You Can't Ride Home Again.

I grew up on the outskirts of Richmond, Virginia. I went to elementary school at John B. Cary elementary school for a few years before moving out to the suburbs. I wasted a few years and a lot of money in music school at Virginia Commonwealth University, which back then was smack dab in the middle of urban blight.
Ask just about anyone which course on Zwift they dislike most, and chances are they will say Richmond. I completely agree with them. When it pops up on the Zwift schedule, I usually discover it's a rest day.
I have no idea why I don't like this course. Peter Sagan won his first rainbow jersey on this course. It's got sprints and short, punchy climbs and runs through a virtual representation of places I'm very familiar with. It's got a Northern Classics profile. I should like it. I just don't. Nobody else seems to like it much either, and it's only on the schedule a couple times a month now.
It was the first Zwift expansion course after Watopia, and the first one to use an actual location and roads as its source material (the 2015 UCI Road Worlds course) instead of reimagined versions of  Te Anu and Naunonga, which are part of the Solomon Islands. They obviously put a lot of man-hours in the project to get it to feel "right"- at least as close as they could given the constraints of the virtual environment at the time. Problem is, all of those efforts kinda fell flat, and attempts to improve it had little success. I think they stopped trying long ago.
I just avoid it now.
They did better with London, allowing for more routes and full directional control. I still much prefer Watopia, which just keeps getting bigger and better with every expansion, but I can deal with a few days a week in London. If Richmond were still on the schedule that much, I'd probably go back to my dusty stack of WCP Northern Classics DVDs.
When I drove through Richmond this summer on the way to the family farm in the mountains, I deviated a bit to follow the course. The family had never been there, so they didn't know any better. "Dad's from here. He must know a short cut." For the most part, they got a lot of the details right. Little rises here or there, the transitions on the hills, the sharp turns at speed that must have been a joy in the peloton... It was all there, and yet it wasn't. Shame. Good try guys. I'm sure they learned a lot from the experience.
As they add courses, I expect it to fade away even further. That would be fine with me. It's been 25 years since I lived there, and it's a very different place now (not that I liked it all that much back then). Not a city person.
Until they do, I'll just use Zwift Richmond days as an excuse to sit on the couch and eat Goldfish.


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