Watopia's "Two Bridges Loop" is a short route with one key climb that hosts most of the attacks. But racers have to keep their eyes open as rolling roads and the JWB Sprint Reverse can wreak havoc on the peloton if strong riders are feeling spicy!
At just 7km/4.4 miles per loop most races are 3-6 laps, leading to a 40-50 minute race for most categories.
Remember these top tips for Zwift racing (most apply outside as well!)
- Warm up because the start is a hard effort
- Use the draft to conserve energy whenever possible
- Attack every punchy climb to avoid being dropped
- Know the route so you can pace yourself, move to the front before important climbs, etc
- Save useful powerups and deploy them strategically
What follows is a detailed breakdown of the Two Bridges Loop from avid racer and Zwifty YouTuber Si Bradeley. Follow his tips to get your best result on race day!
#1: The Start
As with any race, a solid warmup is crucial before you head to the pens. Get that out of the way, then join the pens and wait for the clock to hit zero.
"The opening 2km are typically intense for this course as you immediately take the draggy road out of Watopia towards the Essess," explains Si. "You will see some riders continuing to push the pace through the rolling road of the Esses to try and gain advantage over some sprinters before the fast-approaching JWB sprint which follows a short descent off the rollers."
#2: JWB Sprint Reverse
180 meters, 0% average gradient
Does your race include sprint points? This short, fast sprint with a downhill lead-in is all about positioning and timing. Si says, "Ensuring great position on the short descent from the rollers is crucial. Be sure to be at full speed and power as you take the left turn over the bridge if you are going for the sprint points!"
Not chasing sprint points? You still need to be careful here as Si warns, "If you're going for the overall finish line victory, you still need to be pushing the pace and ensuring you're in contact with the front group through this sprint segment. Be cautious of splits in the group."
#3: Sprint to Climb Transition
2 kilometers // 1.2 miles, rolling profile
Following the super fast JWB sprint, you will roll through the Italian villas and head toward the KOM Reverse. The short rollers climbing out of the Italian villas can be challenging if you're chasing back to the group after a hard sprint, which is another reason why properly executing your JWB sprint effort is crucial!
Stay with your group up the rollers, then enjoy a bit of recovery as you descend and cross the bridge to Hank's gas station where the loop's main climb begins.
#4: KOM Reverse
700 meters, 4% average gradient
"Although only taking on the lower parts of the KQOM, this is the steepest, grippiest part of this climb and the obvious place to attack if you're looking to reduce the peloton," explains Si. "At only 700m in length, expect a short but intense effort as you take the tight right-hand turn past the iconic giant statue."
Once over the top you quickly turn left onto the newer bypass road which tilts downward, letting you gain speed before hitting super-tuckable velocity on the steeper descent that follows.
#5: The Finish
0% average gradient
This course lends itself well to longer finishing attacks. Si explains, "The finish line comes within 1.5km of the bypass road, and often riders who have pushed the pace and lined out the peloton on the climb continue to press on down the descent and towards the finish."
How do you maximize your chance of victory? "Surf those wheels and keep yourself in the front 5-10 riders as you loop around the KOM forward descent and roll back into downtown Watopia," Si says. "Watch out for those early moves as you approach the final 500m and then it's all about timing and execution to maximise your chance of victory."
A helpful powerup such as an aero boost or draft boost wouldn't hurt, either. Good luck, racers!
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.