People take part in Zwift races for a variety of reasons. Whatever your motivation, it’s hard to deny that we all want to finish high on that leaderboard. Here are five quick tips you can implement right away to boost your Zwift race results.
Pick Your Best Racecourse
Are you a bigger rider who does better on flat routes, or a lighter rider with a high power/weight ratio that helps you win on the climbs? Or perhaps you’re somewhere in better, a puncheur best suited to rolling courses with short, hard climbs.
Whatever suits you best, it helps to understand the layout of each Zwift route, then choose races which cover the routes that play to your strengths. Here are the details (profile, length, etc) of each and every Zwift route >
Pro tip: Zwift Companion doesn’t currently make it easy to see which route a race is on, but the events app over at ZwiftHacks does, and I highly recommend it.
Powerups are accepted in essentially every Zwift race these days, so it pays to begin your race with a useful one! This will let you use the draft boost or aero helmet to make the start a little easier, or perhaps the feather to punish the competition on that first short climb.
Learn more about powerups in Your Guide to PowerUps in Zwift.
Stay Out of the Wind
Come on, this is rookie stuff. Just like racing outdoors, Zwift racing requires you to conserve energy so you have something left when it really matters. That means staying in the draft for most of the race, only putting your nose out when it’s time to attack.
Drafting in Zwift lets you maintain the same speed as the person you’re behind while expending less energy. Read Drafting in Zwift: power savings and advice to get the specifics.
Use Fast (Virtual) Gear
As you level up in Zwift, you unlock new frames and wheelsets. These aren’t just eye candy–they change your speed in game. In fact, simply upgrading from the stock wheels to the Zipp 808’s will take ~40 seconds off an hour long race.
To really dig into how Zwift equipment affects in-game speeds, check our Zwift Weight/Watt/Equipment Speed Tests. If you’re pressed for time, just read The 5 Fastest Bikes in Zwift (and How to Get Them).
If you’re anything like me you tend to take warmups less seriously when you’re hopping on your bike for a free race in your garage, versus an outdoor race you drove hours and paid money for. But most Zwift races are short and fast, so coming into them warmed up is essential.
Experienced cyclists know that a proper warmup is key if you want to perform your best in any hard cycling effort, but newer cyclists often don’t understand this. Come into your races like a pro–read Pre-Race Warmups on Zwift.