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Group Meetup in Zwift - pretty slick

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Group Meetup in Zwift - pretty slick

Old 04-23-20, 05:21 AM
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jpescatore
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Group Meetup in Zwift - pretty slick

I have a friend who lives about 450 miles away who I convinced to get on Zwift. We tried riding together last year but he is a much slower rider than me and it really didn't work.

Tried the new "Group Meetup" feature - I set up a Meetup for he and I on his favorite (flat) Zwift course, Fuego Flats. You can enable the "keep the group together" feature that some workouts have used - doesn't matter what speed or w/kg riders are using, they are all "rubber banded" together.

Worked great - we could pretty much ride at our same speeds and stay within a rider or two of each other, message each other etc. We will try a longer ride, maybe with some cell phone or Discord/Zello type audio communications.
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Old 04-23-20, 11:00 AM
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This is a fun feature in Zwift. Add Discord and it gets even better. Planning to participate in more of these.
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Old 04-24-20, 04:27 AM
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I just tried a big "rubber-banded" group ride - the Thursday 4:30PM ET Black Sheep Friday Bunchie. It is an Australian group, so I guess it was Friday there, and the "bunchie" was because the grouping feature was turned on. About 250 peple were on the ride.

Not so much fun, I don't know it I will do it again!

The rubber banding feature doesn't just pull the slow people up, it pulls the faster people back. Basically, the middle of the pack is where people will be doing about the average watts/kilogram for the entire bunch. If you are much below average and keep pedaling, you will be pulled forward and go faster than you normally would at the power you are putting on the grade you are on.

If you are putting out power at an above average W/Kg level, you will be continually pulled backwards and feel like you are riding in oatmeal in a headwind and always going slightly uphill!

On a the flat London course the ride did two laps on, I averaged a bit higher average power than I would typically do in a big group ride where you are in a draft so much - but my speed was 3mph lower than what I would normally see in a big group ride - just over 16mph vs 19 mph or so . I'm not a racer but on this ride I must have been above average.

It was really noticeable on the short sprints! For 20 seconds I'd put out crazy watts but not even accelerate!

Don't get me wrong - it was a great workout, it was like doing a normal ride outside into a constant headwind. Actually, it reminded of back in the days when I would pull my daughter behind my bike in a trailer! But, made the ride take 20% longer and much tougher mentally...

With just two people it wasn't as noticeable, especially when my friend would draft me - he was getting the 30% benefit and not pulling me backwards as much.
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Old 04-24-20, 11:40 AM
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Couple of Saturdays ago, a friend and i decided to do a group ride with the rubber band. The route was the Uber Pretzel. We started out as a group of 6, but after the epic KOM, it was just me and the group organizer. By the time that we got to Fuego Flats, we couldn't get above 17 kph. Once we figured out the rubber band thing was killing us, I told him i was going to leave the group ride. however, neither of us wanted to go that far on a route and risk loosing the progress of the route. We took a break when passing through downtown and where we headed to Alp de Zwift. He thought i said i was ready, took off and after he was able to get up to around 30-35 kph. I realized he was a mile down the road and started off myself. at that point, i was able to reach those speeds as well. We finally finished the route. It took us 9.5 hours and felt like we road a double century.

We were stupid and the virtual route badge definitely wasn't worth that misery. Oh and my prize for drudging up the ADZ was the aero helmet. Didn't even get the wheels

The rubber band option is good for workouts or something short. if doing anything longer than that, don't do it.
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Old 04-27-20, 04:19 AM
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I think the meetup function would work OK on a longer, flat ride for people relatively close in w/Kg, but in that case you wouldn't need the rubber band anyway! Hills are where w/Kg differences really matter and the effect is kinda crazy.

For the purpose of riding with my friend who has an FTP of about 1/2 of mine, it works pretty well - I get a tough workout, we get to text chat and take screen shots of us riding together and show our wives how hot we look on Zwift...

We did another this Saturday am but he had companion app problems. I'm going to try to get him to work on drafting me - that should allow as to have a higher average speed on the flat parts.
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Old 11-27-20, 11:16 PM
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Thanks for posting about this. It looks like a very useful feature.
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Old 11-28-20, 01:02 AM
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We’ve been doing a weekly team ride every Friday night. It’s an hour ride and we have a Discord where people shoot the shiz just like we’d do on a ride IRL. It’s been a great way to do team stuff during the pandemic.
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Old 11-28-20, 04:52 PM
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doesn't it pull everyone to within a tolerance of the group leader?
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Old 11-28-20, 07:28 PM
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I’m not sure if it’s the group leader or the average of all riders. The nice thing is that if you have the “keep everyone together” function engaged, then people can hammer without breaking up the group. Or people can noodle along doing 100w and not get dropped. As long as you pedal, you stay together.
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Old 11-28-20, 07:54 PM
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I had to stop once to get my fan to work and it rubber bands you when you get within a certain distance of the group.
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Old 11-29-20, 02:13 PM
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I think it's another great feature that supports why Zwift is a very good indoor trainer option over the alternatives. I personally suck at typing and riding (BTW, on those group rides when the host is chatting up a storm how do they do that?) and end up getting my phone covered in sweat.

I did a zoom meeting with a friend of mine back in the peak of Pandemic and he chose a cat and mouse ride which was in NYC. We had to do that stupid climb 3 times and i was whining and crying about it the whole time that we both ended up laughing hysterically as he was calling me such a baby. A lot of fun.
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Old 11-29-20, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
he chose a cat and mouse ride which was in NYC.
Iím pretty new to Zwift.... what is a cat and mouse ride?
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Old 11-29-20, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by sarhog View Post
Iím pretty new to Zwift.... what is a cat and mouse ride?
When different levels of riders try and compete by pursuit and escape. In Zwift, you assign yourself A, B, C or D level rider based on your FTP so in cat and mouse game, the C level riders head out first, then the B and then the A and the point is for the one level to catch the slower level.
Not really sure what the point of it is but I guess you can push yourself to avoid being caught. As soon as you throw a significant incline into a race I am easy pickin's for the faster riders.
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Old 11-30-20, 05:51 AM
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The rubber banding essentially keeps everyone within range of the average watts/kg of the group - well, the part of the group that is pedalling at least a bit.

If you are pushing at a much higher W/kg you will feel like there is a headwind. Since those going at above average W/kg will be at the front of the pack, when the crest a hill, the slower riders are still climbing - the "headwind" feels like 40 mph wind in your face on the downhill!
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Old 12-05-20, 05:58 AM
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The rubber banding works best in ERG mode with smart trainers. It keeps everybody together as they are working at the same %age of FTP, and everybody gets the same level of workout assuming everybody's FTP and weight is set correctly. In level mode it is too easy to just ignore the power requirement and keep an easy pace and still stay with the group. Sometimes that's all you want I guess. I like being able to do my workout at my strength level and still stick with the hardcore guys.
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