Zwift cycling proficiency test

Bit of a tongue-in-cheek title, but during today’s Pace Partner ride my mind started to drift and I began to wonder how many people on Zwift have any experience with riding in large groups IRL (e.g. club runs, fondos, races etc.). In these instances you are constantly modulating your power slightly (often subconsciously) to maintain a safe and efficient position within the group.

On Zwift you could (theoretically) adopt a similar approach in order to shadow a Pace Partner. But, with all the talk of sticky watts and micro-bursting and pack churn etc., it got me wondering how easy (or not) it is for people to ride this efficiently in Zwift and does their riding style and/or hardware choice have any negative impacts on group dynamics etc.

I would love to see some kind of Zwift-organized “race” using the Pace Partners, where the goal is to earn as many drop points as possible during the stipulated time or distance (no power-ups, no primes and the winner, obviously, wouldn’t be the first across the line). The winner would be the one best-able to stay close to the Pace Partner throughout the ride. Pick a nice rolling course to make it a bit more challenging and put the results on ZP.

I think this could also generate a lot of invaluable data for ZHQ which may help with their optimization of PD4. For example, is there any correlation between those placing well and their hardware/equipment choices (primary power source)? Is there any correlation with rider weight & height and raw power at FTP etc.etc. (obviously I wouldn’t expect Zwift to make this kind of info. public).

It might also be a nice way for someone to win a “race” and receive the accolade on ZP who would stand little chance in conventional FAL races.

The drops multiplier is probably something like that, bonuses for staying with the pace partner but most people have so many they don’t care.

I have ridden in big groups IRL, some of the more hair raising ones have been in France. Everyone was riding properly, but just fast because you are going down a big descent.

You could apply extra bonuses for staying close to and behind the pace partner.

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It would be interesting. My sense is that most people can successfully modulate power in Zwift, and the churn issue Zwift is trying to address with PD4 arises because the ability to pass through other riders means there is not the same incentive, or not the same imperative, that leads people to stay behind the leading riders IRL.

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And there are no brakes in Zwift so you can’t feather if the rider in front slows down a bit.

I like the idea but don’t think Zwift pack dynamics are realistic enough for it to work at the moment. RGT is a much better simulation of riding in a paceline… if you can find anyone to ride with.

You also have lag from the Uk/Europe to USA servers .