Black Sheep Cycling and AHDR Chop have launched another Lamb Chop series which began yesterday. These races are always popular among Zwifters–let’s learn more about them and find out why.
Handicap Racing: the Basics
Handicap races are known as chase, cat and mouse, or pursuit races. Unlike the standard Zwift road race or TT formats, handicap races are designed to encourage category riders to work together, and to give all riders a chance to win regardless of category.
In a handicap race, slower categories are released before faster categories. Each category’s time gap is calculated by the race organizer, with the goal of having all categories meeting up near the end of the race for a final sprint.
So this format encourages each category’s riders to work together to stay away from chasers and catch any riders up the road. But if you’re caught by a faster group from behind–all bets are off. Grab those wheels!
The Lamb Chop Series is happening weekly on Thursdays, with two different time slots and separate races for men and women.
- 11AM Pacific (Women only)
- 11:45AM Pacific (Men/Mixed)
- 4PM Pacific (Women only)
- 4:45PM Pacific (Men/Mixed)
Glancing at the upcoming race schedule, it’s clear Lamb Chop organizers gravitated toward flatter courses. This makes sense, because those flatter courses allow groups to work together rather than having a TT-style race up a longer climb.
Complete any of the six races to score the new Racing Club kit by Black Sheep Cycling.
My Story: Today’s Race
I joined the early race today, racing with the B’s (see my race on Strava). We completed two laps of the Tick Tock route, and it was a tough race. A fun group of B’s, though, and plenty of banter flying early on.
We began with 101 riders in our group, but that was quickly whittled down to ~60 as the group surged ahead. We averaged 29.5mph in the first 30 minutes!
I held on until the final kicker coming out of the Ocean Blvd tunnel, just 4km from the finish. I wasn’t riding quite as attentively as I should have been, and let too much of a gap open up as the group stretched out. Race over for me!
My B group raced well, though–catching the C and D groups ahead and staying away from the A’s. That’s the goal of a chase race!
In the end, this was the hardest effort I’d put into a Zwift race in months. Great (type 2) fun!
Other Handicap Races
If you’re interested in chase-style racing but can’t make the Lamb Chop schedule, check out DIRT DADurday races on Saturdays, or the long-running ZHR (Zwift Handicap Races). There are other handicap races available throughout the week as well, including those organized by Peel Cycling.
Have you tried any chase races? Which ones are your favorite? Share below!