The indieVelo "Swings and Roundabouts" Route-11.1km (6.8 mi), elevation 302m (990 ft)-6.1km lead-in adds 490m of elevation to your 1st lap!
One of the eighteen original Beta routes rolled out on The Island in 2023, and it’s, without doubt, that someone designed Swings and Roundabouts to hurt, or at least it feels like it, since its main objective is to have you conquer the two main climbs of the island in the shortest distance possible.
First is West a Mountain and then Switchbacks KOM. Wait! Is that correct? Or would the opposite be more accurate, first Switchbacks KOM and then West a Mountain? 🤔
Let me explain why there’s doubt. The route, out of the box, comes with a 6.1km lead-in which would be fine if that lead-in did not include a climb up Switchbacks KOM! It means that the route is 11.1km and 302m in elevation, starting with a descent of East a Hill, then the climb up West a Mountain, the West a Mountain descent, and eventually the Switchbacks KOM climb.
With the lead-in, the route is 17.2km and 490m elevation, starting with a 4km flat, then the Switchbacks KOM, the descent of East a Hill, West a Mountain, then a descent off of West a Mountain, and eventually a second climb of Switchbacks KOM. If you’re dizzy, it’s somewhat understandable, but wait until you ride the route because you have only been reading about it!!!
Courtesy of Beta-tester Roman Edelhelfer!
So, let’s start from the beginning. If anyone ever invites you to an event or race in Swings and Roundabouts, it will probably feel like getting an invitation to one of those dinners you must attend but don’t want to.
The birthday of that older cousin you hate because he stole your candies in 1991 when you were eight years old and nobody believed you. Or that work dinner where you must pretend to be super engaged, but thinking the entire time about that ridiculously expensive and useless ceramic speed OPWS you can’t live without.
The only difference is that racing Swings and Roundabouts will be not only painful from an emotional perspective but also a physical one.
Get prepared to sweat and cry because, as mentioned, you will have to climb Switchbacks KOM and West a Mountain (or the opposite way around) in 11km.
Route details and description courtesy of Beta-tester Andras Beck!
The Switchbacks KOM is 2.3km long at a 6.9% average gradient, with spikes to 11%. The climb has multiple stretches between 8 and 10% gradient during the first 1.5km, then during the next 250m, you can pretend to catch your breath at 3%, and the last part of Switchbacks is again between 8 and 10% sustained.
The West a Mountain KOM is 2.4km long at a 5.8% average, peaking at 12.8% near the top. The lower slopes are a steady 6% for 1.5km, then 250m at 3% as you collect yourself for the last 550m, increasing gradually from 6% to close to 13% for the last 100m of the climb. The final 100m will find riders weaving across the road irremediably and frustratingly losing meters and getting distanced forever.
One final hint that works—most of the time: if you are about to get dropped, remember the cousin that stole your candies. You will get an extra adrenaline rush, saving your day more than once.
Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!