Come one, come all - everyone is welcome to join the fun in the new KISS Australia eCrit Series, which began earlier this month and will run every week through mid-September (there are actually two races, each Tuesday: 7 pm AEST and 7 pm AWST).
But riders from the northern hemisphere take heed. You might, as you travel round and round one of three short-circuit courses, be thrown for a loop by more than the time difference. The Australians and New Zealanders are currently fresh off their racing seasons. Their speed could open some eyes and lungs—quite wide.
“I targeted about 45 minutes for the first race, but the fastest competitors finished in about 30,” says Glen Knight of KISS. KISS is one of the Zwift community’s leading race organizers, hosting over a dozen weekly events and uniting over 7,000 Zwift competitors via its own Facebook page.
“I was a little taken aback,” says Knight. “I thought those riders were quick, but I didn’t expect them to be that quick.”
Whether you’re lightning fast or otherwise, the eCrit series shines its brightest spotlight on Australian Zwifters. Zwiftpower.com, which tracks race results across the Zwift community, will tabulate all eCrit outcomes as well as break out separate results that only count participating Australians. Also, the top 20 Aussie finishers of each race will be awarded points (20 points for winning all the way to 1 point for finishing 20th).
Depending on Zwift’s course schedule, the races will be held on Watopia’s Volcano Circuit (4 kilometers around), London’s Classique Course (5.4 kilometers), or Richmond’s Flat Circuit (5 kilometers). Criteriums are, by design, run over short loops, and Knight says that KISS will make some adjustments to have each race last approximately 45 minutes (for the winning time). Criteriums are often tactical, and surge-filled. Keep an eye on your fellow-competitors. Watch their moves closely!
The hope and belief, says Knight, is that many of Australia’s great and enthusiastic riders will happily take to the new eCrit series.
“The Aussie community is very passionate about their racing, and a lot of competitions Down Under are crit-type events,” he says. “We think they’ll get behind this.”
The eCrit series will also offer more to top Australian competitors than bragging rights, and piles of points. Prizes are still being determined, and perhaps the biggest reward of all will be an invite-only, live eRace final on Tuesday, September 19th.
“We’re still determining how many finalists will participate—perhaps the top 10 points holders,” says Knight. “The venue will be somewhere in Australia, and the riders will be assembled, weighed in and verified. The eRace will also be broadcast live.”
For now, we can absolutely tell you this: Pedal hard in the new Australia eCrits for the next four or so months. Then, when you look up, you just might find yourself among the points leaders—and on your way to a very special Zwift race.