The COVID-19 lockdown period, now in its third month around the world, has seen an unprecedented boom in virtual cycling. Racing on the Zwift virtual platform has only increased, with the professionals getting in on the act, too, via the Zwift Tour for All, the Virtual Tour of the Gila, and e-races organised by Team Ineos.
If you're on Zwift and planning to get racing, then signing up to the third-party app ZwiftPower (opens in new tab) is an essential step. But what exactly is ZwiftPower and how does it work? Read on for our guide on how the app works, how to get set up, and how to analyse your racing.
What is ZwiftPower?
Put simply, ZwiftPower is a community-driven website that complements the Zwift app. It lets Zwift racers and race organisers track results and check out all the details of the races they've participated in, as well as monitoring and analysing their data.
It's possible to check just about any kind of Zwift result using ZwiftPower, with the website sortable by leagues, race series and segments. It's also possible to filter results and data by categories, such as different age or power ranges.
There's a forum, too, so that users can discuss ongoing race series, find out about upcoming events and have any queries answered and problems solved. It's a real community hub.
Think of ZwiftPower, then, as something similar to Strava, only entirely Zwift-focused, and free! And as well as your race results, you can check your distance ridden, total metres climbed, power peaks from one second up to 75 minutes, and more besides.
How to sign up to ZwiftPower
Joining ZwiftPower isn't the most straightforward series of steps, but we've broken it down so you can get started as soon as possible.
First up, you'll have to head to Zwift.com and log in, then click on Settings > Profile > Connections and choose 'opt-in' under the ZwiftPower logo.
Completing this first step means that you've given permission to share your results and activity history with ZwiftPower, so now all of your performance and race data can be transferred across to the website.
Now you'll have to head over to ZwiftPower.com and register there. That's pretty straightforward – the usual email, username, password, terms and conditions – so you won't have any trouble with this step.
Next up is the most finicky part of the process – finding your Zwift ID in order to connect your accounts. Head to http://my.zwift.com/ and hover your mouse cursor over the 'Download' button under one of your activities.
Doing this will bring up a box at the bottom of the browser showing a web address – something similar to: https://s3-fit-prd-uswest2-zwift.s3.amazonaws.com/prod/000000/a2e1b7f8-27610843. The six-digit number highlighted in bold will be your Zwift ID.
Now head back to ZwiftPower, click 'Connect' at the top of the page, then enter your Zwift ID in the box when prompted. You'll receive a four-digit code, which you'll then have to add to your last name back in your Zwift settings (you can change it back after the process is completed).
Finally, just head back to ZwiftPower and click 'Connect to my Account'. That's it! It's a bit more complicated than most website sign-ups, but now you'll be all ready to get started.
How to make progress on ZwiftPower
We mentioned categories earlier as one of the ways in which you can search through your results and statistics, but they're also a method by which you get sorted into races.
This is done by separating riders based on their FTP (functional threshold power) – a wattage test you can take part in on Zwift over a 20-minute, 45-minute or 1-hour period.
Races can use different schemes to categorise riders, but most of them use this scheme:
A+: 4.6w/kg FTP, 300w FTP or higher
A: 4.02w/kg FTP or higher
Cat B: 3.2w/kg to 4.0w/kg FTP
Cat C: 2.5w/kg to 3.2w/kg FTP
Cat D: Under 2.5w/kg FTP
You can, of course, progress through the ranks as you race. To move up to the next rank, ZwiftPower will take 95 per cent of your 20-minute average w/kg figure from your previous three races. If you're putting out enough power, then you can make your way up the ranks and keep on racing.
Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Prior to joining the team, he had written for most major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.
As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also runs The Leadout newsletter and oversees How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal, and he rides a Colnago C40.