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Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders?
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I've done a few group rides, races (C Group) and group workouts on Zwift and have been surprised each time of the pace of the pack. I could not keep up. I have an honest current weight and recent FTP test to equal 3.65 watt/kg. It makes me wonder if some people are putting in ideal weight vs actual.

Anyone else have problems keeping with the group or is it a major case of HTFU?
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [SdB] [ In reply to ]
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It's the Internet what do you think?
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [SdB] [ In reply to ]
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Id say that there are some cheaters in regards to either zpower or "ideal weight" users. However, for the most part its a great training tool to keep motivation on rides/races.

I'm in the C group as well and struggle on climbs with an FTP of 3.8w/kg.
My buddies in the B Group have an FTP of between 4.2 and 4.7 w/kg and sometimes do well and sometimes finish mid-pack.
I know there are a ton of top tier riders out there (cat 1/Domestic pro) that hang in the A Group and are near 5.0 watts/kg

I think its a pretty fair measuring stick in that regard. Its easy to go out to a local ride and feel strong.. but when you get all the top riders from each area it really puts things in perspective with those group races. I love it.

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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [SdB] [ In reply to ]
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You have to take any and all zwift races with a grain of salt (currently) because so many things you don't know that are variables, and that's assuming they are racing with power (and not zpower which opens up even more questions)

Does the person have a smart trainer? What kind of power meter? Is it set up right? Do they calibrate? Does it estimate?

I normally categorize myself as a B (around 4w/kg ftp) sometimes I end the ride with the A group, other times I end up with a bunch of "C" riders minutes ahead of me. It's just part of it right now.

That said, you are riding with people across the world, and to have the means/time/investment to play a dedicated cycling game you would have to expect a lot of them are more than casual cyclists. So there are likely some real beasts on.

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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [leegoocrap] [ In reply to ]
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I have found my Tacx Vortex is giving about an 8% increase in watts over my Stages PM. I haven't raced on Zwift yet but I have altered my weight to hang with slower or faster group rides. I find it hard to find a group that is at my 3 to 3.5 w/kg at the times I can ride. If it's a recovery day and there is a <2w/kg group I'll add 10lbs and I'm not shooting off the front. That being said, it can be frustrating to see someone fly by at 8w/kg, and hold 5.5w/kg for entire lap on Z-Power.
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [SdB] [ In reply to ]
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I've wondered this before when someone blows by at 10+watt/kg and keeps holding it.

I got passed by the USS group ride and they were all holding 4-5+. I felt like:
http://33.media.tumblr.com/...kKN1r29i3uo4_400.gif


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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [SdB] [ In reply to ]
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I ride on the pointy end in the A group of my local scene, but I too find that the Zwift races tend to be humbling. I like the challenge and have an FTP of about 4.7 w/kg but I think I'm going to race the B races to see if that is more reasonable. I don't think there is necessarily so much cheating as the talent pool is worldwide and quite a bit deeper. Also a one hour race with punchy climbs isn't my strength. There is a 65km or ~2 hour race on Jan 27 (Zwifta bianchi) that should be interesting to see if that format changes the dynamic a little.
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [SdB] [ In reply to ]
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It's a combination in your case. 1) There are a lot of people on Zwift who don't have real power meters so fudge the system by using BS weight with BS "Z Power". 2) A 3.6w/kg FTP is middle of the road so it's not unrealistic that 50% of the users are both faster and slower than you.

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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [ddalzell] [ In reply to ]
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I agree that it is a great training tool and adds a fun dimension to indoor winter riding.

I haven't paid much attention to how many riders with zpower//virtual power are on the system- as well as the calibration variables also mentioned.

I'd be really pleased if is simply a lot of riders that are strong. That puts my fitness in perspective and will certainly motivate me more.
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [SdB] [ In reply to ]
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I've got both a CycleOps PowerBeam trainer and a Pioneer PM I can/have used. With both calibrated properly my PowerBeam gives me about 0.5w/kg extra at ftp over the Pioneer. That's not a Zwift thing, it's not intentional, it's just that my PowerBeam reads high.
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [dgran] [ In reply to ]
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The 2 hour race would be interesting. If you lose the peloton it would be a world of hurt trying to catch up for 50km.
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [SdB] [ In reply to ]
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Probably a combination of strong riders, miscalibrated power meters, wrong virtual power (wheel slipping, tension wrong, wrong trainer selected), defective smart trainers, and finally people who accidentally or deliberately entered wrong info like their weight.

The trouble is, there's no way to know who's who and who does what on the Internet. We are all just a screen name and an avatar.

Reminds me of the saying. The Internet! Where men are men. Women are men. And teenage girls are undercover cops.
Last edited by: Dilbert: Jan 18, 16 12:36
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [S Train] [ In reply to ]
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S Train wrote:
I've wondered this before when someone blows by at 10+watt/kg and keeps holding it.

I got passed by the USS group ride and they were all holding 4-5+. I felt like:
http://33.media.tumblr.com/...kKN1r29i3uo4_400.gif

I do the USS group rides on Sundays. I average about 280 watts for the ride which is a little over an hour long and I weigh 170lbs. So that is definitely not world class level by a long stretch, but it is a fairly fast group ride.

Having said that, there are a LOT of Zpower riders that have completely unrealistic times on climbs, etc.
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [S Train] [ In reply to ]
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S Train wrote:
I've wondered this before when someone blows by at 10+watt/kg and keeps holding it.

I got passed by the USS group ride and they were all holding 4-5+. I felt like:
http://33.media.tumblr.com/...kKN1r29i3uo4_400.gif


I have ridden with the USS group the last two Sunday's and I believe the majority of those riders are playing fair. There was a 23 yr old pro in that group the Sunday before last and he was killing us. Dropped me before the end of the first lap. Both time that I rode with them we formed a second group and finished at around a 3.5 average. It's not a race so I didn't care. Still had a great workout and was gassed at the end. A heck of a lot more fun then sitting on the trainer watching football.
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [nightfend] [ In reply to ]
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Yeah, I actually meant that as two separate comments, didn't mean to imply the whole group was cheating or something. It was just crazy to see the comments of where they were and knowing they were getting close, then just being completely enveloped and passed. There are definitely some folks on there that are very talented/well trained.
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [SdB] [ In reply to ]
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It's one of the most ridiculous things about "competing" on Zwift. Want to go faster? Just weigh less.

They should add a "Validated Rider" feature, where the user gets a special badge or token added if they step on an ANT+ scale before the ride and record their weight. But even that is subject to fudging.
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [nickwhite] [ In reply to ]
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nickwhite wrote:
It's one of the most ridiculous things about "competing" on Zwift. Want to go faster? Just weigh less.

They should add a "Validated Rider" feature, where the user gets a special badge or token added if they step on an ANT+ scale before the ride and record their weight. But even that is subject to fudging.

The ANT+ or at least a WiFi scale like a FitBit scale that is linked to Zwift might be required to race. But then again, a little assist by a towel rack when you're stepping on the scale might help shed a few pounds. So there is really no way to police it. I do know that a guy that is running one of the TT's is reviewing peoples Zwift and Strava profiles to see if the racers are all of a sudden finding unusual speed and power numbers on race day.
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [S Train] [ In reply to ]
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S Train wrote:
Yeah, I actually meant that as two separate comments, didn't mean to imply the whole group was cheating or something. It was just crazy to see the comments of where they were and knowing they were getting close, then just being completely enveloped and passed. There are definitely some folks on there that are very talented/well trained.

Didn't think you were accusing anyone of anything. I know that some of the games more seasoned riders were in that group. Which is why I'm going to try to hang with them this offseason as long as I can. Just like in real life, the best way to get fast is ride with stronger riders. At least this way I'm not left alone on an unfamiliar road trying to navigate my way home. My ego can handle being dropped in a video game. If you are riding next Sunday and you see us coming try and jump on. I'll be looking forming a second group at some point.
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [SdB] [ In reply to ]
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Don't forget that there's a "the other checkout line is faster than mine" bias going on - we tend to focus on the people passing us rather than the people we pass. Keep in mind too that if you're a triathlete, you're also dividing your time between 3 sports. There should be a class of cyclists who, all else equal, kick our butts.

I have no doubt that people are fudging the numbers though, even if it is the less serious "this is my ideal race weight" which gets input. The best metric is vs yourself, or vs a group of riders who are at the same "virtual" ability - however that is defined.
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [SdB] [ In reply to ]
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I'll bet its a lot of virtualpower miscalculations. Before I went Kickr/Powermeter, my Cycelops "virtualpower" pegged me at FTP of 300. Then I got a powermeter, and it was sad to see the real numbers were nowhere near as high...
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [SdB] [ In reply to ]
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People are either intentionally cheating (whether with Z-power or their own PM), or else have horribly calibrated setups, or else Zwift's algorithms are not very reflective of the real world.

There's no doubt that really good racers are on there, and tend to rise to the top. But even some really good (not elite) amateur racers are putting up numbers that are at UCI-pro level. Sorry, I just don't believe it.

Zwift should publish the numbers needed to hit certain KOM and lap time levels. When you see someone who's a Cat 5 on USA Cycling putting up sub 12 lap times (then doing 12 min laps over and over), 1:30 KOM times (on the Watopia course) then something is up. And that is with a PM, not Z-power.

Seems to have gotten even worse since being out of Beta.
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [kkerns] [ In reply to ]
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Good luck! If I see you guys again I'll try to hang. You're right, much easier to get dropped there than in real life!
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [timbasile] [ In reply to ]
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All good points.

I guess I'll have to wait for Zwift for to work with my treadmill and connect to my tubing (aka poor man's vasa) before really figuring my out my virtual excellence or lack thereof ;)
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [BrianB] [ In reply to ]
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BrianB wrote:
People are either intentionally cheating (whether with Z-power or their own PM), or else have horribly calibrated setups, or else Zwift's algorithms are not very reflective of the real world.

There's no doubt that really good racers are on there, and tend to rise to the top. But even some really good (not elite) amateur racers are putting up numbers that are at UCI-pro level. Sorry, I just don't believe it.

Zwift should publish the numbers needed to hit certain KOM and lap time levels. When you see someone who's a Cat 5 on USA Cycling putting up sub 12 lap times (then doing 12 min laps over and over), 1:30 KOM times (on the Watopia course) then something is up. And that is with a PM, not Z-power.

Seems to have gotten even worse since being out of Beta.

If a rider has a public profile on Strava its pretty easy to see where they really are. I watched a guy fly around the course and collect all three jerseys at a 5.5w/kg average. He was either pared to a PM or smart trainer. I looked at a couple rides of his from the summer on Strava and he was averaging 165W and 17mph. Now he's a cat 1 on Zwift.
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Re: Zwift watts/kg- Virtual dopers or just a ton of really strong riders? [SdB] [ In reply to ]
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On the FB group you see people saying they are moderate (17-18 mph) in real life, but doing well over 20 in Zwift world. Others credit that to not having to stop for lights, etc. etc. So, in addition to the % that always find ways to cheat, there seem to be number of people with miscalibrated/inaccurate setups that are creating a class of bikers that are (IMHO) fooling themselves a bit. For the most part, I just ignore all of that and worry about my own numbers and how they compare over time; but it does get a little discouraging to see so many that are routinely doing 4,5,6 on up to 10 or more w/k on a sustained basis.

Of course, that just makes it all the more "real"; since it mimics the course cutters, dopers, and drafters :)
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