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.
- Tour of Tewit Well
- 2019 UCI Worlds Harrogate Circuit
- London Classique
- Jungle Circuit
- 2015 UCI Worlds Course
- Watopia Flat Route
- Volcano Flat
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!
- 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!
Awesome! I’m only on day 3 here and completed a double watopia earlier. So daunted by the latter part of this journey but bite size chunks as the program moves up is a great thing.
Bring it on 💪🏼
How far into the challenge are you now, Hilary?
Well done Monica. Keep going. It’s so very satisfying getting those blue badges pop!
Today was a big day for me as I finally completed the last of all the route badges. The London PRL! That one was test of mental strength as much as physical.
I’ll be cheering you and watching your progress. You can do it!
Enter your comment……PRL – that’s impressive!!!!! Huge congrats!!!! This is still to come for me
This really needs to be made into a website that would allow you to select a start date and then get a customized plan. I would love to do this, but missed the start and would have to world hack most likely at this point.
Keep it up, this is amazing!
Thanks, Bennie! You too can do this, with any start date and to fit whatever your schedule is!
Why isnt there a Zwift reward for completing all the routes? You would think they would award you a cool kit or maybe a special bike!
I asked for a special kit on the Zwift forums but that request got no love. I think if enough people start asking for it on the forums we may see some acknowledgement by Zwift for this feat.
The only reason I could not see them adding a special prize is for when they add new worlds and expansions. This would create more route achievements and make our task not complete anymore.
A reward for all of them would be an awesome idea!
I’ve managed 52 out of the 67 routes so far. Just the tough ones to go now!
Are you continuing on to get them all? I’m hoping to do some sort of group effort for the PRL Full. Will post about it in the coming weeks if so.
I was doing great for a few days ticking off a few small routes, including Lutscher, then I got a not-mild case of flu A! 3 days in bed with no end in sight! I’ll ease back into it in a week or so. Good luck!
That sounds terrible! Hope you’re much better by now and ticking off more routes!
Great job Monica! But route lead-ins….arrrrgh! After doing the NYC long course for the Tour, I figured I’d do a 1 Bidon to get another badge and cool down. I needed Highline and it was only 10.5km – 6 miles. So I started riding it. Over the KOM and around. 11km and no award. 12 and nothing. Did I miss the banner? 13 and heading up the KOM again. Yuck, this isn’t a cool down. 14, and a quick check of the list. Yup, it’s 10.5km, so I must have missed the notification. But just in case I go to… Read more »
That happened to me yesterday with Surrey hills. The start of the route is the arch for Fox Hill, so while the route is all four Surrey hills, with lead in you do fox hill twice.
So frustrating! Sorry to hear!
Keep on going. Very inspiring. And please write about it. I would like to do the same, but my Job has something differnet in mind this time — aaaarggghhhh. But days to come
I’m still riding and writing about it! Hopefully work will allow you to start the quest soon too!
I’m at day 11 right now. Making steady progress with the plan, but I have been switching up some routes along the way. A 1 bidon and a 2 bidon when the day specified 2 1bidon routes. Only to account for future time shortage and to get as many guest World routes in as early as possible.
Awesome! It’s been a few days, where are you at with it now?
Great start Monica. Keep it up!
I sure appreciate the list of badges for download I makes it a lot easier to figure out what I need to get them all. Gotta say that prl full is scary!
I’m hoping to do a group ride toward the end of March for that one. Hopefully you can join us and we can all slog through it together!
Keep crushing it, Monica! Due to always previously riding the same route before getting started on this quest, I have a lot of work to do, too! The event planner in me is geeking out about all of this planning. But I totally imagine I will world hack a few times, due to some worlds’ availability not syncing with my schedule. As long as I am not all alone for the one I am most not looking forward to, the London PRL 😮
Thanks, Claudia! It helps to know that strong riders like you feel the same way about the PRL Full! I’m hoping to do some sort of group ride that week so we can all do it together! Will update here on ZI once we know when!
How is week 2? Keep going, don’t worry if you start to fall behind, just keep at them and learn from it. Completing in a longer timeframe than the original plan would still be a huge success in my opinion. I did literally nothing last week when I went back to work. I managed Lutscher CCW last night and it was brutal but I really enjoyed smashing the pedals up the climb, twice and getting the polka dot jersey by over 2 mins was nice. I’ve got to the point where I’ve pretty much only got “the difficult ones” left… Read more »
Wow! You’re riding a lot! Here’s the link to week 2 (and be watching as week 3 write up is coming soon) https://zwiftinsider.com/route-hero-2/
I have to ask a silly question. I see reference to the routes as 1-5 bidon routes. What is bidon?
fancy term for water bottle
Love this! I am new to cycling (but swim competitively so not new to working out) and am on day 5 of this challenge/zwifting. I’ll do my best to stay on schedule and hope to complete it in the 11(+1, xmas break) weeks but those final 6 look so challenging! Will definitely be referring back to your posts for inspo.