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.