Pace Partner Updates: Chase Races, Smarter Power Modulation, France Bots

James Bailey and friends have continued with their weekly testing and tweaking of Pace Partners to dial in the best mix of bots, paces, routes, and events.

This week Pace Partners are modulating their wattage a bit better than before, all while heading to France for le Tour and leading Chase Races! Let’s dig into the latest Pace Partner news…

This Week’s Ride Routes

Riding routes for each Pace Partner have been changed this week, and Makuri Island Pace Partners have moved to France to watch le Tour:



Smarter Power Modulation

Before this week, Pace Partners were modulating their power on inclines and declines to help keep the pace more natural; increasing power by 10% when the gradient hit 3% or more, and decreasing power by 20% on a negative gradient.

Power modulation will be a bit more “fine-grained” beginning this week, which will hopefully make the bot-driven pacing feel even more natural:

  • Uphill
    • 1% gradient = 3% more power
    • 2% gradient = 6% more power
    • 3% gradient or more = 10% more power
  • Downhill
    • -1% gradient = 6% less power
    • -2% gradient = 12% less power
    • -3% gradient or more = 20% less power

Pace Partner-Led Chase Races


Zwift has been testing Pace Partner-led events for the past few weeks, and this week we’re seeing something novel – Chase Races where each category is “led” by a Pace Partner!

Pace Partner Chase Races are scheduled for multiple timeslots Tuesday to Thursday on France’s R.G.V. route. A Pace Partner will appear as the beacon in each of the 4 categories, riding at 4.59w/kg, 3.99 w/kg, 3.19w/kg, and 2.49w/kg.

  • Group D (2.49 w/kg) will take off first, on the hour
  • Group C (3.19 w/kg) starts 3 minutes after D
  • Group B (3.99 w/kg) starts 4 minutes after C
  • Group A (4.59 w/kg) starts 2 minutes after B

See upcoming Pace Partner events >

Zwift Insider reader Jim Haysom sent us this live stream recording of his first Pace Partner Chase Race. He wrote “… great concept, you and fellow category riders play domestique to get your pacer bot to the finish before the others. Our Cat Bs tonight (10pm BST) we’re about 31s from the win I think.”

Running Bots on the Volcano Circuit

Run bots are warming up on laps of Watopia’s Volcano Circuit (and Volcano Circuit CCW) this week, with plans to change the featured route each week. There are 11 run bots at a wide range of paces, so if runners want a bit of company, there’s a bot available:

  • Michael Midsole: 10:00/km
  • David Doubles: 9:00/km
  • Tracey Trot: 8:00/km
  • Albert Amble: 7:30/km
  • Sarah Stride: 7:00/km
  • Benito Bounder: 6:30/km
  • Hettie Hare: 6:00/km
  • Brendan Bolter: 5:30/km
  • Rebecca Rocket: 5:00/km
  • Stuart Speedster: 4:30/km
  • Patricia Pacemaker: 4:00/km

Share Feedback

James is looking for feedback on all things Pace Partner. He requests that you share feedback (and any questions) in one of these spots:

Eric Schlange
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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1 year ago

Those Pace Partner Chase Races are really interesting. It’s a TTT to get your weakest rider across the line! There’s no personal glory at stake so it guarantees teamwork versus other chase races. I hope they do more since I won’t have a chance to try these scheduled races.

Aoi Niigaki
Aoi Niigaki
1 year ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Not really. The Pacer bot’s w/kg is at the top of the category so about half the time it’s the pacer bot pulling everyone else around. In the race I did in cat D the bot dropped all the other D cat riders except for one rider who finished ahead of the bot. When we (cat B) passed the D bot it was riding solo. The bots need to be set a bit lower (maybe 5% lower) because at the moment the bots are the strongest riders in each group except for A cat.

1 year ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Well, clearly the bot would be the strongest rider over the duration. But the ideal would be if everyone is taking pulls above the bot’s wattage then the group would tow the bot all along the course. If you have 25 people in the group, 30 seconds on and 2 minutes recovery would be about right. The group definitely needs to commit to make it work!

1 year ago
Reply to  ShermanO

So the pacer bot can draft the way a normal rider would? If so, is this just for the races, or does that happen all the time?

David Galbraith
David Galbraith
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew

Happens all the time. That’s why the same bot will have different lap times on Volcano Circuit, for example. All depends on how good a draft they get.

Tony Lane
Tony Lane
1 year ago

Loved having Charlie Chaser in France today. Really nice route for a pacer. Must try one of these chase races (I had meant to join one this morning, but went back to sleep after my alarm went off and was too late to make the start…)

1 year ago

I’m glad they continue to fine tune the bots. I have provided feedback the couple times I rode with them recently (I rarely do ride with them, but might more often if a few more features were added): It would be nice if there was a 5 minute warm up period you could select when you first join, especially with the pacier bots. That way you don’t have to do a separate warm up ride beforehand (or just straight hammer with cold legs). It would be nice if you could rejoin. For example, I had to take a phone call… Read more »

Jim Haysom
Jim Haysom(@haysom)
1 year ago

Thanks for sharing my YouTube stream Eric. So I’ve attached here the finish results of our race in Bs. Our bot, Bounding Benny crossed the line with their average w/kg of 4.0, as this is fixed. Which if you did that in a Cat B race, you’re likely on your limit, being a top end Cat B. However, if you look at the other w/kg of our riders, collectively we were below that, our range for the B finishers was 3.1 to 4.0w/kg. So it’s important to take the draft when needed to recover, but also, do your turn(s) on… Read more »

1 year ago

I think they they should make the pace partners a fat guy/girl on a Keirin Bike.

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