Our "Mighty Metropolitan" route takes you past some key Big Apple landmarks including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and our very own futuristic "Manhattan Megadome". Enjoy the stunning visuals of the glass New York skyway, and be ready for an all-out effort up the reverse KOM!
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 a useful power-up for the finish
What follows is a detailed look at key sections of this route from a racer's perspective. Top A Zwift racer and outdoor cat 1 rider Timmy Bauer has shared some tips for this course, so we know you'll enjoy this race recon. Remember these tips so you can achieve your best results when racing the Mighty Metropolitan!
Lap Length: 12.5 miles // 20km
Elevation Gain Per Lap: 1040' // 317m
Here's how Timmy describes the sort of racer who might prefer the Mighty Metropolitan:
"This course is punchy but a strong sprinter can prevail since none of the climbs are more than 2-1/2 minutes long. It also suits a strong rouleur who can follow breakaways but also sprint."
Strategy and vigilance play an important part here. Timmy explains, "This course could favor a group of riders that commit to a breakaway effort, but with the climbing being so short and punchy it also can stay together for a fast sprint finish. Use your powerUps wisely as there are not a lot of chances to get new ones on this course, and be careful not to get caught out on one of the many short steep punches."
#1: The Start
With a substantial climb up the road, the Mighty Metropolitan race starts are usually a bit tamer than those of flatter routes. But that doesn't mean it's an easy roll out! Come into the starting pens nicely warmed up and ready for a hard effort from the gun.
#2: Skyway Climb
800m long, 7% average grade
As we turn onto the glass skyway, things take a turn for the climbers. You're immediately greeted with the second-longest climb on course which takes you up from ground level to the dizzying heights of the skyway.
Once you've finished the first climb, a few more kickers await before the big KOM. Timmy advises, "The first skyway section has three small punches all with 10% or more gradient. It's key not to get caught out here and stay towards the front of the bunch in the draft, as having to chase on here will cost you matches you don’t want to use before the KOM."
#3: Reverse KOM
.7 miles // 1.1km long, 6% average gradient
Timmy says, "The reverse KOM is a short punchy effort of 2 to 2-1/2 minutes (for top racers) with the steepest part towards the top of the climb maxing at 15%."
The initial climbs will break up the pack somewhat, but the Reverse KOM climb is where the big moves will happen.
"Keep in mind there is a small effort as you approach the climb so be ready," Timmy says. "The best place to put the power down is toward the top, but the draft is very important on this climb due to the flat sections. So commit and don’t let gaps open up!"
#4: Descent from KOM
.85 miles // 1.4km long, -6.4% average grade
You made it to the KOM banner--but don't let off the gas just yet! Timmy explains, "The descent is a little tricky as it does not start right away so it’s important to stay on the power through the KOM banner and over the top."
There is a place here for a bit of recovery as you descend, but remain vigilant and be ready to apply some power whenever the road flattens out. Here's how Timmy describes the situation: "The descent it short-lived with flat sections scattered throughout. So again it’s very important to stay on the power so you do not have to waste energy closing gaps."
#5: West Drive Climbs
.6 miles // 1km long, 4% average gradient
Descend from the skyway onto the Central Park pavement for the final short efforts before the finish. First you will hit a punchy climb around 200 meters in length. Keep your speed up and over this kicker, then recover on the short descent before starting the final climb before the finish.
This climb not especially long or steep, but riders who don't fancy a bunch sprint may attack here and try to stay away for the remaining 2 miles // 3.5km.
Timmy warns, "Watch for moves here as the finish is not far away."
#6: The Finish
300m long, 6% average grade
Timmy says, "The finish is fast and will favor someone in position but with enough patience to hit the Cat's Paw Hill full gas. The cobbled section is a good landmark to get positioned and ready for the sprint. After it, you have the final left-hander into a fast ramp of a finish."
Most races on Mighty Metropolitan are 2 laps long, so if you're heading into another lap be ready to hammer up this short, steep climb.
Final lap? This is a tough uphill finish, so if you've saved an aero helmet, van, or even feather power-up this is the place to use it! Build speed on the flatter run-up, then hammer it home as the road gets steeper. Good luck!
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. Previously we looked at Watopia's Big Loop Reverse. Be sure to read that post for more tips!