Competing on Zwift is the most thrilling and rewarding thing you can do on a bike. If you’ve never tried it, you owe it to yourself to give it a go, no matter your abilities! From beginners to elite athletes and everyone in between, there is a place for you to compete on Zwift.
If you’re new to competing on Zwift, or if you are new to Zwift in general, please review the Rules of the Road for the best experience possible.
While Zwift competition is heart-pumping, engaging fun, it’s also a great way to get fit fast and strengthen and build community in Watopia.
New to competing on Zwift? Check out this video to learn about how to race.
Ride On : Giving Kudos to 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, 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, usually to start a breakaway or encourage the main group to ride faster.
Breakaway: When one or more riders sprint away from the Peloton to build a lead. A breakaway is usually the result of an attack.
Drafting/Sitting In: When one or more riders ride in a single file behind one another, taking advantage of the 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/Bunch Sprint: A mass sprint among the main group of riders at the finish of a race.
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. Variations include “drop the hammer” or “hammer time,” which is used in-game.
King/Queen of the Mountains :The KOM/QOM is the fastest climber up a timed 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 or is otherwise riding away from the front of the main group they were part of.
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 : When a rider comes to the front to alleviate the current rider who is breaking the wind for the group and no longer wants to be or cannot continue 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 when attempting to build speed for a sprint or in an effort to catch a breakaway.
Peloton/Pack/Bunch: A large group of riders.
You don’t need top-of-the-line equipment to compete on Zwift. You can get started with just the basics: a bike, a trainer, and a Zwift account.
Here are some additions that can help level up your competition experience:
- Ventilation: Stay cool with a good fan
- Information: A heart rate monitor to help you compete more efficiently by watching your efforts more closely
- Zwift Play: Keep your position in the pack even more precise with steering and braking
- Bottles and Food: Make sure you’re well-fueled and well-hydrated and your fan on its highest setting!
If you’d like more information on equipment, check that out HERE.
Zwift offers competitive events for anyone who wants to jump in. When choosing a competitive event to join, it’s important to understand the course information, especially the distance and elevation.
The ZRacing Monthly Series is a great place to get started, as it offers a new theme every month with one stage per week and multiple opportunities throughout the day to race. Plus, you can complete each event in less than one hour. ZRacing Monthly utilizes our Category Enforcement rules, which means no matter your ability level, you will always compete in a fair and fun environment. Sign up for the ZRacing Monthly Series here, or learn about Category Enforcement here.
Zwift also hosts a selection of community-led events, which offer a variety of formats or are more tailored to specific types of competition. You can see some examples of our community events here.
The route characteristics and event description are the most important pieces of information when signing up for any competition on Zwift.
The route information - name, distance, and elevation - will tell you what kind of terrain you’ll be riding on for your competition. The distance of the event will be expressed in laps for circuit courses or point-to-point events. As for elevation, the more elevation you see, the more climbs there are—the less elevation, the flatter the course. Hillier courses tend to benefit climbers, while flatter courses are good for sprinters.
The event description is where you’ll find any additional details about the event, such as what rules or powerups the event utilizes. It will also let you know if you need to be signed up on ZwiftPower.com for the best experience. For more information on ZwiftPower.com, check out our articles here.
No, you do not. ZwiftPower can provide you with highly detailed information about each event you participate in and the fellow Zwifters you compete against throughout your career on the platform.
You will see information such as 20-minute, 10-minute, and 5-minute power metrics for Zwifters or a comprehensive history of events and results for any Zwifter. You’ll also be able to have an in-depth power analysis if you wish.
For more information on ZwiftPower, check out our articles here.
You can find a calendar of all our competitive events on zwift.com/events, by selecting the “events” section of Zwift Companion or in-game on the home screen under the “Upcoming Events” section.
If you’re interested in ZRacing Monthly, check out that calendar here.
You'll need to sign up once you’ve found the best event for you. Sign-up is simple: for the most fair and rewarding competitive experience, simply sign up for the lowest available category. You can sign up above your category if you want more of a challenge.
All events are available to view on zwift.com/events, by selecting the “events” section of Zwift Companion or in-game on the home screen under the “Upcoming Events” section.
There are a few different styles of racing on Zwift:
Scratch Races: The most common type of competition on Zwift and a verified classic. All riders start together, and the objective is simply to be first over the finish line after a certain number of laps or distance, depending on the course.
Points Races: A format that features various sprint or climb arches along the route where you can earn points for finishing the segment first or being the fastest on the segment. The aim is to gain as many points as possible before the finish line. Our community members lead many points races and will have details in the event descriptions, so be sure to read them thoroughly to have the best experience possible!
Individual Time Trials: Just you against the clock. These events are set over a fixed distance, usually on time-trial-specific bikes and with no draft effects, where the goal is to ride the distance as fast as possible, with the shortest time winning.
Team Time Trials: A spin on the individual time trial, this format requires teams of Zwifters - usually five to six - to work together to ride a fixed distance as quickly as possible.
Criteriums: Also known as crits, these are raced on short circuits with multiple laps, usually on a flatter course. This is where the name ‘Crit City’ comes from.
This information will provide everything you need to get to the start line.
Research and Recon: Before the event, we recommend you do some research, either through reading about the course you’ve signed up to compete on or by riding the route, known as “course recon.” Being familiar with your route will make the event easier, as you’ll know what’s around every corner and over every hill.
PowerUps: PowerUps are a key part of any competitive Zwift strategy. Knowing when and how to use specific PowerUps will enhance your experience and drastically change your event's outcome. Read more about PowerUps here.
Fast Start: Zwift races almost always start fast! Be ready to ramp up your power before the countdown reaches zero and hold this high pace for a few minutes. Don’t worry—it will eventually settle into a more sustainable rhythm.
Conserve Energy: You can benefit from drafting behind other riders just like in the real world. Drafting effectively allows you to work less throughout your event by benefitting from other riders breaking the wind in front of you. 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 to hold your position. You can read more about drafting here.
Watch The Gap! Avoid hovering at the back of the pack, as it will be harder to stay with the group when the speed surges, and increases the amount of effort you’ll have to exert to stay with the group or increases the likelihood you’ll get dropped. 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 advantageous if you want to stay fresh throughout the race.
Climbs: Be ready to put out more power when the gradient increases, and keep a smooth cadence on the ascent. Maintain your power over the crest of the hills. Your chance to rest and conserve your energy will come on the descent.
Sprints: As the event progresses and you near the finish line, the group will invariably pick up speed. This is often done so that there can be what’s known as a bunch sprint, when all Zwifters in the main group sprint for the best possible finish position. As you near the end of the event, make sure you remember to keep drafting and to try to time your sprint well to finish as strong as possible.
One thing’s for sure: with equipment on Zwift, you’ve got options! Each bike and wheelset in Zwift has its own features, so it’s helpful to know what kind of course you’ll be riding before you make your selection.
You’ll want a mountain or gravel setup if you're riding on dirt. You'll want something aerodynamic if you’re riding flat and fast roads. If you’re riding a hillier course, lighter is better. There are even specific bikes and wheels for Time Trials.
The best way to make your decision is through our star rating system. Each frame and wheelset has a weight and aerodynamics rating, shown with stars. More stars in either field mean the equipment will perform better.
Heads up: not all bikes and wheels are available when you 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 competitive events on Zwift can have specific rules or require specific equipment in order to participate. This is done to keep the event as fair as possible. Some rules will be Zwift-enforced (like Category Enforcement and Hardware Requirements), while others can be community-enforced.
Category Enforcement prevents Zwifters from entering the wrong category. You can read about Category Enforcement here.
Hardware Requirements mean that an event can require you to have specific equipment to participate – such as a heart rate monitor or a smart trainer – though not every event will have these rules. You can read more about Hardware Requirements here.
Other rules - most often for community-led events - can be enforced on ZwiftPower, so be sure to check the event description thoroughly, as these will be mentioned there. Getting familiar with ZwiftPower and studying the rules and routes ahead of time is critical if you want to set yourself up for success.
Elite competition will have its own set of rules, which teams and individuals are informed of prior to the event.
Every competitive event on Zwift has at least one category - or group - to sign up for. These are shown as letters, using A-E, where A is the highest category and E is the lowest. Most Zwift-owned races will use A-D for categories, with the E category acting as a flexible or optional category.
If you’re new to Zwift or Zwift competition and aren’t sure which category is the right one for you, we suggest completing our “Zwift 101” training plan, which will help you get the basics down while also helping you get prepared to achieve your competitive goals. If you prefer to explore a little more on your own, then doing at least three activities of any type on Zwift will help you get the right category as well—once you have compiled enough in-game data, our Category Enforcement will be able to accurately suggest the categories you can enter.
For more information on Category Enforcement, go here.
In most Zwift events and some community events, our Category Enforcement system ensures you will compete with riders of similar ability. You can see this rule (and others) in the event details and description.
To ensure you’ll get the best competitive experience, simply sign up for the lowest available category to you for any competitive event. If you wish to challenge yourself a little bit more, you can always sign up for a higher category.
Community event organizers can set up events with custom category limits, which are always noted in the event description beforehand, so be sure to read that description carefully!
Our default category boundaries are as follows:
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 Only Events
A >3.7wkg + MAP values
B >3.2wkg + MAP values
C >2.5wkg + MAP values
D <2.5wkg + MAP values
Open Races zMAP (watts/kg) zFTP watts/kg and watts
Pace Group A ≥5.1W/kg ≥4.2W/kg and ≥250W
Pace Group B ≥4.1W/kg ≥3.36W/kg and ≥200W
Pace Group C ≥3.2W/kg ≥2.63W/kg and ≥150W
Pace Group D <3.2W/kg <2.63W/kg
Pace Group E N/A N/A
Women Only Races zMAP (watts/kg) zFTP watts/kg
Pace Group A ≥4.8W/kg ≥3.88W/kg
Pace Group B ≥4.1W/kg ≥3.36W/kg
Pace Group C ≥3.2W/kg ≥2.63W/kg
Pace Group D <3.2W/kg <2.63W/kg
Pace Group E N/A N/A
Category Enforcement is a rule for competition in most Zwift-owned and some community-led events which prevents riders from joining a category that is too easy for them. We use this rule to create the fairest and most fun competitive experiences possible, as we believe that honest competition is the best kind.
Category Enforcement is calculated from all of your power data across all of your Zwift activities in the last 90 days. This means that every workout, free ride, Pacer Ride, or even competition you do on Zwift will affect your category, so be sure to ride honestly.
For more information on Category Enforcement, go here.
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.
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.
Team and individual competitions have a lot of overlap, though there are a few key differences.
Mainly, team competition is utilized for Zwift Racing League. Zwift Racing League allows Zwifters to combine their individual strengths for the overall team standings. It’s also a great way to strengthen and build community on Zwift, which can deeply enrich your Zwift experience.
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 23/24 season, riders and teams can expect three rounds of racing with six races per round and a season finale.
Round 1: September 12 - October 17, 2023
Round 2: November 14 - December 19, 2023
Round 3: January 23 - February 27, 2024
Season Finale: April 2024
Round 3 is live now and the Season Finale kicks off in April!
Because WTRL is the main organizer and moderator of Zwift Racing League, you can find the best and most up-to-date information on their website: https://www.wtrl.racing/zwift-racing-league/.
There, you can find information such as rules, how the races are scored, the schedule, results, and information about your team.
Yes! In addition to Zwift Racing League, WTRL hosts a team trial series. Other community events can be team-focused as well. These are best found on ZwiftPower.com.
Elite competition is the highest level of competition on Zwift, featuring new event formats and top athletes from around the world. Elite competition is predominantly invitation-only racing, such as the Olympic eSports Series or the Zwift Grand Prix.
The Zwift Grand Prix is an elite-level competition that is broadcast for all to watch. For the 2023/24 season, it is comprised of 16 men’s and 16 women’s teams and is spread across seven different rounds. The teams will compete in different race formats for the overall title of Best Elite Race Team on Zwift.
Because elite competition is largely invite-only, we ask that you reach out to us directly. If you and your team would like to be considered to join the elite ranks for future events, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.