Firstly – thank-you to so many of you (135 responses) who took the time to give us your feedback. We’re really proud that so many of you gave us such a high overall rating (100% 3 or 4 out of 4) – and we recognise many of the areas underneath that where we can do better, and we’re on it! There’s no way I can cover them all here, so I’ll just touch on the biggest ones.
Of course, we can’t do everything we’d like to straight away … so I’m going to start with what we want to do, but can’t yet. Sorry to any PSTers still kicking around but we aren’t ready to add another time zone yet. We said that we need the results processing to be scalable before we can do that … and whilst we got it nailed by the end of the series, it took us longer to do it than we expected (by miles!). And we’ve made the decision to move the whole server into the cloud for Series 2 so we need to prove that can run smoothly before we add any more timezones. We are also desperate to do this, and are doing as much work as we can over the summer so that Series 2 goes smoothly and that PST friendly timezones are there for Series 3.
Our goal is to drive the most competitive racing possible, and with the signups seen in Series 1, we’re pleased to announce that we will be splitting out the low C and D categories for Series 1 into 2 different categories. Of course if you are a mixed team and want to keep racing as you are … then you can join the low C category as people are welcome to race up anytime! And if not, then as a team of all Ds we hope you’ll get even more competitive racing in Series 2. We would love to do the same for our A+ & A racers … but there aren’t the volume of riders racing to make this feasible at this stage. However, we do recognise that we need to do something to enhance the competitiveness of the racing here. And so based on the overall feedback, we will limit every A team to only 2 A+ racers for Series 2. I hope our mainly A+ teams are happy to split up and recruit some A buddies to race with because we don’t want to lose you, but we do need to make the racing fair and competitive across all the teams and this is the only way we can do it for Series 2.
We have taken the decision that with the current rider levels, there isn’t enough demand for a women-only division at present, and much of the feedback from those who raced was in favour of mixed leagues as a whole. However for Series 2 we will implement some women-only leaderboards so you’ve some side competitions to be chasing for. The exact nature will depend on the number that signup for Series 2 and we’ll launch them at the start of the series for you.
Lastly, we know the flaws of a Category system controlled by w/kg and we’ll keep working to make it better along the limitations that we have working with Zwift and Zwiftpower, and with making sure that its all transparent. We hope changes will come later this year that will help further, but for now we have decided that we will add a rule that will mandate racing UP a category for anyone for whom all 3 of their 95% of 20-min w/kg numbers are within 0.05 w/kg of the category boundary. This will affect a very small number of people, and as always we’ll try to help with the flagging of these riders, but what it will do is prevent those deliberately hanging just below a boundary from dominating races they are really too strong for. Apologies to anyone who just happened to get close to the boundary as a result of doing similar races and being right at the limit, but we’re comfortable that means you’re ready for the step up … especially as its likely to only be a half-category in any case.
We will have a few rule updates for Series 2 – mostly adding clarifications, but these are still being tweaked and so I’ll notify again when we’ve got them finalised, but so we’re sharing openly with you all here are a few key points:
– ERG mode is prohibited in all races.
– No TT bikes to be used in TTTs (this is the Team Time Trials only … not of course the iTT individual Time Trial where you need them).
– Use of techniques or equipment … that would not be permitted, or not be effective, in real life cycling events, shall be prohibited. Although we recognise this can often be unintentional, the first offence will still be a single race DQ to the rider because the technique likely gave an unfair advantage.
The first sentence above is taken straight from Zwift/ZADA’s Cycling eSport rules, and some of you may be wondering what it means. Well, there are aspects of Zwift’s processing of our data that means techniques that wouldn’t work so well outside IRL might end up working better than they should on Zwift. The most common of these (but not the only one) is something called Sticky Watts. I really encourage you to have a read here on what Eric from Zwiftinsider has to say about it at https://zwiftinsider.com/sticky-watts/ and share it with your teammates. It is really easy to see in the data when someone has taken advantage of “Sticky Watts” as there are 3-second flat-spots of the identical amount of Watts being done which otherwise would never appear. Many times the rider doing it didn’t understand it was prohibited, so please help educate all our riders by sharing it with existing and new teammates as they come on board and helping to keep our racing competitive and fair.
The majority of people felt that we had the balance of FIN and FTS/FAL points right overall. Equal numbers preferring more FALs or more FTSs which means we probably got that compromise about right this season, and we’ll keep that going for next season. However, there was a sizeable minority (over 20%) of you who felt there should be more FIN points. So balancing it all out, we have left the maximum FIN points for a win at 100 but we have rebalanced the points throughout the rest of the field. We hope this makes any lower placings even more worth fighting for, but still allows the fastest racers to rise to the top.
There are many things that we’ve taken on board, and we’ll keep working hard to make Series 2 even better for you all – and we just now ask you to please come back and join us in late August because its all of you that really make the DIRT Racing Series!