Pace Partner Route Rotation Announced

Pace Partner Route Rotation Announced

Since their release in late August 2020, Pace Partners have become a popular feature on Zwift – an always-on group ride which sticks to a consistent pace.

They were expanded to include the Drops Multiplier game in October 2020, rolled out to runners in December 2020, and have been steadily tweaked in each month’s updates to further improve the user experience.

This week Zwift quietly announced another update to the cycling Pace Partners – route rotation!

Up to this point, each Pace Partner has basically stayed on the same route (with very occasional deviations surprising everyone because they weren’t shown in the drop-in screen.) Now the drop-in screen appears to accurately show which route the Pace Partner is actually on, and according to Zwift’s post, the Pace Partners are rotating routes on a weekly basis:

Pace PartnerRoute Set 1Route Set 2Route Set 3
A. AnquetilRoad to RuinsDust In the WindBig Foot Hills
B. BrevetSand and SequoiasFigure 8Out and Back Again
C. CadenceTempus FugitTick TockSand and Sequoias
D. DieselFlat RouteVolcano FlatWatopia’s Waistband

Notes

  • Each Pace Partner’s routes have a similar elevation-to-distance ratio as their original routes (except C. Cadence, whose new routes are a bit more climby than her original pan-flat Tempus Fugit route)
  • Route changes will occur on Monday mornings between 4-5am UTC. Use this handy site to convert to your local time zone

Currently the Pace Partners are set to Route Set 2, which means next week they should be on Route Set 3.

Your Thoughts

Do you like the idea of the Pace Partners rotating routes? What do you think of the route choices? Chime in below! (You might also want to share your feedback on the Zwift forum post.)

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

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
40 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Evan
Evan
1 month ago

Good to see some variation! I was getting bored of Tempus Fugit…

ShakeNBakeUK
ShakeNBakeUK (@bakeuk)
1 month ago
Reply to  Evan

you mean ur not just looking at drop counter? D:

Joel
Joel
1 month ago

I suspected it was only a matter of time before they did this! I also think it would be interesting to see them implement one of two related ideas. First longer routes such the ones you are doing on the Badge Hunter Series with known times (that rotate of course to accommodate for different time zones) and second letting you know where they are in relation to the course “start”. Major difficulty with this is that I think the routes have to be loops so they are not interrupted. Any ideas?

Mick Such
Mick Such
1 month ago

Always found Dan to be Sooooo SLOW up hills out of tunnels n after sprint. Then he up gear n explodes through the esses. Really strange. Will be nice to have the route change. Yeah the desert was getting a bit boring.

Crankenstein
Crankenstein
1 month ago
Reply to  Mick Such

The pace partners keep an exact wattage target while they ride. It’s incredibly unnatural if you are used to riding with groups on smart trainers who will push uphill and back off downhill. Dan feels like the worst given his wattage is fairly low (125w iirc). Next time you ride with him try turning your trainer difficulty to zero, or watch him riding. Uphill everyone will tend to get ahead while downhill he will typically fly by everyone unless they are also maintaining a relatively constant power output; removing hill simulations makes it a lot easier to follow. It would… Read more »

Bob
Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  Crankenstein

“Dan … his wattage is fairly low (125w iirc).”

Yes, 123 (1.5 w/kg * 82 kg)

Buzz
Buzz (@jimbo_jim007)
1 month ago
Reply to  Crankenstein

Yes depending how steep the hill is, it can be hard to even push 125w on a descent with 53/11. Most realistically would suit if slowed down output on descents and stayed for flats and hills at their set wattage. Just my thoughts. At least it’s a start! And it probably makes sense to punch the climb a bit higher so you don’t get overtaken by the pace partner on the descent.

Andrew Leeds
Andrew Leeds
1 month ago

Shame there hasn’t been another one added between c and d groups, in % terms it’s just too big a jump, perhaps higher groups c to b, b to a the % jump is either manageable/ more suitable, but for me, d is way to slow, zone 1 (or 2) and c to much, either at or over threshold. So not a “pace partner” at all, either a recovery ride or a ftp effort.

Richard Goris
Richard Goris
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Leeds

Excellent point. I agree.

Amber
Amber
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Leeds

Same experience for me.

Terry Rawlinson
Terry Rawlinson
1 month ago
Reply to  Amber

I had a chat with one of the Zwift ride leaders and there are plans to bring in an E Catergory Bot, was told to watch that space but as yet nothing

Dan Neesley
Dan Neesley
1 month ago

That would be really great. I’m old and slow and wouldn’t struggle as much as I do with Diesel Dan.

Greg
Greg
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Leeds

When my wife rides with C, she just drops her weight for that session so that she can keep up at a reasonable power, very easy to change just for that session. She changes it back for normal rides. Just a suggestion

Kevin
Kevin
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Leeds

Try riding the mountain bike with the D partner .. the lack of drafting makes it a bit harder

Joel
Joel
1 month ago
Reply to  Kevin

When riding with DD I actually enjoy riding with a TT bike do I don’t have to manage the draft effects. It makes me work a bit harder but not as hard as BB or CC groups when I’m drafting.

Spinmonkey
Spinmonkey (@geoffspinmonkey)
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Leeds

I agree and have given that feedback after every ride. Gap between Dan and Coco is too great. Should be a 1.5 2.0 and 2.5wkg bots

Richard Goris
Richard Goris
1 month ago

Excellent idea with the rotation! Zwift programmers are doing a great job. Love Zwift!!

Paul Himes
Paul Himes
1 month ago

Last night Coco Cadence was doing the Watopia Hilly Route Reverse even though it was listed as Tick Tock on the sign in screen, so it’s not completely bug-free yet.

Paul Himes
Paul Himes
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Himes

Honestly, I wish they would leave something running Tempus Fugit at 2.5 W/kg all the time (introduce a new pace partner?) because that was perfect for pre-race warmup. The new routes give variability which is nice if you’re using them for a ride, but, when I’m warming up for a race, I don’t want to find myself going up the Watopia Hilly KoM reverse like I did last night.

Darin Boyd
Darin Boyd
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Himes

I think the interesting thing about the pace partners is that they are actually easier to stay with at advertised pace on a climb then on the flat or downhill. They don’t have that inherent inevitable need that seemingly EVERY Zwifter that has ever lived to add at least a full w/kg as soon as they see 2%+ in that top right hand corner!! That being said they can still be effected by the draft of said Zwifters that still succumb to that urge!

Crankenstein
Crankenstein
1 month ago
Reply to  Darin Boyd

Do you ride with a smart trainer Darin? I think the wattage increases you see are typically due to automated increases in resistance for other riders, who might try to adjust to hills via cadence rather than gear shifts (or not at all). If you’re lazy about that you will definitely increase wattage uphill even with a reduced trainer difficulty level.

You’re not wrong though, it can be aggravating, especially on rides that advertise averages close to your threshold power. One longish hill and you will get dropped like a bad date.

Gary Crays
Gary Crays
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Himes

Yeah, Coco seems buggy and some of my other Zwift friends have seen the same thing. Yesterday I was doing Tick Tock with Coco and 20 minutes later she was gone, only to re-appear 5 minutes later and then disappear again. Someone messaged a few minutes later that Coco was on a different course.

anderfo
anderfo
1 month ago

The “choose a pace partner” dialog should indicate the rider’s weight, which tells us more about how he/she moves… I read somewhere on the support forum that D.Diesel and B.Brevet are 82 kg and A.Anquetil and C.Cadence are 65 kg. But when I actually try to ride with them, it feels like D.Diesel is more in the 100-120 kg range since he’s speeding up like crazy on every small downhill and nearly stopping completely on uphills. It doesn’t really fit with the steady W/kg reported through the Rider list on the right… The bots are listed with a W/kg range,… Read more »

Darin Boyd
Darin Boyd
1 month ago
Reply to  anderfo

it’s a lot less erratic with Coco than the D guy, but one thing that does happen to effect what you describe is that the pace partners do stay at advertised pace, whereas EVERY real Zwifter naturally ramps up the power at the first hint of a grade and conversely tend to back off/sit up, on descents.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Darin Boyd

Right, they advertise the W/kg as a range, so it seems like it would make sense to move to the upper end of the range on the climbs and the lower end of the range on the descents, like real riders do. Seems like a no-brainer to implement, and it would make the pacing a lot more realistic.

Bob
Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  anderfo

I suspect that Dan Diesel’s speed variations have more to do with the effect of draft on his speed — sometimes he may be held back by draft lock, and other times propelled forward by the draft created by others in the group speeding up, or by a faster group passing through.

Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago

Reeeeally wish that the time that they go for a break didnt coincide with the time I do 95% of my workouts. Its a bot, it doesnt get tired

Craig
Craig
1 month ago

Saw some weird behaviour last night riding with B.Brevit. At one point I was ahead by just 15m and got reset back to 1.0x. Weird because that seems pretty close to the pace partner for the drops to reset. The other weird thing was that B.Brevit left the game. It was announced by B.Brevit saying “leaving in about two minutes…” but I thought they just roamed endlessly.

Sussex Geezer
Sussex Geezer
1 month ago

I joined Cara yesterday. At login set was
to be on Tick Tock yet when I joined she was on the Hilly course which isn’t even shown as an option??

Richard Braun
Richard Braun
1 month ago
Reply to  Sussex Geezer

Same here. As a ride, it was fine, but not expected.

Marcus Upton
Marcus Upton
1 month ago

Great idea, some routes were getting…well boring especially if flat, nice to be out the saddle more

Craig P
Craig P
1 month ago

Changing it up will be good imo! I do wish there was a way to warm up on the specific route for say 5-10 minutes and then the game automatically “jumps” you to the pacebot selected. I rarely will jump right in with one of the pacebots without a little warm up! Anyone else have that same need?

MarkE
MarkE
1 month ago
Reply to  Craig P

I’ve found, at least with Coco, that I can pedal at 1.4-1.8 and keep up with the pack pretty well. Long enough to get a shortish warmup in to cruise at 2.5.

MarkE
MarkE
1 month ago
Reply to  Craig P

But yes, being able to warm-up before joining would be great. It was easier on Tempus because you would quickly see them coming or overtaking you if you just selected the route and joined up.

Mick Such
Mick Such
1 month ago

Coco was doing Sand and Sequelias today – good for 3 laps. Seemed to be quite realistic n not too slow on the climbs from Desert and out of tunnel and had a respectful speed on the downhill.
A good hard workout….. But maybe 2.25 instead of 2.5 would be better for Al of us Mon pro riders.

Mattias Thyr
1 month ago

I have always wanted to be able to run pace with myself. think of following his avatar from last week’s round and adding 1% with a slider W or speed. and you choose according to the activity you drove s and which is saved on my personal computer.

Christian D.
Christian D.
1 month ago

👍

Jules
Jules
1 month ago

I enjoy the Pace Partners, but is there any way the C level ones could be a different colour to aid visibility? In large groups they merge into the dots on the map or get lost when “ride-ons” are being given out. I can’t believe that would be a tricky change for the team at Zwift and would make life easier for us as riders.

electroRoss
electroRoss
22 days ago

Glad to see some variety. Next up some bots paced half way between the current bots please.
How do you name them though? Half Carafe, Decimal Dan?

40
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x