The inaugural Zwift Racing League season begins next week, and the Zwift racing community is buzzing! Over 800 teams are signed up at last count, with perhaps 200 more coming on before the first race.

Find all the Zwift Racing League details at wtrl.racing >

Here are some key final details that may be helpful as we head into the start of Zwift Racing League Season 1…

Still Looking for a Team?

WTRL organizers have told me that riders looking for a team should post a little bit about themselves on this Facebook thread. Teams have been responding quickly to grab unaffiliated riders, but time is running out!

Race 1 (Heat 1?)

We’ve just spoken with Martin Carew at WTRL, and he explained that due to the high number of teams signed up, the first two races of this season will be more like qualifying heats than league races. Why? Because some of the timezones have 100+ teams signed up! (The WTRL Teams List shows 145 EMEA B teams currently registered, for example.)

WTRL and Zwift both agree that limiting each division to 20-30 teams is important for racer enjoyment. So for the first two races, divisions with 30+ teams registered will be divided up randomly into smaller groups who will race each other. These groups will race the Week 1 race as well as the Week 2 TTT, then be broken up into season 1 divisions of 20-30 teams based on their results.

Example: the EMEA W league has 145 B teams registered. These teams will be randomly grouped into ~5 subdivisions for the first two weeks, then sorted into permanent subdivisions (EMEA W B1, EMEA W B2, EMEA W B3, etc). When season 2 begins, relegation will happen within these subdivisions. So top B2 teams may move up to B1, while lower B3 teams may get relegated to B4.

It’s quite possible that points will not be allocated for these initial races, either, as it wouldn’t make sense to give points to teams then let those teams take those points to their newly-assigned division.

Week 1 Route Details

The first race of the series takes place on Watopia’s Big Foot Hills route, but racers won’t be completing the full 67.5 km (41.9 miles) route. Instead, race 1 will use two custom, shortened versions of the route which have racers finishing at the top of a KOM!

In terms of overall elevation, week 1’s race routes are the most difficult of the series. They’re also tied for the longest in terms of distance, meaning this week’s races will take more time to complete than any other race of the series.

Start Pen

Big Foot Hills begins at the Fuego Flats start pens with a lead-in of approximately 2.4 km (1.5 miles) to the actual route start line. Therefore, that lead-in distance should be added to the Strava segments below to calculate your overall race distance.

Intermediates

Intermediate points are available (5,4,3,2,1) for the first five across the line at the following locations:

  • Titan’s Grove Q/KOM
  • Hilly Q/KOM
  • Volcano Q/KOM (Premier/A/B only, since this is the finish line for C/D teams)

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Premier, A, and B Teams: Big Foot Hills 50km Custom Route

The custom route used by the Premier, A, and B division teams ends with a climb up the Titans Grove KOM Reverse. Total elevation gain is 515m (1689′).

We’ve created a Strava segment for this route, and here’s a Veloviewer profile:

C and D Teams: Big Foot Hills 30km Custom Route

The custom route used by the C and D division teams ends with a climb up the Volcano KOM. Total elevation gain is 365m (1196′).

We’ve created a Strava segment for this route, and here’s a Veloviewer profile:

Frame and Wheelset Choice

Make no mistake: week 1’s races will be won on the climbs. And not just the finishing climbs – the intermediate efforts will certainly drop the majority of riders, leaving a small selection to battle it out up the final KOM.

So do you go with the lightest possible setup, in order to have every advantage on those climbs? Strangely enough – no!

None of the climbs are long or steep enough for a lightweight setup to make a significant difference in the climb time. Here are some timings from tests we ran this week (75k rider at 300 watts steady, no drafting):

Canyon Aeroad with Lightweight Meilenstein wheels (the lightest setup available in game):

  • Volcano KOM: 8:17
  • Hilly KOM: 2:37
  • Titans KOM: 4:57
  • Titans KOM Rev: 2:12
  • Total Lap Time (full Big Foot Hills route): 1:45:03

Specialized Venge S-Works with Zipp 858/Super9 wheels (the most aero setup available in game):

  • Volcano KOM: 8:17
  • Hilly KOM: 2:38
  • Titans KOM: 4:56
  • Titans KOM Rev: 2:12
  • Total Lap Time (full Big Foot Hills route): 1:43:52

Tron bike:

  • Volcano KOM: 8:16
  • Hilly KOM: 2:38
  • Titans KOM: 4:56
  • Titans KOM Rev: 2:12
  • Total Lap Time (full Big Foot Hills route): 1:43:54

Canyon Aeroad with DT Swiss ARC wheels (a solid ‘all arounder’ setup):

  • Volcano KOM: 8:16
  • Hilly KOM: 2:37
  • Titans KOM: 4:57
  • Titans KOM Rev: 2:12
  • Total Lap Time (full Big Foot Hills route): 1:44:25

With the climbs on these routes being short and/or flat enough that overall speeds will stay high, your most efficient setup will be whatever is most aero. Go with the most aero frame you can get, and the most aero wheelset. The new Canyon Aeroad 2021 is a great choice to give you a slight edge on the climbs without taking a hit on the flats. And the Tron bike is an excellent choice here as well.

Questions or Comments?

Share your comments below! Questions about ZRL are best directed to the WTRL Zwift Racing League Facebook page.