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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Ride Report: Zwift Uber Pretzel

 I have been working on completing all the routes on Zwift, which is all fun and games...

... except for a few torture rides.

The Uber Pretzel is one of those.

128km and it includes the Epic KOM (with the bonus radar tour!) and finishes with the grueling Alpe du Zwift!

Or, put another way, about 5 hours on the indoor trainer for me turning around 2.5w/kg.

There's a really great route description at Zwift Insider if you want to get a broad idea of what this ride is, but I'll give you some of the nitty-gritty.

When To Do It

The two choices you really have are an Event or Freeride and choose the route.

I decided to Freeride it, for the simple reason that the events were reasonably under-subscribed.  If there are only a handful of riders doing it together, you don't get the benefit of the draft - and there are a lot of opportunities on this one to draft!

I chose a Saturday morning as it seemed like when Zwift has the most active riders.

This worked out great - I had company most of the ride!

What Bike To Use

This was a bit trickier because this route visits almost every corner of Watopia.

Some people are allergic to bike switching, but I always hate having the wrong bike for the job... a bad climber or bad aero for hours sucks.  And there's nothing worse than a road bike in the Jungle!  Other than maybe a TT bike haha.

Here is what I ultimately decided... 

I had planned to do the Optional bike switches as well, but when it came down to it... I didn't bother.  Went Climber-MTB-Aero-Climber, so only 3 switches.

My lightest climbing bike was the Cannondale Evo with the Lightweight Meilensteins.

My best mountain bike is the Trek Super Caliber.

My best aero setup is the Cervelo S5 2020 with the Zipp 808's.

Is switching the fastest way to cover the course?  I mean, who cares... it's 5 hours!!!  Taking 20 seconds to switch bikes won't ruin your day, it just made it a lot more enjoyable for me.  I suspect it's well worth it given the long stretches you spend on each, and the Jungle for sure favours a MTB by almost a minute over the full loop.

Keys To Success

Like any long ride on the road - hydrate, eat, take a pee break... have lube handy... 

Careful with pushing too hard at any point just to keep up - although I found it worth burning a few matches here and there to grab a good Fuego Flats wheel!

Rest when you are by yourself but take advantage of a good wheel when you can.

And most of all... save something - a LOT of something - for the Alpe du Zwift.  At my power output (2.5-3w/kg) it took about 1h10 and at the end of a 5h ride it was tough... mentally and physically.

Good luck!

Friday, November 19, 2021

Zwift: Completing All The Routes - Update #4

Just when I thought I was making progress... they added more routes!

These 8 new routes are part of the Neokyo area of the Makuri Islands in Zwift.

I'm pretty excited to ride them, so I won't complain!  And they're all pretty short so great for those mid-week hour long rides.

There are now 100 routes on Zwift plus the Volcano "On Fire!" Badge (has to be done in one ride so figured it's as good as a route!).

30 to go, including the toughest (Full PRL and Uber Pretzel)!  Should be able to get 'er done this winter.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Race Report: Raid the Hammer (Half Raid)

The Race

Raid The Hammer, by Don't Get Lost Adventure Racing.  Linky.  

This is an Orienteering / Adventure Race on foot in Dundas, Ontario!

It's a blast - you get to run around trails and neighbourhoods and bushwack and read maps and such.  We had never done a run-only Adventure Race so this was new to us!

Our Race

The start was in waves, we were in the last wave at 11:15am.

Quite a mix of people at the start - the running jackrabbits and the hiking orienteer types!  As usual the start is crazy, and our goal was just to stay within ourselves and not get carried away trying to beat everyone up the first hill.

We didn't beat everyone up the first hill.  Success!

We had a pretty good plan laid out and I had pretty much memorized the first few turns, being city streets and simple paths.  As usual we passed people stopped looking at their maps early on... on city streets... so yeah, if you're lost there?  It might be a long day for you! 

The key to the orienteering part of it is always knowing where you are on the map and what direction you're meant to be going.

This is hard.  Knowing the distance between points is one thing, but everything is approximate.  Knowing how far you've gone?  Really tricky.  Some folks count steps, but when you're alternating running and hiking (up hills) or slipping on mud or whatever, it's always going to be a bit of a wild ass guess.

We mostly did great, though.  Grabbed bearings on the fly using my buddy's new thumb compass (amazing!) and just generally knew where we were based on trail intersections, where the water was, elevation markings... we've done this kind of thing before but this was next level.

We did mess one up - followed a trail not on the map thinking it was the trail that was on the map and got thoroughly lost.  Cost us about 5 minutes, which overall isn't the end of the world.

Our results are messed up right now but we think we finished 6th in Masters (of 18).  Not bad for a first go at it, with minimal run training!

Monday, November 8, 2021

Zwift: Completing All The Routes - Update #3


I've made a lot of progress on the Elevation front especially!  I actually had one done (Muir and the Mountain) that I hadn't checked off - so free Route completion!

Hit the "Road to Sky" Route as part of an event the other day and lucky me... I unlocked the Meilensteins!

These are the lightest wheels in Zwift, and you have to "win" them at the top of Alpe du Zwift.  For some people it takes 20+ times, for me... 2!  Lucky ducky.

Makuri Islands

They have 8 straight days of Makuri Islands and an entirely new area to explore... so I'm expecting the number of routes to also go up!

Just when I thought he was close...