph as a gift.
In Zwift, I frequently see my speed as 27 - 29 mph on a flat in a group.
IRL that would require VO2 Max. In Zwift, it’s just threshold.
Draft and ride position are very generous in Zwift and the very light (or very short) get a big boost.

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Might be wildly off the mark here, but I seem to remember when I raced as a junior/juvenile cat (many decades ago) that in certain nations (think Scotland was an example) that registered races/time-trials actually restricted your gearing because of the concern that younger, growing children might be negatively affected by excessive cardiovascular/muscular demand while they’re still developing (you can tell I’m not a doctor!!).

If you google ‘British Cycling & Triathlon Youth Gear Restrictions’ you’ll get a bunch of results on this.

I don’t think letting younger, developing athletes race with adults is probably a good idea, but then I don’t know at what point it becomes acceptable either. If you’ve got premier league footballs at 16/17 then assume that’s probably the threshold, but 12 years old probably not quite ready.

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There are UCI junior limits for gearing in road and track. Cyclo cross and mountain biking do not have gearing limits.

“Junior Gear Restrictions: Is Your Race Bike legal? - USA Cycling” Junior Gear Restrictions: Is Your Race Bike legal? - USA Cycling

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Agreed that they can hold onto your draft, but so could any other adult by putting out less power. Also agreed that juniors are able to hold in your draft more so than in real life with even less wattage.

I still don’t think this is an advantage for them though on the flats. Just because they can hang on by a thin thread doesn’t mean they have the advantage. They can just “hang” and are at the mercy of the group pace. You could attack out of the group off the front, that would be impossible for these juniors.

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If basketball and soccer are bad enough, the thought of a kid with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy jumping into a Zwift race is so scary, I don’t think I can make a comment.
Seeing Keyontae Johnson go down was very scary.

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I dont mean perse they have an advantage. What i mean is compared to riding outside they get free speed. If the difference is 2.03mph at 300 watts for a 100kg to a 50kg 300 watts compared to outside thats huge ( this is calculation in zwiftinsider ) Imagine if zwift reversed that formula and it was a benefit of 2.03 mph for the 100kg persons. Thats whats is going on. My pt is people need to stop using the phrase “ heavier riders have it easier on the flats” and not comparing 3w/kg of one weight why is it faster then 3w/kg of another weight. W/kg is not used in determining constant speed on flats outside. It should be “ putting out more watts on the flats will cause a greater speed, independant of weight.” like the real world . There are plenty of light weight riders on zwift putting out over 1000 watts. If one is not they need to train for that .

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