The images above are of a virtual group ride in Zwift. It’s the Sunday afternoon TFC team social ride where we are divided into two groups by pace.
That’s similar to cycling in the real world where clubs often have an A group and B group. My old club in London, Ontario even had a C group. There’s an advertised pace for these groups and since C starts last it’s the no-drop ride. We often picked up people dropped by the faster groups.
In Zwift it’s done by watts per kilo. Here I’m riding with the sub 2.5 watts per kilo group. My ego feels the need to tell you that I can ride with the faster group and have done so in the past but it doesn’t feel like a social, recovery ride. I’m kind of working hard at the back of the pack. Often real world cycling groups specify an average pace. In Guelph Speed River Cycling describes their rides as “leisurely,” “moderate,” and “advanced” where advanced is averaging 29-31 km/hr and leisurely is 25-27 km/hr and moderate is in the middle.
So that’s the way things are supposed to work. But we all know that sometimes, in the cycling world, the advertised pace isn’t the actual pace. You show up for a group ride where you know you can keep up with pace they say they’ll ride but instead they are all speedy and zoomy and you’re either being left behind or exhausted struggling to keep up. Ugh. Often, though not always, this behavior is gendered. It’s not a race, guys.
There’s a fix for this problem in Zwift and it’s called The Fence.
The Fence sits out in front–see above–like a sheer, red band. Go faster than the group leader and eventually you’ll run into the fence.
There’s also the stern warning, “Return to group!”
I got close to it in this ride so I could share some pictures of it with you.
Here’s a video about how it works.
The etiquette of the group rides is that you don’t speed off the front and make others chase you. Inevitably it splits up the group as some struggle to keep up while others pursue the faster riders. In the real world there’s yelling, “ease up” for example.
In Zwift there’s the fence. I’m a fan