Zwift Racing Score Update [September 2023]

A ladder system for each type of race (again flat, rolling, hilly, mountain, TT) could give enough flexibility in understanding your placement given the pool of people in the race, and after race 1 your ranking should only be more accurate (given that you perform relatively to the other people in the pool). For sure more than a system with fixed cats.

Moreover, if you have a ladder system based on points, you should never lose points unless you don’t race for too much time (like 1 year or so). That way:

*if you don’t race for 3 months, when you come back to Zwift you’ll face the same pool you left (in terms of skills), then if you improved or not the system will just need a few races to move you to your real position
*if you don’t race frequently, you’ll anyway face a pool that’s closer than anything to the ideal race field given your last average results, so approximately the best place in the field for you anyway (if you have no data, you have no data for all the systems you try to apply): by the way, if you overperformed in the last races, you should find a very hard pool and that should lower you in the ranking, and if you underperformed you’ll easily win and so be upgraded and then face a more challenging field.
*if you don’t play on Zwift for 1 year or so, you’ll be put to 0 in the ladder and then have to rebuild your rank, but it should cost you not too much effort and time. By the way, if you let people adding their “candidate” score for each field if they’re not racing since too much time, they can be initially paired in pools using that score and then being given a “confirmed” score after some races, when the real performance level is tested.

Again, all the previous points have math/statistics foundations.

Multiple rankings based on race type is probably an unnecessary complication and waste of time IMO. You just don’t need that sort of precision, and most riders are unlikely to provide enough data to support it (plus, how do you rate the wide variety of courses anyway).

It just doesn’t matter if some people do relatively well in sprints and poorly on climbs or vice versa. All that matters is that people who win regularly (in whatever type of race they are entering) get bumped up to a higher level of opposition. There are a number of slightly different ways of doing this in general terms, but until zwift acknowledges that this is even a desirable goal (and I’ve seen no sign of this), it’s not going to happen.

4 Likes solves this by using compound score for a basic seeding value, it isn’t perfect but it’s better than saying “well this guy who races A every winter hasn’t ridden hard in 3 months so can enter a D pen.” Of course CE could extend the decay to 270+ days and fix a lot of issues.


yeah, i’m following ZR, tim’s building a great platform and I really think zwift should consider hiring him to help them develop ZRS into something a bit more polished. in the meantime, i think compound score is a good baseline predictor of rider ability. 1: it’s simple and relatively accurate 2: it’s consistent and the most important thing for me is 3: i can explain the concept to other people easily

another good thing about it that race organisers can already choose to sort pens by compound score as @DejanPresen is doing so already with his series. zwift track your compound score (i think as a feature of ZRS) but for now there is no way to view it on zwift (you can see it on and or whatever your preferred training app is but not on zwift) and no FAQ on the zwift website so for now it is still a niche category tool


Would love to see more event organisers using the Compound Score pen allocation system that’s been available for some months, including the monthly ZwiftHQ races and Zwift Insider Tiny Races.

Especially in the shorter duration events under 30mins, where a strong ~5min effort can make a massive difference to finishing position, but also from a selfish perspective give me opportunity to take part given I’ve been massively stamina restricted for almost a year now.


Yep CS (or even better zrCS) gets you 90% of the way there. If Zwift switched cats to CS when they gave it as an option for organisers, that would have already hugely improved the system.

The other 10% is the change in score based on results, which covers for those guys that never put out max efforts, they ride below their ability and then sprint at the end for the win. Or just those guys that are very good at being efficient and have high sub 1m power. This is what gives you.

I agree with @_JamesA_ZSUNR that course modifiers or different scores for different parcours is a waste of time.


they ride below their ability and then sprint at the end for the win. Or just those guys that are very good at being efficient and have high sub 1m power.

It doesn’t change anything in the discussion about racing score but guys, it’s not simply a matter of sandbagging. Because to “ride below your ability” means sandbagging. We’re not all the same, we have different kind of metabolism that will affect what you can become and what you’ll NEVER become.

Now, if I have good aerobic metabolism and excellent anaerobic, why should I try to compete at high level with someone that is gifted by an excellent aerobic but maybe has only a good anaerobic one? Because most of the cycling people is endurance-oriented? Maybe we’re full of people in Zwift that doesn’t get good results just because they’re forced by people that thinks cyclists must be only guys with excellent aerobic skills (because they are and maybe they don’t know) and so they’re trying to compete every time in the wrong way for what they are.

My sport physician told me “if you want to have fun, forget Gran Fondo, Climb TT and Endurance stuff. They’re not for you. Try with short Criterium and Track, you have natively excellent anaerobic skills and just good aerobic: try to boost intensively your aerobic will never drive you to the results that another guy with excellent aerobic and less training could get”.

So, why should I have a bad Zwift experience with races and constantly be measured on FTP or “FTP-rewarding” races where FTP is not a good way to “size” my engine? Just because most people doesn’t get the point about metabolism? :slight_smile:

Perhaps the biggest issue is especially in pen D these days (perhaps other pens below A), is that it’s the very flat routes that attract relatively big fields (plus often the calendar is heavily biased towards flat routes) and they are ordinarily going to result in bunch sprints.

In a race, ordinarily you exert the least amount of effort to get the finishing result you aim/hope to achieve, so gifted sprinters will sit in and save themselves for a Watt bazooka in the final ~30secs.

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Except if you, who have a higher FTP, attack 1 km or before the finish line (or maybe during the small climbs where you could make the difference) cutting pure sprinters off. So you see, in this case it’s not a matter of being a sprinter or not, it’s a matter of how each one is able to push its own capabilities.

Just keep in mind that with ramp tests people with anaerobic metabolism better than the aerobic one will have FTP overestimated by 10-20% because they’ll finish the ramp test exhausting their anaerobic reserve so a good amount of time over the real FTP, in comparison with aerobic guys. And that’s why FTP Is not good indicator for anaerobic guys.

By the way, if you do so:

In a race, ordinarily you exert the least amount of effort to get the finishing result you aim/hope to achieve, so gifted sprinters will sit in and save themselves for a Watt bazooka in the final ~30secs.

maybe you’re not a sprinter and you should not “exert the least amount of effort” but just try to exert at first and have a breakaway to form a gap that sprinters will not be able to close. That’ll put you in the position of not compete with a pure sprinter in the final sprint, and maybe you’ll win the race with a gap.

So you see, probably you’re applying the wrong strategy to your races :slight_smile:

That’s why I gave 2 examples, not just the sandbagging one.

@Paulin_Z_CJ_TT1D_ITA Is all this chat about metabolism etc because you went from this:



Do you think you should keep racing the same people and winning? Or should you face a tougher opponent as time progresses and you stack up little cups?

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He sounds like a chad but if you’re actually interested in getting good at that stuff then you cant avoid the aerobic component entirely, that’s not how it goes brother. this isnt really about ranking or anything though. actually it sort of is, because i’m just reinforcing the sentiment that there doesn’t need to be different ratings for each “type” of rider

@Lee_H My data is all public. You can also go to Strava and see. Then you can take a look not only to the “cups” but also to the times and it should be that’s because I went from comparable timings in races to something with huuuuuuuge gaps. :slight_smile: and it’s exactly what happens when you have cats “cutting” sharply FTPs and taking into account only this “aerobic skills” indicator. It becomes all about metabolism. My “resulting FTP”, since Zwift measures it starting from your results in maximal efforts, is always biased and overestimated because to keep the pace with people with good aerobic metabolism I need to use my anaerobic reserve. I passed from cat D to cat C because my estimated FTP is wrong. I don’t have 2.6 wpk at all, but if I take a FTP test and I push myself at exhaustion I’ll have my FTP not evaluated on my aerobic capacity. So the only way to have my FTP calculated in the right way is to not go full gas when I test myself or race…and it’s like sandbagging.

Then if you don’t get the point about that stuff, I don’t know what to do.

By the way, just to prove you wrong:

here you can see another “gold cup”. Then you go in and find out we were 2 people racing.

And here, if you don’t look at the “cups” or “standings”:

now you see my numbers. Very short races. And you see that to keep up the “5 mins” power I had to exhaust my anaerobic power, because I was not able to give more than 4.7 wpk in 15s efforts while if you take a look at my previous races like:

Now you see what changes? My AVG wpk during the full race. 2.5 wpk allows me to use the anaerobic when it’s good to be used (final sprint), 2.7-2.9 wpk does not because to keep that avg wpk I need to burn anaerobic reserve. It means my FTP is for sure not over 2.5 wpk, anyway I’m passed to cat C where I simply cannot compete :slight_smile:

For sure it’s not your problem if you have good aerobic engine (if I got the right data from ZP, but there are too many “lee H something” in the results…too hard to say it’s the right data). And if I got the right data, probably very bad anaerobic one (again, numbers I see from ZP). It could be your problem if we meet in some “sprint game” where I can let you on the front and then burn you out every single sprint. Or you can let me on the front and see me dropping you every sprint anyway. But until we don’t get a velodrome on Zwift it’ll not be your problem for sure. :rofl:

He sounds like a chad

I would not say something like this, but for sure you’re better than him at that. :rofl:

Anyway, for sure you need to work on the aerobic component to support the anaerobic consistently, but to measure someone based on its “supposed” aerobic capabilities (when anaerobic will definitely fake your aerobic results) drives you to inconsistent situations. Maybe I should “sandbag” my FTP tests not pushing over my aerobic threshold heart rate and not performing it to “exhaustion”. That way I’ll have a real FTP number from an FTP test. But this’ll be too complex for Zwift to be done for sure, also because people is usually not understanding that stuff at all (like posts you see here demonstrate, I’d say).

Your FTP is your FTP - Its there to set training zones, nothing more, nothing less.

There is a standardised way of taking the test, there’s a fairly detailed lengthy book about it. Im not sure you (or I) really need to be second guessing others around that test at our level (neither of us are pros in the making)

zFTP is not your FTP - Its a calculation used to set your racing or pace category. It has a link to Critical power but is reliant on maximum efforts - As you say, you dont go full gas so there might be an inaccuracy there.

My profile - ZwiftPower - Login knock yourself out with it.


Take a look at your numbers and take a look at mine. On the most of your races your curve 20mins-15 secs flattens (logaritmic), while mine spikes (exponential). It should tell you more about the difference between me and you.

If you translate my curve to your 20 mins level, you’ll find out that my final 15 secs wpk will be far more higher than yours (we almost have the same now…try to figure out if I scale up…).

What should be clear to you is that the curve type is given by natural skills. You’ll find out that avg untrained people curve will stay more or less the same when they get trained.

And by the way

zFTP is not your FTP - Its a calculation used to set your racing or pace category. It has a link to Critical power but is reliant on maximum efforts - As you say, you dont go full gas so there might be an inaccuracy there.

tells you that if I train hard and always race at my best but I have the wrong engine type (the anaerobic one) zFTP will always be overestimated and I’ll always be put in the wrong category :slight_smile: fair enough?

That was my “first” edition of this post. Then I had a better look in the ZP numbers and what I found out was very funny.

I dig a little deeper in the numbers and looked at your avg power reported by ZP. Funny to see you’re potentially a sprinter and you don’t find out you’re in the wrong category. Maybe it’s because you’ve always been in the wrong cat (looking at your backlog). :slight_smile:

This is my curve:


This is yours:


Something similar?

Speaking as a former track racer (Burnaby Velodrome 200m) I can say without a doubt that bunch racing on the track is by far and away the most exhilarating and fun racing you can do on a bike. Unfortunately a bit too exhilarating past about 65 :slight_smile:

About the closest you can find on Zwift are the ZwiftInsider Tiny Races. Short, hard, fast. Rinse and repeat four times.

Just getting in before this is shut down. I’ve read most of the 600 or so messages on ZRS here excepting the few posters going down rabbit holes or trolling.

I’ll add another quieter voice in favout of implementing something very close to the zwiftracing app. The work is largely done. Thanks Tim and others.


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