Opinion: FTP-Based Enforcement (Race Categories, Part 1)

Opinion: FTP-Based Enforcement (Race Categories, Part 1)

When a complaint pops up so often that it turns into a meme, it’s time to sit up and take notice.

This is the situation Zwift finds itself in this winter regarding a lack of racing category enforcement. Here’s one image often shared on social media when a racer pops in to complain, once again, that their C race was blown apart by riders holding 4.5w/kg.

The Situation Today

Right now, Zwifters can join any race category they wish. (One exception: women-only categories cannot be joined by men.) That means a strong A racer can hop into a D race, or vice-versa.

If the race organizer sets category limits, those are enforced after the race through the community-developed ZwiftPower.com website. Serious Zwift racers know ZwiftPower the only place where “real” results exist.

While races can customize their categorization schemes, the vast majority use ZwiftPower’s categories, which work like this:

(You can know if a race uses the ZwiftPower categories because it will say “ZwiftPower category overrides wkg” at the top of its ZwiftPower page.)

While some may disagree, I think ZwiftPower’s categories do a good job of breaking riders into groups that can compete well against each other.

Yes, the categorization scheme could be improved, and we’ll talk more about that. But there are two much bigger problems with how things work today.

Problem #1: Post-Race Enforcement

Since everything is enforced after the event, sandbaggers can still wreck the race. If you’re an A on ZwiftPower (let’s say your FTP is 325 watts, or 4.3 w/kg), you can still race in the D’s (where FTP should be below 2.5 w/kg). During the race, you may put in hard attacks or take long pulls which change the outcome of the race. Perhaps certain riders will try to hold your wheel and blow up. Maybe some will break away with you, dropping riders who would have otherwise made it to the end of the race with the front pack.

If it’s a chase race you can really mess things up, because your power on the front breaks the system of time gaps carefully set up by race organizers. Example: the race organizer may have the D category begin 2 minutes behind the C’s, knowing that the more powerful C’s will catch up to the D’s near the end of the race given that time gap. But if you’re on the front of the D’s putting out A power, the C’s will never catch your D group.

And here’s the kicker: at the end of the race you won’t see any warnings at all (apart from angry messages sent by legit D racers). You’ll probably cross the finish line first, and you will show up as first in the on-screen D category results in the Companion app.

Here are three race results screens from recent events. Note how high above the category limits the “winners” are, and how there is zero indication that they are disqualified:

Yes, sandbaggers are removed from the final results on ZwiftPower. But that brings us to the second problem…

Problem #2: ZwiftPower Required

Riders have to be connected to ZwiftPower to show in the final results. Yet so many Zwifters aren’t on ZwiftPower–particularly new riders and those who don’t care much about riding in the correct category.

The end result is that 50 people may be in race, but only 35 are registered on ZwiftPower and thus show up in the final results. (I call it “grading on a curve” because whenever I check my final results on ZwiftPower, I’m almost always a place or two higher than the in-game results showed.)

How Big Is the Problem?

It’s fine to say there is a problem… but do the numbers actually back it up? I took a quick look at today’s race results on ZwiftPower, and selected four races that had a decent number of participants. I didn’t pick and choose to support my theory–these are just the first four I selected.

For each race I looked at the total number of riders who entered, how many of those riders weren’t signed up for ZwiftPower, and how many were filtered out for breaking race rules.

  • Crit City (see on ZwiftPower): 257 total riders, 85 not signed up for ZwiftPower, 22 filtered.
    Result: 41% of participants don’t show in the final results.
  • 3R Richmond Flat (see on ZwiftPower): 269 total riders, 170 not signed up for ZwiftPower, 22 filtered.
    Result: 71% of participants don’t show in the final results.
  • EVR Asia Race (see on ZwiftPower): 155 total riders, 73 not signed up for ZwiftPower, 13 filtered out.
    Result: 55% of participants don’t show in the final results.
  • The Friday Criterium (see on ZwiftPower): 145 total riders, 47 not signed up for ZwiftPower, 18 filtered out.
    Result: 45% of participants don’t show in the final results.

Wow! I honestly didn’t think the numbers would be that dramatic. If we add those up like it was one big race, we end up, on average, removing 54% of the riders from the final ZwiftPower results.

A Dilemma

My educated guess is that the percentage of racers not using ZwiftPower is much higher today than it was a year or two ago. With Companion offering what appear to be legit race results, many riders don’t see a need to hassle with ZwiftPower. Heck–many racers don’t even know ZwiftPower exists!

So we’re in this weird situation where we say that the final results are on ZwiftPower–but if half of the racers aren’t showing up there, can we really call those results valid?

I don’t think we can.

This means we’re left with a choice between two insufficient options: Zwift’s results which include sandbaggers, or ZwiftPower’s results which leave out many legitimate racers.

The Way Forward

Most of what I’ve written above is common knowledge among experienced Zwift racers. I only shared it to make sure we all know where things stand, so we can agree there’s a need for change.

So what is the way forward? That will be the topic of some upcoming posts, but let me share a few ideas today.

Keep It Fun… for Everyone!

Zwift has succeeded because they’ve made indoor training fun. And that should be their continued goal as they tackle the race categorization challenge. Racing is fun because it’s good training spurred on by a spirit of competition, but if the competition isn’t fair, the fun goes away.

It’s worth mentioning that the sandbagging problem disproportionately affects the lower categories. You can’t sandbag in the A’s, and most riders in the B’s are experienced enough to know where they should race. But the C and D categories get a lot of overqualified racers who really mess up the experience for the legitimate C’s and D’s.

A Phased Approach

Designing a race categorization system for Zwift is no small task. It includes big deliverables like:

  • Designing the actual system on paper
  • Implementing UI elements which make it simple for Zwifters sign up, participate in, and view results of races
  • Coding the backend number-crunching which categorizes riders
  • Building tools so event organizers can use the system

If Zwift waits for the entire system to be perfect, it will never launch. A phased approach is probably wise. Perhaps something along these lines:

  1. Now: simple categorization based on riders’ FTP
  2. Soon: categorize riders based on their phenotype (perhaps using their stored 15s, 1-minute, 5-minute, and 20-minute power bests)
  3. Later: roll out a complete results-based categorization system

A Quick Win?

Let’s talk about #1 above (we’ll talk about #2 and #3 in later posts). I believe this has the potential to be both simple to implement and effective in improving everyone’s race experience.

Categorization would be based entirely off of each rider’s saved FTP number, meaning Zwift has no additional data to crunch. Category limits could be exactly what ZwiftPower already uses (see above).

Example: my FTP is 300 watts, and I weigh 80kg (3.75w/kg). Standard categorization scheme is:

  • A+: FTP above 4.6w/kg and 300w
  • A: FTP of 4.0-4.6w/kg+ and 250w+
  • B: FTP of 3.2-4.0w/kg and 200w+
  • C: FTP of 2.5-3.2w/kg and 150w+
  • D: FTP below 2.5w/kg

When signing up for the event, I would only be allowed to join the A+, A, or B categories, since my FTP indicates I’m too strong to race the D’s or C’s.

Yes, Zwifters could change their FTP to cheat the system. And some certainly would. But don’t you think this would stop most of the sandbagging already happening? I believe it would improve the current situation dramatically.

This simple system could be upgraded to make it more powerful, but if Zwift wants to implement something simple soon, this may be a smart approach to take. Because it’s easy, and it would work.

Plans from Zwift HQ

I should mention that I’ve spoken with folks at Zwift HQ about the need for a better race categorization system. They certainly agree there is a need–it’s just a question of how to best meet that need, and where this falls in the list of priorities.

In the near term, HQ is planning to implement post-event hiding of riders who race without heart rate or use zPower (assuming the event is set up to disallow such riders). Those riders would still be able to race, but they wouldn’t be included in the final results screens.

Zwift is definitely working on bigger race categorization tools and ideas as well–but I’ve been asked not to discuss them in any detail here.

Your Thoughts

What do you think? Is the lack of category enforcement really a problem, and what is the best “quick” solution? Share your thoughts below.

Read Part 2 of this Race Category Enforcement Series >

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

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LEWIS JOHN
LEWIS JOHN
11 months ago

Definitely categorise riders entry with their FTP. Yes, people can adjust it and cheat to enter lower category races but if someone actually wants to make the effort and do that, we’ll, I just feel sorry for them.

Lewis
Lewis
11 months ago

I agree completely. They guys at Zwiftpower.com do such a good job that I’d like to see zwiftpower.com integrated into Zwift by default and on the payroll. Imagine if everyone on Zwift was on Zwiftpower.com by default, but maybe with an opt-out option.

Rob
Rob
11 months ago
Reply to  Lewis

definitely like the idea of truly incorporafing ZwiftPower into Zwift

Paul
11 months ago
Reply to  Lewis

Ditto!

mike
mike
11 months ago

Has there been any discussion about doing placement/qualifer type races? What if every few months, to do a race an FTP is required. So lets say we broke the months into 4 zwift seasons. To compete in races from Jan-March you have to complete a Zwift FTP test during that time frame. Then Zwift does the work from there. So if you do an FTP and get for example 3.8, Zwift can be programmed to not allow you to compete in categories below that FTP. Or on the flip side you do an FTP and get 2.0, but as you… Read more »

SilCal
6 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

At least it would be nice if they’d allow you to join only by your own cat, like they do in e-racing

Ryan
Ryan
7 months ago
Reply to  mike

There is the fact that it would be easy to fudge the FTP test and then ‘legitimately’ race a lower grade.

Kevin Worley
Kevin Worley
11 months ago

I agree that using straight FTP is the way to go. Big riders with big power have a huge advantage in flat races as their w/kg tend to be lower, so they can race in the lower categories.

Stephan Schipper
Stephan Schipper
10 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Worley

I agree also. It should alway’s be about FTP and not about w/kg.

lisa joury
lisa joury
7 months ago

That is a better idea at least, but that might penalize the heavier riders. Just join ZP. Its not perfect, but is far better than anything Zwift is implementing now

Kyle
Kyle
11 months ago

It is definitely discouraging to do a race and get spit out the back. I did a flat D race last week(London). I finished 6th on zwift but zwiftpower had me 1st. I’m near 100 kg and outta shape. If it were a hill race, I would have been way off the back wishing for a clydsdale category. And when I get in shape I would probably like to do an easier race to stay in a prescribed training zone, but then yet again I should probably find a ride with a fence. And that had problems because whenever we… Read more »

Herr Dolphus
Herr Dolphus
11 months ago

I’m an upper Cat D and won’t be renewing my Zwift subscription until this is sorted. Sandbagging caused me to stop Zwift racing a few months ago. If you want an easy race/ride, don’t join a lower cat and mess it up for those racing at their maximum.

lisa joury
lisa joury
7 months ago
Reply to  Herr Dolphus

Just join ZP and the racing teams ignore Zwift results entire.

Claus Jensen
Claus Jensen
11 months ago

I think that #1 (enforcing FTP-limits) would get us 90% of the way there, so for me there is no excuse to not just do that – it would be great with more finesse later, but if a simple fix to make sure people don’t enter races under their FTP could get us far, I don’t see why they haven’t already done it! I am in the high end of Cat. C close to Cat. B and have entered B races just because then I know what to expect – it is more motivating for me to try and keep… Read more »

James Daley
James Daley
11 months ago

Would it really be so difficult to use automated categorisation based on a FTP which isn’t user editable? I’m new on Swift, still in my first month, but I’ve done a FTP test, then saw my rating go up followinging an event. That rating shouldn’t be changeable, surely?!

Jason S
Jason S
11 months ago

I like what iRacing.com does with their iRating. 2 main parts. 1) Your finish, adjusted for strength of field. 2) safety, did you crash, go off course etc. In Zwift your zRating could be 1) same as before and 2) were you in the correct category. Racing above limits lowers your zRating which could be displayed on your profile for the world to see. Race organizers could then set limits on minimum zRating to enter a given race. Plus it fits Zwift’s gamification by dangling a carrot to achieve and maintain max zRating. Does not fully eliminate sandbaggers but would… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
11 months ago

The other easy win that’s out there is post-race publication of the results. Zwift already stores the race results post-event and makes them available in the companion app (for your own events). Having to go to a third-party website to view race results that only list a subset of the racers is ridiculous. Publish full event results on zwift.com.

Robin Stevens
Robin Stevens (@rstevens)
11 months ago

Or just drop the categories, and use mass starts. Normally if there are enough participants, you will always find somebody to race against.

That would also solve the problem of people being just on the tipping point between 2 categories. Say your FTP is hovering around 4W/kg. If you enter the B-cat, you can race for the podium. If you enter A-cat, you risk being left alone after the first little riser.
With a mass start, you would end up racing with the ‘slowest’ A-riders and the fastest ‘B-riders’.

Mitchell Pearce
Mitchell Pearce (@rmpearce1964)
11 months ago

Riders “cheating” the system doesn’t really bother me. Better riders in my category help push me to ride harder and I’m not really concerned about where I place on Zwift. Not that I don’t watch that during the race, because it is incentive to push harder. However, generally I settle into a group in the early part of a race and try to hang on and compete with that group.

Scott Mandel
Scott Mandel
10 months ago

my sentiments exactly – I’m not planning to send my Zwift palmares to Deceuninck for consideration anytime soon! 🙂 I try to keep up with a group that I settle in with after the start and finish with a sprint – my actual placing is secondary, although it is nice to see a low number or a podium occasionally.

Aaron
Aaron
11 months ago

Or just employ a point system like US Cycling. Points are awarded for places. When you get enough points, you are bumped to the next category.
http://legacy.usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=580

Roch
Roch
11 months ago

Because some A’s and B’s ruins it for the C’s and D’s and will most likely be able to find ways to cheat their way into lower cats no matter what, why not just abolish the categories and have the Open to Everyone Category for all races?

Fred
Fred
10 months ago
Reply to  Roch

This turns out to be more like a time trial. You follow the fastest wheel that you are capable of following. Very different from tactics used against like category racers.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones (@stevo1810)
11 months ago

Im a lightweight B rider (61kg 236w ftp about 3.8wkg). I have no issue with being spat out the back in a race if its fair but getting spat out the back when theres Bs and Cs pushing over 4.5wkg for too long is demoralising and ruins the fun. Racing is hard but if its not fair, whats the point. Like your ideas. Something needs to be done and any step forward at the moment would be great. I guarantee noone who is already racing in the correct category will complain if enforcement becomes a thing. I dont think (long… Read more »

Gru
Gru
11 months ago

I’m quite curious as to why Zwift has not yet implemented a system that enforces entry into the correct category. Zwift says they are serious about e-sports, but that has not been demonstrated here. If the system is based on w/kg, then it has been obvious for years that enforcement is necessary. The leading theory as to “Why?” is that Zwift does not want to lose subscribers who get offended that they are being forced into the category that they should be in anyway. I’m not sure that’s really the reason. But it’s flawed anyway since Zwift is going to… Read more »

Ryan Dummer
Ryan Dummer (@rdummer)
11 months ago

I find the categorisation a little difficult to fathom when it shows both w/kg and FTP. I’m quite a heavy rider with an FTP of 303 watts making me a cat A+ if we use that metric. However, my w/kg is quite low at 3.2 so that makes me an upper C rider. I know because I have tried that if race with cat A’s I’m out the back in seconds. I also have a friend who is hard to place as he has a low FTP at 240 watts but pushes over 5w/kg! I wonder what the solution to… Read more »

Cory Miller
Cory Miller
11 months ago

James the only problem with not allowing riders to manually adjust their FTP is that when you have a layoff and your FTP suffers as a result, Last thing you want to do is go back into training, especially programmed workouts that use your FTP to set your segment targets with what would now be unrealistic numbers . For example, back in September, my FTP. was around 210 or so..I missed a ton of riding in October and November. So I knew my FTP had fallen way off. Decided to drop my ftp way down..to 175. Did one of the… Read more »

Andrew Cushen
Trusted Member
Andrew Cushen (@andrewcushen)
10 months ago
Reply to  Cory Miller

Surely that’s fixable though? Just take another FTP test and let Zwift adjust it according to your current fitness. If need be there could be an option added to the FTP test along the lines of “throw out previous result” so the new test doesn’t start you too high.

Elliot F
Elliot F
11 months ago

As a smack middle C racer (by w/kg) who knows how to draft and a bit about racing timing, I’m regularly surprised at how low I fall in the pack of C results. If people raced their actual capacity it should fall that my results should reflect that in the range of finishes. Clearly, a majority of people race at categories that are at least one below their w/kg for some kind of ego boost. But, we all also know that you see this amateur road racing at the lower levels, especially Cat 4-5.

Ed B
Ed B
9 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

What if after getting “booted” for exceeding w/kg limits two or three (or a reasonable number) times a flag would be tied to that user that could be used to block them from entering that category. If you’re worried about injuries or gaining weight it could reset after 30, 60 or 90 days. Hopefully they will get the hint and race in the category they belong. I’m a D cat and see all the above examples. I also don’t see any reason not register with ZP.

Hans van Gool
Hans van Gool
11 months ago

This clearly is the biggest problem with Zwift, And should have The highest priority at Zwift HQ. Simple soluties: integratie Zwiftpower with Zwift. And make The FTP non-editable. The Guys at Zwiftpower are doing a great job, And are doing The job Zwift should do..

L Martin
L Martin
10 months ago
Reply to  Hans van Gool

If you couldn’t manually edit your FTP people could still sandbag an FTP test if they wanted to race in a lower category. The solution needs to be more complex than simply removing options from users.

Just Ridin Along
Just Ridin Along
11 months ago

I think the do a good job but not a great. There are always will be guys who slip through the cracks. I constantly race a guy who does 5.3 watts in the race and he podiums or wins every race. In real life he races Cat 3 with average results and a podium here and there. This is the weakness of Zwift and always will be But, it is great for what is.

Rick KRT
Rick KRT
11 months ago

I have started asking everyone to register on zwift power during my race. This is usually about 20 minutes in when I call out all the riders in the lead group that are over the limit. Had a 15 year old pull a 4.0 over 90 minutes in the C cat and then use the excuse they were younger so was ok.

Ward Brady
Ward Brady
11 months ago

sometimes we get spoiled with small race fields, I’m far from the best cyclist and I’ve even won a zwift race or two but as it grows, the fields get larger and there’s still only 1 winner…. so you have to be motivated by competing and not by winning. there’s always going to be someone faster than you, but if you can get into a good pack and have a great race (even if that race is for 14th place) then you can still have a great time and get a good workout having fair competition would be great, but… Read more »

Martin Hulbert
Martin Hulbert
11 months ago

As a very light rider I find w/kg banding puts me at a big disadvantage on the flat, I think total FTP will be better on the flat and overall as a grading method. Light riders have always had an advantage in real life on the hills, so zwift should replicate this.

Henry Hardy
Henry Hardy
11 months ago

“Wow! I honestly didn’t think the numbers would be that dramatic.” I laughed at your comment above. I have actually seen it where 100% of the racers were out of category. Since you and Zwift are so “unaware” I bet you would also be astonished at the number of entry level racers who quit racing at the D level. I can’t fathom how Zwift is unknowing! In fact I don’t believe it. After years of trying to figure out why they (Zwift) haven’t taken action since it is so much in their best interest to do so I can think… Read more »

Josh Currier
Josh Currier
11 months ago

This hasn’t been my experience at all. I regularly lose to riders that are making less power than I am, even on flat courses. It seems like w/kg matters most for in-game performance, whether climbing or not. I can be in a pack doing 250w just to keep up while some around me are only doing 150w but matching my w/kg. My avg power is in the range of some of the top 3 B riders in the races I’ve done and I don’t have a chance in hell of keeping up with them. For reference I’m 6’6″/250lbs (198cm /… Read more »

Steve Shirtliffe
Steve Shirtliffe
7 months ago
Reply to  Josh Currier

I am almost a carbon copy of you (except slightly lower power) and I share your frustrating experience. It seems to come into play on downhills but the flats seem all w/kg. I suspect they have a flawed model.

Chuck
Chuck
11 months ago

Category classification based on power or W/kg is meaningless. I have a W/kg of 2.94 so I want the upper limit to be 2.95 so I can win the category. If the category limit is 2.90 to bump me up to the next level I get crushed. The only fair system is results based and everyone starts at the bottom. Or all races are mass start and riders finish where they finish. No I’m not on Zwiftpower and don’t care about the arbitrary placings it publishes, but people seem to care that they won their category against what they consider… Read more »

barry leeuwen van
barry leeuwen van
10 months ago
Reply to  Chuck

Good plan, everybody starts in D , even you het enough points in D you get placed in C.

A sort of promotion and relegation system

Jeff Bloom
Jeff Bloom
11 months ago

1. Zwift needs more race categories. Even within the C’s there is a big difference between a rider who can hold 3.2 w/kg and one who can put out 2.6 w/kg. I suggest Zwift add A-, B+, B-, B+, etc. categories.
2. Zwift needs a way for higher category riders to ride in lower category races in a way that doesn’t distort the race. Zwift could penalize these riders if they exceeded performance metrics by significantly increasing their weight and rolling resistance for the rest of the race.

Darin Boyd
Darin Boyd
11 months ago

takes maybe 5 minutes to setup ZwiftPower and then you are done forever…

lisa joury
lisa joury
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Well, this Zwift plan is NOT the answer. By Zwift dealing with it, they are making an imperfect system a total disaster. Just post directions on how to join ZP, it takes 5 minutes, as someone mentioned.

Fred
Fred
10 months ago
Reply to  Darin Boyd

This does not stop the sandbaggers from changing the race outcomes. Until Zwift actually makes a change to block them pre-event, they will always be a problem for the lower cats.

lisa joury
lisa joury
7 months ago
Reply to  Darin Boyd

Exactly!!!

Diana
Diana
11 months ago

I’m with you, Steve, as are many, if not most, female riders regarding the extra challenge of being on the lighter end of the spectrum for racers. I weigh 62kg with a 232 FTP. This makes me a strong B rider in women-only races, but just a mid-pack B rider in mixed-gender races. Even when I can hold the same average watts/kg as bigger guys over time, I can almost never match their absolute watts, which means I’m generally always having to work relatively harder on the flats. And even on the short climbs guys can usually put our way… Read more »

Steve Clowes
Steve Clowes
11 months ago

In my opinion, the whole Zwift racing system is an absolute mess and needs drastic rememdies to improve it, considering Zwift’s aim to make virtual racing a serious/fair sport in its own right. You have no idea which riders in your category are registered on Zwiftpower while in the race and the ones you need to mark as regards your ranking points. You have no idea in the race who in your category are going to be disqualified, because they shouldn’t be entering your category in the first place. Most races last significantly longer than 20 minutes, so why are… Read more »

Matt
Matt
11 months ago

I haven’t read all the comments above but if we ride to FTP I will be unfairly treated as my body weight is 90kg and I will get rinsed on the hills against an 80kg rider with the same FTP

Johan
Johan
11 months ago

I generally agree with you. In the real world I race in age category. On Zwift most but certainly not all that I compete against are much younger and kick my behind. But it still gives me a great training race.

Manuel
Manuel
11 months ago

First, you’re right, Zwift made indoor training fun, but what makes zwift original is also racing. No other app approaches Zwift for these two aspects. For me, clearly, there are two categories of zwifters: those for whom the game environment is the main driver to move indoor (and often don’t care much about racing) [a huge Ride On to Zwift for that] and those for whom the racing is the main reason (and often prefer outdoor or other platforms for serious training). I personally cancelled my subscription on zwift two weeks ago. First. because of the workout trainings: Zwift programs… Read more »

Diesel Danny
Diesel Danny
8 months ago
Reply to  Manuel

Agree! There are very different types of races, were FTP is a bad method for saying “you are in Cat A or Cat B” … In long flat races (and the are a lot of those) w/kg are not that important.

Claus Jensen
Claus Jensen
11 months ago

Regarding the actual number of people racing in the wrong category: I too was not at all surprised by the numbers in the article. I actually think, you could easily have chosen different races and gotten even higher numbers! I am between 3.1 and 3.2 w/kg, so absolute top of Cat. C. I have a pretty decent sprint. And despite that I have not yet finished in the top 10 of any race on Zwift. I just checked the latest C-race, I did. It was only 20 minutes, but since Zwifts FTP-test is based on 95% of 20-minute effort, that… Read more »

Diana
Diana
11 months ago

I should add that I’m really glad this conversation is happening! And as a side note, I would definitely say that the proportion of riders not registered with ZP and also the proportion of racers finishing with results way outside the limits for the category they signed up in is a LOT lower in women-only races than in the mixed races Eric chose as his representative sample. Not sure exactly what this says about the women who choose to race on Zwift vs the guys. But I think it’s worth noting.

Richard Sudworth
Richard Sudworth
11 months ago

Are Zwift results in the companion app filtered after the event? I did my first race in ages this week to see the crit course and got lapped! I’m a C in the C race and this person came past me at 4.5+ w/kg. Looking at the results now though, the winner was a couple of minutes ahead, which is less than a lap at C speeds.

Chris Koch [Vision]
Chris Koch [Vision]
11 months ago

Why not let Zwift decided what Cat you will race? If you do at least 3-5 free training rides in Zwift at least 20min or longer (time frame last 30 days), will give Zwift a chance to evaluate your FTP. When you have the data collected and your FTP is set you are allowed to sign up for a race. I would take away the manual select Cat option. When you sign up for a race Zwift will automatically put you in the right Cat based on your last 30day performance. When you come back from injury, just do at… Read more »

Philip Lee
Philip Lee
11 months ago

Just let anyone enter whatever category they want but for those riders sandbagging:
i. Make them invisible to the rest of the field – they cannot then influence the race
ii. Remove the draft from those riders

drnoodle
drnoodle (@kdstotes)
11 months ago

I just don’t think Zwift can prohibit paying users from accessing aspects of the game. They’d have to hide it behind level or paywall systems. The former is going to disincentivize casual users and the latter all users. I don’t think there is a parallel in egaming where noobs are blocked from elites without some sort of paywall. My guess is that all the people bellyaching about enforcement wouldn’t pay a dollar to only race against people who complied with auth protocols. That or a “racing license” is the only way I think this can go.

jules
jules
10 months ago
Reply to  drnoodle

But maybe the levels approach works – some kind of qualification… there are many of things in-game already of this nature… the tron bike, gear, access to the alpe etc… organisers could also include an open race section for the unqualified

John Burgess
John Burgess
11 months ago

Couldn’t we just have a button “Only ZwiftPower visible”

Aoi Niigaki
Aoi Niigaki
11 months ago

I don’t think this has been mentioned yet but 4 categories is not enough in Zwift. People in the bottom of B category have zero chance of winning and a near zero chance of even finishing with the front group in B cat. So what happens? They drop down to C category and then you have the top 10 places in C cat being taken by people doing 3.5+ w/kg. Then the people in the bottom of C cat realise they can’t even finish with a group doing 3.5wkg so they drop down to D cat. Then the people in… Read more »

Maarten
Maarten
10 months ago
Reply to  Aoi Niigaki

Totally agree. We have to find out why people are sandbagging and I think Aoi outlined it perfectly. I – as a lower cat B – am really tempted to drop down to C to make my races more interesting but I won’t do it because I don’t want to spoil the experience of the cat C riders. So yeah, would be great to have those categories split into smaller intervals.

Mark
Mark
11 months ago

Let Zwift set your FTP
On training you have the option
Police men ridding in the race dq riders for all to see
In the TCs Mutch tougher ie all Strava Accunts fully open
Age category to match British Cyling 5 years bands
Age category races
Any body found 1 month ban If persistent longer ban

Mick Such
Mick Such
11 months ago

Eric, once again you are talking sense and it’s an easy fix using the already record data on Zwift based on the FTP I would also like to see more done on Zwift re age groups. Being over 56 yrs it’s hard to race against people of 25 etc. There’s no way currently to know how old the opposition is. I have suggested on the forum pages that people’s names on the board on screen are coloured to meet an age category similar to that used on zwift power. (master, veteran over 50 etc). Hope you get this sorted soon… Read more »

Mark
Mark
10 months ago
Reply to  Mick Such

Hi Eric ZHR Masters Have age category races, But for some reason they have ten year bans Which is ridiculous.
Age 51 to 59 is a mile apart it’s very different than 31 to 39. Starve and British Cyling have 5 year bands, my be we should be putting this to the the race organisers , not sure who that would be
Regards Mark

Cory
Cory
11 months ago

I think FTP categories are a good start. Even if people want to lower their FTP before a race I don’t see why after every race Zwift can’t just do an auto-FTP check from the race they just competed in and see if it matches up with the FTP they started the race with. Then if there’s a large discrepancy just auto adjust it before the final results are displayed.

Mark ONeal
Mark ONeal (@moneal)
11 months ago

This is the whole reason I don’t bother racing in Zwift. However if I get locked into a category I’m even less likely to race. My FTP is 3.36 W/kg so I’d be forced to race in the B group. I get smoked in the C group now. I have no chance whatsoever in the B group. Agree with other posters that there needs to be more categories.

Gareth Roberts
Gareth Roberts
11 months ago

Until everyone is on a level playing field in terms of smart/dumb/wheel on/direct trainer… There is nothing to discuss. After that it’s a weight verification debate…

max drummy
11 months ago

Tying to bring my simple thoughts into the conversation…Cheaters and Sandbaggers will always find a way…..so you can mess with many flavors of “enforcement” but ZwiftPower works as a results metric. So might it be possible to display ZP results alongside Zwift standings in Companion App/Zwift?
This could do 3 things in terms of optics:
1. Raise awareness of ZP
2. Prompt those unregistered on ZP to register
3. Clearly indicate legit racers and results.
cheers!

Simon Burns
Simon Burns
11 months ago

Surely as a light rider you wouldn’t actually be able to win a flat race so this is true to real world conditions? Are you suggesting Zwift skew the game so heavy riders can out-climb light ones?!

Juliette Valegant
Juliette Valegant
11 months ago

I’m not surprised the majority of riders aren’t on Zwiftpower. I tried to register but couldn’t find out how. There was something about a magical invisible ID number that I couldn’t find anywhere. I haven’t tried a race yet. It seems I am missing out on anger and frustration. I’ll stick to sightseeing.

Tim Glasby
Tim Glasby (@timglasby)
9 months ago

yes it is far too difficult, like a lot of things on Zwift and Zwift Power. Really, if you’re not particularly computer savvy you’ve got no chance.

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