Zwift takes steps to limit sandbagging....finally

Not certain I agree with the approach (I liked Amin’s “ghosting” idea from the Minterview), but I am obviously glad to see them taking steps to address this.

One thing that I think is missing is a clearer explanation of what constitutes a “B” or “C” rider (even though a rider will get a warning if they are attempting to sign up for what could be the wrong category).

We’ll see!!

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Isn’t there a pretty clear indication of w/kg that puts you into a specific category?

Tried Zwift for the first time a week ago and its been pretty clear to me in each event how the categories are split.

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I still find it strange that people have to sort themselves into categories. Literally every online game (and also real life racing, sort of) has an automated matchmaking system based on past performance.

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That’s really interesting and it’s good they’re actually taking steps for this. Although lately I’ve been sandbagging in the C group (I’m borderline A technically but more realistically B) but i do those events with ERG mode on TR so I don’t affect the outcome and am usually way off the back and using intervals to make up ground (that strategy would never work in a B or A event).

I think they really have to prevent people from joining to begin with, fast people affect things from the get go, if those who are truly Cs can’t keep up with the sandbaggers going full gas at the start, the race is totally ruined and not a realistic representation of the class

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I’m assuming this is why they’re implementing the 1min and 5min limits. Once a big group is up to speed on a flat course it’s much less of an issue. It’s very, very hard to ride away or hold off a group on a flat course.

I did a B group ride last night and decided after it started that I felt good and wanted to get some sweet spot work. I messaged the group, didn’t open gaps, and rolled on and off the front at a steady effort well over the advertised pace of the 1.5hr ride. The rest of the group could easily maintain 1wkg less and most people were happy to set PRs.

There is, but if you’re say a borderline A/B rider, you can either be racing for the win in B or not even in the race in A. To win a B race you basically have to be as close as possible to the B w/kg limits without going over. Some people pay very close attention to this and make sure they don’t go over.

Obviously, casual community lead zwift racing all needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. I do feel like categories are a bit too broad though. 3-4w/kg is a huge jump, and then the A’s are ludicrous. I’m racing at ≈4.4w/kg and got spat in 10 minutes from the British cycling race last night :joy:

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I understand your point. Technically in any category you need to be near the upper limit to win, doesn’t matter where. It makes sense…if you’re near the upper limit then you are among the best in that class and so in with a shout to win.

So when should you upgrade yourself? I think if you are consistently higher than everyone else in your cat or consistently winning then you should upgrade. There is always going to be a judgement call

I suppose the challenge is that there isn’t always enough entrants to a Zwift race to make sense to break everyone up into more categories. Yes we could have A - K with much smaller increments but then we’d be racing 10 people in a class and thats also no fun.

Unfortunately we can’t all be winners all the time and have to accept that we’re small fish in a big pond and sometimes mid to back of pack A/B/C is just where we belong rather than trying to dominate the class below where we should be.

Its called ZwiftPower apparently in this world. But the odd thing is that it isn’t in-game and relies on everyone on Zwift signing up to an external rule maker.

To your point…if Zwift already has category rules/guidelines why doesn’t it just automatically bump you up or down? (I’m guessing this would create way more outrage than problems it would solve)

True that. Up until now, If you have a profile on zwiftpower you’ll start getting DQd from races if you’re over the power limit, but that hasn’t stopped you from racing in zwift itself, so this is a big step change.

Worth checking out Norcal cycling’s live stream from a day or two ago when he tried a group A crit and got dropped. The draft effect is so low compared to real world that you can’t use skill to get to the end of races and unleash your massive sprint. You have to be able to hold relatively consistently high power throughout the race.

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Having done my first Zwift race a couple days ago I can attest to the fact that it is not at all like a normal road race for the most part…mainly down to the drafting effect.

I read someone else saying that outside there is a big difference between NP and AP and in Zwift its much closer and I find that to be very true.

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This for me is biggest issue, last Duathlon race I did in the B’s the top 5 cyclists were quicker than the top A’s . As a consequence that group had dragged along a bunch in my category. At the end of 46km the next two guys a head of me were 7 mins in front despite me averaging 0.5 w/kg more 🤷

hopefully this just relates to races. Group rides are probably a different story and they already have the fence for managing fliers.

I’m kinda in that predicament right now for A/B. I’ve yet to exceed the B power limits on zwiftpower (and have yet to win a B race), but I’m close.

My tri teammates goaded me into doing a couple of A races with them last Saturday and I finished the first one in 19:57 at 4.4w/kg (and came in like 50th place on zwift & 24th on zpower). If it had been 20 minutes I would have exceeded the B limits in that race.

So I think I’m just going to race A going forward. It actually motivates me to lose some weight too, where racing in B did not.

Zwift racing requires you just race the people you end up in a group with and forgetting about the people up the road. You aren’t catching them once they’re gone. If you can do this mentally, then it’s a lot of fun regardless of your overall finishing position.

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It’s only races.

My point being that short efforts are more disruptive to the group and I think they’re on the right track with the 1 and 5min efforts than the current 20min guideline alone. Just used the example of the group ride because it illustrated the point. My effort was 4.4 for 1.5hrs and 4.8 for an hour of that at a steady effort but the rest of the group was able to ride MUCH lower. I was still getting sucked off the front with the washing machine effect for the whole ride.

Also, no more fence. It’s been gone for a while. Not sure when it will be back.

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Thanks for the heads up, I’ll be watching this before I race tonight.

The crits on zwift or really any of the short races, are basically one long effort at or just above threshold and then throwing down what ever pathetic effort you have left for the finish.

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That’s the thing about Zwift you have to be able to hold power for an extended period of time. It’s not like real life crits where you can just coast for 20% of the race through corners/drafting/etc. Because there is no worry of crashing you just have to hammer the whole time, which I actually like more then real life because it rewards fitness/makes it more like a running race then tactics.

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It used to bother me when I raced zwift more, and my w/kg bounced around high 3’s, low 4’s, and they would autosort you after the race, so on a good day, I’d get bumped to the back of the A’s. But now, after the increase in popularity of zwift with more stronger riders, picking cat prior to race, and 2 years of TR and declining FTP (I only sort of jest) I don’t care, and just race occasionally to break up the tedium and get a kind of unstructured over/under workout.

Using the in-event 20-min effort as a limiter would leave the potential sandbaggers in full action for the first 20 minutes of a race, way sufficient time for them to warp it completely.

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