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Virtual Cycling and Racing – Are you where you think that you are? WYSI(not)WYG?

The purpose of this missive is to continue to drive forward the conversation about drafting. The reason is, do you know who you are drafting?!

This seems like a mad/daft question. I agree, however, totally ignoring our mantra that comparison is the death of happiness, we have posted here (and we will cover this on YouTube also) a superb video created at the ZMS Live Stream.

The team there have used two computers simultaneously on Zwift. The same event and watching the same rider. They then did the same on RGT Cycling.

Here is the link to their Facebook post where you can see the video. We will then go on to discuss this down below… https://www.facebook.com/zmslivestream/videos/1574316589444032

TitaniumGeek ZMS Livestream Virtual Cycling and Racing   Are you where you think that you are?  WYSI(not)WYG? Bikes Cycling Indoor cycling RGT Smart Trainers Turbo training Turbo Training Veloton Virtual cycling Zwift  Zwift turbo training road racing rgt cycling RGT racing fitness motivation eSports eracing cycle racing   Image of ZMS Livestream
Spot the difference!

What do you see on the live stream? Two different platforms and two different ways of ‘reporting’ where you are. As you might recall, in the early days of virtual racing on Zwift, race results weren’t obvious. Each rider in the race could see a different order of finishers than what the server and others saw. The utterly brilliant people behind ZwiftPower sorted this out for Zwift, by creating digital magic, they were able to order the results accurately and create the transparency needed to progress virtual racing.

If you are relatively new to Zwift, you may think that the results that you see on the screen at the end of an event are the results. They are, sort of, however, the ZwiftPower results are the official ones. Here is an article that James Gill wrote in 2017 that covers the ZwiftPower story https://titaniumgeek.com/zwiftpower-the-coding-behind-zwift-community-racing/ In this article, you will read all about the truly wonderful people who sacrificed family time, dog walking time, riding time and their own money to make this happen. We owe them a great debt of gratitude.

What does this on-screen visibility mean during a race or event? As you can see in the video, looking at the two Zwift screens. Riders aren’t way out but are slightly out. This means that the people you think you are racing are there, but not exactly where you think that they are. This is the same for everyone else in an event. This might be an extreme example and at the same time, it’s a challenge for eSports fans who are watching live racing and want to believe what they are seeing. It is a huge challenge for Zwift and it is easy to criticise them. However, just remember, there wasn’t a virtual global esports cycle racing before Zwift. We can only think that when Zwift are streaming their marquee events, they are very careful to show and commentate only on what they can be 99% certain of.

This screen positioning also helps to explain when people ask ‘why am I always on the outside on a corner?’ You might be on your screen, but to others, you may be somewhere else very nearby on the road.

TitaniumGeek 16106819 10154980315087558 1913008130 o 1024x768 1 Virtual Cycling and Racing   Are you where you think that you are?  WYSI(not)WYG? Bikes Cycling Indoor cycling RGT Smart Trainers Turbo training Turbo Training Veloton Virtual cycling Zwift  Zwift turbo training road racing rgt cycling RGT racing fitness motivation eSports eracing cycle racing   Image of 16106819 10154980315087558 1913008130 o 1024x768 1
The original ZwiftPower servers. Paid for by the three people behind ZwiftPower

Enter the competitors and especially RGT Cycling. As you can see in the ZMS Live Stream video (above), in RGT, what you see is what you get. If you are on Bert’s Wheel; Bert will see you on his wheel etc, etc. This helps RGT to report your draft effect so accurately.

The Meet-Ups facility in Zwift has become very popular especially with clubs organising their own private closed events. Zwift have very kindly added an on-screen finishing order to these events and the question for competitors is ‘are these results absolutely right?’ We all know what we can be like if our 15th place is really 17th and the sleep we will lose as a result! And don’t get me on hare-and-hound races, where hares get caught. out-sprint you at the end and appear higher on scoreboard!! Zwift have probably got far bigger fish to fry than worry too much about this and other big questions like ‘what happened to ZwiftPower after you bought it?’ ‘Where is the fence?’ and ‘Who signed off all the rocks on the Tempus Fugit course looking like market-leading adult toys?’

The users of RGT argue that anyone can create their own events, add bots, don’t add bots, invite who you like, create your own course from a .gpx file, not create rocks into adult toys, or race along a previously created Magic Road. They can invite their friends and they also argue that the finishing order is the finishing order. As RGT grows it will require its own James Hodges to filter out erroneous data and add in a points-based race license system and we are told that is properly in the development stage.

Knowing both platforms, I’m curious how come that more clubs haven’t adopted RGT for their own group events? Especially that it is free for many of its features? Maybe it’s the average age of cyclists and the size of the text on the RGT iPhone app? Seriously, it’s a great feature.

What are your thoughts on this? How important is it when eRacing, or in a virtual event, that what you see is really what is occurring? Which platforms do you do events on and what are your experiences? What do you want from eRacing going forwards?

Comments down below…

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