The third race of Zwift Racing League 2022/23 Round 2 happens Tuesday, November 22nd and we’re in Watopia, returning to the attritional Two Bridges Loop. Sprint points are crucial this week, but it’s the short climb on every lap that will force riders off the back and out of contention!
Let’s dig into the race, including tips for bike choice, powerups, strategy, and crucial segments.
Looking at the Route: Two Bridges Loop
One lap of this route is 7.1km (4.4 miles) long, with 73m (240′) of climbing. A/B categories will be racing 6 laps (42.9km/26.7 miles) and C/D racing 5 laps (35.8km/22.2 miles).
The race begins in downtown Watopia, riding in the reverse direction which takes us through the start/finish banner and up the short rise to The Esses. We’ll twist our way through these curves, hit the last short kicker, then descend to the JWB Sprint Reverse.
This is a short sprint (~10 seconds) with a downhill lead-in so speeds will be high and the aero powerup especially advantageous.
Strategically, this is a crucial part of the race since the sprint is awarding FAL points to the first 10 across the line on each lap, as well as FTS points to the 10 fastest through the segment for the overall race. This is the only intermediate on course, so make your choices wisely!
After the sprint we go through the cobbles of the Italian Village, then climb a few rollers past the waterfall. Most riders won’t be pushing the pace here, but sprinters who get away off the front on the intermediate may want to do so if attempting a long breakaway, perhaps on the final lap.
Soon enough we’ll arrive at the most crucial pinch point of the race course: a short climb up the start of Watopia’s KOM Reverse. The climb is ~700 meters long, averaging 4% gradient but pitching up to 11% at its steepest as it bends through the giant statues.
This short climb is what makes this an attritional race because the w/kg puncheurs will be putting in big digs to string out the pack and drop the pure wattage sprinters. If they’re successful in breaking up the pack, the front group will be able to grab those crucial FAL points and be better-positioned across the finish line.
Once you turn left atop the short climb it’s a shallow descent on the connecting road, then a steeper, supertuckable descent down the backside of the KOM. Speeds will stay high at the bottom of the descent proper as the road is still tilted slightly downhill. Then the road flattens out for the final ~350 meters to the start/finish line.
Riders will be awarded powerups through each segment banner, meaning we’ll get 2 powerup chances per lap for a total of 12 powerups for A/B, 10 for C/D. Three powerups will be randomly given out at each banner:
Aero Boost (helmet) (34%): makes you more aerodynamic (reduces your CdA by 25%) for 15 seconds. Use this if you’re contesting a sprint or attacking in the wind at high speed.
Draft Boost (van) (33%): increases the draft effect you are experiencing by 50% for 30 seconds. Use at higher speeds (flats and descents) when you are already drafting off another rider (since this powerup only helps when you are drafting.)
Lightweight (feather) (33%): reduces your weight by 10% for 15 seconds. Use on climbs, when weight matters the most.
Bike Frame + Wheel Choice
With a fast, flat finish and so many intermediate points on the fast, flat sprint, going with your most aero setup possible is the wisest choice here. See our handy “Fastest Frames and Wheels By Zwift Level” page to learn which bike setup is fastest at your current Zwift level.
If you want to give yourself just a bit of an edge on the crucial climb, or if you don’t have access to a disc wheelset, go with the Tron bike as it’s the fastest ride you’ve got access to.
More Route Recons
Many events are now being planned each weekend on the upcoming ZRL route. If you’re unfamiliar with this course, jump into an event and do some recon! Here’s a list of upcoming Two Bridges Loop events.
Looking for a video recon? Check out Si and Oli’s videos below…
Points Distribution, Two Bridges Loop
These charts show the maximum points a team of 6 could earn in the 6-lap A/B race.
As you consider team strategy for this race, keep in mind that 1) it’s one of the longest of the season, and we’ll be seeing riders dropped on every lap and 2) sprint intermediate points are hugely important, comprising 63.8% of the overall available points.
Here are a few predictions of strategies we’ll see deployed:
- Climbers attacking climbs: the only chance climbers will have to win this race will be dropping the sprinters on the key climb section. Look for climbers/puncheurs to put in big digs through the statues on every lap.
- Sprinters chasing intermediates: sprinters will be going all-in for those intermediate sprint points, especially that crucial FTS on the first lap when the pack is largest.
- Sprinters grouping up: some sprinters will get dropped, but their race isn’t over. They may still be able to grab FTS points if they’re riding with a fast enough group and have an aero powerup. Attempting a solo sprint won’t win you any points, but grouping up may do the trick!
- Long finish: the final go at the key climb will see some riders who don’t fancy their chances in a pack sprint pushing hard to drop others in their group so they can solo to glory. Be ready for a long final effort on the last ~2.4km of the race, and hold onto a useful powerup if you can!
Any insights or further thoughts on this race? Share below!