Race Report: 17 SEP 2020, ZHQ Beta Crit City Race, Downtown Dolphin, 12 Laps

Haha, what a disgusting race! Almost as disgusting as this year’s Tour de France.

It turns out my previous race, my first licensed cheater race, although within W/kg limits, still brought up my 90 day average to 2.503 W/kg, just a smidgeon above the ZP limit, meaning I got back into cat C overnight. Doh! Now I have to wait until the end of month to get rid of an over-limits result from 1 July before I can cheat again and get away with it. I will still cheat though. I just won’t get away with it on ZP until then.

I felt I wanted to try hit the Betas again. If you haven’t tried the Betas yourself, then I can explain. There are Zwift HQ crit races, many laps around a short downtown track. They come in two forms. The normal crits and the beta version. The normal crits are essentially a bunch of cheaters going round round like a carousel. The Betas are Zwift’s attempt at providing foolproof protection against these carousel cheaters. People trying to sandbag are awarded a green condom above their heads. Like “Look at me, I’m a cheater!” You don’t say… who could have told?

Now keep these protective measures in mind as you read the rest.

The previous race I was lazy in my research and got a wrist slap for that, but this time I checked before the start that no children had signed up (you can’t win against them legitimately, or at all). Initially, there were no heavies signed up either. 

Solid cruiser routine is you always sign up in the last few minutes as to not give people the time to recognize you or study your stats beforehand, which might scare them off or alter their tactics against you. (I’m not primarily talking about clean racers here but rather other cruisers, your main adversary when cruising.) I signed up late of course. 

Another reason for signing up late is you are ideally, unless impatient like me, choosing between races until the very last minute, while you yourself study the ZP registered participants. You know, the ones that didn’t get a chance to study you since you joined late. You don’t need much of a warmup when cruising anyway. So if you happen to be a finance guy, a software developer or just a gaming streamer dreamer, then you might happen to have two standalone computer screens or more at home and can leave the ZP record of participants window open on a secondary screen, or just print it out, for reference during the race. It helps you make better tactical decisions. What wheels should you stay on, what wheels can be ignored, what wheels should be avoided and why, etc.

Anyway, since no one really wants an early green condom, they’re kind of itchy, the start wasn’t particularly hard and I had no problem getting to the front group or making the decision to stay with them. But it was a damn close call all the way through! A little too hairy for my liking, as the group had me pushing my average W/kg awfully close to the limit (a best 20 min “effort” of 2.48 W/kg). That’s what happens if you are among the lightest in a group of cruisers. It’s hard to cruise against heavier cruisers!

In any case, it was so obvious that the front group was full of the unclean. People pushed hard up the cobbled climb to try drop the others, even though it didn’t work on the last lap, or the lap before that, and then on top of the climb the pace slowed down considerably and the group just coasted until the rollers as to get the averages down again. How do I know? It’s because of this:

This is a cruiser profile. Mine to be specific. The other cruisers’ HR graphs looked worse than this, with more greens and yellows in them. Those who were registered on ZP at all also showed just long rows of UPG’s.

As we were all on the limit, more or less, nobody had any real hopes of breaking away. It would have been a guaranteed DQ if you had a ZP cheater’s license and would have failed anyway since the rest couldn’t be dropped. This could only end in a bunched sprint, which I would lose being light and weak.

As we came out of the corner before the finish on the last lap there were six of us left. Only Mr 6th wasn’t a cruiser. Kudos to him for putting up such a hard fight over twelve laps against five cruiser monsters! The front group had originally consisted of eight riders but two had been dropped on the last lap as the tempo went up, neither of them a cruiser.

Mr Gold and Mr Silver sprinted themselves to a fresh pair of green condoms right under the finish portal. (Pretty impressive sprinting actually.) I came in 4th behind an unregistered guy, having screwed up the corner a bit. As mentioned, the only non-cruiser came in last in the front group and was awarded the ZP gold. The two dropped guys took what was left of the ZP podium.

A little poetic justice for once. Note that. Poetic justice. This wasn’t Zwift’s doing at all, nor ZP’s. Throw all the green condoms you want at us. What really happened was a bunch of cat C’s killed themselves over maths and ill-chosen signups so that the clean racers, very hard-working ones, could step over their bodies and cross the finish line. We went way too far this time. Some sloppy cruising…

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