Watopia: Six Jersey Challenge

It didn’t start out as an obsession. It started as just another opportunity to visit Watopia and check out the new update, but once you get the taste of the challenge it is hard not to go back for another serving. The question is, “Will you taste victory or will Watopia chew you up and spit you out?”

The new feature of being able to drive the Zwift engine from your power meter while allowing Zwift to control you smart trainer is a welcome addition. The setup was easy and I had my Quarq crank based power meter connected in no time. I then brought my Wahoo Fitness Kickr smart trainer online and I was ready to go.

Now my Quarq was telling Zwift how fast to take me along the course. Zwift was then telling the Kickr what resistance to provide my drivetrain. This allowed me to avoid the negatives of the Kickr (primarily due to how it deals with inertia) while enjoying its advantages in making the online experience more true to life. Combining the two really is the best of both worlds.

I started out the ride in social mode. However, when I reached the original Green Jersey sprint zone, I just had to give it a go. The 26 second leader’s time was just too tempting. I took on green with a 23 second time.

Then the thought began to creep into my mind… “What if I go for a Green/KOM reverse KOM/Green jersey combination?” I wasn’t thinking Orange at this point. That seemed too far out since I could see the Orange Jersey leader’s time was somewhere around 13:50.

So, I went for a second lap and gave the Polka Dot Jersey a good go. Yes! It wasn’t a PR, but at 107 seconds, it was pretty respectable. I now owned two of the jerseys. It was now time to turn around.

I went back to my black Century Jersey as I completed the turn. This was going to be a lap at speed. By this time, I was getting greedy. No longer was a quadruple jersey enough. I wanted more. I wanted five jerseys!

Everything went as planned. By the time I finished the reverse lap I had the Green Jersey at under 12 seconds, the Polka Dot Jersey at just over 4 minutes, and the Orange Jersey with a time of 14:34. Five jerseys were now mine.

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You know what that means.

I just had to go for one last attempt at the Orange Jersey on the original direction course. It would mean a non-assisted PR for me, but if I didn’t at least try… So, I pushed the reverse button and lined up for my attempt.

I barely got rolling when a notification popped up on my screen. Someone had stolen my KOM jersey on the segment I was about to climb! What!?! How dare he take my jersey! To make matters worse, he crushed me by a full 7 seconds. Talk about adding insult to injury!

Well, no matter, I was probably going to have to land a fast time up the climb in order to obtain a sub-fourteen second full lap. I’d just have to go up there and wrestle it away from this interloper to what was rightfully mine! Who was he to stand in the way of my ambitions!?!

I hit the base of the climb “turning my pedals in anger.” I could recover on the other side, but this was do-or-die. If I didn’t get this jersey back, it wouldn’t make any difference if I got the Orange one.

I’ve done this one so many times, I know where I need to be at each little marker along the way. I could see that I was tracking for a very close one. At the final marker, my heart race increased… not just because of the effort, but also because I could see this would be success of failure by a hair!

I put my head down and gave all I had to the line. My Six Jersey Challenge attempt all rested on these last few meters. Would I make it?

You’ll have to watch the video.