The fifth race of Zwift Racing League 2023/24 Round 2 happens Tuesday, December 12, and we’re in Scotland for a points race on a new-to-ZRL course.
Let’s dig into crucial sections along with powerup tips, bike choice notes, and more!
Looking at the Route: The Muckle Yin
Never before raced in ZRL Scotland’s The Muckle Yin (Scottish for “Big One”) is the longest route in Scotland, taking you over most of the country roads in both directions as well as starting and finishing in Glasgow.
All categories will race one lap for a total of 23.7km with 282 meters of elevation gain.
As you can see, The Muckle Yin is basically never flat. Apart from the key climbs mentioned below, riders will need to be constantly vigilant to maintain their desired pack position.
Here are the key climbs where riders will be dropped and selections will be made:
- Sgurr Summit North at 8.5km: 1.6km long at 3.7% on gravel, this is the longest climb on the route. Expect the first big selection to take place here.
- Sgurr Summit South at 18.1km: 1km long at 3.3% and paved, this is the second-longest climb on the route. With just over 4km from the top to the finish line, expect some riders to use this climb as a launchpad for a breakaway.
- The Clyde Kicker at 21.7km: a short punch, but it ends just 1.7km from the finish line, providing a good breakaway opportunity for a strong rider with a weaker sprint.
Specific powerups are assigned to specific arches for this race, so instead of describing how each powerup works (you can read all about them here) we’ll list which powerups will be given at which arches. And since each of these powerups was chosen on purpose so it can be smartly used in between the arch where you receive it and the next arch where another powerup awaits, we’ll tell you the place you’ll probably want to use it!
- Champion’s Sprint at 0.2km – Draft Boost: use this on the longish, draftable climb up through The Cliffs
- Lap Arch at 3km – Feather: use it on the Corkscrew Castle climb, or on the climb that follows up to the Breakaway Brae banner
- Breakaway Brae at 6km – Steamroller: use it on a gravel section of the Sgurr Summit North gravel climb
- Sgurr Summit at 10km – Anvil: use it as you descend from the gravel climb
- Lap Arch at 11.3km – Feather: use it on the Corkscrew Castle climb, or on the climb that follows up to the Breakaway Brae banner
- Breakaway Brae at 14.8km – Steamroller: this is a rather useless powerup at this part of the race. Just make sure you use it or throw it away before the lap arch.
- Lap Arch at 17.8km – Feather: use it on the Sgurr Summit South climb just up the road
- Sgurr Summit at 19.1km – Anvil: use it as you descend the gravel road after the summit
- The Clyde Kicker at 21.7km – Aero Boost: save it for the finish!
Bike Frame + Wheel Choice
An aero bike or all-arounder are the way to go on The Muckle Yin. If you’re confident in your climbing abilities go with an aero bike for maximum advantage in the final sprint. Not so confident? Go with an all-arounder like the Tron bike or Scott Addict RC + ENVE 7.8 wheels to give you a bit of an edge on the uphills.
See Speed Tests: Tron Bike vs Top Performers (Scatter Plot) for more nerd-level detail on frame and wheel performance.
More Route Recons
Many recon rides are held each week on the upcoming ZRL route, and they even give you double XP! If you’re unfamiliar with this course, jump into an event and do some recon.
Zwift Grand Prix
Watch this week’s men’s ZGP races to get a preview of The Muckle Yin race! See them live on Zwift’s YouTube channel at 7pm UTC.
Points Distribution, The Muckle Yin (1 Lap)
This chart shows the maximum points a team of 6 could earn in the race.
How will the race unfold, and what strategies will riders employ in the second points race of round 2? Here’s what we predict:
- Early Sprint FAL and FTS: as mentioned above, the first 40 seconds of the race will be hectic, as some riders will go all-out to grab FAL points through the Champion’s Sprint. Per WTRL, the second time through this segment won’t count for FTS or FAL, so there are a lot of points on the line early on!
- Long Breakaway Attempts: expect riders to attack on the climb up to the lap banner just before hitting the Sgurr Summit South climb, and expect the same on the Sgurr Summit South climb itself. Lastly, look for riders trying to go free over the top of The Clyde Kicker just a couple minutes from the finish line.
- Strength-Based Efforts: this route has a bit of something for just about everyone… some 3-5 minute climbs, some punchy short climbs, and two sprints. Many riders will just ride efficiently on segments that don’t suit them, while going all-in on the segments that do.
- Attritional Sgurr Climbs: the two Sgurr climbs will stretch out the pack and snap the elastic. Expect the two biggest selections of the race to happen here.
- Pure Survival: this is a tough course, and some riders will simply try to survive in the front group to the finish. But be warned: intermediate points make up almost 3/4 of the race’s points, so if your team isn’t chasing intermediates, you will lose.
Any insights or further thoughts on this race? Share below!