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Digital epo & Zwift: That's Entertainment!

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Digital epo & Zwift: That's Entertainment!

Old 11-27-21, 03:55 PM
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ctak
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Thumbs up Digital epo & Zwift: That's Entertainment!

During a long Zwift event ride last night I was having trouble keeping up, something I've come to embrace for the ongoing challenge this presents in terms of my fitness goals. On every push of the peloton, my avatar would slow considerably (along with a few others), resulting in me going to the %#&%&!! well at 7+wpk for 55s up near max HR to barely hang on. I had noticed others up near 10wpk during these surges and afterward found myself browsing the profiles of the top male finishers via ZwiftPower; 4 of the 9 with published weights of 52-53kg (~40-lbs lighter than my relatively fit self)! Several were even bright enough to link their non-private Strava profiles to ZwiftPower. Let's just say that some of the pics I stumbled across told a different story

Locally here in the PNW I participate in a monthly ride with a group of cat 1/2s, where I'm expending far less effort during competitive "surges". If I was serious about competing on Zwift - fortunately not the case - I'd be pretty frustrated with the state of digital weight doping. OTOH, I find it all quite timely for the wild west that is digital cycling. If and how Zwift attempts to tackle this issue for mainstream users in the future will be interesting to follow.


Regards from Seattle!

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Old 11-27-21, 06:51 PM
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Yeah, that seems unreasonable.
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Old 11-27-21, 08:54 PM
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My impression is that for serious Zwift racing, such as the racing league, they have weight verification. Is that not so?

For many of the other events, it can be a problem.
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Old 11-28-21, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
My impression is that for serious Zwift racing, such as the racing league, they have weight verification. Is that not so?

For many of the other events, it can be a problem.
I remember hearing that some event/series on Zwift(maybe) required not only weight verification, but also height, AND everyone had to be using the same make and model of trainer, and probably a separate power meter. I imagine without that, there would be am underground market in trainers/meters that consistently read just a few watts high.

It's sad, but of course since it involves humans and competition, somebody will cheat - probably justifying it by telling themselves everyone else does.
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Old 11-28-21, 11:05 AM
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It is just a game.

Their algorithm is trash anyway. It wouldn't surprise me if a World Champ TT couldn't podium in Zwift.
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Old 11-29-21, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
It is just a game.

Their algorithm is trash anyway. It wouldn't surprise me if a World Champ TT couldn't podium in Zwift.
(psssstt - it's ALL just a game, including the World TT Championship)
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Old 11-29-21, 10:01 AM
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At least nobody ever cheats in a world champio.... oh, wait ...
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Old 11-29-21, 10:45 AM
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When I use Zwift I am always amazed that so many use it. So many bugs and crazy things going on. I ride it for group rides with local club members. I think a the vast majority just adjust their weight because you see so much crazy fast riding that you do it just to feel normal
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Old 11-30-21, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed Wiser View Post
When I use Zwift I am always amazed that so many use it. So many bugs and crazy things going on. I ride it for group rides with local club members. I think a the vast majority just adjust their weight because you see so much crazy fast riding that you do it just to feel normal
No, I don't think so. I'm not saying it isn't common, but I don't see any evidence that it's "the vast majority" or nearly so.
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Old 11-30-21, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
No, I don't think so. I'm not saying it isn't common, but I don't see any evidence that it's "the vast majority" or nearly so.
My guess would be around 20%. From what I've seen in cat (a) Zwift races with 15 or more participants, there's often at least 2-3 riders sustaining pro-level output... this has been quite humorous to observe, particularly as these users are often in the sub 60kg weight range according to their ZwiftPower profiles.

Zwift threw out De Gendt from a race last year for pumping 7wpk during segments of a short 10-mile course before realizing who he was (and re-instating him), but they have yet to create a simple auto-flag formula for superlight randos capable of the same or similar...I'll never forget Armstrong's famous epo-infused climb up Alp d'Huez at 6.6wpk / 465w for 38min. Or Pogacar's 6.5wpk up Peyresourde for 25min, with 10min at nearly 6.7wpk. When I see noobs hitting numbers like this on Zwift, its either faulty / improperly calibrated trainers or blatant cheating and the impetus in either situation ought to be on them to appeal if they want to be included in race results.
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Old 11-30-21, 04:20 PM
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Height cheating is more effective than weight doping in zwift.
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Old 11-30-21, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Height cheating is more effective than weight doping in zwift.
Indeed. I accidentally reduced my height from 6' to 3' (fiddling with scroll wheel while idly moving the cursor around the screen) while maintaining weight at 200 lbs, and the results, especially descending the Epic KOM from the top of the Radio Tower climb were HILARIOUS! I shot past EVERYONE!

I felt bad about it because it was on last year's Tour de Zwift, but since it's not a race, I figured it wasn't a big issue. But I'll never beat that time on that segment!
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Old 11-30-21, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Height cheating is more effective than weight doping in zwift.
I had forgotten about Chris Pritchard's analysis on this for 70kg riders ranging from 155 to 200cm tall (17-inches!). Fortunately, ZwiftPower now documents height changes... maybe everyone should race at a height of 5-ft?

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Old 11-30-21, 08:38 PM
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ZwiftPower should introduce a "verified" profile, somewhat similar to Twitter's blue checkmark, or how Paypal requires your credit card to be verified in order to fully unlock all usable features of that card.

In its essence, you probably have to submit some kind of document (perhaps a medical document or something?) or video, that their staff will look and say, "okay this dude's height and weight are authentic" and mark that account as verified. Race organizers can then place requirements around the verified status the same way they filter off zPower for certain levels of races.

Weight verification probably needs some amount of refresh; maybe its verified status has an expiration date, that the user must regularly update. Or at the very least is able to show as "expired", and race organizers have additional control over that.
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Old 12-01-21, 07:58 AM
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That or their trainers are broken like mine and there's no resistance so they can't help but put out 700 watts for sustained periods without even trying!
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Old 12-02-21, 01:51 PM
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This week I learned that certain higher profile races, such as the DCU Cup race series, have fairly strict guidelines with organizers who actively remove obvious weight/height dopers who are in the top 15 (not sure if this applies just to the A category or also to B, C, D, etc). Some of the requirements, or recommendations to avoid not being removed from race results, can include: proof of dual-power recording sources, heart rate monitor, video and past performance documentation to support results, etc. If you link up to ZwiftPower, you can use the filter function to target events (or series) that are put on by organizers like DCU with similarly strict requirements.

https://www.zwift.com/eu/events/view/2460001
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Old 12-02-21, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ctak View Post
This week I learned that certain higher profile races, such as the DCU Cup race series, have fairly strict guidelines with organizers who actively remove obvious weight/height dopers who are in the top 15 (not sure if this applies just to the A category or also to B, C, D, etc). Some of the requirements, or recommendations to avoid not being removed from race results, can include: proof of dual-power recording sources, heart rate monitor, video and past performance documentation to support results, etc. If you link up to ZwiftPower, you can use the filter function to target events (or series) that are put on by organizers like DCU with similarly strict requirements.

https://www.zwift.com/eu/events/view/2460001
I'm glad they're getting serious, at least at the top levels. I'd hate to see someone "Rosie Ruiz" their way to an eSports championship.
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Old 12-02-21, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by atwl77 View Post
ZwiftPower should introduce a "verified" profile, somewhat similar to Twitter's blue checkmark, or how Paypal requires your credit card to be verified in order to fully unlock all usable features of that card.

In its essence, you probably have to submit some kind of document (perhaps a medical document or something?) or video, that their staff will look and say, "okay this dude's height and weight are authentic" and mark that account as verified. Race organizers can then place requirements around the verified status the same way they filter off zPower for certain levels of races.

Weight verification probably needs some amount of refresh; maybe its verified status has an expiration date, that the user must regularly update. Or at the very least is able to show as "expired", and race organizers have additional control over that.
It would be interesting if they could verify with AI. Otherwise, if humans have to inspect the documents (viewing a video), then verification is going to have a service fee.
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