Volcano Climb After Party combines the popular Volcano Flat and Volcano Climb routes to create a profile which is quite flat until the finishing climb. You'll need pure watts and pack skills to stay with the front group for a few laps around Watopia's shoreline, but that's not enough! In the end, holding high watts per kilogram is essential for a winning effort to the top of the Volcano.
What follows is a detailed look at key sections of this route from a racer's perspective. US Zwift champion Claudia Behring has generously shared some pointers, so we know you'll find this quick tour's tips useful when race day arrives!
Route Length: 24.9 miles // 40km
Elevation Gain: 875' // 266m
Here's how Claudia summarizes the route:
"To do well here you need to have strong 6 to 8-minute power and be great at staying relaxed in a bunch. The two loops of Volcano Flat are a good 36km lead-in to the climb with a couple bumps that will have you off the back if you are not paying attention. The goal for that first portion of the race is usually to expend as little energy as possible since it will be pretty much full gas for 6 to 8 minutes when you get to the base of the finishing climb."
#1: The Start
The start is as flat as you'll find on Zwift, but it is also fast as the strongest riders work to create a selection. Expect a fast start and be warmed up before the race starts.
If you're barely hanging on, don't blow up early. Find a wheel you can hold, and use the pack's draft to your advantage. An aero helmet or van power-up can help take the edge off the fast start, which typically settles down once the group drops down the Ocean Boulevard tunnel.
#2: Climb Out of the Tunnel
300m, ~3% grade
When the road makes a hard right, be ready for a short, hard effort climbing out of the tunnel. Keep that power up as the group hits the flat dirt and accelerates. Strong riders will often attack here.
This is a common place to get dropped when you burn a match climbing out of the tunnel and can't sustain the effort over the flat dirt into the fishing village. Visibility is poor due to dust, so watch that rider list and don't let gaps open up!
#3: Climb Out of the Fishing Village
1.2 miles // 1.9km, ~1% grade
The slight grade of this section will bump the group's wattage up, and riders attacking may force a response as well. Ride within yourself, and if you're struggling grab a wheel and do your best to stay in the pack. The refreshing waterfall of the Italian Villas is coming up soon, just hold on!
#4: The Dirty Descent
300m long, -2.5%
The serpentine dirt descent at the Italian Villas is a popular surprise attack point due to poor visibility brought on by dust and hairpin turns. Mind your position in the pack and watch for gaps which may open up.
If one rider goes off the front here the group will catch them on the flat land bridge just ahead. But mind the gap: if you get dropped by the group here you may never claw your way back.
#5: Volcano Ramp
100m long, ~5% grade
Watts will jump into the orange numbers on this short bump, so try to start near the front of the pack and don't let yourself get dropped off the back. The short false flat following this ramp means you may need to keep your power up for another ~30 seconds until the group descends into the volcano.
#6: Volcano CCW Ramp
200m long, ~5% grade
On your final lap the group will hang a right onto this ramp. With everyone anticipating the Volcano climb just a few minutes ahead, attacks on this section should be muted. Maintain your position in the group and prepare yourself for the climb to come.
#7: Volcano Climb
2.3 miles // 3.7km, 3.2% grade
Time to use all that power you've been conserving. Claudia says, "When you get to the base of the climb, it will be pretty much full gas for 6 to 8 minutes."
With some short flat sections on this climb you may want to use the draft to your advantage. Got a feather power-up? Now is the time to use it, especially at the very end when the road kicks up to its steepest gradient just before the banner.
Claudia explains, "You do get some drafting benefits when climbing, so depending on how you want to play your cards and how good you are with 6 to 8 minute power, plan to dig super deep or let someone else set the pace and sit on their wheel for a slight tow up most of the corkscrew of the volcano climb until it's an all in sprint to win at the finish banner."
We hope you've enjoyed this Race Recon. The goal of this series is to explain the features that make each Zwift route uniquely challenging for racers. Previously we looked at London's Classique. Be sure to read that post for more tips!