Racing smart on Zwift: don’t dodge the draft

Racing smart on Zwift: don’t dodge the draft

Racing on Zwift isn’t just about putting out big power numbers–it’s also about conserving power so you have it when you need it. Just like riding in real life, the number one way to conserve power is to draft behind other riders.

Thanks to Jonathan Lemon’s race data tools we’re seeing some nicely detailed, very accurate numbers coming out of recent races. Here are the race results for a recent ZTR–the A group results are below:

Group A
pos name time watts w/kg
1 David Vaughn (ZTR-A) 1:08:26.7 290 4.75
2 Justin Purificati (ZTR – A) + :01.3 299 4.75
3 Jeremy Brazeal (Aetna) ZTR (A) + :19.7 284 4.42
4 Tyler Waldron ZTR-A + 2:08.9 303 4.46
5 Mat Desrosiers (X) ZTR-A + 2:12.1 301 3.81
6 Blake Pucsek ZTR A + 2:21.4 317 4.17
7 Bruno Lafontaine ZTR-A + 2:24.8 298 4.38
8 Ed ZTR (A) + 3:19.0 260 3.96
9 Dan Donovan – ZTR (A) + 3:51.5 304 3.8

Take a look at Mat Desrosiers in the results above–notice that his w/kg is .36 lower than the guy he finished in front of. And while he finished only 3.2 seconds behind Tyler Waldron, his w/kg was a whopping .65 lower than Tyler’s.

What does this mean? It means Mat did a better job than Tyler and Blake at conserving his energy in this race. My guess would be that he stayed in someone’s draft for the vast majority of the race, and only came out of the draft to make short, hard breaks to bridge to another group or sprint for the finish.

More on Drafting

smart-racersThere are, of course, other ways you can race smarter in Zwift–but using the draft is absolutely the #1 skill you must learn in order to compete.

Some folks are confused about how drafting works in Zwift–but it’s really quite simple if you understand the visual cues. If you are using the default view where you can see your avatar, your avatar will sit up when you are in a group drafting. If you’re in a group and hunched over, that means you’re “pulling” and using significantly more energy than the folks who are drafting behind you.


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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