Zwift race newb question

Apologies for the newb question, but any of you virtual racing gurus out there want to help me out?

Had a day to burn today so thought I’d try my first ever race in Zwift. Will say I had a lot of fun. Went to zwiftpower after though, and was struck by some weird numbers - to my mind anyway.

So I finished 6th - yay me. Looking at the three podium finishes though makes me scratch my head. #1 seems fine, pretty similar to my profile across the board, but #2 and #3 have me confused. At first I thought “oh maybe they’re just lightweights” - but no. Both 5kg heavier than me.

How is it physically possible for two guys 5kg heavier than me, and generally in my same age range, to have pushed an average .5w/kg less than me and still leave me behind?

I realize this is “virtual”, and zwift has its quirks, but ???. I thought my bike/wheel setup was pretty good, find it hard to believe it made that much difference if I set something up wrong.

Thanks for any response and expertise. Like I said - TOTALLY not calling anyone out or anything, just intellectual curiosity from my scientist braing. Like I said - had a lot of fun with it, and pretty pleased w my effort.


You finished one second behind those riders, so it looks like you got to the finish with them and then got outsprinted.

Note that the green lightning bolt next to the average W/kg number means that ZwiftPower hasn’t processed the FIT files with more precise data about riders’ performances. What you’re looking at is the “live” data which has precision down to around 30 seconds. When that green lightning bolt turns blue, you’ll see the true short term power numbers, and in a race that ends in a sprint there will probably be some interesting differences.

The other question is whether you wasted effort in the race. Did you allow gaps to open up that you had to close? Did you ride on the front of the group for no good reason? Did you close gaps that someone else would have closed for you? Did you modulate your power carefully to avoid hitting the front of the group while also avoiding drifting off the back? Did you make all your hard efforts count? There’s a fair chance that as a beginner you didn’t do all of that in the best possible way. Some of that boils down to the mechanics of the game, and some of it is making decisions that turn out to be the right ones.

It’s unlikely that your bike choice made much of a difference, but you can always check out to see if there was a better bike/wheel combination for that route.


Well that was…an excellent response, thank you! Makes total sense, now that you lay it out.

All. The. Hearts.