Racing

Race Recon: Watopia Tempus Fugit

on October 27, 2020

Hot, dry, and fast: Tempus Fugit was designed as a time trial course through the Fuego Flats desert, but it hosts some zippy road races as well. As the flattest route on Zwift, it's a brilliant choirce if you're looking for a steady, hard effort. Enjoy the sites while you're at it - the old-time steam engine, oasis fossils, and elusive roadrunner can all be found if you know where to look!

Remember these top tips for Zwift racing (most apply outside as well!)

  1. Warm up because the start is a hard effort
  2. Use the draft to conserve energy whenever possible
  3. Attack every punchy climb to avoid being dropped
  4. Know the route so you can pace yourself, move to the front before important climbs, etc
  5. Save a useful powerup for the finish

What follows is a detailed look at the key sections of the Tempus Fugit route from C racer Shane Stent. Follow his tips in order to get your best result on race day!



Length: 10.7 miles // 17.3km
Elevation Gain: 52' // 16m
Lead-In: 1.5 miles // 2.4km

Here's how Shane introduces this route:

The course itself is flat and fast and serves as a phenomenal chance to work on tactics and, more importantly, how to ride in a pack. At 17.3km per lap and only 16m of elevation gain, the proverbial pedal will be down the whole time with a lot of folks taking their swings at the front. So settle in with an efficient pedal stroke and breathing pattern to be successful as you race across the desert landscape.


#1: The Start

Warming up before your race is essential, as the pace will be hard and fast from the beginning since nobody is waiting for a climb up the road to break up the peloton. Strong riders will push early to drop hangers-on. Shane explains how his starts typically shake out:

"At 15 seconds to go, take some breaths and quiet the voices in your head questioning why you are doing this. At five seconds to go, wind up those legs to at least 3.5 w/kg and understand that you are about to enter the pain cave. Work fast to find a wheel and settle in for what is sure to be a fast and aggressive ride. Most races are formed early on so pay attention. Watch those splits."


#2: The Oasis

300m, 1-2% gradient

The group will settle into a pace along the straight, flat sections all the way through the ghost town with its train stop. When the canyon walls surround you, there's a bit of an effort coming up.

Shane explains, "You will cross through some rocks and tackle the biggest "climb" this course has to offer. Pay attention here. It's a very small rise but can throw people enough of a change in pace/power that gaps start to form. You can tackle this change with a slight push out of the saddle."


#3: Back Through the Oasis

300m, 1-2% gradient

"Get back into your groove and chew up the kilometers as you steam towards the turnaround," says Shane. "Again, Tempus Fugit is great chance to work on pack riding and riding posture/breathing/pedaling. Be efficient with all aspects. Pay attention to those aspects that need work and then drill, drill, drill."

After the turnaround in Saddle Springs you'll head toward the start/finish, which means another little effort through the oasis rise. Don't let gaps open ahead, and as Shane says, do your best to ride efficiently. You'll need those matches for the finish!


#5: The Finish

The layout of Tempus Fugit is a bit different than most routes, and understanding how it works will give you a leg up on the competition. Shane explains, "Once you cross the finish banner the first time, you will have roughly 2km remaining. You will pass through the finish line and then loop back around."

"Ideally, you are already sitting in a good spot for the sprint and have chosen wheels to draft from and follow," says Shane. "Once you circle the cliff dwellings, you will have 500m to go. Depending on the length of your sprint, it's close to commitment time. Give it all you got and bring it home.

The final sprint is a false flat, and riders often go too hard too early. Be patient, and use your van or aero helmet powerup to maximum effect. Good luck!


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. Looking for more? See our complete list of Zwift Race Recons.