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Team Time Trial Tips and Tactics (TTTTT)

TTTs are one of the most fun, brutal, addictive and most unique racing experiences you can have on Zwift. The TTT requires team camaraderie and communication; rewarding those that balance wits and tactics as much as all out power and brawn.  The sole objective of the TTT is to finish the course as a team (up to 8 riders) in the fastest time you possibly can, without losing too many riders along the way.

For most of the team doing a team time trial will be business as usual.  

For anyone who is new, the following should hopefully make your first TTT less stressful.  

Team Time Trial strategy and tips

  1. ALWAYS select your time trial bike and disc wheels BEFORE joining the race pen (your bike selection may show correctly for you, but not necessarily on the Zwift servers and other’s game displays if you select your bike after joining the race pen).  The current fastest TT bike is the Cadex Tri with Swiss DT Disc wheel.  
  2. Do a 15-20 warmup, join the race pen 3-5 minutes early and join our Discord Voice Channel: “WTRl Team Time Trial”.   We will use voice to mainly communicate if the front rider is  going too hard and gapping other riders or if riders are falling off.  It is recommended to leave your microphone on mute unless you need to speak.  Keep in mind: The technology to speak and listen to several people across the planet is amazing, but sometimes it doesn’t always work perfectly for everyone.
  3. We must finish with 4 riders!  The 4th rider sets the finish time for the team.  There is no dishonor in getting dropped.  In many cases it can be a SUPER GOOD TEAM STRATEGY  to burn off some riders to set up the team for a super fast finish time.   
  4. Tip:  at the start of the race, ramp up your power with 1-2 seconds to go and your avatar will shoot out of the pen with great speed.  It is VERY hard to get into a specific order because of different trainer responsiveness, and internet/computer transmission responsiveness.  All you can do is try to adjust your power to slot behind a rider as quickly as possible. 
  5. The most important riders are in positions 1 & 2.  Typically the lead rider will need to put out around 130% ftp for around 30 seconds, but can go as high as 140% ftp for lighter riders on the flat sections.  Because of the draft effect, the second rider will hopefully be doing ~23% less, the third rider will be doing 30% less, and the fourth through sixth riders will be ~ 34% less power than the lead rider.  There can or will be lots of variability - higher power for shorter distances, and less power for longer distances, spiking power up short climbs, and letting off power on descents to recover.   Generally try to be smooth as possible except when closing gaps.   [Note:  Here is a helpful site to understand, and prepare recommended power outputs for a full team  https://zwift-ds.com/ ]
  6. Just focus on the rider ahead of you.  Try to keep your avatar behind while doing the least amount of watts possible to hold position in the draft.   Try not to pass or create a gaps.  Much easier said than done!
  7. After your taking your pull in the lead position, it is best to suddenly drop your power and fall to the back of the train as quick as possible.   I recommend stop pedaling for a few seconds.  This does a few things:  Your power numbers displayed on the right side of the screen signal to the rider in 2nd position that they need to hit their predetermined power output for their turn. The brief power drop will cause your avatar to naturally slow and start falling back without pulling riders behind with you.  There is a pack dynamic in the Zwift game that tends to stick riders together, so if you ramp up your power too much as you drop back you may miss up the rotation. It is best to drop back quickly and punch your power or sprint a few seconds if necessary to catch the tail of the train and then recover.  It is a bit of an art/skill in getting the timing just right, especially on gradient changes.  
  8. On courses with short hills it is best to punch up and over the climb, however on longer climbs with steeper gradients it is best to put the strongest rider(s) at the front to pace the team up and try not to drop riders if it’s early in the race.  If it’s at the end of the race it’s ok and even good to lose/drop teammates that are struggling as long as the team has the critical number of four riders.  

The following is taken from the WTRL TTT Guide which can be found on their new WTRL Help Center.

If you are not familiar with it, please be aware of the following:

1 Each team is allocated a Row number and start time (see TEAM MANAGEMENT for these). Teams will no longer need to use a stop watch and are no longer issued a 'Start Delay'.

2. A MAXIMUM of 6 riders are permitted to enter the race pens. Team Cars MUST go to the E PEN or refer to our handy guide for alternative ways to watch your team.

3 Click your teams RacePass to signup. You are not able to join via the Zwift Companion App or Zwift Website.

4 TT bikes are highly recommended!. TT bikes on this course will be far faster than any other bike type including Zwift's Concept bike (Tron). TT bikes give and receive draft to other riders in our Team Time Trial mode. We recommend switching bikes before you join the pen.

5 Riders must join the pen before their allocated Start Time (these always show in the riders local time within TEAM MANAGEMENT on our website). You will also see your Start Time in the Companion App.

6 Riders will be offered a Join Now button based on this allocated Start Time.

7 The Join Now button will start to appear on screen up to 30 minutes before your allocated start time.

8 When you join the pen, each team member is placed on to the conveyor belt system in the same row. In the wrong row? You probably used the wrong RacePass and need to exit, reclick a RacePass and rejoin.

9 Team members are gradually moved along the conveyor system towards the start banner as each team is released.

10 There is a count down on the banner for each team's departure time and the count down at the top of your chat window always counts down to your teams start time.

11 When you reach the front of the grid, a series of beeps will start counting down when there is 10 seconds remaining to your Start Time.

12 When the beeps complete and the timer hits 0:00, your whole team will be released (not catapulted) on to the course.

13 DO NOT LEAVE IT TO THE LAST POSSIBLE SECOND TO JOIN THE START PADDOCKS. Leave at least 5 mins grace in case you need to exit and rejoin.

There are a few known bugs in this new system which we are aware of and Zwift are working to correct:.

If you ride with a Pace Partner or in a Meet-Up BEFORE your Team Time Trial, avoid clicking the Join Now button while doing so. Quit the pace partner or meet-up, enter a free-ride in any world and then click the Join Now button. If you don't, you may find yourself all alone and facing the wrong way around in the paddock.

Dont be too anxious if the Join Now button takes a while to appear. Sometimes it will only appear with 5 minutes to go to your teams start time.

If the event has already started (ie the first team has departed), you will not be able to join from the new home screen as far as we know. You must start free riding in any world and wait for the Join Now button.