Cycling newbies may not know what a call-up is. But if you’ve ever raced outdoors, you know that getting a call-up is the coolest way to start your race.
It’s called a call-up because the race organizer literally calls you up to the start line before all the other riders come to the line. You’re “pole position”, starting at the front of the race so you don’t have to fight your way forward from the beginning.
IRL call-ups are typically given to top-ranked riders: perhaps the top 5 finishers from the previous season, or in the case of grand tours like the Tour de France, call-ups go to riders wearing the leaders’ jerseys.
But did you know there’s a way to give yourself a call-up in Zwift races?
How It’s Done
This hack is quite simple. Here’s the big idea: the first time you enter an event’s start pens, your spot is saved. So your goal is to get into the pens as early as possible in order to reserve the most forward position possible. A personal call-up!
For the very best call-up, you’ll want to be signed up for your event and riding in-game more than 30 minutes before the event begins. Then as soon as the “Join Event” button pops up (typically around 30 minutes before the event begins), click that button to be taken to the start pens.
This will place you at or near the front of the start pens. Your call-up spot has been saved.
Once you’re in the pens, you don’t have to stay there. Click to end your ride, and just hit the trash can to delete it (your previous warmup before you entered the start pens has already been saved, so the current activity is empty since all you’ve done is sit in the start pen.) Now you’ve got ~30 minutes to continue warming up before your event, which you can click to join whenever you’d like.
Here’s how it’s done (except for some reason I tried to save my activity in the pens, which is just a waste of time):
Why and When To Do It
The “why” here should be obvious: with Zwift races always starting out with a high effort, beginning near the front of the pack means you’ll save a bit of energy compared to starting near the back. Giving yourself a call-up is just one more way to conserve power so you’ll have it when you need it.
That said, this really isn’t needed unless you’re in an event with a high number of riders, since a small rider count means everyone starts near the front. There’s no clear cutoff, but I’d say if your event has over 100 riders you should definitely give yourself a call-up, and if there are less than 50 riders it really doesn’t matter.
Questions or Comments
I have heard rumours that this technique (joining early, exiting, warming up, rejoining) might be the reason why we _sometimes_ experience being in a “parallel event”, e.g. an event with very few participants. I have experienced it multiple times during TTTs, where I suddenly can’t see others (despite having internet connection and e.g. seeing an updated leaderboard for segments, etc) or that I see the others and the others don’t see me (or similar). For example, I managed to draft my team for two loops of Greater London Flat while none of the others had seen me, and they could… Read more »
That happened to me twice, albeit during normal group rides; the second time just a few days ago. It was Petit Boucle, about 60% through all the other avatars vanished, though I could still see all the chat and the updated leader-boards.
Perhaps! Although I’ve done this MANY times, and only had the weird parallel event thing happen to me once. (I assume I gave myself a call-up that one time it happened, but I don’t actually recall.)
So I have been calling myself up all the time without even knowing what a call-up is 😀
It’s a strategy as old as time. Also known as “taking cuts.” 🙂
I do this from my phone, not the Apple TV I actually connect with. I skip the trainer connection, hit ride with whatever default map, and wait for the join button. Once I’ve joined I don’t bother to end the ride, I just swipe up to terminate the app. It’s never failed to save my place. Then I’ve got some time before I get on the bike for a warmup.
is it possible upload video to twitch or shared by jst download, youtube is blocked. if it jst a “how to do” video show, it won’t be a large video file right?
Why cant we see ride-ons given whilst in the pens? I will see the thumbs up from a ride-on in the pens but it won’t be there when I finish the race.
How to get the Green Jersey and keep it.
This was totally unintentional. After riding one of the london loops where I picked up a green jersey (almost uncontested) I was transported to the pen for an SZR cat C race. Still wearing the green jersey. Mildly amusing. race started, still wearing it. did the first sprint, was 9th quickest.. still wearing it. Finished the race around 30th.. still wearing it. Curious to know if it has an effect on others tactics or not. Does it make you a target? Do that in combination with a call up?
Ha! Yeah, I think this has happened to me once, I believe in a Crit City race. I definitely felt like a marked man during the race…
OMG this is the greatest hack I never knew about!!!!!