Daren Chandisingh has been riding a bike since he was 3 years old. He rode to school, later rode to work, and now rides for both transportation and recreation. The 52-year-old is a resident of northwest England and a long-time visitor of Watopia.
“I first heard about Zwift in late 2014 or early 2015 when it first hit the cycling press,” he says. “Didn’t get on until September 2015 when I got my smart trainer… I immediately loved it.”
One month later, he did his first century ride on Zwift. He had never ridden more than 70 miles outside, but he rode 112 virtual miles in a mission for More Than Sport. Chandisingh started group riding with World Social Riders and soon joined the emerging racing scene. These days, he uses his experience to help others out in the Zwift forums.
Over the years he’s taken several breaks from Zwift, so he still has plenty of room to level up. “Double XP sounds great,” he says - a bonus everyone will get while riding 2021 Tour of Watopia events!
Of all the worlds you can explore on Zwift, Chandisingh enjoys Watopia the most.
“Watopia has the greatest variety of any Zwift world and these routes illustrate that well,” he says. “Pan flat desert, green rolling hills, wooden bridges and pavé, and a snow-blown mountain. When a person is tired of Watopia, they are tired of life, to paraphrase Samuel Johnson.”
- Length: 9.1 km (5.7 miles)
- Elevation: 100 m (328 feet)
- Lead-In: 0.5 km (0.3 miles)
Why he loves it: “I do have a particular soft spot for the Hilly Loop – the original Watopia loop. I did my first century ride on that, indoor or out. Mostly, Hilly Loop is where the memories are. Hill repeats on the KOM, JWB (Julynn Washington Bridge), the Esses. Meeting at the start ready to roll out for a race. Ah, good times.”
Landmarks: “Scotty (the squirrel) on the garage springs to mind. He's still there right? I must check! The alien statues are hard to miss. I’ve always liked to imagine they were erected by a more intelligent ancient culture.”
Look out for the Julynn Washington Bridge, named after one of Zwift’s early beta testers, next to the Watopia sprint banner. The Esses are a series of rolling S-shaped turns near the finish of this route.
Alternatives: Turn around to try the Hilly Route Reverse, another classic Zwift race course. The longer Figure 8 and Figure 8 Reverse routes also include the same roads plus more.
- Length: 17.3 km (10.7 miles)
- Elevation: 16 m (52 feet)
- Lead-In: 2.4 km (1.5 miles)
Why he loves it: “If I want flat it’s Tempus Fugit. I probably ride Tempus Fugit more than anything at the moment. It’s always busy, plenty of people to draft, fastest, flattest route available I think so it also maximises the XP gains.”
Landmarks: “The roadrunner and train in the desert.”
The Fuego Flats desert also features dinosaur fossils, cliffside ruins, a Western-themed town, a Space Age-themed town, and more.
Road to Sky
- Length: 17.3 km (10.7 miles)
- Elevation: 1045 m (3,428 feet)
- Lead-In: 0.1 km (0.1 miles)
Why he loves it: “If I’m climbing I’ll go up Alpe du Zwift. Alpe du Zwift is just an iconic mountain. It's challenging without being ridiculous, and the ‘free’ XP on the descent is nice. As a longtime fan of the Tour de France I was really happy to get it in-game. Still haven't managed 25 ascents, but I did do half an Everest on it. It's the only road in Zwift I've ridden in real life too.”
Landmarks: “The yeti up the Alpe. Well, I'm told he's there. Between you and me, I've never seen him. It might be a massive coordinated troll!”
Alternative: For a longer warmup before the Alpe du Zwift, consider the Tour of Fire and Ice route. It circles around the base of Watopia’s volcano before heading to the mountain.