Editor’s note: Monica is undertaking the “Couch to Route Hero” challenge of riding all 67 “free-ridable” Zwift routes (and getting all the badges) in 11 weeks. Each week she shares her story of the previous week’s struggles and accomplishments. Follow along on her journey, take the challenge yourself, and be sure to give her a Ride On if you see her on course!

“What was I even thinking,” I asked myself as I held my head in my hands. There on the counter was the Zwift Insider Route Badge Quest paperwork Mr. ZwiftInsider put together for me. Taunting me. Already telling me I couldn’t finish the quest.

Last week I needed a challenge to get back on the bike regularly so I asked Eric to make me a schedule for getting all of the Route Badges. Something that would start from basically sitting on the couch (which, I’m begrudged to admit was my level of fitness over the holidays) to finishing the longest, most difficult routes on Zwift.

A Mini Planning Session

Days later I sat down with a plan. If I was going to complete all the routes in 11 weeks without ever having to world hack I needed to be intentional. I color-coded the paperwork Eric made me, then scheduled in the days I’d be riding Richmond, Innsbruck, and Yorkshire. These days are fewer and further between so I needed to make sure I got them in. Next, I filled in as many London and New York days as possible, leaving the remaining days of January open to Watopia. 

Figuring this all out was trickier than I expected as I had to take into account three different schedules: my own, the Zwift guest world schedule (only one month at a time, mind you), and the schedule Eric made for what level of difficulty would need to be ridden and when. Phew! 

Week One, Officially Done

I did all 5 days of the schedule this week! Even with a mild case of the flu in there! It ended up being 7 routes, all of which were 1 bidon routes: 55.9 miles and 2707 feet of climbing for a total of 3 hours and 36 minutes.

Part of me is proud of myself, the majority of me is totally freaked out about what’s to come! On the plus side, I also lost one of those holiday pounds I’d found over the last few months. And I’m quickly getting closer to Level 32!

Lessons Learned

  • Some of the routes have lead-ins but the lead-ins aren’t listed on the route difficulty page. I plan to research all of the routes so I can grant myself more time to be on the bike.
  • I can say “I’ll just go at my own pace” all I want, but I really need to listen to my body and actually do this. It’ll mean I won’t end up with weird pains the rest of the day because of my silly pride trying to win a sprint or keep up with a pack. 
  • I need to drink loads of water again even when off the bike. Too many headaches from dehydration this week!
  • I need to take more time scheduling out the rides. I almost missed a London day and would have had to just wait and see if it would be scheduled by Zwift at the right time in February. 

What about you?

I know many of you Zwifters said you’d do this Quest with me, so let me know what you’ve done so far! And please do tell: are you completely freaked out about the coming weeks? Asking for a friend!