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Your Detailed Guide to ZwiftPower 

By Megan Flottorp

We don’t need to tell you how big Zwift has become over the last year and a half. It has gone from a relatively niche market to mainstream popularity. Many a cyclist has praised Zwift for getting them through winters and lockdown—and a new cohort has even fallen in love with virtual riding in its own right. Establishing its presence as an independent discipline, virtual racing has also enjoyed tremendous growth thanks to Zwift. From recreationists to professionals, everyone is getting in on the action and helping to elevate the significance of this platform within the cycling community. 

Virtual training and racing really do offer many benefits beyond the fact that they can be practised safely regardless of weather conditions (or global pandemics). A lot of these advantages are captured nicely in ZwiftPower. If you’re new to Zwift or looking for a guide to ZwiftPower, we’re here to provide an overview of how it works and help you make the most of this community-driven website.

Understand the basics with our ZwiftPower guide

Initially developed as an independent third-party website, ZwiftPower was acquired by Zwift HQ in the summer of 2020, and they’ve since held responsibility for its operation and support. That means it is all fully integrated and should work seamlessly for all users with a Zwift account.

ZwiftPower lets Zwift racers and race organisers track results, check out all the details of the races, and monitor and analyse data. For Strava users, ZwiftPower will feel familiar. In addition to keeping track of how your race results, you can monitor distance ridden, total metres climbed, power peaks from one second up to 75 minutes, and more.

In addition to checking out your stats, it is also possible to find just about any kind of Zwift result using ZwiftPower, with the website sortable by leagues, race series, and segments (more on that below). It is also highly searchable and offers the possibility of filtering results and data by categories, such as different age or power ranges.

For added social and community points, ZwiftPower hosts a forum where users can dig into the details of current race series (please note most series require your heart rate data), find out about upcoming events, and have any queries answered and problems solved.

ZwiftPower categories 

As a ZwiftPower user, you’ll notice you’ve been slotted into a category. This is determined by averaging the w/kg and functional threshold power (FTP) from your best three races in the last 90 days. If you haven’t been Zwift racing for 90 days yet, your best three races, w/kg, and your FTP will be averaged until you reach the 90 days, and then the regular category calculation begins. As your w/kg and FTP numbers change with your fitness level, ZwiftPower account will upgrade or downgrade your racing category accordingly.

Leagues and segments

As summarised on the ZwiftPower FAQ page, leagues are a finite series of races or group rides that will allow participants to compete against one another for standings in the general classification (GC). The GC is determined based on points awarded for finishing order in each event in the league. The GC is organised by category. Find more info here.

Segments are the sections in the worlds of Zwift that have a timer attached to them. They can be either KOMs or sprint points. For more info on segments, check out this post.

Don’t expect your road results to translate

For all the insights and benefits that ZwiftPower account offers, it is not without its issues and it has undoubtedly caused more than a few headaches. From incorrect body weight data to poorly calibrated equipment, the margin for error is significant and means that some racers end up going faster in the game than they can in real life. There are increasing efforts to smooth out these inconsistencies, but it essential to remember that even with verified data and spot on set-ups, Zwift racing is genuinely its own beast and road results won’t necessarily translate to a virtual environment.

There are a few reasons for this, but the big missing variable when it comes to virtual racing is aerodynamics. As Jonathan Vaughters, manager of EF Education First Pro Cycling, explained to Bicycling.com, “As a sport, we’ve spent a ton of time looking to minimise aerodynamic impact. On the road, results have a lot to do with how much power you can produce while still staying in an aerodynamic position. All the top riders can produce a ton of power while staying quite sleek on the bike. In Zwift, it just doesn’t matter. At all. Drag and resistance is determined by height and weight. Period.”

Zwift racing also gives you the freedom to play 

All things considered, you’ll find the most success and enjoyment if you treat Zwift as its own sport, requiring a unique approach to training and tactics. Likewise, you should approach ZwiftPower with an open mind and a willingness to try something different. We can get into pretty rigid habits when we know our strengths on a bike, which often prevents us from taking risks. ZwiftPower allows you to try out new things and see how you fare. Who knows, you might just surprise yourself!

Did our guide to ZwiftPower help? Let us know!