Testing Zwift’s Beta Anti-Sandbagging Controls

Testing Zwift’s Beta Anti-Sandbagging Controls

This morning I used my test account to hop into a ZHQ Beta Crit City race as a D rider. Zwift has begun using these races to test their still-beta anti-sandbagging controls, and I wanted to see them in action!

My plan: click around and watch riders until the green cones started flying. See how much the green cone affects their speeds, and see if I can get a green cone myself. Then see what the final results look like after riders have been coned.

Before we begin, I want to make a couple things clear:

  1. Zwift’s anti-sandbagging controls are in early beta. They’re testing the feature in ZHW Beta Races currently, but the feature is being fine-tuned. The final product will certainly be more polished and precise than what we’re currently seeing.
  2. My test account ride was done in such a way as to not interfere with the actual race in any significant way.

Here’s a quick video I cobbled together so you can see portions of the race live:

Starting Up: the Out of Category Alert

I signed up for the event from within the game itself, and when I clicked to join the event the following popup appeared:

This alert is better than nothing. But it’s also far from ideal! This won’t change signup behavior much, if at all, because there’s no way for me to easily join the correct category from this popup. I would have to exit the game and restart, or use the Companion app to change my category signup, in order to make the swap. Nobody will do that. Or at least, almost nobody.

Instead, I should see a popup when I click to sign up, and that popup should drive me toward joining the category I should be in. Something like this (excuse my terrible UI design, it was a quick job):

Some would say that Zwift shouldn’t even allow riders to join a too-low category. I’d be OK with that, but I also understand Zwift’s position of not wanting to be too heavy-handed in this first iteration.

The Green Cone of Shame

Once the race began, everything was “normal” for the first ~4 minutes or so. Then the green cones began to fly! The first cones were given to two riders in the group of three off the front. Perfect! Zwift race sandbagging legend Bath Salts was one of these riders, and I was happy to see him (or her?) coned.

Cones began to pop up in the main peloton behind the leaders as well. Eventually there were probably 10 coned riders in a field of 95 – but it was hard to keep track because the riders were scattered all over the course. Here you can see what the cone looks like – it floats over the rider’s head, and shows up in the rider list as well.

What does the green cone look like from a rider’s perspective? I pushed my one-minute power up to 500 watts and got the cone in short order – here’s what popped up:

The message says “We’ve ratcheted back your power a bit”, but my wattage readout didn’t change at the top-right. My w/kg number in the rider list was hidden, which seems odd to me. Is Zwift actually reducing my power? Or are they just artificially slowing me down? The answer is unclear.

What about Throttling?

My rider definitely slowed after receiving the Green Cone of Shame, but it wasn’t an extreme slowdown. I would estimate it knocked ~5kph off of my speed at 300 watts (4 w/kg). But that’s just a guesstimate.

The riders who were off the front and received the cone were able to stay away from the much larger chasing group, despite being coned and slowed. My conclusion here, based on this one limited test, is that the cone isn’t slowing people down quite enough. They shouldn’t be able to stay off the front, or even hang with the front pack, after getting coned. There needs to be more of a performance penalty.

Race Results

Lastly, I wanted to check the race results screen. Would coned riders not be included in the list? Would they show up as being coned? Unfortunately, neither of those is currently the case. Coned riders show up just like other riders in the rankings (several of the riders in this screenshot were coned, but you can’t tell be looking at it):

An Anomaly

The rider who “won” this particular race (R. Foucault) certainly must have exceeded the triggers for the Green Cone. But he was never coned. Was he running an outdated version of Zwift, or was there some other issue?

Conclusion

Again, I want to stress that this is an early beta of Zwift’s anti-sandbagging features. It feels a bit unfair to even write about the features in their current state, but at the same time, the racing community is wondering what the feature looks like, how it works, and what the current state of implementation is.

I think there’s a lot of promise here – it just needs some fine-tuning. And that’s exactly what beta testing is for! So keep up the good work, HQ. We’re all rooting for you!

Your Thoughts

Have you tried one of the beta races yet? Seen any green cones? Been coned yourself? Share your experience below!

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
152 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Gruffudd
1 year ago

This is definitely a great idea. However, it does seem to me that w/kg doesn’t equate directly to speed. I’m 15 and pushed avg 4.7w/kg in one of the zwift classics Yorkshire races (I was in Bs and was 8th in final zwiftpower results) but riders faster than me are pushing less w/kg. Is it just my poor tactics or does it seem to occur to more people? Ps love the website, really useful – I’m currently doing the route badge challenge which is lots of fun

David Hull
Super Member
David Hull (@dhull7k)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gruffudd

If you take advantage of the draft you can end up with less w/kg than those who finish near you. There’s also an article on here somewhere about how rider weight affects w/kg and speed on flat vs climbs.

Anthony C Casto
Anthony C Casto
1 year ago
Reply to  David Hull

Rider weight is HUGE. I drift between 105 and 107 kg. It’s frustrating not being able to ride with the skinny folks, but you can find races that cater specifically to heavier riders (ZHR Clydesdales). I even have an advantage on the downhill portions (although I’d trade in a heartbeat as I slog up Alpe du Zwift). I’m never going to be an A or B rider simply because of my size, but I’m striving to be a competitive C rider. The w/kg keeps me motivated to stay on my diet, so it is actually a benefit to my personal… Read more »

David Cooper
David Cooper
1 year ago
Reply to  Gruffudd

w/kg is part of the calculation used to produce your virtual speed, and on flatter sections there is more of a bias to outright wattage rather than w/kg as I understand it. You don’t say what your wattage was at 4.7 w/kg, but as a 15 year old I am guessing that it would be signfiicantly lower than the 450 watts I would have to produce to hit 4.7w/kg.

Gruffudd
1 year ago
Reply to  David Cooper

Yes it’s more like 250!

Harry Roberts
Harry Roberts (@harryroberts)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gruffudd

W/KG is a metric better suited to describe climbing ability and doesn’t really start to be the best metric until you reach steaper grades like 6+%. Pure watts almost always wins on Zwift basically flat races. Even the hilly races are basically flat.

Darin Boyd
Darin Boyd
1 year ago
Reply to  Harry Roberts

Its funny how everyone thinks that…

Dorian
Dorian
1 year ago
Reply to  Harry Roberts

Yeah that’s just not true. I’m around 90kg but put out a lot of watts. IRL my experience racing in the US there was no way on a flat or even rolling course you would ever see a podium of very light riders. But on Zwift I see this all the time. I saw a 50kg rider win a 50k Volcano Flat race. That’s just not gonna happen in reality.

Jack
Jack
1 year ago
Reply to  Gruffudd

I would think your set is very very off producing incorrect wpk. Are you on a smart trainer? Double check calibration. Traditional wheel on set ups are awful too.

Ken
Ken
1 year ago
Reply to  Jack

Gruffedd likely doesn’t weigh anything. I ride and Zwift with my 15 year old son. He weighs 108lbs to my 165. W/kg are very similar when we ride together on any given segment. Pure wattage on any given segment is drastically different. We ride the same exact trainers as well. His power to weight translate to real roads as well. He can take me on short steep climbs and I can handle him on the flats and of coarse I leave him in the dust on descents haha

Al BOWERS
Al BOWERS
1 year ago

I’m ‘B’ class. Is it safe to assume that if I enter an event as ‘A’ class i need not worry of coning?

Mark O'Neal
Mark O'Neal (@moneal)
1 year ago

Just about everyone you showed shouldn’t have been in a D race. That looked more like a C+ or B- race. This is why I don’t waste time racing now. Looking forward to the final version of the anti sand bagging. Although I’ll be one of those guys who maybe gets coned in the C and blasted in the B. Hope they get that figured out too

Nico
Nico
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark O'Neal

Beta race so assuming most where testing it too like I will be doing today, normally I’m on the edge of becoming an A so ill try the C race and see how long it takes to get coned haha. Probably let people go a minute or 2 ahead first though as I don’t like to interfere with the ones that actually trying to enjoy the race

Mark Riniker
Mark Riniker
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark O'Neal

I agree. At least in the US there are basically 5 categories and 6 if you consider pros. Plus the Zwift sample size is huge and unrealistic compared to local racing.

Shaun Smith
Shaun Smith (@spiriakou)
1 year ago

Always interested to see your take on developments in the Zwift ecosystem

David Hull
Super Member
David Hull (@dhull7k)
1 year ago

I was in a Beta Crit City a couple of days ago and saw some riders get coned. There was a rider in my group who got coned and gradually dropped back (which I rather enjoyed). But there were a couple of riders way ahead who we never caught. If the throttling is set to just knock off a certain percentage of power it won’t have as much effect on stronger riders. The throttling may need to be customized to each rider’s power output relative to the rest of the field. But its still a good first step towards making… Read more »

Rory Lade
Rory Lade
1 year ago
Reply to  David Hull

I don’t understand how it’s supposed to work in crit city races. It’s 9mi. You should bre able to push way over your FTP in a 20min race.

Z.oom
Z.oom
1 year ago
Reply to  Rory Lade

Over your ftp yes. Way over NO. Unless you have done an actual 1 hour ftp test, your ftp is based on 95% of a 20 minute ftp test. If you put out 300w in an ftp test your ftp would be 95% of 300w (285ftp). So if you put out much more than 300w in a 20 minute race, your either not putting all out in the ftp test or a cheater

Michael Davis
Michael Davis
1 year ago

Zwift should call them Power-Downs. 🙂

I think a warning first, then a puncture would be more appropriate for some of these sandbaggers.

Steve Wightman
1 year ago

A good idea, but 1 minute extra effort seems subjective and maybe unfair. There are so many potential justifications for a singular high-watt effort that might not be sandbagging. The other question would be: what if a person (like me) gets A-group-fit and then gets off the bike for awhile (the corona virus?) and drops back a group or two to rebuild? “Sand bagger”? Seems harsh. I always ride A group and end up back half….keeps me humble and motivated. I do, however try to put in a big effort or two for recover tests or just stupidity. I’d love… Read more »

Benjamin Pitt
Benjamin Pitt (@benjamin_pitt)
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Wightman

If your power is too high for B grade, why drop back? I don’t understand your issue? As soon as you start to exceed B grade, move back up….

David Gardiner
David Gardiner
1 year ago

One thing that both Zwift and Zwift power seem to be missing is a clear indicator of what division you belong in based on your recorded FTP, weight, and other numbers. Yes, you can compute it, but it would be really nice to have something that clearly shows where you belong without having to do the math. A graphical indication of where you belong and how close you are to the limits of the division would also be really nice. For example I am technically nearing the top end of D. It would b really nice to be able to… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 year ago
Reply to  David Gardiner

ZwiftPower does tell you what category you should be in. On your profile page in the upper left, it displays your category in the “WKG Category” field, based on your three best 20-minute power figures in the last 90 days. If you exceed 2.5 W/kg in three races in a 90-day period, this should change from C to B.

Thomas Chew
Thomas Chew
1 year ago
Reply to  David Gardiner

David, as a beginner and individual that was D just a few months ago, may I say that at our level (D&C), racing 1 level down, isn’t the same thing as an A or B rider in C class. In my particular situation I was D for maybe two months but managed a few trips to the podium. When I hit C it was like I was a total beginner. Going from 3rd or 4th to last in class isn’t fun.But it does offer motivation if we are looking for it. At this point once in a while I get… Read more »

Fabio Bertoldi
Fabio Bertoldi
1 year ago

And something like the Soccer cards? First cone (yellow) speed penalty (half the speed for 10 seconds), second cone (orange?) back to the first group of more than 3 behind you, third cone (red) back to last position. New cones? Always a red cone.

Steve Becraft
Steve Becraft
1 year ago
Reply to  Fabio Bertoldi

Brilliant!

Steve Becraft
Steve Becraft
1 year ago

I did the 3:30 D London race last nigh. The race started hard as expected and I settled into a group mid 40s of 88 and we had riders come and go as expected. Going into Surrey we were passed by a rider pushing 5+ w/kg and kept going as far as I could see. The end results was high 30s for me and another rider and the guy that passed won the race.

josh
josh
1 year ago

i was in the A race yesterday and there was a zpower rider lapping the field at 6-7 w/kg and didn’t get coned. also there was a guy in my 2nd pack who got coned, we couldn’t figure out why, and he eventually dropped about 2 min back because of it.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 year ago
Reply to  josh

Kind of surprising to hear that they would be coning at all in an A race. Seems to me that the cone is meant to indicate that you’re racing in the wrong category and should upgrade. How would you upgrade from an A race?

Nico
Nico
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Would be a red cone for A races to state you are either cheating or need to apply for A+ status and submit info to prove your weight and power meter are actually correct.

Koen
Koen
1 year ago
Reply to  josh

Interesting! I’m registered for tonights’ London race (A). Going to keep an eye on the cones as I notice a rather suspicious rider in the zwiftpower sign-up list (20min 7.2Wkg)

Joel
Joel
1 year ago

Great idea! It seems like it will always be difficult to implement objectively. I may ride 2.5 – 3.0 watts/kg average on a training basis (unless it’s a recovery day then I’ll ride 1.0 to 1.5 watts/kg, but then REALLY PUSH myself on a race day beyond my normal limits. Usually my wattage report at the bottom of the screen looks like “sharp teeth” with 20 second bursts up to 5 watts/kg. I’ve only raced once or twice and tried group C and was completely SMASHED! Even followed start HARD rule 3 seconds early with as much wattage as possible… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 year ago
Reply to  Joel

That’s what racing looks like for all of us. Your category is based on those hard rides where you REALLY PUSH to the maximum of your ability over the course of the whole race. Any race is going to have short bursts that are way above the category limits, but your best 20-minute average power defines your category.

Nico
Nico
1 year ago
Reply to  Joel

Don’t worry to much about being in the wrong group if you able to win or even top 5 consistently that’s whe N its probably time to move up or if you r 20 minute power is about the catagory then move up, will be tough at first but that’s the point should only be able to win when your close to ready to move up in my mind

Joel
Joel
1 year ago

How do you enroll in a Beta account?

MHolden
MHolden (@holdenadventures)
1 year ago

Thanks for experimenting with the new features and the analysis.
This is super hard and I have great respect for Zwift attempting to fix it. It’s not going to be perfect by any means.
I wonder how a rider on the cusp of say C and B categories who has a PB race is going to feel if they get the cone of shame even though their norm is still C+
How does Zwift Power deal with this? Are they looking at trends?

MarkM
MarkM (@spinner60)
1 year ago

I like the idea of a warning at the beginning of race and allowing a rider to last minute correction, in case it was “accidental”.
Instead of forcing “intentional” sandbaggers to up their watts to maintain pace, merge with Zwift Power and sort the final results to exclude them or sort them at the end of all the riders who competed in that correct class. “Legit” racers would then know to ignore that rider since not affecting outcome. In addition to a cone over the avatar, Zwift should program no drafting allowed behind the offender(s).

Nico
Nico
1 year ago
Reply to  MarkM

No drafting and not able to get draft that would be a great idea!

Dieseldanny
Dieseldanny
1 year ago
Reply to  MarkM

Not drafting behind the offender makes a lot o f sense. Other day, in the Hare & Hounds race, i was in the B class, and a guy was pushing like clockwork more than 5 w/kg. Totally destroyed the dynamics of the race

M Wong
1 year ago

While all of this makes sense, the reality is if you are looking for some sort of a result or validation in cyber bike racing, you’re doing it wrong. People will always try to game the game. The MO should be enjoy chasing wheels, turning yourself inside out to get to the line, and enjoy the gains outside with your real life group rides. when I first started Zwift, the C group rides and races blew me up. My enjoyment came from staying in them longer and longer each time. Now, the C races are basically fast group rides with… Read more »

Benjamin Pitt
Benjamin Pitt (@benjamin_pitt)
1 year ago
Reply to  M Wong

Chronicles of a sandbagger?

Dieseldanny
Dieseldanny
1 year ago
Reply to  M Wong

I agree with you, but i should be a minimum of expectations of a certain level of performance when you line up for a event. I go for a B event, and you know that i won´t win, or even do a top 10. It´s all fine for me. I´m used to IRL with hard riding groups so i just want to have a really nice workout and push myself on zwift. Use it as hard workouts and to improve. But as i said, i go for a B event, and see guys pushing 6 w/kg on the climbs, others… Read more »

Bobby Mac
Super Member
Bobby Mac (@rmacdowell1)
1 year ago
Reply to  M Wong

I disagree. For all the Zwift Racers purposefully racing in the wrong category: If you’re not following the rules in the eSports world; you’re apt not follow the rules IRL either. It’s selfish and inconsiderate to the other riders to purposefully ride in the wrong category. If you want a hard group ride, then join a Zwift Group ride in your appropriate w/kg category. An entire piece of the ZwiftInsider blog is dedicated to covering how we make Zwift Racing fair and honest. This is not directed at you, unless of course you’re purposefully racing in a category below your… Read more »

Nlibner
Nlibner
1 year ago

I raced cat A last evening and there was a guy that was flagged, and he was much slower then the field. What would you be flagged for in cat A?

MKD
Trusted Member
MKD (@ridefree_77)
1 year ago

“Is Zwift actually reducing my power? Or are they just artificially slowing me down? The answer is unclear.”

GOOD. I dont want sandbaggers to know the limits so they can adjust accordingly, just race in the correct cat.

B B
B B (@benbliz)
1 year ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

MKD’s complaint is valid. If the slowing / power reduction isn’t that significant, and is known, sandbaggers could just race, trigger the reduction, and still race to win.

Bobby Mac
Super Member
Bobby Mac (@rmacdowell1)
1 year ago
Reply to  MKD

A-M-E-N-!

Anthony C Casto
Anthony C Casto
1 year ago

I’m casting my vote that a rider shouldn’t be able to sign-up at all except for the correct category. This coming from a very low C (just crossed from D to C a couple weeks ago). I understand the temptation to sandbag; it was much more fun running in the front of the pack in the Ds and being “in the mix.” However, I am slowly getting better in the Cs and have always been able to find a rider or two to work with even if I get dropped by the main group in the C races. Its the… Read more »

Nico
Nico
1 year ago

Just curious how sensitive the 1 minute power would be, I’m moving up to A at the end of the series I’m in as I’m close enough even though I’ll get dropped in A most races, but my 1 minute power is above average for a B rider as I found out yesterday’s race when I made a break in the last half a lap and held 600w for the last minute of the race, going to do one of the beta races today and test this and even drop to C group. I do like the idea of the… Read more »

Benjamin Pitt
Benjamin Pitt (@benjamin_pitt)
1 year ago
Reply to  Nico

It depends on how easy you where taking it before your 600 watts for 1 min. I can do that fresh and I’m a midrange b grader. But if you had been riding above your 20 min power for 10+mins before, and then blasted out 600 watts for a min, you’re definitely an A grader, or very very heavy.

chrisb200sx
chrisb200sx
1 year ago

I would love to see the cone of shame as the avatar actually wearing a traffic cone as a hat. The rider doesn’t necessarily have to see their own avatar appear this way but it would make it clear to others without having to look to the side.
Looks like Zwift are making progress, definitely need to have the option, and the encouragement to choose appropriate cat when you sign up, and maybe again when you start.

John Burgess
John Burgess
1 year ago

Perhaps if two or more green cones get together they should get a reverse blob effect drastically slowing them down 👍

M4rk0
M4rk0
1 year ago

Love that you called out sandbagging legend, Bath Salts. LOL

What the heck was he doing racing in D? He’s obviously a B who spends all his time in C.

Bobby Mac
Super Member
Bobby Mac (@rmacdowell1)
1 year ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Bath Salts also claims he’s 90 years old on ZwiftPower. For cyclists like him who have ridden 34,000 miles on Zwift — which is an amazing feat — why is it so difficult to be honest and forthright. Really? Again, people are selfish and inconsiderate of how their actions greatly affect other people. Some people don’t take moment to think how their dishonest actions may negatively impact others. There are plenty of Group Rides and venues to screw around and have fun. But when it comes to Zwift Races there are super simple rules like simply racing in the appropriate… Read more »

ian fahy
ian fahy
1 year ago
Reply to  Bobby Mac

Yeah he popped up in a race I was in tonight, I happened to be looking on Zwiftpower during my warmup, and noticed his age, 90+. On Zwift Companion I saw his age recorded as 105! Never heard of him before tonight, I messaged the group saying apparently there was a 105yr old racing with us, and he replied saying, really, who?! Just put your correct details in, race in the correct category, how hard is it?!

Hawi
Hawi
1 year ago

So far this solution seems worse than before. Now, not only do we still have the sandbaggers blowing up the race but we also have to worry about getting green-coned if we put in a strong 1 minute effort.

I think I’ll just handicap myself, take 20 kg off my Zwift weight, and race with the A’s.

Stuart P.
Stuart P.
1 year ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

So, as long as I enter the correct category according to the FTP/kg formula and historical data, I won’t be coned? Even if I exceed the 1 and/or 5 minute threshold? Or if my trainer is miscalibrated and I exceed the 20 minute cat limit plus 0.2 w/kg?

Ian
Ian
1 year ago

Zwift already has an effective solution in Zwiftpower, which is the only place I look for categorized results. Simply take away the non-categorzed race results from the companion app and problem solved. If riders don’t want to play by the rules, they have no business racing. Cheaters are disqualified in Zwiftpower if they ride below their assessed w/kg, as they should be. Nobody likes a cheater.

Benjamin Pitt
Benjamin Pitt (@benjamin_pitt)
1 year ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Exactly, otherwise, what’s the point of “category” racing? There is already open races for those that won’t that experience, it’s called Cat A.

Ian
Ian
1 year ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

That’s true, I see your point, pre-race enforcement would be ideal. I have been frustrated with sandbaggers, so rather than blow my legs off every time chasing unknown riders, I choose one or two racers to compete with in the ZP signup list based on race ranking and 20 min wkg. Regardless of the number of riders participating or what category they might be, my race focus is actually only with those chosen riders and LIVE view helps me locate and compete with them. It helps bring the race down to a much more manageable, personal and strategic level that’s… Read more »

B B
B B (@benbliz)
1 year ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Why don’t they do it like normal cycling and give points for wins and placing, with a mandatory upgrade after you podium in 5 races?

I think they should do a rolling 45 or 90 day window to check your performances, so people can lose fitness (life happens… we detrain occasionally!) and move down to lower categories?

Dieseldanny
Dieseldanny
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian

As Eric said, we need something to prevent totally unrealistic levels of performance that blows the event apart and distort the dynamics of the event. It makes Zwift totally different from IRL and thats bad, IMHO.

HanSolo
HanSolo
1 year ago
Reply to  Dieseldanny

It will never be like irl, which is fine. Was watching p1/2 racer irl get blown out of an A Zwift race after 6 laps in the crit race. He podiums irl and was like…wha…Irl racing isn’t the same as Zwift…still fun, but tactics used are different in both.

Ed B.
Ed B.
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian

ZP is not 100% effective. I race D and a guy won with 2.8 w/kg, I clicked on his name and his ZP category was C. Guys win with no HR.

Ian
Ian
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed B.

That’s frustrating…. and interesting about no HR monitor. I didn’t know that. I suppose there will always be loopholes.

Bobby Mac
Super Member
Bobby Mac (@rmacdowell1)
1 year ago

Colossal Bath Salts also has his age on ZwiftPower listed as 90+. I’m certain he’s not 90 years old. Zwift is a “game” and despite some people spending hundreds of heart-pounding hours racing on it, they still just see Zwift Races as a “video game” and don’t take it serious. The sandbagger software looks like it’ll turn out to be a mild deterrent at best. Regular Zwift Races that are self-policed by just Zwift enabled will always be flawed for the foreseable future. The only solution for true-to-life racing on a virtual platform is with a Race Organizer who has… Read more »

Benjamin Pitt
Benjamin Pitt (@benjamin_pitt)
1 year ago
Reply to  Bobby Mac

It’s just the start, they will tweak it more as stated in the article.

Bobby Mac
Super Member
Bobby Mac (@rmacdowell1)
1 year ago
Reply to  Benjamin Pitt

I hope so because I do take my Zwift racing seriously. It’s seriously fun!

stuinflipflops
stuinflipflops
1 year ago

Was in that race in the D’s and as a user I LOVED seeing those cones of shame and actually overtaking some of them – the throttling is the thing – it’s all to do with these guys fragile egos so not ‘winning’ on the road will have a far greater impact than just being removed later …
I like it – just needs cranking up a bit more!

Adam Beevers
Adam Beevers
1 year ago

I dream about being coned, but will never probably be good enough 🙂

Dave A
Dave A
1 year ago

I don’t understand what there is to “fine tune”? It’s math. Cut their power to the lowest w/kg of the category.

Mogens B Jensen
Mogens B Jensen
1 year ago

Hi Eric. I read your 3 parts on race categories and I like your ideas. I have a few comments: In part 2 you suggested to make racers who has ended up in a to low category invisble. That is a very good idea. With the new none draft and invisible powerup Zwift have the tools to do that. And if these functions are combined with this new green cone of shame (instead of giving a racer the green cone of shame they are made invisble and none draftable) racing in D and C categories will be much better. I… Read more »

Greg
Greg
1 year ago

I just did the Beta Crit race. I race As but have been A- for the last few months. There were 58 riders today. My hope is that this cone thing will force people up that should be up but hide out just under the ZP thresholds. The As have started to get very heavy in the top end. It could be that people are just getting faster, but today we had a real pro, Ted Kind in the race and he had 4.6 w/kg with nearly 400 watts for the race and still not the highest in watts or… Read more »

GRosebeck
GRosebeck
1 year ago

Still needs to be 5 divisions instead of current 4; something like 4.2 and up, 3.5-4.1, 2.7-3.4, 2.0-2.6 and sub 2.0 also should be no choice as to category zwift algorithm should assign and move up and down on results. Anti sandbagging measures here are a good start but the throttle down should be more significant and blatant, continued violations more punitive i.e. you can’t race for a week or something

Hawi
Hawi
1 year ago
Reply to  GRosebeck

Yes, agree that there should be more categories. If the categories covered small enough ranges (by whatever metric) that anybody in that cat has a reasonable chance to get on the podium, then fewer people will try to enter a lower category.

David Vickers
David Vickers
1 year ago

This is such a good idea, I raced the other day in D race and 50 out of the first 65 were averaging 3wpk. The winner had 4.2, how is this fun for the mortals behind them. I bust a gut having been previously seriously ill and this is my recovery but it kills any enjoyment- if you’re going to race fine but be on the right playing field. Glad that Zwift are addressing this as was very frustrated by the experience. They should get the chance to switch and if they turn it down then be automatically shifted, these… Read more »

Stuart Hardy
Stuart Hardy
1 year ago

Did the 4PM UK Crit City (B) and was impressed how quickly some got coned, with the first couple triggering before the first time up the hill. It didn’t give the race a chance to splinter, however there was one who said he was pinged when trying to chase back onto the group after getting dropped around lap 2/3. A bit of fine tuning to be done but certainly picked out the worst offenders.

Looks like a promising start.

Beltro
Beltro
1 year ago

I just raced cat B in Crit City. We had 4 A’s entered and a dude hold 5.6 w/kg off the front the entire race. I could care less if they take them out off of the Zwift Power results. They are affecting the races. IMO, Zwift should start with people racing in their own category. I don’t understand why that’s so difficult to accomplish….:-)

jaimie
jaimie
1 year ago
Reply to  Beltro

YUp I’m B/C. Even when I was racing D, to have a chance i would have have to go 500w at the start to make sure I was in the lead D group. Moved up to C, same deal. It just messes up the race.

Philip Procter
Philip Procter
1 year ago

Good Work Zwift I going to start racing again when the update happens

Taylor Hubbard
Taylor Hubbard
1 year ago

Zwift needs to make it so you can’t sign up out of cat, cone (like fence) gives you a set amount of time to dial it back, and anyone coned is DQ’ed from results. I used to love racing on Zwift. Now I just do group rides and solo.

Mads Holst Knudsen
Mads Holst Knudsen
1 year ago

Tried entering the beta race on Thursday, and it was a complete disappointment – the beta anti-sandbagging measures actually seem to make matters worse than usual: 1) Coning did happen, but not consistently, and what’s worse coned sandbaggers kept dropping me and other legit C racers. 2) After 20 minutes at, according to ZwiftPower, 3.0 W/kg on average (but exhausted and doing more like 2.5 W/kg at the time), I got coned myself! There is no way I can average 3.2 W/kg for a complete race and as described I did not even come close while trying here, so I… Read more »

Thorsten
Thorsten
1 year ago

Every classifier based on a threshold is either sensitiv or specific, rarely both. To have a classifier with high sensitivity and high specifity you need a very good measure and a very clear definition of the event/target. How is a sandbagger defined? What is meant by “in the wrong category”? Target is not well defined and WKG is a poor measure – and so are the results.

Mads Holst Knudsen
Mads Holst Knudsen
1 year ago
Reply to  Thorsten

I should say the target is very well defined: In a C race, a sandbagger is anyone doing 3.2 W/kg and 200W or more on average for the race.
Quick fix: Remove all of these from the results, or show them at the bottom with a “DQ” tag – instead of trying to intervene during races using shady and arbitrary algorithms.
Better fix: Imitate what ZwiftPower does too the maximum extent possible – ZP works great and rules are completely fair & transparent!

Ben
Ben
1 year ago

I hope some form of this works well, but hardcore sandbagging seems less common in longer races perhaps? I’m usually looking for closer to an hour for a good workout, and maybe that’s just too much time investment for the real ‘baggers. Crit city with it’s short races is going to attract them like flies to s—t so seems like a good idea to focus this beta on those short races. Just raced a 2 lap tiktok HERD race in B’s and everything seemed fine…lot’s of honest suffering.

Annabel Jones
Annabel Jones
1 year ago

Congratulations on this idea, i hope that this will come together sooner than later. Keep up the good work

Graham
Graham
1 year ago

its a start. I think there needs to be another category (E) and all the power ranges adjusted slightly. I race C and on a good day will average 3.2 which is the max for power range. I tried a B race and was dropped in the first 1km. If there was a an adjustment so that C range maxed at 3.5? Its really a hard one. I think Zwift is taking the softly softly approach but maybe people putting out >4w/kg in D grade should just be red flagged, what are they even trying to prove?

tempocyclist.com
1 year ago

Great testing Eric! I enjoyed that read. The phrase “Zwift race sandbagging legend” really made me laugh! 🤣

naan
naan
1 year ago

Does not compute: green cones being awarded in an A race in this video: https://youtu.be/p-9FwtKvk_c?t=760

(Also, the apparent winner on zPower should have received the red cone at some point but that didn’t seem to happen.)

Nathan C
1 year ago

Being pretty new to Zwift racing (I would think like many in the current climate) my thoughts are as such. No power meter? – No racing or have a category for users using virtual power. One particular flattish race comes to mind where three guys (I’m assuming friends from their comments) just nailed it on the front consistently 1W/kg above the B cat, I held on for quite a while but it just wrecked the race. Then there is also the issue of when the moves start to go I have to judge if these people are riding with real… Read more »

Paul Bestwick
Paul Bestwick
1 year ago

Perhaps 10,000 volts through the handlbars would serve as a deterrent 🤣

Guillaume espinasse
Guillaume espinasse (@espinasse_guillaume)
1 year ago

the problem seems easy to tackle but creates so much discussion and work arounds!!
-people shouldn’t be able to enter another category. Zwiftpower already allocates you in a specific category which is the category you should be racing in. As simple as that.
-another good idea is to narrow/increase the number of categories for the races that have a lot of people.

Guillaume Espinasse
Member
Guillaume Espinasse (@espinasse_guillaume)
1 year ago

this topic creates a lot of discussion and work around (that create even more confusion/discussions). although the solution is straight forward!!

  • people should not be able to enter other categories based on their w/kg category allocation. zwiftpower is already doing the classification. it is as simple as that!
  • the other good idea is to have narrowed / increased number of categories depending on the number of people participating. that way you make the competition fiercer and give opportunity for the bottom category people to be more competitive
Rob Walker
Rob Walker
1 year ago

Here is my idea. Increase the number of categories to maybe 6 or 8, and have W/KG limits on them. When you sign up for a race, you have a RECOMMENDED category to race in. Groups of racers start as normal, BUT, there is no identification if you are a A,B,C,D,E of F rider. At the end of the race, the ONLY way you can tell placement is by Zwiftpower ( or a similar Zwift owned and developed system), and THEN the lines are drawn at the limits of each category. If you exceed the category limits for what you… Read more »

Shaun King
Active Member
Shaun King (@shaunkenan)
1 year ago

This is heartbreaking. All Zwift has accomplished here is gamefied sandbagging. It’s so sad – they’ve literally made sandbagging more fun through these mechanisms. All this ends once Zwift understands the difference between their group rides and their races. We must qualify for Zwift racing – and that’s as easy as a recurring ftp test or any number of hidden observation data points that Zwift has. Once a sandbagger reveals himself to be able to hold a certain power output (mid race for example) – he is forced to ride in the appropriate category until another ftp test or any… Read more »

Dave
Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Shaun King

Completely agree. This is just not a hard goal to accomplish. Zwift is going out of their way to please cheats.

Dave W
Dave W
1 year ago
Reply to  Shaun King

This is exactly it. The fact that Zwift hasn’t figured it out yet means they’re either unforgivably obtuse, or they’ve got an unstated agenda. If they wanted to actually solve the problem, they would do what every single other competitive video game has done for the past 20 years, and every irl sport has done since the dawn of time, and categorize based on prior ranked results. Instead they’ve decided to hang their hat on a person’s self-reported w/kg, presumably at FTP, which is a number describing someone’s climbing ability (w/kg) as it relates to another number (FTP) determined from… Read more »

Max Krause
1 year ago

Where can I find info about Bath Salts that is so famous?

Free Zwift Trial

Newsletter Subscription

152
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x