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Zwift Racing

Old 08-23-17, 03:37 PM
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Zwift Racing

Maybe not the best place for this, but it _is_ racing...albeit on a virtual road...

I just finished the EVR Race which consisted of two loops of the London Zwift course (including two ascents of Box Hill). I subsequently set new power records for all times between 40:30 and 59:30 and finished first in my category.

I know this has very little relevance to real-world racing, but damn was it a workout.

Anyone else Zwift racing?
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Old 08-23-17, 04:20 PM
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I've raced on zwift before. It can be fun, but it doesn't engage me that well. I'll have try again now that I have a kickr.

I did get disqualified from a b class race last winter because my power was too high. And I was the 4th person across the line lol.
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Old 08-23-17, 05:36 PM
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Never done Zwift.

How do "hills" work on it, if you're on dumb rollers and not on a smart trainer?
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Old 08-23-17, 07:04 PM
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Your virtual self slows down, and that's it.
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Old 08-23-17, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
Never done Zwift.

How do "hills" work on it, if you're on dumb rollers and not on a smart trainer?
The "hills" work based on w/kg and automatically adjust your virtual speed. The only difference is Zwift has no ability to affect your resistance on rollers. But ultimately there isn't much difference, a watt is a watt to Zwift.
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Old 08-24-17, 09:37 AM
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During winter, the Zwift races are a nice way of getting some hard race-like efforts in.

There was a 100km race on the weekends last winter that felt similar to doing a hard, long group ride. When the roads were sloppy, that was clutch.
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Old 08-24-17, 09:47 AM
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I am a Cat 6 racer on zwift.

Might apply for my Cat 5 license and do a race when there is snow out.
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Old 08-24-17, 10:56 AM
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Zwift races are a pretty fun way to get in a good tempo type workout IMO but they basically have little to do with real racing haha
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Old 08-24-17, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by ancker View Post
The "hills" work based on w/kg and automatically adjust your virtual speed. The only difference is Zwift has no ability to affect your resistance on rollers. But ultimately there isn't much difference, a watt is a watt to Zwift.
I didnt know Zwift supports (works with) "dumb rollers"?
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Old 08-24-17, 11:12 AM
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it does if you have a PM
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Old 08-24-17, 11:17 AM
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i've done a lot of races on zwift, mostly last fall, since I'm mostly on trainerroad these days. i really like them as motivation to just ride hard and trying to maintain threshold as long as i could. i definitely don't care about the competitiveness or the tactics, i just like riding hard surrounded by others (as opposed to just a lonesome avatar). when I was regularly doing races i could see my sustainable hour+ power go up, it peaked at 265 for over an hour before a combo of being sick and busy over a few months have brought me back down. i'll probably pick it back up soon as part of my rotation of activities
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Old 08-24-17, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ancker View Post
Anyone else Zwift racing?

I tried a few times last year. I got dropped in the As so tried the Bs. Got dropped there so tried the Cs. Cs turned out okay.
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Old 08-24-17, 10:26 PM
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I'm a big fan of Zwift racing. It's the most fun you can on a trainer/rollers in my opinion. It makes a really hard hour on the trainer go by quickly.

Some aspects are similar to real racing - if you let a gap form, you will be out the back in a hurry. The draft effect is different, but very real. When there is a split/attack, you need to decide whether to chase or let someone else come around and do the chasing. There are lots of tactics that carry over from the real world with sitting in for sprint vs. attempting breaks, etc. You need to use elevation/grade to pick the right places to attack.

Some aspects are very different/unrealistic - The starts are always stupid fast/hard, I have no idea why. There is no easy sitting in. There is never a time you can soft pedal in the draft. I like this aspect because it's a great workout, but it's not realistic that I can't coast down a 5+% grade while sitting on someone's wheel. There are no wind direction tactics. You have no control over where you are sitting in the pack (left to right) and there is no concept of cross/tail/head winds. You can see the real-time power numbers and gaps to the people in your race that are near by. Not realistic, but pretty cool when you are off the front (or in a chase group) and getting real time updates on how hard the other group is going. It can be great motivation.

The biggest difference from the real world is that you obviously don't get the rush of riding shoulder to shoulder in a big pack with the sound of 100+ carbon wheels on the pavement. That said, it's a pretty cool "game" that beats the hell out of the typical trainer sessions and is a much better workout than any real-world race I've ever done. All of my top 1 hour power numbers have come from zwift races.
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Old 08-25-17, 07:13 AM
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I can't hang with any group in Zwift races, and in fact after the last non-race Sub2 ride I did (aka easiest group rides on Zwift, sub 2.0 w/kg avg) I went upstairs and promptly fell asleep in my kit. It was terribly tiring.

Zwift races (and Zwift group rides) made it really apparent that I do a LOT of soft pedaling during a race. I know that at Bethel I would typically apply zero power for 20 seconds per 2 minute lap, and I found a point in a Bethel field sprint where I didn't apply power for almost 10 seconds (due to being boxed in) and still did pretty well (won the sprint? I don't remember). In Zwift if you coast for 20 seconds you'll be so far off the back it's ridonkulous.

Because in Zwift I can't hang with the Cs (I'd be an E racer) or even 2.5 w/kg group rides I do Sub2 group rides. People usually sprint at the end of the group ride so if I feel so inclined I can go for a good time in the sprint. I once made the mistake of sprinting a mid sprint with a bunch of riders and couldn't stay on the group after.

From a racing/tactical point of view the lag between power application and avatar going is so high, in the 1 second range, that it doesn't appeal to me. By the time someone's attacked they've already been pedaling hard for a second, it'll take another second for your avatar to get going, so it's a massive handicap for someone like myself who doesn't drop out of shelter almost ever in a real race.
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Old 08-25-17, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
Never done Zwift.

How do "hills" work on it, if you're on dumb rollers and not on a smart trainer?
Zwift calculates power based on your wheel speed and what trainer/roller you say you're on. Obviously there are tons of variables out of Zwift's control. For example if you run a small diameter tire then your calculated speed, which is based on a 700x23c assumption, will go up due to more revolutions per mile/km. If you run a 32c tire then your calculated speed drops due to fewer rev per mile/km. If you choose the wrong trainer then the power curve will be wrong and you'll be too fast or slow. If your trainer is damaged, or you choose the wrong resistance (like on a mag trainer with adj resistance) your speed will be inaccurate.

A friend of mine admitted that his Computrainer was wearing out and giving inaccurate readings, letting him win A races handily. He got a new trainer, some smart one, and called me to ask for tips since he's now struggling with the Cs. haha.

With my *edit "dumb" /edit* trainers I paid a handicap at all speeds. CycleOps Fluid2 handicapped me about 55?w at lower speeds (150w on Zwift required me to do 205w according to SRM) and about 100-150w at higher speeds (sprint power typically 100-150w low, Zwift 1000w required me to do 1100-1150w). My Kurt Kinetic RR handicapped me about 35w at lower speeds (150w Zwift meant me doing 185w) and about 100w at sprint power levels). Now with a new wireless SRM I'm seeing a boost of just about 5w at low power, meaning Zwift 100w requires me to go about 95-97w. I haven't recorded the screen in a sprint so I don't know if I'm seeing a boost in Zwift power in a sprint, but I'm seeing 1150w on the SRM (not sure what Zwift says).

To increase power you simply have to increase your speed on the trainer/rollers, to increase calculated wattage. With regular rollers your power is capped to 800w? for whatever reason (reduce inaccuracy delta?).

Once Zwift calculates your power it can easily calculate your w/kg (based on user-inputed weight) on a hill and your avatar goes the appropriate calculated speed. If you're hovering at about 1 mph your avatar constantly puts a foot down, not that I ever experienced that
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Last edited by carpediemracing; 08-25-17 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 08-25-17, 07:28 AM
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I find it an entertaining way to ride in the winter, but I have a crappy old computer with a weak video card and a laggy connection so trying to draft anyone almost always results in failure for me.
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Old 08-25-17, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I tried a few times last year. I got dropped in the As so tried the Bs. Got dropped there so tried the Cs. Cs turned out okay.
Well, that will teach you to enter you correct weight. Regardless of what they weigh in reality, the fast guys on Zwift are all Chris Froome or lighter. That's how they blow past everyone else at 6-7W/kg. The draft effect is also wildly exaggerated. But it wouldn't be as fun of a video game otherwise.

They should add blue shells and banana peels, IMO.
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Old 08-25-17, 08:34 AM
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I think the agreement is that they should have frame pumps and Cinzanno kits.
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Old 08-25-17, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
They should add blue shells and banana peels, IMO.
Nice haha. The occasional red mushroom wouldn't hurt either
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Old 08-25-17, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
I can't hang with any group in Zwift races...
Zwift racing is extremely unfriendly to those with a pure sprinter power profile and racers that rely heavily pack efficiency. The draft effect just isn't that generous, particularly on the flats and downhill. You can't use the wind to your advantage. It's not quite a TT effort because there are still surges and sections where you can rest, but resting in the lead group is usually 250+ watts for me. That suites me really well because most races are mass start (A/B/C/D combined), but you are scored by the group you are in. I race B and I've got a decent engine (but no sprint), so I can usually hang with the lead group for a long time unless it's a hilly course. The pace of the A's on the front drops most of the B's. I almost always get dropped eventually, but late enough that there may only be a few B's remaining with me or in front of me. The A's basically drop the guys I probably would not be able to drop without the help of much stronger riders. Then it becomes a small group of B's trading pulls or a solo TT effort to hold off the B's behind. The dynamics are much more suited to someone who excels in TT's vs. sprinting. The big problem for me is that the finishes are too much like the real world. My finishing position is usually the same as the group size at the finish (I need to be in a group of 1 to get the win).

Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
Zwift calculates power based on your wheel speed and what trainer/roller you say you're on....
Almost all the races (at least in A/B/C) I see, everyone is getting power from powermeters or smart trainers, so wheel speed is not used. You will see some people using zPower (which is based on wheel speed and trainer type), but the group usually ignores that person and let's them ride off the front if their power looks wonky. They are usually disqualified at the end and dropped from results (I have no idea how that works, but they seem to police the races a good bit). Some of the races require heartrate as well as power to correlate the 2 and I was disqualified once due to that. They also have a system the automatically disqualifies and/or upgrades sandbaggers based on power.

It's actually pretty sophisticated stuff all managed through a site no affiliated with zwift https://zwiftpower.com/
The site gets a real time feed of zwift data and also links into strava somehow and tallies all the results. You can also follow the races live. Some people watch it on another screen while racing and comments on people's heart rate, etc. during the race. Again, it's a game at the end of the day, but a pretty cool game that has a lot of carryover from real-world bike racing and it's a great workout.
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Old 08-25-17, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by grwoolf View Post
Almost all the races (at least in A/B/C) I see, everyone is getting power from powermeters or smart trainers, so wheel speed is not used. You will see some people using zPower (which is based on wheel speed and trainer type)
Until a few rides ago I was a zPower rider.

I've been using a wired SRM for most of my Zwift time, which started in early 2015 when they put the power curve for a CycleOps Fluid2 into the "classic trainers" list.

However in my case there was a zPower penalty which was quite substantial based on my low FTP numbers, penalizing me a solid 20-40% or so. With the Ant+ SRM my power numbers are a few watts over at lower numbers. The zPower fliers stand out but the zPower... crawlers? never get noticed. They're just slow. Heh.

I suspect that my zPower penalty was from intentionally over-tightening the roller so that I could sprint without tire slippage. If I loosened the roller a bit it was much easier but the tire would slip at about 800-1000w and it'd report "tire slippage" and my zPower would drop to zero. To avoid that I started cranking the roller about as tight as it can go. On my Kinetic trainer it's totally maxed, cannot tighten the roller any more.
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Old 08-25-17, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by grwoolf View Post
zwift racing is extremely unfriendly to those with honest power/weight numbers
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Old 08-26-17, 07:08 PM
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This is basically the same thing as zwift, right?

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Old 08-26-17, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
This is basically the same thing as zwift, right?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGKzr0iKJNg
Pretty much. But Zwift has way less watching other people sweat in a room...
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Old 08-26-17, 08:17 PM
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I always laugh at those "Peloton" commercials - why do the instructors bounce so damn much??
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