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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [gplama] [ In reply to ]
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gplama wrote:
lightheir wrote:
Curious - as a bike racer in the real-world, how would you say Zwift's modeling of bike racing pans out during Zwift races? Any parts that seem 'artificial', or does it overall seem to match your real-world racing experiences with drafting, tactics, etc.?


For me - It's different in a lot of ways. Firstly every Zwift race is a TT. There's no coasting or catching your breath when you've chased back on.... or 'sitting in'. As soon as you drop power in a group you're thrown back a long way in the group. Drafting wise there's no 'feel' to it, so you're never quite sure when you're in the best position... and with automatic steering your position isn't within your control. That also means there's no skill or craft in bike positioning... and given there's no virtual wind, there's no gutter action or positioning yourself to let your team catch the draft while putting others in the gutter. No steering means no surprise attacks across the other side of the road, or swapping turns easy. There's a bucketload of real life race tactics and smarts that aren't there. Yet.

What's similar is the 'just hold the wheel' mindset you have to apply. An example of this was a race I did a few weeks ago... I was off the back of a group of eight with three others who were struggling too.. I gave it one last "fck it, get across or die" effort... I made contact with the group and suffered on, the other two were out the back by 60 seconds+ a few kms up the road. So that aspect is similar to racing outside. The draft works.... but it is lacking a few dimensions.

I still don't think these platforms were ever designed for the complexity we're expecting. A lot of features and functions seem to be retro-fitted, which work ok a lot of the time.

Well described... I wouldn't go as far as saying it is like a TT, because it does have the surge/recover dynamics of a road race, but you can't coast in the pack the way you can sometimes if you're well positioned on the road, you can ease off a bit, but if I dropped to 150w, like I often would in an easier section of a crit, I'd be out the back... Definitely agree with the positioning piece, skilled bike racers are masters of this on the road, but it's completely random in Zwift (if you're not skilled at this, this is a huge bonus riding on zwift, as someone who is fairly adept at moving within a pack, it's a bit of a hinderance). All you can really do is control your fore/aft position by modulating your power expenditures. I'd love to see virtual winds, leading to echeloning, gutter riding, etc. some of these technical challenges are my favorite parts of bike races...

And for sure agree with the hold the wheel aspects, the decision making around burning your matches, and figuring out which gaps to bridge, and when to sit back, this is what gives you the chess match feel of a road race. Also some of the pack dynamics, After all of the talk about nobody escaping on the flats, I raced a flat crit last night, and a few teams were lighting things up tactically and sending riders up the road... We split a breakaway of 17 riders off the peloton on a short 2% incline, and about halfway through, two riders attacked our group on the flats and rode away, they had stretched to almost 15seconds, but then we started to reel them in, but much like a real race, we could see them 10s up the road, and a few guys would go do some good work and claw back a few seconds, but then someone else would pull through and ease off the pace ever so slightly, and the gap would go back out... I got frustrated for sure with the lack of impetus by some, that I ended up taking a monster 2km pull to euthanize the escape with about 5km to go. In hindsight that was probably a bit too soon, in the sense, that we had to endure a few km of relentless attack attempts, before people accepted that it would be a bunch romp to the line (again, also very much like in a real race). I'd also say that the dynamics of a bunch sprint are a bit off, in the sense that because of the random positioning, you can't lead out the way one would do on the road, it feels a lot more like a sprint out of a small breakaway group on the road. That being said, there is very much the dynamic of timing your effort to the line, last night I watched several major reshuffles of our group across the last 5-700m from the line, as people launched their sprints.

I'd say the ebb and flow and dynamics of the race are very similar to on the road, and how the races unfold. The skill element is basically non-existent, in the sense of moving within the draft or the pack, the real skill is managing the amount of riding you do on the front. And you can't recover as truly as you do on the road (although in that sense, Zwift races are great training for the road, in the sense that you have to ride harder to achieve a result).

In terms of courses, I rode a crit last night on the Greater London Flat course, and while primarily flat, still made for a very dynamic and tactical race. I also liked that race because I finally made a main breakaway and took an overall podium...
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
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lightheir wrote:
Curious - as a bike racer in the real-world, how would you say Zwift's modeling of bike racing pans out during Zwift races? Any parts that seem 'artificial', or does it overall seem to match your real-world racing experiences with drafting, tactics, etc.?


From longer road racing perspective: it is not perfect (echelon winds, breakaways, etc. zwift will have most likley higher avg power since you are constantly pedaling) it misses on a lot of real world fun (did anyone figure out how to pee during Zwift race?:), never the less is super cool, better than anything out there.

From 60min Crit perspective is surprisingly close to real crit racing. The only difference is you can't stop pedaling, but when you get dropped it is very hard if at all possible to get back, but you can get back if you manage to catch lapping group from the back. Not the highest FTP/kg wins, but the smartest racer wins. The same as in real world, but slightly different rules apply: you need to feel the race and make the moves depending how people race: if the fields attacks each small hill, use feather power up and attack harder then everyone else. If you are racing with the team, use Discord to communicate (team radio)
People say it is hard to figure out when you are drafting most efficiently, I think (I might be hallucinating) I know when I'm the most efficient in the group, by looking at my position vs group I know if I'm doing just enough to stay with them or too much. Experiment on flat and apply slightly less/more power and see how your position changes, it does change based on power you output, if you are falling behind don't apply massive power or you will end up at the front, 4-5 hard kicks is most of the time enough.

Here is power comparison from 1st real crit (outside) of 2018 and first virtual crit on Zwift, I find it surprisingly close, I rearranged my entire training to get one 60min Zwift race every week:

https://twitter.com/sebo_z/status/1075738963896283136


Considering, no yellow lines, no licences, no wheel overlapping, no feed zones, no team cars, no wind, never rains, always kinda warm etc etc. it is still super helpful to break Canadian winter monotony.





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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [m_reese] [ In reply to ]
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my favorite race is the KISS 100km road race

mainly because it makes the hours fly by
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [Trauma] [ In reply to ]
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Trauma wrote:
gplama wrote:
lightheir wrote:
Curious - as a bike racer in the real-world, how would you say Zwift's modeling of bike racing pans out during Zwift races? Any parts that seem 'artificial', or does it overall seem to match your real-world racing experiences with drafting, tactics, etc.?


For me - It's different in a lot of ways. Firstly every Zwift race is a TT. There's no coasting or catching your breath when you've chased back on.... or 'sitting in'. As soon as you drop power in a group you're thrown back a long way in the group. Drafting wise there's no 'feel' to it, so you're never quite sure when you're in the best position... and with automatic steering your position isn't within your control. That also means there's no skill or craft in bike positioning... and given there's no virtual wind, there's no gutter action or positioning yourself to let your team catch the draft while putting others in the gutter. No steering means no surprise attacks across the other side of the road, or swapping turns easy. There's a bucketload of real life race tactics and smarts that aren't there. Yet.

What's similar is the 'just hold the wheel' mindset you have to apply. An example of this was a race I did a few weeks ago... I was off the back of a group of eight with three others who were struggling too.. I gave it one last "fck it, get across or die" effort... I made contact with the group and suffered on, the other two were out the back by 60 seconds+ a few kms up the road. So that aspect is similar to racing outside. The draft works.... but it is lacking a few dimensions.

I still don't think these platforms were ever designed for the complexity we're expecting. A lot of features and functions seem to be retro-fitted, which work ok a lot of the time.


Well described... I wouldn't go as far as saying it is like a TT, because it does have the surge/recover dynamics of a road race, but you can't coast in the pack the way you can sometimes if you're well positioned on the road, you can ease off a bit, but if I dropped to 150w, like I often would in an easier section of a crit, I'd be out the back... Definitely agree with the positioning piece, skilled bike racers are masters of this on the road, but it's completely random in Zwift (if you're not skilled at this, this is a huge bonus riding on zwift, as someone who is fairly adept at moving within a pack, it's a bit of a hinderance). All you can really do is control your fore/aft position by modulating your power expenditures. I'd love to see virtual winds, leading to echeloning, gutter riding, etc. some of these technical challenges are my favorite parts of bike races...

more like a TTT rather than an ITT. the AP/NP ratio in zwfit is quite a bit close to unity than what one would see in a road race, though not exactly that close (as one would expect to see in a flat-ish ITT)

it's also similar in the sense that after a hard pull in a TTT one could soft pedal for only so long before required to surge again to get on the back of the TTT train. never a true rest for the wicked
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [m_reese] [ In reply to ]
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For me, the "best" race is simply any Zwift "event" that is at a time convenient for me and that is not a "ride" or "workout" with pre-set performance parameters (e.g. "tempo ride at 2.5-3.0 W/kg"). You don't want to be the jerk who tries to turn a "ride" or "workout" into a race.

All other events, whether designated as races, fondos, Tour de [Zwift/London/etc] stages, etc. inevitably turn into races, at least for those participants who choose to race the event.

While Zwift races are often compared to TTs, I think an even better comparison is to CX. A big over-threshold effort at the beginning to establish groups, then an over-under threshold effort for the remainder.

Race Director, Velo Club La Grange (http://www.lagrange.org)
https://www.strava.com/athletes/337152
https://vimeo.com/user11846099
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [TriowaCPA] [ In reply to ]
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Is the next Morning Grind Fondo (assuming that's what is will still be called) still going to be the same time on Wednesdays? Or has that been decided yet?
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [MRid] [ In reply to ]
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MRid wrote:
Is the next Morning Grind Fondo (assuming that's what is will still be called) still going to be the same time on Wednesdays? Or has that been decided yet?

We're probably keeping our current time slot--with Zwift's launching of Super League and a few other big race directors (3R, KISS, TT1) filling up the calendar, we really want to keep our slot secure.

I fear that if we added another time, we'd likely split our current group, which could degrade the race.

Does that time not work very well for you?
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [TriowaCPA] [ In reply to ]
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That time works great for me, so I was hoping it was staying, glad to here it probably is
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [m_reese] [ In reply to ]
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I end up joining a race or group ride that fits into my time slot for being on the trainer.

I'm fairly new to using Zwift (2 weeks) so maybe I'm missing something, but my initial perception of Zwift and what I find is 98% of any "group" ride turns into a race of sorts anyway......just final results are missing most of the time (or at least accurate results). Group rides that are "supposed" to keep the group together often turn into a kind of semi organized hammer fest or race of sorts at the front. These feel more like your weekend type large group ride hammer fest where you find a group of your abilities and are always looking to catch the next group in front.

Personally I am still struggling to grasp the feel of staying on the front consistently without powering off and then dropping back too far...rinse and repeat. Getting better, but still learning. There is a learning curve of actual road vs vr as well as virtual doping.
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [MKirk] [ In reply to ]
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You might look at rides that say social ride on them. Zsun and ZHCC do some good 1.5-2.0 rides that truly do keep a nice group together. They are totally meant to just relax and spin and not race. Last night I did a social ride and out of the 42 riders 38 of them were in the big group with the other four just a bit behind.
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [griffeyfan04] [ In reply to ]
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griffeyfan04 wrote:
You might look at rides that say social ride on them. Zsun and ZHCC do some good 1.5-2.0 rides that truly do keep a nice group together. They are totally meant to just relax and spin and not race. Last night I did a social ride and out of the 42 riders 38 of them were in the big group with the other four just a bit behind.

Thanks, I'm ok with the hammer rides.......I find them pretty addicting and fun. I think the key component is to read a rides description to understand what is should be....usually they are pretty close.
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [MKirk] [ In reply to ]
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zwiftpower.com usually has 'results' for most rides
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [MKirk] [ In reply to ]
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My experience with group rides, especially the larger ones, is that no matter what the advertised pace is, there is always a subset of people who race them or treat them as a hammer ride. That always perplexes me, as there is no shortage of zwift races available at anytime of day if that is what you want to do. That being said, just because some people hammer off the front doesn't mean you have too. The majority of us stay with or near the beacon/lead rider and we don't worry about those way off the front.
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [cloy] [ In reply to ]
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There is no doubt in my mind that you can race competitively in the B-races. Now whether or not you have the kick to win a bunch sprint, I can't say, but you are definitely strong enough to hold the lead pack in almost any B-group race. You probably need to get the hang of zwift physics and learn how to conserve energy by setting in the draft, the rubber-band effect takes a bit to get used to. It sounds like you mostly plan to stick to trainer road, which is cool, but if decide to take up zwift racing some more, I promise you your strong enough for cat-B.
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