Cycling Apps

A Look At Zwift’s New Pace Partners And How To Ride With A Pacer

Pace Partners are pace-setting bots that users can ride with. The new Pace Partners feature is part of Zwift’s FutureWorks program. It is basically Zwift’s development program where new projects are released before they are final and polished. Some of these can be limited to certain members and some can be available to the public in exchange for ongoing feedback.

Pacer Partners was announced in early August but these pacing bots didn’t start showing up until recently. I joined a pacing bot a few days ago to test it out. If reading isn’t your forte or want to see it in action, make sure to watch the video above.

WHAT IS PACE PARTNERS

Pacer Partners are automated bots that are currently roaming Watopia at a certain schedule. These bots act as rider leaders and anyone can join them. Four bots are currently available representing different categories.

  • A = Amelia Anquetil: 4.0 w/kg and above
  • B = Bowie Brevet: 3.2–3.9 w/kg
  • C = CoCo Cadence: 2.5–3.1 w/kg
  • D = Diesel Dan : 2.4 w/kg and below

Currently, they are scheduled to run between 1:30 pm to 11:30 pm US Eastern time, then off for a couple of hours and back online at 1:30 am until 11:30 am US eastern time. 

HOW TO RIDE WITH A PACE PARTNER

To ride with a Pace Partner, after you go through the pairing screen, look for them under “Join Another Zwifter?”

Make sure you have the Watopia map selected otherwise you are not going to see it. 

And you will see the Pace Partner option. If you don’t see this, that means you logged in during off-hours or you have the wrong map selected. 

When you click on pace partners, you will see this pace partner introduction screen 

Click on Next and here you have the option to select the pace partner you want ride with and you can see which route they are on.

Once you select which pace partner you want to join, you will be back on the main screen, and you can see how many hours left for your pace rider. So Coco has 5 hours and 19 minutes left before he is off the clock.

And this is it,  click on ride and you will be taken to Coco

Initially, you will get a pedal-assist for 5 seconds. This means your avatar will be pushed to give you a chance to catch up with the group and get into your pace.

The C category I joined is set between 2.5 to 3.1 watts per kilo. Coco was riding at 2.5 watts every time I checked. Also, this is a super flat route so you might see the pacer watts fluctuate a lot more on a hillier a route. 

Anyone can see these bots so if you are just riding around and come across one of the pacer bots, you should be able to just hop on their wheel and ride with them.

If you have chat enabled – mine is disabled since I am usually anti-social when riding – you should see some chat messages pop up from your pacer. 

So your goal here is to try to stay with the group. If you slow down or stop pedaling, you will get dropped just like a normal group ride and you will have to catch up if you want to join the pack.

So this is it. Very basic at the moment.

A great feature if you want to join a group ride without being tied into a group event schedule and stick to an actual pace without turning the group ride into a full-fledged race like you usually see during these group rides events. 

It would be great to see pacer in workouts to pace you through intervals instead of relying on ERG mode for example. FTP testing would also be great.  Also, I would love to see pacers pace you through a specific effort whether from a previous ride you did on a specific route or a goal you have in mind, like climbing the Alpe du Zwift under 55minutes for example.

I see a lot of potential in this new feature and it will be interesting to see how it evolves in the next few months.

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