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Zwift: Lowering weight to hang with the group?

Old 01-24-18, 01:53 PM
  #1  
Zaskar
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Zwift: Lowering weight to hang with the group?

My club has the typical range of fitness. And, like most clubs, we cope as best we can on the road, e.g. weaker riders tuck in, we'll do A/B rides, B/C rides, etc. Other than just getting faster, there's not a whole that can be done to keep the slower riders with the faster riders on fast group rides.

But on our Zwift group rides, we're trying. The first thing we did was adjust the Trainer Difficulty (TD). The faster guys have dialed up to 100. The slower guys dialed down - 30% and lower. It seems to help, but the TD doesn't make up enough of the discrepancy in the range.

Next idea is rider profile weight. For whatever reason, this feels like cheating - "weight doping." But if a 195 pound C Group rider dialed his weight down to 170, I'm assuming that'd make a significant difference. It raises questions though...

- Is this a viable method to even out a virtual group? Anyone tried this?
- Assuming no one who's altering their weight is racing, is this practice frowned on? Does it matter?
- Does Zwift use any tech to catch the unrealistic weight loss? Are these riders at risk of being flagged?

Any other tips on keeping slower riders with a group? I mean, other than "tell them to HTFU and $*#@ing train more" ;-)

Thanks.
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Old 01-24-18, 02:52 PM
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of course its cheating, its also widespread. No one I know takes zwift seriously, its still good motivation within a race to just ignore this fact.
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Old 01-24-18, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Zaskar View Post
My club has the typical range of fitness. And, like most clubs, we cope as best we can on the road, e.g. weaker riders tuck in, we'll do A/B rides, B/C rides, etc. Other than just getting faster, there's not a whole that can be done to keep the slower riders with the faster riders on fast group rides.

But on our Zwift group rides, we're trying. The first thing we did was adjust the Trainer Difficulty (TD). The faster guys have dialed up to 100. The slower guys dialed down - 30% and lower. It seems to help, but the TD doesn't make up enough of the discrepancy in the range.

Next idea is rider profile weight. For whatever reason, this feels like cheating - "weight doping." But if a 195 pound C Group rider dialed his weight down to 170, I'm assuming that'd make a significant difference. It raises questions though...

- Is this a viable method to even out a virtual group? Anyone tried this?
- Assuming no one who's altering their weight is racing, is this practice frowned on? Does it matter?
- Does Zwift use any tech to catch the unrealistic weight loss? Are these riders at risk of being flagged?

Any other tips on keeping slower riders with a group? I mean, other than "tell them to HTFU and $*#@ing train more" ;-)

Thanks.
Official Zwift group rides have some sort of algorithm built in that keeps everyone more or less together -- until you drop back for a certain amount of time and then you do get dropped.

At least that's the theory. I tried a couple group rides and I was on the struggle bus from the start -- but I think I had my FTP set way, way too high. I haven't tried any since I lowered it.

I don't know how to create an official group ride on Zwift but that might be something to look in to.
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Old 01-24-18, 05:25 PM
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Do whatever you want. Your group ride is absolutely nothing to anyone except you and your club. Run it as you see fit, how you see fit, and don't give it a second thought.
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Old 01-26-18, 03:44 PM
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Personally I just try and do the best I can and leave it at that. I haven't raced but I know that weight doping is rampant. What a joke. I did a fondo a week ago on Zwift and I heard, I don't know if it's true or not, that the winner of the Baby Fondo was on an e-bike. You could always go that route if it means that much to you.
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Old 01-29-18, 05:51 PM
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Adjusting "Trainer Difficulty" will make no difference to the power required to go a certain speed. Use Trainer Difficulty if your bike is geared too high or too low for the hills -- the watts you produce (regardless of pedal cadence) are what moves you.

Weight makes little difference on flat routes, however height seems to, at least within the range of settings they allow. :-) When I was doing gravity assisted climbing repeats to get the Tron bike (at the bowl, a little above the snow line on the way to the radio tower on Watopia) I found I could get a couple extra kph terminal speed by decreasing my height ... my avatar looked like a fireplug with the weight unchanged and it didn't make a huge enough difference on the VAM to leave it, but on the flats it might have made a difference.

But as others have mentioned, the "group ride" is supposed to keep people together these days. There might be some work in getting it on the calendar/added though.
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Old 02-04-18, 05:40 AM
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Gradient setting does affect your speed average as you don't have to shift as much, it is now done for you. Even on 0% grades, there are still elevation changes you will notice. High gradient means you need good shift timing and technique to keep up with others that use lesser settings (great training). Lowering gradient is easier to keep up.

You can select faster bikes, but they are already being used by those in the group and benefit gets minimized. Sure doesn't hurt.

Bottom line is: 1.5 and up rides are all "chase rides". I expect to use 3+watts with my setup, even on the best-run rides. You need to look for 'rehab' rides that are near 1.0 w/kg if you want a slow group ride.

Group rides do not keep riders together at all, except for the draft. Group workouts sometimes do as all are in ERG mode. The more 'realistic' you make your experience in Zwift, the harder it is to ride with others using the default (easy, cheat, whatever) settings.

Last edited by PaddleFoot; 02-04-18 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 02-11-18, 07:39 PM
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Weight doping? Really? I'm there for the workout, and you can't cheat that.
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Old 02-14-18, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by TCR Rider View Post
Personally I just try and do the best I can and leave it at that. I haven't raced but I know that weight doping is rampant. What a joke. I did a fondo a week ago on Zwift and I heard, I don't know if it's true or not, that the winner of the Baby Fondo was on an e-bike. You could always go that route if it means that much to you.
That's hilarious ---- That's akin to me turning on Strava the next time I go on a cruise on my Harley -- just watch the speedo to make it seem quasi-believable
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Old 02-14-18, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
That's hilarious ---- That's akin to me turning on Strava the next time I go on a cruise on my Harley -- just watch the speedo to make it seem quasi-believable
I'm sure that's already been done
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Old 02-15-18, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by TCR Rider View Post
I'm sure that's already been done
they're called e-bikes
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Old 02-15-18, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
Official Zwift group rides have some sort of algorithm built in that keeps everyone more or less together -- until you drop back for a certain amount of time and then you do get dropped.

At least that's the theory. I tried a couple group rides and I was on the struggle bus from the start -- but I think I had my FTP set way, way too high. I haven't tried any since I lowered it.

I don't know how to create an official group ride on Zwift but that might be something to look in to.
Actually you're talking about Group Workouts. Group rides do nothing to keep the group together.

Originally Posted by Zaskar View Post
My club has the typical range of fitness. And, like most clubs, we cope as best we can on the road, e.g. weaker riders tuck in, we'll do A/B rides, B/C rides, etc. Other than just getting faster, there's not a whole that can be done to keep the slower riders with the faster riders on fast group rides.

But on our Zwift group rides, we're trying. The first thing we did was adjust the Trainer Difficulty (TD). The faster guys have dialed up to 100. The slower guys dialed down - 30% and lower. It seems to help, but the TD doesn't make up enough of the discrepancy in the range.

Next idea is rider profile weight. For whatever reason, this feels like cheating - "weight doping." But if a 195 pound C Group rider dialed his weight down to 170, I'm assuming that'd make a significant difference. It raises questions though...

- Is this a viable method to even out a virtual group? Anyone tried this?
- Assuming no one who's altering their weight is racing, is this practice frowned on? Does it matter?
- Does Zwift use any tech to catch the unrealistic weight loss? Are these riders at risk of being flagged?

Any other tips on keeping slower riders with a group? I mean, other than "tell them to HTFU and $*#@ing train more" ;-)

Thanks.
It is much more acceptable in the Zwift community for the faster riders to raise their weight to slow them down as opposed to the slower riders lowering their weight to speed them up. The other option...is still tell to slow down.

As stated the Trainer Difficulty setting (for those with smart trainers) won't do anything as you still need X watts to achieve a given speed for your avatar. The TD setting will impact the ride feel but you've still got to put out those X watts so it comes down to if the rider can do it or not.

Regarding lowering weight and getting flagged. if a rider is someone that does race in Zwift YES there are mechanisms in Zwiftpower that track your weight changes and doing it frequently will get you flagged. There's also a mechanism within the normal program to flag riders that achieve very high Watt/Kg numbers. Just yesterday Nathan Guerra and Rahsaan Bahati were talking about this because Rahsaan keeps getting flagged...but he's a pro...he really can hit the numbers he's hitting.

Point is that lowering weight is frowned upon and considered cheating. People DO care about the Zwift KOM and Sprint jerseys as well as who's got the different Zwift Strava segments. So again...if you want to handicap the group have the strong riders raise their weight. This way they will still get to work very hard but the slower riders have a chance of keeping up.
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Old 02-15-18, 01:54 PM
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@Grasschopper - that's great (!) input. Thank you. I feel kinda dumb that it didn't dawn on me (us) to do the opposite - have the fast guys add some weight. Side note - I posted the suggestion on the club's Zwift GroupMe. One of the slower guys said "Great idea... will you fast guys do that for outside rides too?"

Thanks again.
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Old 02-15-18, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Grasschopper View Post
Actually you're talking about Group Workouts. Group rides do nothing to keep the group together.



It is much more acceptable in the Zwift community for the faster riders to raise their weight to slow them down as opposed to the slower riders lowering their weight to speed them up. The other option...is still tell to slow down.

As stated the Trainer Difficulty setting (for those with smart trainers) won't do anything as you still need X watts to achieve a given speed for your avatar. The TD setting will impact the ride feel but you've still got to put out those X watts so it comes down to if the rider can do it or not.

Regarding lowering weight and getting flagged. if a rider is someone that does race in Zwift YES there are mechanisms in Zwiftpower that track your weight changes and doing it frequently will get you flagged. There's also a mechanism within the normal program to flag riders that achieve very high Watt/Kg numbers. Just yesterday Nathan Guerra and Rahsaan Bahati were talking about this because Rahsaan keeps getting flagged...but he's a pro...he really can hit the numbers he's hitting.

Point is that lowering weight is frowned upon and considered cheating. People DO care about the Zwift KOM and Sprint jerseys as well as who's got the different Zwift Strava segments. So again...if you want to handicap the group have the strong riders raise their weight. This way they will still get to work very hard but the slower riders have a chance of keeping up.
Would the fast guys subsequently lowering their weights again when they aren't riding with the group cause them to be flagged as well, especially if they are the ones winning those other races at a later point?
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Old 02-15-18, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
Would the fast guys subsequently lowering their weights again when they aren't riding with the group cause them to be flagged as well, especially if they are the ones winning those other races at a later point?
My guess is that it would raise a flag at Zwiftpower (for those that don't know Zwift races are monitored by 3rd parties NOT by Zwift) but they are reviewed by real humans. I would think that it would be obvious to anyone reviewing that if a rider was always at say 75kg but then raised their weight to 85kg or 100kg for certain rides and then lowered it again after the ride that the rider's normal weight was in fact 75kg. Plus my way would not tarnish any in game KOMs etc. If you can get a KOM with added weight then by all means you won it. If someone got it when they lowered it for a ride...then they are cheating.

For anyone interested the Zwift Riders FB group is VERY active and a great place for these sorts of questions. There's also a Zwift Racers sub group.
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