How Much Harder are Category A Races?

Overview

In Zwift racing, there is a category system. D being the lowest, and A being the highest. Many Zwifters who are looking to improve their racing try racing up a category. While moving up from every category is tough, the jump from B to A can be the hardest.

How do you make the jump?

In order to ‘become’ a category A rider, you must first work up to it. Category A ranges from riders like yourself, to Zwift pros who have FTP’s of almost 6 WKG. The best way to get used to racing A is by finding smaller, less competitive races. Some races, such as the KISS or 3R races, attract some of the best riders in Zwift, making it an extremely hard race. Some smaller races that typically host some beginners in category A are: Zwift Crit City Races, Evo CC Sprint Races, Kirchmair Beginner Races, and dozens more. Typically when there are more than ~30 riders in the race, you know that it is a pretty competitive race.

What’s the difference between A and B?

Based off of my experience, racing in category A and B are not too different. One thing that I have noticed is that in category A, riders are a lot more tactical, meaning there will likely be lots more attacks throughout the race. In most B races, riders tend to sit in and wait until the finishing sprint. In the finishing sprint of A races, the pace is typically very high in the final minute.

How much faster is it?

If you are a top B rider(~4wkg FTP), you will likely be in Zone 3-4 for most of the race. The average speed of category A races are quite a bit higher than B races. Most B races average around 27 mph, while most A races are around 29 mph. Over 10 laps of Crit City, I ended up finishing around a minute faster than the B group finished. When you aren’t chasing an attack, the race is actually very mellow, maybe even slower than B races.

The finishing sprint

Category A riders are the best of the best. The average category A rider has around a 12 wkg 15 second power, while most of the top riders have 15 second powers that are well over 15 wkg. Until you are able to easily hold on to category A races, you likely will not have enough energy to contest in the finishing sprint.

Why Upgrade?

While some are forced to upgrade, others choose to upgrade themselves. There are a few reasons why one might want to race up a category.

  1. Zwift Power Score: Some are obsessed with decreasing their Zwift Power Score(like myself), so this is a great way to get some ranking points.
  2. Get Stronger: Racing is a pretty good way to gain strength, and some riders want to be challenged with a race at max effort.
  3. Why Not? It’s a Zwift race, they happen literally every hour, so why not give yourself a challenge?

Video

Here is a video that goes over many of the things that I went over in this article:

ZRL Race 8 – Sprinters Playground Guide

Overview

Note: There are no power ups due to a Zwift bug, this will be fixed in the next game release(likely May 12th). This is the final race of the Zwift Racing League season(technically the season already ended, but this still counts as ZRL). For those who still aren’t quite sure what exactly the WTRL Finals are, Zwift Insider has a great article about it: https://zwiftinsider.com/wtrl-racing-finals/. For the final race of the season, riders will be racing 3 laps of Sprinter’s Playground. A route added with the Neokyo Makuri Islands expansion in November. The route consists of a few main parts. The route consists of two segments where FTS points can be obtained: Alley Sprint Reverse, and Railway Sprint Forward. There are also 4 sprints where FAL points can be scored: Tower Sprint Reverse, Castle Park Sprint Forward, Alley Sprint Reverse, Railway Sprint Forward. The total distance is 37 km, or 23 miles, the total elevation is 201 meters, or 659 feet.

The race begins at the main Neokyo ‘banner’. Note that the banner does not give power ups. You will first make your way through the Tower Sprint. The Tower Sprint will likely take most riders less than 20 seconds. You will then make your way to the Castle Park Sprint, this is a pretty short sprint of around 15 seconds. You’ll ride on the Castle road for a bit before making a left turn to make your way to the Alley Sprint. Watch out, because right when you round the corner, you will immediately hit the sprint. This is the second longest sprint on the course, it will take most riders around 23-25 seconds. Finally, you’ll head towards the Railway Sprint, first going up a small incline. The road will remain a slight incline for a few minutes, before hitting the sprint. This sprint will take riders 25-30 seconds. This is also where the main split of the race will occur, so watch out!

Video

Here is a video recon of the course, along with some of the details presented in this article.

Best bike

The best bike choice for this route will likely be S-Works Venge Disc with the most aero dynamic wheels you have, for some that would be the DT Swiss Disc wheelset. For most riders who do not have the S-Works Venge Disc will likely be using the Tron Bike or the Canyon Aeroad 2021.

Points Opportunities

Here are the places and distances where points will be up for grabs.

  1. Tower Sprint ~ 1.6 km
  2. Castle Park Sprint ~ 3.4 km
  3. Alley Sprint ~ 4.7 km
  4. Railway Sprint ~ 8.4km
  5. Tower Sprint ~ 13.9 km
  6. Castle Park Sprint ~ 15.8 km
  7. Alley Sprint ~ 17.4 km
  8. Railway Sprint ~ 20.7 km
  9. Tower Sprint ~ 26.3 km
  10. Castle Park Sprint ~ 28.1 km
  11. Alley Sprint ~ 29.8 km
  12. Railway Sprint ~ 33.1 km

Race Recons

Not many recons now because it takes place on a Saturday, which is when most of the recon races normally occur.

Zwift Update May Released 1.25

Today is game release day! The latest game release is now available on Mac, PC, with Android and iOS coming in the next few hours.

Overview

The 1.25 game release contained a few new things. One change that Zwift made was increasing the pedal assist time when joining a pace partner. This allows riders to have more time to ramp up their power to stay with the pace partners. There was not much added, but a few new things were announced. Zwift will be adding three new pace partners, one at 1.8wpk, 1.15 wpk, and 2.15 wpk. The goal of adding these pace partners was to fill the gaps between the current pace partners. The Neokyo pace partners will also be removed due to lack of popularity. Zwift added two new frames, the Scott Plasma RC and the Felt IA 2.0. Riders can also now start training plans on any day of the week. The new pace partners will be added on May 15th. Zwifters have also noted that there are some new pens at the top of Ven-Top, Alpe Du Zwift, and more. Could Zwift be adding downhill races? Zwift also added the Pride life guard tower permanently, more details can be found here: https://forums.zwift.com/t/pride-lifeguard-tower-is-permanent-may-2022-1-25/584108.

Prefer to Watch?

Forums release notes

Here are the release notes from the forums: https://forums.zwift.com/t/game-update-1-25-may-12-2022/584135/54.

  • Watopia’s own KQOM radio station is hosting a familiar voice for your listening pleasure.
  • Fixed an issue impacting PowerUp probability for events with custom PowerUp settings.
  • Fixed an issue causing workout blocks to be missing if a workout is started without a power source paired.
  • Fixed an issue that would cause some running workouts not to unlock on the correct day in a training plan.
  • Fixed an issue that would cause the ride report to appear when the Zwifter starts a workout.
  • Fixed an issue that would prevent a Zwifter from advancing from the pairing screen after devices have been paired.
  • Fixed an issue causing bikes and riders to fly after completing Repack Ridge.
  • Fixed an issue causing event-specific bike overrides to remain after the event is over.
  • Fixed an issue causing segment leaderboards to exclude other riders in your meetup.
  • Fixed an issue causing the Pace Partner proximity UI to remain once riders were within range of the Pace Partner.
  • Fixed an issue causing cobblestone sounds to be a bit too loud.

Latest game version

The latest game version is 1.25 for iOS, Android, and Apple TV. For the very long game version on computers, head over to this link: https://forums.zwift.com/t/what-are-the-latest-zwift-game-and-zwift-companion-app-version-numbers/486839.

Images

Bugs/issues

My thoughts

Overall I think that this was a pretty good game release. Over the past few releases, Zwift has been getting better and better at making sure the game releases are bug free. They still contain some bugs, but most are not as major as some of the bugs that we used to see in game releases. There was some good content added in this update, and I can’t wait to see some new roads in the Makuri Islands soon!

Zwift Offers Huge Discounts on Trainers and Accessories

Some may have noticed that Zwift has been offering huge discounts on hardware. Currently, the Tacx Neo 2T is on sale for over $400 off! Here is a recap of what is on sale on the Zwift US site.

Trainers

Tacx Neo 2T – $910 instead of $1,399 // $489 off – Best deal you likely will ever see on this trainer, the Tacx Neo 2T is the best of the best.

Wahoo Kickr Core – $585 instead of $899 // $314 off – Probably the top mid-high end trainers out there.

Elite Directo XR – $650 instead of $999 // $349 off

Elite Suito-T – $520 instead of $799 // $279 off

Accessories

Trainer Cassete – $26 instead of $40 // $14 off

Elite Steerzo Smart – $81.25 instead of 124.99 // $43.79 off

ZRL Race 7 – Downtown Titans Race Guide

Overview

Note: There are no power ups due to a Zwift bug, this will be fixed in the next game release(likely May 12th). The next Zwift Racing League race will take riders through the roads of Watopia. All of the categories will be racing a points race over the Downtown Titans course, one of the former Zwift Insider Rebel Routes. The race will start at the downtown banner, and make it’s way through the Titans Grove section of Watopia. The first power up and points will be available atop the Titans Grove KOM Reverse. The Titans Grove KOM will take around 1-2 minutes for most categories. This is where the main split will happen, but expect some riders to make it back onto the pack while heading towards the KOM. Once riders make it through the Titans Grove, riders will make their way through Ocean Boulevard and head up the Watopia KOM. The Watopia KOM will take riders around 1-3 minutes depending on your category.

The points for sprinters will be available at the Watopia Sprint Forward. This is very close to the end of the race, around 2 miles from the finish line. Riders will then make their way through the Esses and back to the downtown banner. Something that I have seen frequently is riders starting their sprint very early on this course. When I was racing this course a few days back, some riders went as early as 1 mile out. For those who are looking to go early, be aware that the pack will come in with a lot of momentum as it is a slightly downhill before the finish.

Video

Here is a video recon of the course, along with some of the details presented in this article.

Best bike

The best bike choice for this route will likely be S-Works Venge Disc with solid all-arounder wheels(Enve 7.8s, DT Swiss Dicut 62’s). For most riders who do not have the S-Works Venge Disc will likely be using the Tron Bike or the Canyon Aeroad 2021.

Power Up and Points Opportunities

Here are the places and distances where power ups and points will be up for grabs. The power ups being used in this race consists of the Aero Boost, Truck Boost, and Featherweight.

  1. Titans Grove Finish ~ 6.8 km
  2. KOM Finish ~ 17.3 km
  3. Sprint banner ~ 22 km

Race Recons

Electric Spirit Co. – https://www.zwift.com/events/view/2855763
TFC Spring Series – https://www.zwift.com/events/view/2990169
Team Italy ZRL Recon – https://www.zwift.com/events/view/2990234
Wahoo Le Col Racing Series – https://www.zwift.com/events/view/2906206
Team NL Sunday ZRL Recon – https://www.zwift.com/events/view/2924133
Evo CC ZRL Recon – https://www.zwift.com/events/view/2991542

Zwift to Update Supported Devices

Starting in August(August 1st, 2022), Zwift will now require these operating systems in order to run Zwift or Zwift Companion.

On August 1st, Zwifters will not be able to use…

Android 7 and 8

iOS 12

MacOS 10.12 and 10.13

Zwift Companion…

Android 7 and 8

iOS 11 and 12

Why the change?

Zwift is going to make this change to the supported devices so that they can continue to make the game better and more developed. It is hard to game developers to make a game that supports devices that are 5-10+ years old. For the official forums thread on this subject, head over to this link: https://forums.zwift.com/t/upcoming-changes-to-supported-operating-systems-effective-august-2022/583407.

Zwift Releases April 2022 Recap/Roadmap

Zwift has announced that they will be starting a monthly recap/roadmap of what users can expect in the next few months. The full post can be found here: https://forums.zwift.com/t/competition-ai-tech-update-april-2022-recap/583816.

Zwift has made a few comments recently regarding their very popular pace partner feature. The feature went live around 2 years ago, and since it’s release a few developments have been made. In the next game release, Zwift will be increasing the amount of time that the pedal assist lasts. Zwift will also be adding additional paces, more details will be released soon.

Zwift is also going to release a game update sometime this week, likely on Tuesday or Wednesday(most likely Wednesday as it will not interfere with any major events).

ZRL Race 6 – 2018 UCI Worlds Course Guide

Overview

The next Zwift Racing League race will take riders through Innsbruck. All of the categories will be racing a points race over the 2018 UCI Worlds Course(one of the few courses in Innsbruck). The route will first take riders out of the Innsbruckring, and up the Innsbruck KOM(first opportunity for points). For the sprinters, the only opportunity for points will likely be FTS(fastest through segment) points at the sprint banner, as the top 10-15 riders will be climbers. Racers will then descend the other side of the KOM, making their way back onto the Innsbruckring.

Be careful of the downhill, if you get dropped on the downhill, there is likely no catching back up. Once riders are back on the Innsbruckring, riders will make their way up the “Leg Snapper”(~1 min effort). Expect some riders to attack on the leg snapper, then riders will hit the sprint(~10-15 seconds). Riders will likely sit in until the final sprint, where there will be a sprint off. At that point only around 10-15 riders will remain in the lead group, maybe less.

Best bike

The best bike choice for this route will likely be Scott Addict RC with solid all-arounder wheels(Enve 7.8s, DT Swiss Dicut 62’s). For most riders who do not have the Scott Addict RC will likely be using the Tron Bike or the Canyon Aeroad 2021.

Video

Here is a video recon of the course, along with some of the details presented in this article. *Coming soon

Power Up Opportunities

Here are the places and distances where power ups will be up for grabs. The power ups being used in this race consists of the Anvil, Truck Boost, and Featherweight.

  1. Lap start banner ~ 0.2 km
  2. KOM finish ~ 10.8 km
  3. Sprint ~ 22km

Race Recons

Electric Spirit Co. – https://www.zwift.com/events/view/2855761
TFC Sprint Series – https://www.zwift.com/events/view/2979526
Team Italy ZRL Recon – https://www.zwift.com/events/view/2980510
Wahoo Le Col Racing Series – https://www.zwift.com/events/view/2906206

AAPI Month on Zwift

Zwift have just announced that they will be hosting a series of events for AAPI Heritage Month(May). The events will last thru the whole month of May. The series will consists of rides with Zwift employees and are open to the community.

Dates

May 7th – Podcast rides/runs wth YC

May 14th – Group ride with Eric Min

May 21st – Group ride with Eric Chon

May 27th – Group ride with Alyssa Aoki

Unlock

If you complete any event in this series(ride or run), you will unlock AAPI Heritage month socks.

Zwift Releases Clubs Update – Companion v.3.35

Zwift has just announced a bunch of new updates for clubs. These updates will be slowly rolling out over the next few weeks, similar to how the new home screen has been rolling out. The main features in this update include: clubs discovery, event only routes, and sharable club links. Images coming in the next few days.

Clubs discovery

The latest companion release now allows you to search, filter, and scroll through clubs. This makes finding clubs very easy for users. Zwift will also be removing the 100 rider limit and the three clubs limit in the near feature.

Sharable club links

You can now share your club link. This allows you to send links to people, and have them have the ability to join the club on a browser or companion app. In order to share event links, click the three dots in the top right hand corner, then share club.

Event only routes

The latest companion release allows you to use event only routes in your club rides, this includes routes like Bologna TT Lap, Watopia’s Waistband, and tons more. Note: Downtown Dolphin and Bologna TT lap will be added shortly.