GRAN FONDO Feb 2021 Mega Pretzel

Lame question, but does this weekends mega pretzel length gran fondo route unlock the route badge? Not that stoked about the route (fondo’s should let you finish like a hero on a flat - I mean we’re all a little slow enough already) but it would be cool to ride with a bunch of people on it.


You should get the badge if you complete the entire route.

Thanks Nigel.

Any thoughts on best bike pick for this route? Should one switch bikes at any points?

Appreciate any recommendations.


It’s long but as there’s no alpe the amount of climbing is not horrendous (1600m in 107km) Plus in a fondo there should be enough other riders to get in a decent sized group

I’d go for the Tron if you have it, if not then another all rounder bike like the Aerod would be good. I definitely wouldn’t change bikes

A change to a Mountain Bike for the Jungle Circuit should always be considered.


Thanks Simon and Thomas,
Sounds like all rounder is best.
Will probably go with Tron or Specialized Venge S-Works. Might change to gravel bike in jungle but only if others are stopping, don’t want to lose the group on a ride this long.

If you change to an MTB and not a gravel bike, and do that change quickly, then you’ll soon catch up anyone who stays on a road bike.

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Thanks Steve!

If you’re in a decent group I’d stay on the road bike. You’ll easily catch them again after the change but then you’ll lose them when you change back, unless you dash ahead just before but getting the timing right for that is hard

The problem with that strategy isn’t catching the group up on the gravel part of the route. It’s getting dropped when you get back to the tarmac and you’ve got to swap back to your road bike.

I’m going to do my level best to do the entire route with the absolute minimum number of stops. Hopefully I can find a nice group that settles down to a comfortable watts/kg pace and grinds out the kilometres in peace and good humour.

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True. But it depends what everyone else does. You may be able to get ahead of some riders who stay on road bikes, where you can then get back in with them once you change back to the road bike and they catch you up, for example.

There will be multiple groups, right?

The time to change between bikes twice (if you do it quickly, and remember to use the Pairing screen to slam your brakes on so that you’re stopped and can do the change) will probably still be less than the time you gain on a lap of the jungle.

Each to their own, of course.

I rode in the January Gran Fondo and had a nice little group with me.
Then we hit the dirt in the jungle. I stopped and switched to MTB. They didn’t.
The group was then ~20s away. I catched them before the big bridge :smiley:
Tried to hang with them, but they were just ‘too slow’
So I was way ahead of them, when I hit the tarmac and changed back.
I had to stop and wait near the windmills.
Then we finished the Gran Fondo together.

Changing to MTB for the jungle always pays off. Always.


The time to change between bikes twice (if you do it quickly, and remember to use the Pairing screen to slam your brakes on so that you’re stopped and can do the change) will probably still be less than the time you gain on a lap of the jungle.

Each to their own, of course.

OK. You’ve convinced me. I’m going to think very hard about doing the bike switch.

I have very mixed feelings about the Jungle Loop section of Watopia. Sometimes it feels as if the entire loop is uphill. I know, from personal experience, that Mountain and Gravel biking is very different from riding on the blacktop. I’m just not totally sold on the way Zwift has chosen to represent that in the game.

I’ll have to do a couple of practice bike swaps tomorrow to see what the “pit stop delta” is. And then factor that into the total amount of off-road mileage, and the speed benefit you get from using a mountain-bike chassis.

I keep hoping someone smarter than me is going to do the math on this and save me the bother…

As ever, Zwift Insider has done the maths…

I have mixed feelings about publicizing the advantage of the MTB bike switch as it has been a very effective secret weapon. The 60 second delta is hard for anyone to make up when you get back on the road. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

In the TdZ Stage 7 event, I started on the MTB and a number riders were on road bikes. I was 141st when we got to the dirt and was about 50th 2km in. When you look at the results of the event, there were a lot of riders behind me that put down nearly 1w/kg more average power in the ride. It’s the only time I get to pass A and B riders during an event. I’d rather that didn’t go away… :rofl:

Big Picture: Picking up 30 seconds here or there switching bikes in the Jungle Loop isn’t really top of my priorities.

This is a Grand Fondo effort. I know I need to do a couple of super-long endurance rides in order to maximise my fitness for next summer. So most of this is going to be Zone 2 stuff. If the pack rides away from me - so be it. I know I can finish. I know how much climbing and sprinting I can do at Zone 3, 4, and 5. And I know what my FTP is. Pretending its something that it isn’t is just going to end up making me unhappy.

I just want to have a fun ride. Maybe have a few laughs. Knock off another Zwift route Badge. I’m planning on having a good time tomorrow morning. Hope some other folks are too.


For an effort like this I would prefer some drafting :disappointed_relieved::disappointed_relieved::disappointed_relieved:

I rode a mtb for the first time in the jungle on TDZ Sgt 7 yesterday. It made a huge difference compared to the tron I was originally riding. If you can make a quick swap, go for it.


You and me both… :smile:

The good thing about Zwift is this: There are something like 450 people signed up for the Gran Fondo I’m doing a little later today. I’m pretty sure at least some of them are going to be at a level comparable to me on the bike. Some (a lot) will certainly be faster. A few will be slower. But no one signs up for a 107 km ride without a reasonable level of fitness and experience on the bike.

There isn’t really a “worst case” here. No one is going to get hit and killed by a car. No one is going to crash into another rider. It’s just an opportunity to do a virtual ride with people from around the world. People we’d probably never meet under any other circumstances, but who all share a love and fascination with riding and fitness.

I’ve got to go fill up my bidons, grab a couple of towels, pack some energy bars, and put a dab of lube on various bits on my rig.

Ride On!!