A few notes from Pretzelfest. I’m always excited to see longer fundo type events like this, especially mid-week when they are hard to find. If you like this type of event, you should definitely try the BMTR Mini Fundo and BMTR Fundo rides on weekends.
These events use categories for distance, not your racing category. You will (of course) want to enter the A category of stages 1 and 2 if you haven’t completed the Watopia Pretzel or the London Pretzel, so you can pick up the route badge and a bucket of XP. The stage 3 long route is not a full circuit of the Mega Pretzel so you will have to ride another 34km or so after the event ends to get the badge (and the 100km jersey if you don’t have it).
Although this is a group ride, not a race, it does have a leaderboard, and some riders will ride it fast. If you care about being on the leaderboard, you have to wear an HRM. This is the first group ride I’ve seen that has an HRM requirement for results.
Pacing: I did this route for the first time in June, riding alone at an average of 151w (just over 2w/kg) for 3:06. During today’s event, I averaged 169w (2.28w/kg) over 2:48. The field was not huge but I was able to link up with 3-4 riders at various times for a bit of draft. There was a fair bit of solo riding (unlike the BMTR events which always offer plenty of company).
Equipment: you’ll go down everything you ride up, and there are significant flat sections, so if you’re shooting for the best overall time and don’t want to change bikes, you will want to use your best all-rounder frame and wheels. Tron bike if you have it; if not, something like the Canyon Aeroad with DT Swiss 62 wheels. If you’re just gunning for KOMs, go lighter.
Kit: all riders will show up in the Pretzelfest lederhosen, plus hat and socks and shoes. If you complete the first ride, you’ll get to keep the lederhosen and socks. See the ZwiftInsider writeup for details on unlocks.
Is it confirmed that the partial Mega Pretzel ride starts at the beginning of the full Mega Pretzel route, so we can finish the group ride and just carry on rolling, autonavigating to get the route badge, legs permitting?
Yeah, odd. I rode stages 1 and 2 (no HRM), and was filtered out of Zwift Power results. Doesn’t award points for places (non race) and still awards unlocked kit and other bits; hard to understand why an HR required yet didn’t mention that requirement in Zwift event description—only in synopsis on Zwift Power. I think this is the only time I actually looked at my results in Zwift app
Stage 3 starts today, and this one unlocks a very fine hat, one of the best in the game. It has feathers, and feathers are very aerodynamic (or birds would not fly).
Stage 2 was OK - I did the short course for completeness, having recently ridden the London Pretzel and not being a fan of the London world cityscape. The short course ends before either of the climbs, so it’s mostly flat.
Stage 3 will provide good motivation for finishing the Mega Pretzel if you haven’t already done it. You’ll just have to add on 30-odd kilometers after the event ends. I rode it this summer and I’m not sure I’m ready to repeat it. But the hat is a must-have.
Ugh, you are right - I had to get the hat. After getting completely decimated in the Rankings Test race yesterday (like dead last) I needed something slow paced like a group ride to just relax. So I decided to get the hat on the shortest pretzel ride possible.
Me as timer is ticking down: “I’m just gonna go slow, keep it a nice light ride. Just want the hat, really just need the hat. No need to push at all.”
Me as countdown timer hits 0: “I may as well punch to start in case the overall pace is nice and slow, I’ll just draft off the group.”
Me as first group starts to separate: “Hmm, the next group is falling back pretty fast, I should probably stick with this group for just a bit.”
–somehow sticks with front group until epic KOM–
Me at bottom of Epic KOM: “Oh crap, legs are already shot, I guess I’ve blown my recovery ride, may as well keep with this guy doing a silly amount of w/kg as long as I can up the KOM”.
Me at the end looking at all the red and yellow in the profile: “What is wrong with me??”.