Did my first zwift race...disappointed at people!

Did my first Zwift race today, and I’m generally disappointed with the overall experience. I’m done with structured training for the year and wanted to give it a shot. I entered the C race (FTPs between 2.5 and 3.1 w/kg) of the City Crit Race (9 mile race), with an FTP of 185 and weight of 135 (so around 3.1 w/kg). Of 69 entry’s I finished 57th after averaging 180 watts for 25 mins.

I’m just generally disappointed after looking at the results. I’d say more than half of the racers averaged above 3.5 w/kg. Someone averaged 3.3 with a HR of under 130.

Like really, you have to cheat at a zwift race? Really unfortunate and disappointing. Guess I should just stick with the TrainerRoad family!


I wouldn’t chalk it up to cheating for the most part, it’s more that the jumps between categories is pretty large for flat races, especially if you are on the lighter side.

For example, most B races average between 270-300w for 60 minutes in the pack.

So the decision for most people is to race in a category where they can hang, or immediately get dropped within the first few minutes of the next category up.

If you want a more even field, race the hilly courses for your category.


That has always been a problem with Zwift racing, whether they are doing it intentionally or mistaking lily entering the wrong category and Zwift does nothing currently to fix it. Eric is afraid of pissing off subscribers but something needs to be done. A lot of the races use Zwift Power (zwiftpower.com) for results and they do the policing and that is where you can find your correct category standing.


Thanks for the site! I’ll check it out. My race isn’t up yet. It’s just kind of sad that people need their ego stroked that badly.

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Your welcome, good luck! It’s been a while since I have raced but once I get some TR fitness back hope to see you out there.

What race was it? I’ve done a lot of zwift racing and I found the c group has more sand bagging than the b or a groups. The 3-3.5 range is where a lot of people fall. As already stated, you are also at a big disadvantage at that weight, particularly on flat courses. Anyone over 3.2 should be disqualified on zwiftpower where results are posted. If half the c field is really exceeding 3.2, then it has gotten much worse from when I was racing c. It used to only be 2 or 3 outliers and the main field would let them go if they were putting out dumb power (knowing they would be dq’d). I race b now and see almost zero sandbagging.

Also keep in mind that sandbagging goes on in real racing as well and there are no power limits to keep it in check. You’ll see guys w 4.5+ ftp racing cat 5.

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I did the Crit City race. I mean I understand the physics of bigger riders have more of an advantage on flat courses, and I didn’t expect to win or anything, but I just expected more policing by zwift and more fair play.

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I just looked at the race results and it looks like they are just letting people pick whatever category they want now with zero policing of the w/KG for the event. The w/KG limit is an imperfect system, but they should police it if they are going to give ranges for the different categories. Otherwise, just drop the ranges and make it a free for all. Maybe this is Zwift’s way to “be nice” and not piss off users when they get booted from a race for being over the power limit. I’d guess they are going to piss off way more users by not enforcing the power limits. Zwiftpower has been able to manage this very well in the past with warnings, DQ’s, etc… Nothing is ever going to make everyone happy, but this seems like a bad move from Zwift if they want more people racing.

But FTP isn’t the metric used to define actual race categories, number of starts is (for Cat 5). So you could have any FTP and less than 10 starts and you would legitimately be a Cat 5.

Zwift establishes the classes by w/kg, not starts or points, so that is the framework they should adhere to.


“FTP” is an even paced effort for roughly an hour so its not surprising to see 20 minute avgs higher which are varying in nature and allow for recovery in the draft. Check the results in zwiftpower and at the riders ahead of you to see the categories and avg w/kg they are putting out in other longer races


My limited experience with Zwift races mirrors this. I was getting thumped on the flats in the Bs, then we hit AdZ and some As and Bs dropped, and I must’ve passed half my category on the long climb. Still finished back, but the climb made it more along the lines of what I would expect since I’m not a top end B yet.

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Just FYI, lots of people are getting force upgraded racing the new courses. With the races so short (~20min) it’s easy for sandbaggers to exceed category limits. From what I gather there are people that have turned cat C sandbagging into an art and they tend to be on the heavier side, even overstating weight to avoid upgrade but still win on flat courses. I don’t get it either :man_shrugging:

Also worth noting that events set up by zwift don’t tend to be monitored as closely as race series put on by teams in zwiftpower. The exception being beta test races and invitation only or priority events.

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Zwift Racing has its place. If you need a bit more motivation to ride/train or do intervals.

I do Zwift races for that reason and put Zero stock in any result. Its another form of stress I don’t need.

Is there sandbagging yes there is. U17 kid doing 4.2w/kg but can’t win IRL C grade. Or 300w for 3hrs…

I have never won a race placed top 10 maybe a couple of times. But it does let me lock in a time to train. Especially for time trialing. I can sit at x w/kg and get my training done.

Do them for fitness and fun, don’t stress yourself over sand bagging or results.


It’s a well known problem - I just saw this post on Zwift Insider which discusses this topic: https://zwiftinsider.com/enforcing-race-cats/

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I have a friend who has a maxHR in the 140’s. When his HR is in the 130’s he is above LTHR. Not everyone with a 135 avg is going easy.


Bigger riders have a huge advantage on the flat. My FTP is only 3.3w/kg. In the 25 min race I could put out around 260w. Choose a hilly race and see if results are different.

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Its a computer game. Amateur riders dope and on Zwift they can dope for free without health risks! There will be cheating (insert meme here)!


It’s been mentioned already, but if you’re interested in the results, ignore the official Zwift results and look at Zwiftpower after the race. Those going over cat limits will be filtered out. There are also other various rules that race organisers can put in place on Zwiftpower to filter out those not playing fair. It’s not perfect, but it’s all there is at the moment.

There will be a mountain of upgrades from the new Crit City courses as the races are so short and essentially a flat out TT effort. The results of most other races aren’t decided by 20min efforts.

Sandbagging sucks so badly. The only category where is doesn’t happen is A as there is no penalty (other than going over ZADA limits) for exceeding a threshold. There’s soooooo many races that I’ve done that the 20min w/kg figure doesn’t even go over B cat limits!!

Don’t give up! I’d suggest finding a few of the bigger community organised races, maybe a bit longer distance with more varied terrain. And just like IRL, there is some skill in racing well on Zwift (however I will be told otherwise on here!!!)

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Welcome to why I quit zwift. Only did it for the races…and I know I shouldn’t care / ignore the cheats but when getting on for half the racers are weight changing or in wrong category then winds me up. Zwift themselves show no sign of ever doing anything to combat this issue or care so I stopped giving them my cash!

Other thing about races that I disagree with but I know happens a lot is people downgrading a category when want an easy day…totally wrong in my view since should be based on ftp / kg. Even if rider stays in the limits for lower category they have so much more in reserve at the end for final few minutes.

Anyway rant over! Lol. I decided just to leave zwift rather than get annoyed!

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I’ve seen Zwift rides presented on Strava and then ridden with the same people in the real world.
I was very disappointed that whilst on Zwift they appeared to be the genetically enhanced love child of Jens Voigt and Bradley Wiggins they were actually a weedy guy with bandy legs and an FTP power output less than fridge light…just sayin’ it’s open to abuse. In TrainerRoad you only cheat yourself.