Virtual Racing Newb Question

Any virtual racing gurus out there? 'Cause I have a question.

Had a day to burn today so thought I’d try my first ever race in Zwift. Will say I had a lot of fun. Went to zwiftpower after though, and was struck by some weird numbers - to my mind anyway.

So I finished 6th - yay me. Looking at the three podium finishes though makes me scratch my head. #1 seems fine, pretty similar to my profile across the board, but #2 and #3 have me confused. At first I thought “oh maybe they’re just lightweights” - but NO. Both 5kg heavier than me.

How is it physically possible for two guys 5kg heavier than me, and generally in my same age range, to have pushed an average .5w/kg less than me and still leave me behind?

I realize this is “virtual”, and zwift has its quirks, but ???. I thought my bike/wheel setup was pretty good, find it hard to believe it made that much difference if I set something up wrong.

Thanks for any thoughts - not trying to call anyone out or anything, totally just curious on the numbers. Like I said - had a lot of fun with it, and pretty pleased w my effort.

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@CPT_A I see you also posted this question on the Zwift forum. There are a few threads on this topic - search for heavier or lighter rider or search for Cda. Note that height also affects bike speed along with the bike itself along with the wheels. I believe that drafting also provides some benefits.

Here is a link to an article on Zwift Insider with some of the basics:

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Thanks, Sir @JSampson. Weight is obvious, but they incorporate height into the algorithm as well? That’s interesting - and makes sense.


YAH! Way to get after it, Cap’n Sir! For the glory of our great nation!!!

Ha! Yeah thanks, Sir @Glen.Coutts. Really did have fun. I should’ve won…


Think I spent too much time near the front, responding to attacks. Emptied the tank and left the final run up too late. That said, Zwift has me classed as a “C” rider, as I’ve not done much in the platform, but everyone in that “C” race said it was a much harder pace/tempo than most “C” rides. My time was apparently competitive in the “B” race as well - so that’s encouraging.

Truthfully my Zwift experience is that most people are just out there spinning - not quite so “motivated” as your average Sufferlandrian…