If you are new to Zwift racing, it’s going to take awhile to get a feel for how to race on Zwift. Here is a quick article on 5 beginner mistakes, and how to avoid them.
#1 Zwift Races Start FAST
Something that is different from IRL races, is that Zwift races start extremely fast. If you miss the first split, the race is pretty much over for you. When starting a Zwift race, you are going to want to be in ~ Z6-Sprint power(or whatever you need to do to stay with the first 10% of the group). Depending on how competitive the group is, the group may start faster or slower.
#2 Use the Draft
This is something that I have seen many beginner Zwift racers do. For various reasons, some beginners try to stay at the very front of the race, pulling the entire group with them. By the end of the race, they are dead and have nothing left for the finishing sprint(the part that actually matters). I typically try to stay in the middle to back of the group to take maximal advantage of the draft effect.
#3 Use your Power Ups
Something unique about Zwift racing is that there are power ups. At every arch/banner, you will receive a power up. This power up can help you in various ways: Increasing draft effect, decreasing weight, invisibility, etc. It is important to play these power ups right, and to use them in the finishing sprint. If you look at recording of Zwift races, almost all Zwift races are won with power ups.
#4 Bike Choice
Like real life, your bike choice is a factor that determines your speed. Using the best bike for the terrain and route that you are racing will come in handy. Zwift Insider has a great guide for users to see what the best frame they can purchase is. Here is a link: https://zwiftinsider.com/what-to-buy-at-each-zwift-level/.
#5 Sign Up for Zwift Power
Zwift Power is a website where you can see the official results. What Zwift Power is that it filters out sandbaggers, cheaters, riders on Zpower, etc. Signing up will allow you to be included in those results, and be more competitive in Zwift races.
That is it for this article, if you have any other tips for beginners on Zwift, please leave a comment below! Thanks for reading!