By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 03/09/2023; Updated 03/09/2023

For Week Ten of the Thursday night race series, we joined the Stage One of the Tour of Watopia for a lap of the Triple Flat Loops course of about 22 miles. This course winds its way through almost all the flatlands of Watopia, with just a few tiny climbs here and there, and the event adds special features including a brief section in dinosaur costumes, and a boatload of double-duration powerups.

Like the flat course we did in Week One, this route looks easy on paper, but turns out to be tough in practice, with a front group of A-level riders pushing hard the whole way, and giving it extra juice on each little climb. We started with 250+ riders, and still had a huge front group of around 50 when we hit the costume-change banner at around mile two, and everyone was swapped into giant puffy dino costumes. This might have worked well in a smaller event, but in a big group it was a disaster, with the giant costumes merging and overlapping on the screen into a sea of chaos, making it almost impossible to keep track of where you were in the pack. Fortunately this only lasted a mile or so, and then we were swapped back into our regular identical kits, which felt like a big relief.

After the first few pancake-flat miles, we hit the first little climb out of the desert, and this started to take its toll on the front group. Tim slipped off on the climb I think, and Melissa got spat out on the descent. After that, each little climb claimed another handful of riders, and by the end we were down to about 25, with Dusty and I still clinging to the front group (behind a couple of miscalibrated ZwiftPower flyers off the front). I had uncharacteristically good positioning on the lead-in to the finish, and managed 11th place in the sprint, behind a bunch of mostly A-level riders in the top 10. Dusty was right behind, followed by Zinj, who was caught on his own in no-man’s-land for the last few miles. Melissa, Tim, and Michael all finished easily within the top half of the field.

I had the best finishing place, but Melissa’s bonus points got her the top spot on the podium (top female finisher overall, too!) and Tim, still riding his Category-C bonus points, grabbed the #2 spot. Nice work everyone in a tough race!

  1. Melissa Warwick (B) – 28 of 257 – 122.2 points
  2. Tim Downey (C) – 46 of 257 – 107.2 points
  3. Jonathan O’Keeffe (B) – 11 of 257 – 100.9 points
  4. Dusty King (B) – 15 of 257 – 99.3 points
  5. Zinj Guo (B) – 22 of 257 – 96.4 points
  6. Michael Bello (C) – 98 of 257 – 80.9 points
  1. Jonathan O’Keeffe (10 races) – 863.5 points
  2. Dusty King (10 races) – 833.4 points
  3. Zinj Guo (10 races) – 828.5 points
  4. Melissa Warwick (8 races) – 695.6 points
  5. Tim Downey (7 races) – 661.1 points
  6. Henry van den Broek (6 races) – 391.9 points
  7. Mark Hewitt (4 races) – 357.8 points
  8. Scott Yarosh (2 races) – 198.3 points
  9. Chris Stratton (2 races) – 140.6 points
  10. Jay Gump (1 race) – 98.4 points
  11. Michael Bello (1 race) – 80.9 points
  12. Charlie Bailey (1 race) – 74.4 points
  13. Patrick Rondeau (1 race) – 39.3 points