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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!

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