Couch to Route Hero, Week 10 (Somewhat) Done

Couch to Route Hero, Week 10 (Somewhat) Done

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!


As the world shifts and groans, it’s difficult to write a post about my week on Zwift. People are doing much harder things right now. Loss of life, loss of livelihood, loss of socialization. But there’s also so much good happening right now: families re-learning how to connect, people slowing down, homes being intentional about gratitude, and the Zwift community growing as cyclists move indoors. So I still share my story, to add to the non-Coronavirus posts. 

The Week Lined Up

I added 3 new route badges this week, for a total of 59. Only 8 left! I rode 127.78 miles with 11,667 feet of climb in 11 ½ hours on my bike. 

Routes completed:

The Uber Pretzel

Fuel for the Uber Pretzel

People who’ve ridden both the Uber Pretzel and the London PRL Full routes have said the Uber Pretzel was worse. Gosh, I hope they weren’t lying! This was a tough ride! Knowing it would be tough is why I only rode 3 routes this week. After having learned more about depleting my immune system I’m even more conscientious of it. (See the second half of this article for more on that topic.)

I started the Uber Pretzel with plenty of sleep, lots of fuel, my nicest bibs, some chamois cream and a bit of anxiety. The plan was to stay in Zone 1 or 2.

The first half of the Uber Pretzel wasn’t so bad. It started with the Epic KOM and the Bonus Climb to the Radio Tower (which I dread more than Alpe du Zwift).

I took a couple of short breaks, one of which was at the Jungle Circuit to hop onto a mountain bike. No sense in going even slower by riding a road bike in the dirt! I happened to be on the jungle circuit when the Stage 4 Pro-Am race started so I got to watch them race past me in the opposite direction. I thought for SURE Nathan Guerra, who was commentating the race, would mention me, but alas, he did not!

The Pro-Am race flies past

Next was the Volcano Climb, a much needed sit-bones break at the descent, a gentle zip through the Esses and a meander on over to Fuego Flats. 

This route takes you through Fuego Flats in each direction. The first direction is the halfway point as far as mileage and climb go. I was encouraged that I was only at 3 ½ hours! I took a longer break here: donned new bibs and socks, ate some real food including pickle juice (just in case), and sat around for 15 minutes. 

Halfway there!

Once I got back on my bike I realized I had made a big mistake. The bibs I put on were NOT comfortable at all! They were my second-best pair. I should have started with them and worn my best pair on the second half of the ride. Thankfully, I was reminded by my ever-faithful new Zwift friend Shirley that some people wear a second pair of bibs turned inside out. I tried that and it relieved a lot of pressure!

At the 6 hour mark I was in tears. I had no words. Just tears as I was only on turn two of Alpe du Zwift.

Further up the Alpe I hopped off my bike to stretch on the ground where I fell asleep. When I woke my whole body wondered why I wasn’t done riding. My mind was wondering why my body wasn’t still going. Everything was out of balance. The nap plus some caffeinated gum helped get everything back on board!

As I went up the Alpe I was encouraged by a few nearby rider messages as well as seeing a couple of other Zwifters scaling it with 70+ miles under their belt. I kept plugging along, although every part of my body that came into contact with my bike was in a lot of pain: my feet, my hands, and my sit bones. 

I finally scaled Alpe du Zwift and limped my way around the loop at the top so I could coast down the descent. I earned that coast! What I didn’t earn was the Meilenstein Wheels at the top of the Alpe. What a shame, too as that’s the last time anyone will ever see me on that mountain! 

It took 8 hours and 38 minutes of riding time to cover 88.5 miles, my longest ride ever both in distance and time! Along the way I took 2 hours and 9 minutes worth of breaks, burned 2700 calories, had a TSS of 333, and got 730 ride ons.

I will never do this route again. You couldn’t pay me enough. The second half took me 5 hours! Now don’t let that scare you off. I stayed in Zone 2, and my FTP is 2.0 w/kg. Most people finish this much faster than I did. And, I AM glad I did this route! I feel a mix of pride and relief!

The best news is, 2 days later none of those contact points that hurt were in any kind of pain!

Next Week

This Saturday is when we all do the PRL Full together! Check it out! If you’re just not ready to ride that long, try doing the PRL Half that day and encourage those who are doing the Full!

How About You?

Have you done the Uber Pretzel? If not, have I scared you off from doing it? Will I see you at the PRL Full this Saturday? I’d love to hear from all of you!

About The Author

Monica Schlange

Monica wears many hats but the two most important to her are: Mom of two teens, and Wife to Zwift Insider editor Eric. A casual cyclist, her resolve is stronger than her legs, which still gets her pretty far! She enjoys trying new things on Zwift that others find intimidating so she can write about the experience and inspire others to push themselves as well.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
31 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dave Hicks
Dave Hicks (@drhmm1)
1 year ago

Good riding! Good writing as well! Thanks

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Hicks

Thanks, Dave!!

Dave K
Dave K
1 year ago

I wasn’t going to do the alp again after the UberPretzel, but then Tour of Watopia stage 3 brought me back there. And it wasn’t impossible with a group. I’ve done all the badge routes except PRL full–too warm to ride inside for that long, again, a decision I made after UberPretzel.

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave K

Wowza! Well maybe I shouldn’t wimp out so easily!

Carol Scott
Carol Scott
1 year ago

Awesome Monica and the Uber is tougher than PRL full. i broke down the PRL as 11 efforts up Box Hill – 11 coasts down the other side and so mentally easier somehow .. i counted to 6 (for the 1st 6) then countdown from 5. i think that helps as 3 to go .. 2 to go …. and job done. Good luck Cheers Carol

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago
Reply to  Carol Scott

Good tips! Thanks!!!

SwifltyZwifting
SwifltyZwifting
1 year ago

looks like I’m not the only one getting regular heart rate dropouts. good work!

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago

Actually my HRM died after being on for so long. The other dips were when I was coasting downhill.

Hugh Sprague
Hugh Sprague (@hugh_sprague)
1 year ago

Congrats on tough ride. Uber is my last badge to get and not looking forward to it. Procrastination is winning so far for me. Not too mention my wife thinks I am crazy.😂 PRL Full is longer, but less overall elevation. And, you get 100 miler in the win column. You got this! Great job on this challenge!!!!

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Sprague

Thanks, Hugh! Better get that uber badge soon!

Mike Medlin
Mike Medlin
1 year ago

Congrats on finishing the Uber! Must be nice to mark that one off your list. I have enjoyed following your progress and have started ticking off routes of my own as a result. This last week I was half way through Lutscher CCW when my internet had a hiccup. I knew something was wrong when everyone disappeared. But I knew there was an article about recovering ride data so I pressed on…blast it, I should have stopped and read the article first! Route finished but no badge. Probably wont see you in London on Saturday but will make sure to… Read more »

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Medlin

Oh Mike, that’s so sad about Lutcsher CCW! Will you ride it again, or just decide you have the badge in your heart? Lol.

Ron Chatfield
Ron Chatfield (@rchatfield)
1 year ago

Hi Monica, well done! I remember when I first rode the Uber Pretzel, I was trying to get 500 miles in a month, collect the TRON bike, and nab my first Zwift 100k badge. It was a long ride on that saddle (my wife even told me that she thought it wasn’t good for me to ride for that long). I knew I was doing it right when she said that! I did love the photo you got of the boys racing with you headed the other way, very cool! I just love your example for others who don’t think… Read more »

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Chatfield

Haha! Thanks, Ron! 500 miles in a month, plus the Tron! Wow! Thanks for the extra encouragement and motivation!

Joe
Joe
1 year ago

Never to do the alpe again? Never to do the uber pretzel again? It’s just so sad to hear 🙁

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe

I mean…maybe if we stay on lockdown for the rest of the year I’ll be crazy enough to do them again?

Brandon Johnson
Trusted Member
Brandon Johnson (@brandon_j_585)
1 year ago

Nice work, Monica! Very inspiring! Good luck with the PRL Full on Saturday.

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago

Thanks, Brandon!

Thomas Chew
Thomas Chew
1 year ago

So proud of you Monica! You are killing it!

When you were just starting up the Alpe during Uber Pretzel time I was coming down so I know exactly how you were feeling! Like you, I really hope that those who say Uber Pretzel is worse than The PRL Full are being truthful.

I’m looking forward to Saturday and riding the PRL Full. I have 66 routes complete so just one more!

Thomas Chew
Thomas Chew
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Chew

BTW I normally bomb up the Alpe once or twice a week since mid December. Doing the Uber was the first time I have stopped for a rest. I stopped at turns 15, 10 and 5. Not for long but maybe 30 seconds, no longer than a minute. That really seemed to help.

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Chew

Very cool to see each other on the Alpe! See you tomorrow!

Greg Lockhart
Greg Lockhart
1 year ago

My wife and I saved the Uber Pretzel for the last route achievement. We laid off climbing for a week and took a day off the day before. It would have been icing on the cake to get the wheels at the end, but alas we both got our 5th matching helmet! Congrats, the PRL Full is a definitely easier climb but is a full day in the saddle, my iPad ran out of juice with 6km to go!

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Lockhart

Thanks for the encouragement, Greg! Super cool that you did the Uber Pretzel with your wife. Eric is so much stronger on the bike than I am that it doesn’t really work for us to ride together on some of these longer routes. He’ll be on tomorrow too though. Will see how it goes!

Maureen Frescott
Maureen Frescott
1 year ago

You are super woman! I’ve done the Mega Pretzel but not the Uber yet. I will be out there with you on Saturday! I’m starting at 6:30 a.m. EST. I’m looking forward to it in a strange way. lol

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago

Haha! Yes, a strange mix excitement here too! See you there!

Cathy
Cathy
1 year ago

Monica, way to go! Looking forward to seeing you Saturday on the PRL full! It will be my last badge and I am hoping it is a little easier than the Uber..

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy

Awesome! It HAS to be easier than the Uber, right? Let’s say yes!!!

S Williams
S Williams
1 year ago

Monica, the new Zwifters reading this will be inspired, chapeau! You’ve got the PRL Full, just 11 efforts and London will be crowded for company especially with the current climate. Enjoy……. p.s. Uber was the toughest of all the routes🥵

Jim Mattson
Jim Mattson
1 year ago

Congratulations on a very tough ride! The über pretzel is one of my 5 remaining routes, but I can only deal with about one a month at this point.

Have you worked out how much more time in the saddle you’ll need to finish?

Ray Morro
Ray Morro
1 year ago

Congrats Monica on finishing a very tough route, arguably the one of the toughest on Zwift! I too am route badge chasing, today I finished the last 1-bidon route I needed to close out that category (the Whole Lotta Lava route in Watopia) before joining a 76-mile ‘Fundo’ event ride with one of my clubs, the Bear Mountaineers. I probably won’t be doing anymore ‘multiple route badge sessions in a row’ rides since all the 2-3-4 bidon routes are all longer distances with significant elevation gain, but I’m already at 47 of 67 routes completed as of today and with… Read more »

Tim Shig
1 year ago

Excellent Monica! Any and all pretzels are hard! I haven’t attempted any other than the first… Someday soon I’ll do the mega… You rocked it. My wife, Lorri, is really diggin’ Zwift – she started about a month ago and just did 130 miles between yesterday and today. You’re an inspiration (as is she). 🙂

Great blog too.

31
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x