The second race and first TTT of Zwift Racing League 2022/23 Round 3 happens Tuesday, January 17th on Watopia’s “The Magnificent 8” route. If you’re a ZRL veteran, you may have raced this route as a TTT twice before: once in the very first round of ZRL, and again in the third round. Now we’re here on our ninth round, racing it with TT bikes for the first time. Course PRs will certainly be set.
Let’s dig into the race, including looking at crucial sections of the route and tips for bike choice and strategy.
Looking at the Route: The Magnificent 8
If you’re a ZRL veteran, you may remember that we’ve raced this route as a TTT twice before: once in the very first round of ZRL, and again in the third round. Now we’re here on our ninth round, racing it with TT bikes for the first time. Course PRs will certainly be set.
The Magnificent 8 is 29.1km long, with 155m of elevation according to WTRL. It’s a fairly flat course, but there is one proper climb and a few other bumps you’ll need to be aware of.
Here are some DS notes, taken straight from a previous recon post from good ol’ Sherpa Dave:
0km: 500m start. Get in formation.
500m: 500m incline at 2%. Ride in formation.
1km: 3.8km mostly flat. Ride in formation.
4.9km: 900m dirt road (Dirty Sorpressa). 300m flat then 3-5% incline. Stay together.
5.6km: 500m uphill averaging 2%, peaking at 4%. Ride in formation.
6.1km: 1.1km downhill to bridge then flat. Ride in formation.
7.2km: Hilly KOM Reverse. 900m sharp ascent peaking at 12%. Regroup as grade allows.
8.3km: Hilly KOM Reverse. 1.5km technical ascent. Stay together.
9.5km: 1km descent ends at bridge.
10.5km: 12.3km mostly flat thru the desert. Ride in formation.
22.9km: Col du Saddle Springs. 900m at 2.5%. Stay together.
23.7km: 6.2km to finish from top of Col. Descend, regroup, and ride in formation.
Read more about The Magnificent 8 route >
Bike Frame + Wheel Choice
This week, bike choice is easy: grab your most aero TT setup! The newish CADEX Tri is the fastest frame in game by a solid margin, and the DT Swiss disc wheels are the fastest wheels. If you don’t have access to that setup (level 42+) then see this post to determine the fastest TT setup available at your level.
Whatever you do, do not use a road frame. Even a “slow” TT frame is faster than a road frame, so now that we’re able to use TT frames and get a draft in TTT events, you’ll want to take advantage of that!
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 Magnificent 8 events.
Looking for a video recon? See below…
Team Time Trialing on Zwift is a challenging mixture of physical strength, proper pacing, and Zwift minutiae like picking a fast bike and understanding drafting.
Flatter courses like this week give valuable seconds to teams who can keep their speeds high over the short rollers and false flats that pepper the route. Staying in formation while surging your power for these rises is a challenge, especially if riders use various Trainer Difficulty settings.
Extended climbs like this week’s Hilly KOM Reverse also present an opportunity to gain or lose lots of time over a short distance. You will want a target pace and attack plan for this section, to ensure your team is climbing as fast as possible.
Your goal in a ZRL TTT is to get four riders across the line in the shortest time possible. That means every team’s pace plan will be different, based on the abilities of each rider. We highly recommend having an experienced DS on Discord directing your team, especially if your team contains some inexperienced TTT riders.
If you really want to go down the TTT rabbit hole, check out Paul Fitzpatrick’s zwift-ds.com site and particularly the Excel Power Planner sheet.
Any insights or further thoughts on this race? Share below!