Every time a new Fondo, or an endurance challenge that includes tough routes such as the Uber Pretzel, Mega Pretzel, or PRL full comes up, I get very excited. I am a level 50 zwifter who does not like to race, but like tackling some long challenging routes. I am sure that there are a lot of zwifters like me.
Zwift currently organizes the eFondos which are popular as participation is often in the two hundreds according to my observation! It has three routes: Gran Fondo, Medio Fondo, and Bambino Fondo to ensure the events remain accessible to riders of all abilities. While other organizers have also hosted similar fondos on Zwift, they seem to be a rare occurrence.
Why Gran Fondos? In real life, I personally know a lot of people who are not willing to pay a registration fee of $40 to join a 100km bike race but are willing to pay more than $100 to register for a Gran Fondo of 100 miles. The reason? Aid stations and there is always someone to ride with and you rarely find yourself in a no-man’s land. What happens in real life also gets reflected in Zwift as I see more riders willing to do a gran Fondo challenge of 100+ kilometers than join a race for that distance. Riding with others really helps do such long challenges. Recently, I did the Uber Pretzel unbound challenge and it was an excellent ride as I was with a small group of riders including a zwift employee for almost the entire 128km.
Why not create more Gran Fondos? As a suggestion, such events can be held year-round and every alternative weekend with time slots to cover zwifters across every timezone.
- All routes need to be long with some challenging climbs. Example: Uber Pretzel, PRL Full, Mega Pretzel, etc.
- Create more custom routes for these Fondos.
- As with the previous events, there needs to be more route options to ensure that these fondos remain acessible to zwifters with varying abilities.
- Not a race, but riders can choose to treat these events as one.
What do you think?