Virtual racing on platforms like Zwift is growing rapidly and Dutch Diesel Cycling is part of this by organizing "The Central Park Criterium" every Saturday. How great is it to be able to compete with cyclists all over the world without having to travel and worry about crashes other than perhaps a network crash. Yes due to its infant state there are still challenges to resolve in leveling the playing field by trainer calibration, managing weight doping etc. Zwift Power is evaluating post race data to get the rider ranking as accurate as possible and disqualifies riders that did not comply. As virtual racing keeps evolving this will only get better, but how exciting to be part of this new way of racing and stay fit and competitive on the bike.
How to get started
With a Zwift subscription, you can join any race on the event calendar, but if you want to start building a history and be ranked in almost every race, you would need to create an account in Zwiftpower and provide consent to Zwift to share your data. This connection will get you race results evaluated, see how you ranked against other racers, start building a race history, get points for overall ranking and what category you should race in. When all set up, just find a race through the Zwift companion app or on the Zwift event page.
What equipment do I need
The best experience racing is with real power and a smart trainer, but most races require a real power meter and a heart rate monitor to be considered for the final rankings, automated rules in Zwiftpower disqualify riders that are not wearing a heart rate monitor or don't use real power or also referred to as Zpower.
What race category do I enter
Virtual races on Zwift are divided in 4 categories and they are based on the riders FTP in watts per kilogram (w/kg). As you build up your history in Zwiftpower your profile will show what category you should be racing in. Of course you can join a higher category if you want to challenge yourself, but joining a lower category is frowned upon and most likely will get you disqualified when going over the power limits of that category. Always visit Zwiftpower for the latest category and race rules, but today the categories are as following
A: 4.0 w/kg or higher
B: 3.2 - 3.99 w/kg
C: 2.5 - 3.19 w/kg
D: Under 2.49 w/kg.