Tips on Zwift racing with mixed categories

Hello everyone,

Wondering if anyone has any tips on Zwift racing where all Cats start at the same time? I find myself in either one of two scenarios - Go with the As as I can easily hold on for the first 5 mins but then burn out. Or get dropped to a slower group almost straight away but then going way too slow throughout the race. According to Zwift power my strongest traits are sprinting / short uphill climbs. TIA!

I’ve completed over 100 Cat B races and your dilemma still applies to me after 3 years, I average about 3.8w/kg during most races and usually finish mid level in B. You either need to commit to trying to staying with that front group as long as possible or settle into the 2nd fastest group. Depending on the course and who shows up that initial 5w/kg+ start surge can last anywhere from 1 minute to 5 so that’s typically where I make my decision. Usually a good percentage of that lead group will get dropped, and then get consumed by the 2nd group (or dropped again because they’re gassed). Also, it helps to know the course, sometimes the start is slower than expected because of an early climb where it all breaks loose.

Haha 1-5 minutes for 5+ watt per kilo? I was in a race Saturday and once dude averaged over 6 w/kg for 53+ minutes lol. In fact all the races I’ve done have splintered with normal strong riders, really strong riders, and the obvious cheaters.
Saturday was the first one I’ve done where a good enough group of like 20 kept moving up the field. After about 5 min was sitting around 100 out of 660, and ended up around 15th by the end. I considered that a win.

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You know what your best 20 minute power is if you look at the zwift power stats. You are not likely to magically be able to do much more than that from race to race. It’s fine to try to hang with the front, but you also need to know what your limits are and make a call before you blow up. Usually I find that if the front gets a big enough lead, you can recover mostly before the next group sweeps you up. You’ll need to look at their pace and see if they are the group to hang with or fall to the next.

I"m normally near the pointy end of the B group and my strategy is always to hang with the lead group as long as possible. I at least try to keep from getting dropped while another B is still in the group. If I get to the point that I’m getting close to blowing up, my strategy shifts into finding the right time to drop (much better to get dropped with a couple other guys vs. riding solo in the gap). If you’ve hung on long enough or get in a decent second group, the other groups behind are unlikely to catch. I’m usually 3.6.- 3.8 w/kg for the race and that’s usuallly enough to be in the top 5 for B’s and sometimes on the podium.

That’s for actual races, not tour de zwift and other “rides” with hundreds of people. While there are certainly people treating those rides as races, it’s a very different dynamic compared to actual races. As much as people talk about cheating on Zwift, I just don’t see much cheating in A and B racing for actual races. Zwift Power does a nice job and the racing community keeps things in check.

The E-doping is rampant at the moment. I did a couple TdZ events today to get some tempo riding and both front groups had riders pushing 5+ for over an hour in a less than realistic manner…

I sacrificed my chance to win in both sprints by going early to drop the offending riders, strictly on principle.

If your 20min power puts you in A or B, I’d say go ahead and try to hang on, especially if it’s a flat course.

The starts are hard for everyone, you just get used to it. I always make sure to be pushing 5.5-6wkg a couple seconds before the start so I get a good launch and can throttle back from there and reassess.

You can also check zwiftpower ahead of time to see what you’ll be up against. If the field is full of A+ riders maybe choose a different event.

ZwiftPower participation is much higher in A and B, and drops off in C to low levels in D. And the number of category droppers (people racing in cats below their range) is inversely proportional to ZwiftPower participation. In D, it’s common to have less than 20% of the field registered, and more than 20% riding way above cat limit.

Cheating in A and B is too hard.