Racing on Zwift is the most thrilling and challenging thing you can do on a bike trainer. If you’ve never tried it, you owe it to yourself to give it a go, no matter your abilities!
While Zwift racing is heart-pumping, leg-burning type-2 fun, it’s also a great way to get fit, fast. Races can be utilized as short and effective workouts that allow you to get in shape and build community at the same time. From beginners to elite athletes and everyone in between, there is a race for you on Zwift.
New to racing on Zwift? Check out this video to learn about how to race.
If you’ve already got the basic equipment required to ride on Zwift, you’re ready to go! If not, you can find more information HERE.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help level up your racing experience:
- We recommend that all racers sign up for ZwiftPower. Here you can find your race results, analyze your performances, and see your rankings.
- Connecting to ZwiftPower is quick and simple—to find out more, click HERE.
- Stay cool with a good fan—racing on Zwift produces a lot of body heat. A few more tips? Make sure you’re well-fueled, well-hydrated, and your fan on its highest setting!
Individual racing is simple and great for anyone who wants to jump in and compete. Featuring a new theme every month with one stage per week and multiple opportunities throughout the day to race, the ZRacing Monthly Series is a great place to get started. Plus, each event can be completed in less than one hour. With Category Enforcement, you will also be able to race with people at the same ability level, making racing fair and fun for all.
If you’re new to racing on Zwift or if you are new to Zwift in general, please make sure you review the Rules of the Road for the best experience possible.
The monthly racing calendar is HERE.
There are many ways to sign up for a race on Zwift. You can register through the in-game home screen, Zwift.com/events, or on the Zwift Companion app.
No matter which option you choose, you can scroll through upcoming events, read the event’s route/course description, and select which category you’d like to join. If you want to look ahead, check out the Zwift Companion app.
There are a few different styles of racing on Zwift.
- Points Races - with various sprint or climb arches along the route where you can earn points, the aim is to gain as many points as possible before the finish line.
- Scratch Races - a cycling race in which all riders start together and the objective is simply to be first over the finish line after a certain number of laps.
- Time Trials - these individual races are set over a fixed distance, usually on time-trial specific bikes and with no draft effects. It’s just you against the clock.
- Criteriums - also known as crits, these are raced on short circuits with multiple laps, usually on a flatter course.
- Chase Races, also known as an Australian Pursuit Race (APR) - slower riders set off first with progressively faster rider groups setting off at set intervals. The goal? Getting to the finish first. Slower riders work hard not to get caught. Faster racers try to catch and pass as many competitors as possible.
This information will provide you with everything you need to get to the start line.
- Fast Start - Zwift races almost always start fast! Be ready to ramp up your power before the countdown reaches zero. Be prepared to hold this high pace for a few minutes. Don’t worry, it will settle into a more sustainable rhythm, eventually.
- Conserve Energy - You can benefit from drafting behind other riders just like you would in the real world. Drafting effectively throughout a race can help you conserve energy when you need it most, so try to find a nice spot in the middle of the bunch. Watch the nearby riders list for fluctuations in other riders’ power and decide if you need to match it in order to hold your position.
- Watch The Gap! - Avoid hovering at the back of the pack. Watch for gaps that might appear in front of you. Losing the gap means losing the draft, which makes keeping up with the group difficult. Staying in the middle of the pack is more advantageous if you want to stay fresh throughout the race.
- Cadence - Use your trainer as the cadence source when you pair it to Zwift and experiment with different cadences at varying points throughout the race. Start with a slow, out of the saddle grind or a pick up speed in a seated spin. It’s your race!
- Climbs - Be ready to put out more power when the gradient increases and make sure to keep a smooth cadence on the ascent. Maintain your power over the crest of the hills.
- PowerUps - PowerUps are a key part of any Zwift racing strategy. Knowing when and how to use specific PowerUps will enhance your racing experience. Read more here.
- Research Your Race - Do your homework! Knowing the route will make racing easier. The most effective way to do this is to Google the route name ahead of time.
With hundreds of frames to choose from, you’ve got options! Each bike comes with different components and features, so it’s helpful to know what kind of course you’ll be riding. If you’re riding on dirt, you’ll want a mountain or gravel setup. If you’re riding flat and fast roads, you’ll want something aerodynamic. Some in-game bikes are great for ascending steep terrain, others are specific for Time Trials. To find out more information visit Zwift Insider.
Heads up: not all bikes are available when you first start. Some are awarded as you progress through levels and others are available to purchase in the Drop Shop. The more you ride, the closer you’ll get to earning that dream in-game bike. More information on drops can be found here.
Certain races on Zwift require specific equipment to keep the playing field flat. Some rules will be Zwift-enforced (like category enforcement and hardware restriction). Others are enforced on ZwiftPower when the race ends. So getting familiar with ZwiftPower and studying the rules and routes ahead of time is critical if you want to set yourself up for success. Be sure to check the race event description, where these will be mentioned:
- A heart rate monitor (HRM) - some races require a HRM for official results or to enter.
- A secondary power source - at the very top level of Zwift Racing, there are often requirements for a secondary power source (e.g., power pedals) to allow for dual-recording.
Our category enforcement system ensures that you will be racing with riders of similar ability. In most Zwift events and some community events, the game will only show you the categories you are eligible to enter. ZwiftPower also allows you to see which events have a category enforcement rule. Race organizers can set up events with custom category limits, which are always noted in the event description beforehand.
If you’re new to Zwift Racing, we suggest completing our training plan, “Zwift Cycling 101”. At the end of this short plan, you will complete a mini Ramp Test allowing the game to categorize your fitness correctly.
Once you have compiled enough in-game data, our auto category enforcement will suggest the categories you can enter.
- A >4.1wkg and 250w FTP + Vo2 and MAP values
- B >3.2wkg and 200w FTP + Vo2 and MAP values
- C >2.5wkg and 150w FTP + Vo2 and MAP values
- D <2.5wkg and 150w FTP + Vo2 and MAP values
WOMEN’S ONLY EVENTS
- A >3.7wkg + MAP values
- B >3.2wkg + MAP values
- C >2.5wkg + MAP values
- D <2.5wkg + MAP values
To read more detail on category enforcement, click HERE.
- RideOn - giving Kudos to your fellow riders in-game, or just a simple way to say hello.
- PowerUp - in-game performance boosters that are randomly awarded as you pass through a start/finish area or sprint arch, or summit a KOM. More details can be found here.
- Attack - a sudden acceleration to move ahead of another rider or group of riders.
- Breakaway - when one or more riders sprint away from the Peloton in an effort to build a lead.
- Drafting - when one or more riders ride in a single file behind one another, taking advantage of the riders slipstream. The riders behind need less power to travel at the same speed as the rider in the front.
- Dropped - when a rider has been left behind by another rider or group of riders.
- Field Sprint - a mass sprint at the finish of a race among the main group of riders.
- Gap - the amount of time or distance between a rider or group of riders and another rider or group of riders.
- Hammer - to ride hard. See also, “drop the hammer,” or in-game “hammer time”.
- King/Queen of the Mountains - The K/QOM is the fastest climber up a time hill segment, signified by the Polka Dot Jersey.
- Off the Back - when a rider or riders is dropped from the main group
- Off the Front - when a rider takes part in a breakaway.
- GC - short for the general classification or overall ranking for a select number of events
- Segment - any timed section of road with a leaderboard on Zwift such as a sprint or a climb.
- Bridge Up/Bridge the Gap - an attempt to catch the next rider or group of riders in front of you.
- Pull Through/Come Around/Take a Pull - used to indicate when someone is on the front breaking the wind for the group and no longer wants to be doing so.
- Take the Wheel - to follow someone in front of you, either in an attack or an effort by the group to chase down a breakaway, etc.
- Paceline/Train - a long string of riders who are typically riding single file at a fast pace, usually toward the end of an event or in an effort to catch a breakaway.
- Peloton - cycling lingo for a group of riders.
If you have any questions about racing on Zwift, please reach out to our Customer Support team.
ZRacing features a thematic race series every month, with one stage per week and multiple opportunities throughout the day to race. It’s inclusive to athletes of all abilities, no matter where you live or train.
Everyone! With category enforcement, placing you in a race with riders of similar abilities creates a fair and equal environment of fun competition. Races lasting between 30-40 minutes are an excellent place for experienced racers to get a mid-week race in or beginners to try their hand at racing on Zwift.
Starting September 5, ZRacing Monthly Series events will take place daily. So no matter where you are or how busy your schedule is, you can still compete.
Check out our monthly calendar HERE to find events in a time slot that work best for you. You can also find the daily race schedule on the Zwift Companion App.
- Increased fitness! And a badge for completing each stage in our ZRacing Monthly series.
- You can also compete globally for an overall position in each month's general classification (GC) standing on Zwiftpower.
Your results will be available on Zwiftpower.com as soon as you finish. There are a few ways to set up your racing goals and understand your results:
- Compete as an individual to track your position. You can try it more than once to move up the leaderboard.
- Watch your overall position to see your results in a bigger context.
- Your position in the overall general classification (GC) on ZwiftPower. You can track your performance across all the ZRacing series in an overall time-based GC on ZwiftPower.com.
Zwift Racing League (ZRL) is the largest global virtual cycling competition series, with over 15,000 participants last season. ZRL is the result of an exclusive partnership between WTRL and Zwift. For the 22/23 season, riders and teams can expect three rounds of racing with six races per round.
- Round 1: September 13 - October 18
- Round 2: November 7 - December 13
- Round 3: January 10 - February 14
- Season Finale: March 2023
Team registration for Round 2 is open till Nov. 2. If you are a team captain, register your team before registration closes. If you are looking for a team to join, you can find a team and join a ZRL race before the Round finishes. See below for information about how to find a team.
Several requirements have been established to ensure fair racing for all. To participate in ZRL you must have the following:
- An active ZwiftPower account.
- An active WTRL.racing account.
- A proven ZwiftPower category. You should have enough recent race results on ZwiftPower that your category (A, B, C, D) isn't in question. The team you race with should be competing in the same category as you or higher.
- A team to compete with.
Must have equipment: a power sensor is critical for in-game competition. This includes smart trainers, smart bikes, and power meters. Many races also require a heart rate monitor, so make sure it's connected during your warm-up.
Although they're not necessary for Categories B-D, without a power sensor, your race points will be cut in half, so plan accordingly!
Learn more about what you need to ride on Zwift, check out this page.
- Go to the WTRL Facebook page. Here, you can ask if any teams are recruiting. Make sure you also mention your category, w/kg, as well as your preferred time zones.
- You can also check out the “Teams” page on WTRL to see which teams are in your region and if they are looking for new members. Find more information at ZRL Teams or read more about joining a ZRL race here.
Elite Racing is the highest level of racing that can be found on Zwift. Featuring new race formats and top athletes from around the world, riders can level up their training with intense competition and see how far they can go. Elite racing on Zwift is found in two forms: Qualification Pathway Races and Invitational Events.
- Qualification Pathway Races
In collaboration with the UCI and open to all athletes, Zwift will be organizing Worlds Pathway Events allowing individual athletes the opportunity to secure a place on the start line for the Continental Qualifier races and eventually UCI 2022 Cycling Esports World Championships!
- Invitational Events
Some of the best racing teams in the community who have taken part in the Zwift Racing League over the past year have been invited to take part in the newest invitational event series, Zwift Grand Prix. Zwift Grand Prix promises to be the most innovative and exciting race series yet and will feature some of the best athletes around the world. 12 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams will compete in never-before-seen race formats. All events will be available to watch HERE as well as the Zwift YouTube channel. The first race starts on September 23.
Learn more about how to qualify HERE.
The Worlds Pathway events (selected races in the October’s ZRacing Monthly Series) welcome ALL Zwifters to participate and compete for a spot in the Continental Qualifiers, which then leads to the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships.
The formats for the Zwift Grand Prix have never been seen before at the Elite level of racing on Zwift. They’ve been created to provide an exciting race proposition for both athletes and spectators.
More information will be released soon.
Full Season Schedule:
- Men: Friday, September 23 @ 6 pm UTC
- Women: Friday, September 30 @ 6 pm UTC
- Men: Friday, October 7 @ 6 pm UTC
- Women: Friday, October 14 @ 6 pm UTC
- Men: Friday, October 21 @ 6 pm UTC
- Women: Friday, October 28 @ 6 pm UTC
- Men: Friday, November 18 @ 7 pm UTC
- Women: Friday, November 25 @ 7 pm UTC
- Men: Friday, December 2 @ 7 pm UTC
- Women: Friday, December 9 @ 7 pm UTC
- Men: Friday, January 13 @ 7 pm UTC
- Women: Friday, January 20 @ 7 pm UTC
- Men and Women: On or around March 23 - 26 (TBD)