Dominating Your Zwift Race: 7 Tips from a Real Expert

Dominating Your Zwift Race: 7 Tips from a Real Expert

Let’s just get this out there: I know what I’m doing when it comes to Zwift racing. I’ve been around since beta days, back when races were a “show up at the lap banner then go when the clock hits zero” sort of affair.

Some aspects of Zwift racing have evolved since then, but the fundamentals remain unchanged. Still, seeing so much advice popping up on YouTube and social media from Johnny-come-lately lockdown Zwifters who think they know everything drives me crazy!

So I thought I’d put together my own list of simple Zwift racing tips, from someone who actually knows how to win. Want to dominate your Zwift races? Here’s the only advice you’ll ever need.

#1: Route Recon Is a Waste of Time

We’ve only got so many hours in a day – I’d rather spend them hammering out watts than researching pretend roads. Zwift Insider has a complete list of routes with overly-detailed maps and descriptions of every friggin route, but who has the time?

Zwift shows a minimap while you ride, and that’s good enough for me. It seems pretty accurate most of the time. Plus I usually get lost anyway, because it’s hard to pay attention when I’m maxed out.

#2: Pick the Category that Suits You

I race to win, not for a “fun workout.” I like to attack off the front a lot, and I win almost every C race I enter. So that’s the category I’ve stuck with for years, even if it’s a little below what Zwift says my FTP is (how do they know, anyway?)

WARNING: Watch out for certain “FutureWorks” races in Crit City or Paris, because Zwift seems to be trying to flag people who they think are “out of category” (as if they can figure that out: they can’t even install pedals on their virtual bikes). Trust me, if you get slapped with a green cone during the race it slows you down and makes it nearly impossible to win. So I would just skip those races, as well as anything organized by WTRL (those guys are the worst).

#3: It’s All About the Watts

You can talk about strategy and routes and pacing and blah blah blah, but in the end, the only thing that matters is what kind of wattage can you throw down. Zwift racing isn’t about subtlety, it’s about powering your way off the front, destroying the peloton, and dominating the podium.

Follow my advice and you’ll start winning – unless you race against me. Then you’ll probably lose.

#4: ZwiftPower: More Hassle Than Its Worth

Look, you’re probably already tip-tapping away on your fancy MacBook, trying to look me up on ZwiftPower to examine my racing palmarès. But I’ve got news for you: I’m not even registered!

Some Zwift racers say, “If it’s not on ZwiftPower then it didn’t happen.” But I’m winning races right and left without even signing up. So how do you like them apples?!

Truth be told, I tried to sign up for ZwiftPower once. But it was pretty confusing, so I gave up. I’d rather just race. You should do the same.

#5: Don’t Take It Too Seriously – Everyone Cheats Anyway

Zwift is full of cheaters. Grown men who weigh 140 pounds? Come on. Kids who can outsprint me? Not possible.

Usually when I lose a race, I can find someone ahead of me who was obviously cheating. They’re the ones with super low heart rates, or the ones with a super strong sprint that blows away the field at the end of a hard effort. Come on, man. You’re not fooling anyone.

I’ve done my share of outdoor racing in my local area, so I know where I stand in the universe of cyclists. Suffice it to say, there are either a lot of riders in the world who are super strong, or Zwift is full of cheaters. (The correct answer is obvious.)

#6: Teamwork? More like Dreamwork.

There’s lots of talk of “teams” racing on Zwift, but come on: does that really work? How is racing with a team any different than racing alone? If you think you’re teaming, you must be dreaming.

I’ve never even hassled with joining a team on Zwift, for two reasons:

  1. Why would I care about working with a bunch of people I don’t even know?
  2. What good would it do anyway, since team tactics don’t work on Zwift?

As they say, “it’s lonely at the top.” That’s certainly been my experience on Zwift. So my advice is to keep your eyes open and race for yourself.

#7: Ride What You Want

Here’s another big time-waster: worrying about which virtual bike frame and wheelset you’re using in a race. I mean come on, people. They’re virtual! Just ride the pretend bike you like.

I have a Pinarello IRL, so I ride the F8 in game with Zipp 808 wheels. I’m grabbing podiums right and left, so it seems to be working.

Wrapping It Up

Well, those are my tips for winning Zwift races. I hope you learned something.

If you found this post useful, please say so in the comments so I can earn a few more greenbacks putting together Zwift racing advice for all you n00bs here on Zwift Insider.

Questions or Comments?

Share them below!

About The Author

Sandy Baggz

Sandy lives in Dunning-Kruger, Ohio with his pets (one cat and several snakes). You won’t find him on ZwiftPower, but he knows his way around Watopia and you should listen to his advice.

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Simon
Simon
1 month ago

You forgot about chatting shit in the start pen about being on a recovery ride before blasting off at 6 wkg 😃

Kevin Blades
Kevin Blades
1 month ago
Reply to  Simon

im more impressed with those that can freely type whilst doing a zone 4 race effort.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

Clearly a legend in your own mind😂. You’re not dominating anything if you can only win category C races.

Bram
Bram
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

His only advice is sandbagging.

Derek
Derek (@dpr4473)
1 month ago
Reply to  Bram

Exactly! We can all win if we enter two cats lower than what we should be racing in, and then soft pedal your way to victory in the final kilometer.

I.N.Different
I.N.Different
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

A legend in his own coffee break

Henry
Henry
1 month ago

Ok, but why write such a long article instead of just saying: power, power, power!!! 🤷🏼‍♂️🤷🏼‍♂️🤷🏼‍♂️

You could have done that in, well, three words 🤷🏼‍♂️🍻💆🏼‍♂️

Aly Mac
Aly Mac
1 month ago

Oh, we’ve got a name for you folk.

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago
Reply to  Aly Mac

I think he beat you to it

Mike
Mike
1 month ago
Reply to  Aly Mac

We will see him next Tuesday…

Kranked
Kranked
1 month ago

I can’t wait to dominate you when you join A races, weeeeeeeeeeeeee! I hope your sandbagging is as strong as your troll game! 😜

Neal
Neal
1 month ago

hilarious, what a non-post. Gaslighting about sandbagging and cheating!…..blah, blah, blah….it’s only a game!!

TheStansMonster
TheStansMonster (@codyish)
1 month ago
Reply to  Neal

#thatsthejoke

Fahrtz
Fahrtz
1 month ago

The commenters here don’t seem to understand what sarcasm is….. Sad

Luciano
Luciano (@luciano-pollastri)
1 month ago
Reply to  Fahrtz

Not the first time it happens!!!

J.J.
J.J.
1 month ago
Reply to  Fahrtz

I see the name of the articles author has now changed from Expert Zwifter to Sandy Baggz. If it had started out that way the sarcasm may have been a bit easier to pick up on.

Slow racer
Slow racer
1 month ago
Reply to  Fahrtz

I’m sure they do but the article is pretty bad. I know it’s a joke but given how poor the state of zwift racing is it seems strange that such and article would get editorial approval to be posted

Mike
Mike
1 month ago
Reply to  Slow racer

It is truly amazing that the sole editor of Zwift Insider approved his own article. Hopefully this doesn’t happen again.

Chan Stevens
Chan Stevens (@chanstevens)
1 month ago

You are officially doxed. I am certain your Zwift name is Jonathan Swift 😉

Luciano
Luciano (@luciano-pollastri)
1 month ago

Love it!!! 🤣🤣🤣
Some stickywatting and weight cheating would also help!

J.J.
J.J.
1 month ago

This is pretty embarrassing. Not sure why ZI would even post this. Do what you want I guess but the truth is a lot of what is stated is just plain wrong.

Eric Schlange
Top Member
Eric Schlange (@eschlange)
1 month ago
Reply to  J.J.

That’s the joke. It’s a satirical post!

J.J.
J.J.
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

I figured that out after the authors name changed. My bad. ;P

J.J.
J.J.
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Even your satire is top notch. Reeled me in hook, line and sinker. Haha

Bart Van Den Eeckhaut
Bart Van Den Eeckhaut
1 month ago

This post is funny in the way that it’s pretty much all nonsense 🤣

Robin Zuend
Robin Zuend
1 month ago

Was this a satire post?

Eric Schlange
Top Member
Eric Schlange (@eschlange)
1 month ago
Reply to  Robin Zuend

Depends. Is this a sarcastic comment?
😉

Last edited 1 month ago by Eric Schlange
Robin Zuend
Robin Zuend
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

I don’t know the meaning of satire! You know it’s good satire when it hits so close to the truth!

Tru Dominatoro
Tru Dominatoro
1 month ago

think you’re all that? Well you should see the smack I’ve been laying down in D! Sure, I haven’t been 155lbs since I was 14, but I’m also too busy to update my weight.

The 20kg Racer
The 20kg Racer (@jrh26)
1 month ago

I own every Strava/Zwift KOM traveling at well over 27mph at an average of 100 watts according to Strava…Who am I? I am at least 90% of the people in the top listing for Strava?Zwift KOMs

The 20kg Racer
The 20kg Racer (@jrh26)
1 month ago
Reply to  The 20kg Racer

And I will wipe the floor with you Sandy…Bahahahahahah (evil laugh)

Sherpa Dave
Sherpa Dave (@dashton)
1 month ago

Brilliant words

Pshuck
Member
Pshuck (@paulshuckerow)
1 month ago

Funny article, sadly I am guilty of #1 and #7 which may be why I don’t win many races!

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago

Hahahahaha! Brilliant!

Sherpa Dave
Sherpa Dave (@dashton)
1 month ago

The most important question… who really is Sandy Baggz…. Is it Luciano? Eric? Hmmm

dan
dan
1 month ago
Reply to  Sherpa Dave

its eric

Paul Himes
Paul Himes
1 month ago
Reply to  Sherpa Dave

Eric is listed has having edited one of Sandy’s posts, so…

Last edited 1 month ago by Eric Schlange
Eric Schlange
Top Member
Eric Schlange (@eschlange)
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Himes

Ah, but I can edit anyone’s comments. See, I just edited yours!

I.N.Different
I.N.Different
1 month ago

My only point is this: if you spew crap about Zwift and the 1000s in the community who actually enjoy it why are you even bothering to race.

I am sure there are a couple of pencils you can stick up your nose while you wear a pair of your under-crackers on your head and get more respect.

Eric Schlange
Top Member
Eric Schlange (@eschlange)
1 month ago
Reply to  I.N.Different

Ok. But who is this comment intended for?

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago

Dunning-Kruger 😂😂😂

Diogo Velosa
Diogo Velosa
1 month ago

Well .. I give up read in the middle. It felts like advices to be champion of your house ehehe But of corse cycling and racing its not same for all people. I respect his mind

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

Is this serious? Wow what a complete waste of time. You epitomise all the elements of zwift racing that l detest. Good one mate, you keep smashing all the C graders. What ever makes you feel good l suppose.

Eric Schlange
Top Member
Eric Schlange (@eschlange)
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

In answer to your first question: no.

Stephen Dolan
Stephen Dolan
1 month ago

Posted on Aug 14…..Couldn’t hold out til 1st April ?

Bud
Bud
1 month ago

As I suspected. Good article.

fpharris1
fpharris1
1 month ago

Well … beyond all his fluffery, I AM 69 years old, I DO weight only 147 lbs, and I AM only 5’10” tall and that’s my profile in Zwift. I agree there’s huge potential for cheating and unless Zwift starts requiring a medical exam for every race participant it will always be that way. I could say I’m 25 YO, weigh 120, and am 5′ 4″ tall. I don’t currently win any races and cheating won’t change that for me (I far prefer real rides outdoors … Zwift is only for nasty days outside).

Mike
Mike
1 month ago

Possibly the worst post I’ve read here. You are everything that is wrong with Zwift.

Eric Schlange
Top Member
Eric Schlange (@eschlange)
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike

The post is satire, Mike.

MHolden
MHolden (@holdenadventures)
1 month ago

Is Sandy Baggz Backwards hat Dylan’s cousin? They should race for KOMs!

James Ryan
James Ryan (@james-ryan-marvell)
1 month ago

I loved this – thank you

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

Hmm… #5 cheats etc – “grown men who weigh 140lbs….”. I’m 60. I’m 5’9″ tall and I weigh 128lbs. Back in the day when I was a track runner my racing weight was 119lbs. I have never weighed more than 133lb despite trying to put on weight. Oh!, hang on a sec…. yep just checked with my wife, and she has confirmed that I am “a grown man”..

Keep kidding yourself that your win record means anything

Alex222
Alex222 (@alexharris222_2)
1 month ago

It’s almost more amusing reading comments from the people that this went over the heads of.

Hobbanero
Hobbanero (@hobbanero)
1 month ago

The recently completed census showed that Dunning-Kruger is the fastest growing city in the US.

Eric Schlange
Top Member
Eric Schlange (@eschlange)
1 month ago
Reply to  Hobbanero

LOL. Winning comment!

Jim Maguire
Jim Maguire
1 month ago

Nice one, Sandy. I like the sense of humour. You’d be good crsic out for a few pints, I bet 😄

Colin
Colin
1 month ago

The cynicism of your approach is too bad. This article is not worth the read. 🙁 Zwift is better than this. And tries to be.

Crankenstein
Crankenstein
1 month ago

Bath_Salts? Is that you?

Dennis Nel
Dennis Nel
29 days ago

great article and i came to exactly the same conclusions after 400 races and 4 years on Zwift i race C grade my choice although like yourself i should be in D grade I’m ZP registered as well and occasional win when the breaks go i look at what there outputting and let them go i find it useless chasing my ftp is only 190 or so avg for the race , now here’s the crunch 5 years ago i had a cardiac arrest and was dead for 11 mins I got lucky and they got me to the surgeons… Read more »

Dennis Nel
Dennis Nel
29 days ago

hi sandy me again with further thought and consideration when i raced irl i always road a grade above and only occasionally won a race when in C i road away because of my endurance abilities i never road B because it was full of sprinters and as long as i didn’t hang around I road away from them as well my p[oint here is who wants to win ever race I mean where’s the challenge in that , you should be in B and registered if your really any good and don’t worry about the cheaters ZP has most… Read more »

Dennis Nel
Dennis Nel
29 days ago

like Bernard Hinault was answered after being told but you cant sprint he replied i don’t need too i mostly win by 2 or 3 miles anyway 🙂

Dennis Nel
Dennis Nel
29 days ago

also my power use to be 300 plus prior to health issues and age as in my first reply .

Dennis Nel
Dennis Nel
29 days ago

hi sandy some further considerations I’ve now concluded your even a bigger cheat than the cheats on ZP with your power you should be in A GRADE if you check out the Zwift app in activities you’ll notice at least 50% of C GRADERS are between 3 and 4 wkg this is major compared to what you find in Zwift cheating so when i see this i classified them as losers’ there certainly not racing to there abilities . and ill have to ask why race at all IRL clubs keep a pretty tight crip on this as well which… Read more »

Crazy Joe
Crazy Joe
28 days ago

An article about how to win races by a sandbagger? Wtf?

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