Prevalence of cheating on zwift


#21

I’ve seen heart rates all over the place from low to high. So it’s hard to accuse someone of cheating with that data. I’ve seen trainers reading high and low. So it’s hard to accuse someone of cheating with that data. It’s easy to set the wrong height or weight and even if everyone had a scale that directly sends the weight to Zwift people will manipulate the scale. This is something we will always have to deal with. And if pros are lying you better believe the average Zwifter is. So it’s really hard to take any of it seriously. I do still enjoy the concept though.


#22

I can’t help but get sucked into this topic even if I hardly race. I’ve moved more from “it’s just a good workout don’t sweat it” to a position of “well, if people want to race, let’s make it fair for them.” for some people zwift racing might be their sole competitive outlet, and if it is zwift/race organizers need to come up with ways to make the process as fair as possible.

I jumped onto a race today, a way to make the 6x7min vo2 intervals a bit more motivating. It’s crazy that I’m doing 4.4-4.5w/kg (310-318w) and I’m not gaining any ground on other B and C rider groups. I think the physics need a lot of work.


#23

I have absolutely no evidence but I feel like the B category is the worst of the doping offenders. Sandbagging, weight doping or whatever…


#24

I wasn’t aware of the Codifis ything but how can a professional cyclist get his weight wrong by 8kg - to his benefit of course.


#25

Q: What’s the fastest way to loose 2 kilograms and keep it off?

A: Create a Zwift profile.


#26

As a real-life road racer, the poor physics really put me off Zwift racing. If anything it has got worse since the introduction of “double draft”. While DD made the drafting of a single rider more realistic, the real problem was and still is the way in which large groups stick together too much and travel waaay too fast for the effort of the riders on the front.

I could write a huge post about what all the ins and outs but the outcome is that there are very few tactical considerations in the race beyond using power ups and saving a little energy.

If the course has loads of climbing, the best W/kg riders will win, which really encourages the weight dopers. If the course isn’t selective, there is little incentive to attack as big groups travel too fast without anyone pulling particularly hard, so you rarely get anywhere.

In one of the early superleague races, Connor Dunne laid down an attack at 700W for a minute while the rest of the bunch cruised at ~300W. He got nowhere.

It always comes down to a sprint… where again, rider height/weight matters far more than in real life where positioning and timing are almost as important as big power.

If Zwift are serious about making esports a thing, they really need to pay some serious attention to their game engine.

Back to the topic at hand… more realistic physics > more tactical racing > less requirement/incentive to weight dope.


#27
  • MUST. MAKE. MEME.

#28

I have absolutely no evidence but I feel like the B category is the worst of the doping offenders. Sandbagging, weight doping or whatever…

Guilty as charged. :joy:

My FTP is about 4.4 w/kg and I get smoked right out the back of the A races to the point where they’re no fun.

It’s a game, I’m trying to have fun, so I sign up for B races instead. I just keep an eye on my average power so as to not go over the 4 w/kg limit.

The way I see it, classifying these races based on w/kg is pretty flawed.

I’m a cat 5 on the road, but my FTP would put my as a cat 2 on the Coggan w/kg chart. It sure would suck if I was forced to actually race in cat 2 road races in real life without actually having the results to be there.


#29

I feel your pain as a low A racer. I lost a lot of interest in racing once I moved up because it usually became a solo sweet spot effort once I got spit out the back. I’m a little better at staying in the groups now but never enter a race with the thought I might actually win.


#30

I get this and do this myself, technically I’m an A at 4.2w/kg but I haven’t gone over 3.7 in events I’ve done recently (plus doing intervals puts me dead last in my group lol), but it got me thinking, isn’t it unfair for guys like us racing fresher at the upper level of B while some guys are at their limit? Obviously in real life that’s the reality of racing, but I think B races would be different if sandbagging A’s weren’t dictating the pace by being fresher than legit B’s.


#31

I’ve been DQed in B so I no longer race it. I do what ZP ranks me. I feel like once my friends know I’m a A category it’s kind of a bad look entering B.


#32

Eh… real B’s could race C’s if they wanted to. At the end of the day, it’s just a game. So I feel everyone should just race in the category that is most enjoyable for them. Obviously, things change for the A category guys who are doing the “real” events. However, for those of us riding in our basements, I don’t care one way or the other.

At the end of the day, I just want to do whatever gives me the most motivation to stay on the trainer over the winter so that I can smash it IRL come spring.


#33
  • Yes, IMHO. As a mid-pack B-racer with 3.6 ish w/kg, I get cleaned out and can’t hang in the lead or even 2nd pack in most B-Races. It may well be from A’s dropping down and holding unrealistic pace, while watching their numbers to keep from getting popped for excessive power.
  • I could do the same as the A’s above, and drop down into C’s and ride right at the limit. But that’s just as rude, IMHO.
  • As it stands, I race in B, stay with the lead as long as I can, then the next group… rinse & repeat.
  • I don’t do these races to “win” or as some ego trip. It’s more about getting a great workout and that is generally what I get.
  • But it’s unfortunate when you get people playing the sandbag game just because they don’t like the temp of the water in their pond. shrugs

#34

When i was on zwift (about 2 years) i raced a lot moving from cat C to Cat B but got totally fed up of cheats in wrong category. Rightly or wrongly it really annoyed me and was the main reason why i quit zwift, along with zwift’s “we don’t care and will turn a blind eye” attitude. Moved back to TR and never looked back. Also love fact that never have IT drop out on TR and used to happen frequently on zwift.


#35

…isn’t it unfair for guys like us racing fresher at the upper level of B while some guys are at their limit?

I wouldn’t call it unfair, but… it is something the folks below you probably don’t like. I’m at the top of the D class now, probably moving up to C soonish. In my last three races (top 3 in the D class on zwiftpower), I have been outsprinted HARD by folks I was hanging with for the rest of the race. Once I Strava/Zwift/ZwiftPower stalk them, it ends up being pretty clear who were the C’s, who were the C’s racing in the D category, and who were my legit competition in the D’s.

But none of that was clear during the race, when it mattered.

I really wish the graphic in the UI would show “average W/kg over this user’s last three races” instead of their instantaneous W/kg. If I’m in a pack with 5 folks near me at the end of a race, I want to know who to worry about and who to ignore as they put down 10 W/kg for the final sprint, because they’ve been at 60% of their FTP for the entire race.

I think Zwift will sort this out eventually. All they really need to do is provide some kind of historical measurements.


#36

Just skimmed this, and I’ll read later. But wanted to make a point that folk need to remember that Zwift is essentially a video game. To be a good Zwift racer you not only need to be a good cyclist but good at “playing Zwift”. And by that I don’t mean cheating. Will explain in more detail what I mean later as I’m off to play Zwift🙈


#37

I’ve personally been advocating for some sort of pre-race filter where zwift can put people in to appropriate classes based on the data. It would be a small step but I think it would be one that would keep sandbaggers from affecting the nature of a group’s race. I’m sure zwift have the ability to do that, though possibly not the willingness. I think another minor safeguard would be to prevent people from changing their weight more than a small percentage, and for adults height needs to be fixed and non-alterable after initial profile creation. Frankly it seems zwift happy to let the status quo stand instead of taking any real measures themselves, which is kind of ridiculous.

I do have to make clear that my power just went into A level after base, any races I’ve done have been intervals where I finish worse than C’s timewise, so I’m not mixing it up or trying to affect the nature of a race! I just like to see myself make up ground on hard intervals!


#38

I was a bit confused by the outrage over the 2kg. Could this not just be carb loading? I know if I was doing a live event I’d have an extra bowl of cereal or pasta to avoid embarrassment of getting dropped. Aka Fear Eating!

In other news it seems Nacer Bouhani has maintained the Cofidis Zwift tactic of getting dropped in first mins. Missed the time cut at TTT


#39

I’ve done almost 80 races this winter on Zwift. I started out getting dropped in B. But, I learned how to play the game. Connor Dunne was always doomed with his attacks. They were crazy and consistent with a Zwift noob. You don’t attack downhill solo at the start of a double draft race!! If he knew how to play Zwift he’d have saved those matches for another day!

If you’re doing intervals in a race and find yourself off the back, even if you are doing more w/kg you still might find there’s no way back. If you want to stay with the pack, the skill is staying in the draft. Save the intervals for a different event, as this is bound to happen in a race! It’s taken me a long time to understand how to stay in the draft, but now I understand it, I’m able to save energy, just like in a real race. Yesterday I had a NP of 334W and an avg power of 305W simply because I’ve learned how to use the draft.

There are subtleties to how the game physics work and it takes time to understand/exploit them. That’s common to both gamers and cyclists.

Power-ups? They add an element of randomness to the game. IRL you can have a puncture or a crash. That’s not going to happen on Zwift. Add some power-ups and you add this element a little back to the game. You can’t predict what power-ups you or anyone else is going to get, but it can influence how you race. For example if you don’t have the greatest sprint, and rely on an aero power-up, if you don’t get one during a race it can change how you race the final lap, eg go long and try to wear everyone out so it doesn’t come to a sprint. If you get a an aero power-up early in the race, you might hold on to it all race, meaning that you go slightly harder on the climbs than you would if you could use the feather which might in turn jeapordise your sprint, but you need to hold on to the aero as if you don’t you might not win.

Some folk choose Zwift over the road for legitimate reasons. This year for me, I’ve rethought the risk/reward balance. Last year I’d have been out in all weathers, on ice tyres in poor visibility. As a father, the risks now outweigh the benefits as I can do the same work indoors and still have time for the family. I’ve crashed heavily in races, and one crash in particular has left it’s scars psychologically, but I can still get my racing fix safely via Zwift.

It’s not perfect, but neither is racing IRL. But it’s a start.


#40

Back in my Zwifting days…

My trainer is supported by Zwift, but it’s old and there’s no way to calibrate in Zwift - Compared to my 4iiii the Trainer massively overreads power from 0-250 but then by 300 it’s spot on and then probably under reads slightly from there on.
Anyway Zwift limited the power to 450 as I guess they figure it’ll mean you don’t win any races.

But still - all I have to do to get a 20watt bump in my FTP is use that trainer. Don’t even have to cheat.

You could also cheat-notcheat by never calibrating your trainer/power meter.

I think my point is - I would estimate 50% of people cheat on Zwift but don’t necessarily realise or care that they do.

I guess it’s only when you get competitive that it matters