Couch to Route Hero, Week 6 Done

Couch to Route Hero, Week 6 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!


If I had written this article on Tuesday afternoon it would have just said “I don’t want to do this anymore.” The rest of the page would have been blank. Of course, that wouldn’t make for a very encouraging read, plus I had easier rides later in the week. So I am here with a full write up!

The Rides Lined Up

6 more badges were added this week for a total of 42! All of the 1 bidons are officially done. Only 25 routes left!

I rode 119.89 miles with 7,829 feet of climb in 8 ½ hours on my bike this week. Mercy!

Routes completed: 

The PRL Half

As you may have guessed The London PRL Half is what made me want to quit this quest. (Quite encouraging to those of you who haven’t ridden it, I’m sure!) It’s 4 laps of the London Loop, which means climbing Box Hill 4 times! I chose to do this route for my 4 bidon day, even though there are easier 4 bidon routes to do. I knew that in the coming weeks when I’m doing 5+ bidon routes I wouldn’t want to ride this one, so I got it out of the way early. 

The first 3 laps weren’t actually that bad. I put on some lively music and tried to keep a steady pace in Zone 3. I ended up improving my time up Box Hill each lap by just a bit. Things were going swimmingly! 

As I started the last loop I realized I needed to be at a meeting sooner than I thought. And I knew I had more oomph in me than needed for just one last lap so I pushed myself to the max. It wasn’t my best idea. 

The great part about this push is that I got a new 30-day PR up Box Hill (42 seconds faster than the lap before) and I also got one on the London Loop (by 16 seconds)! As I was descending Fox Hill though it became abundantly clear that I had given everything I had. My lower back all the way down to my left knee was hurting, some of my toes were numb, my neck ached and I had no energy in me. The problem is, the start/finish banner wasn’t the end of the route! You have to ride to the Surrey Roundabout, and then go under the banner in The Mall to really be done! I didn’t save anything for all of that. There was a lot of pain and whining at the end of my ride!

Here’s what I’m trying to say, friends: Save a little something for the last part of the journey (and don’t forget what time your meetings start)!

The Encouragement from the Community

Every ride I was on this week had someone sending me an in-game message asking what route I was doing and encouraging me in some way. It was INCREDIBLY motivating! And also distracting, which is perfect! 

If you’ve ever found it quiet and lonely on some of your rides just send an in-game message to those around you asking them what route they’re doing. Or ask if there are others who are also wanting to chat. It’s likely someone else could use the personalized community time too!

Coming Up Next

Has anyone noticed yet that week 7 includes TWO 5+ bidon routes? This may be the last article I ever write, depending on how those go. I have decided I’m not quitting, so unless I flat out die on the bike I’ll be back here next week with an update!

How about you?

I LOVE hearing from you all! How many route badges do you have now? Have you done the PRL Half? If so, how did it go for you? What tips do you have for others?

It’s fun getting Ride Ons from those of you following the quest!

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
48 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kareltje
Kareltje (@karel-grootte)
1 year ago

I really don’t like to ride one round multiple times. I’m definitely not looking forward to the PRL (half and full)…. well done Monica! You’re an inspiration! just finished week 3 (12 days total) one 4, one 3, one 2 and 3 1 bidon rides and Bologna for the TdZ. Total 203km / 2067m / 7h04m. Total of 17 route badges. I missed a couple of days in week 1 and 2 due to being away from home for work, so I’m making them up doing 1 bidon rides on the rest days. That gave me the 7 day in… Read more »

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

Well done! I haven’t picked up the Unemployed badge just yet….I’m not sure at this point I could do that until after this first challenge is over. Haha!

Dennis
Dennis
1 year ago

like IRL you don’t have to stay in the saddle for 3 or more hours continuously.
Get of the bike, eat a snack, take a break and relax – cycling is not all about pain, it’s also about having fun!
@Monica Schlange ride on! great work!
@Eric Schlange thanks for that great site (may i call it blog?^^)

Eric Schlange
Top Member
Eric Schlange (@eschlange)
1 year ago
Reply to  Dennis

Yes you may, although I see it as more than that! 🙂

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

Yes! A great reminder! I wouldn’t stay in the saddle that long IRL so don’t do so at home!

Edward Redfoot
Edward Redfoot (@rothfusz)
1 year ago

That’s me giving you a Thumbs Up in the screen shot under How About You 😯 What a trip! Nough about me. You are awe inspiring. I have been riding bikes all my life and still haven’t found the courage to attempt the PRL half. All I can say is WOW!!!

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

Yup! Recognized your name when I got the Ride On so I had to screenshot it! Thanks for the support! I think this is a sign that it’s time you do the PRL Half! 🙂

Edward Redfoot
Edward Redfoot (@rothfusz)
1 year ago

I think you are right. February has been a tough month for me. I have had the flu then developed bronchitis from it. Hard to ride much when you can’t breath. I’m on the mend so the PRL Half is on my bucket list for late March.

Lisa Armistead
Lisa Armistead
1 year ago

I’ve been working through the list as well. Saving the 5 rides for later. Good luck with the challenge. Rooting for you.

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

Thanks much, Lisa! Ride on!

Alan Farnes
Super Member
Alan Farnes (@alan_taylor_farnes)
1 year ago

I just finished all of the 1 and 2 bidon routes. I’ve done 9 of the 3-5 bidon routes. Keep it up! You’re doing great!

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

Awesome!!!!! Ride On!

Jim Mattson
Jim Mattson
1 year ago

Congratulations! Next week will be tough, but we’re all rooting for you! Maintain that resolve.

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

This means a lot! Thank you!!

Martin Fox
1 year ago

Tips for your 5 bidons rides: Use ERG mod or workout with steady state tempo Z1 -Z2. Don’t watch route but any nice films (probably 2 or more for every ride). Drink and eat a lot

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

Hmmmm…what a great idea! Thanks!

lucy
lucy
1 year ago

Hi well done im working though these routes- still on one biden good luck

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

Awesome! We can do it!

thewannabeironman
Super Member
thewannabeironman (@wanna_b_ironman)
1 year ago

Now you’ve started to blog about it, there is no way to quit. Man up! And get it done 🙂 With 6 badges a week, you will -unfortunately- caught me soon. Good luck!

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

My inner Amazon-Woman won’t ever let me quit! Working to make sure they rest of me can keep up with her! Haha! Race you to the finish?

Brandon
Brandon
1 year ago

Hi Monica, Sounds like a tough week but its good to hear that you managed to complete all the planned routes. Sounds like you’re getting PBs which hopefully means your fitness is increasing. This should help you on the tougher courses when you get to ride them. My quest is going quite well. I’ve finished all routes on the secondary worlds and all Watopia routes which scale the Alpe. As a result, I’m now focusing solely on Watopia routes, focusing on the hardest ones first. This weekend I intend to ride the Mega Pretzel on Saturday and then Big Foot… Read more »

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

Yes, Brandon my fitness is definitely increasing! So much so that I’m already trying to figure out what to do when this quest is over to maintain or continue getting stronger. I’ve never been this strong in my life. Then again, I’ve never worked out this long in my entire life.

I might see you out there on Saturday. I have Quatch Quest that day.

I like your XP tracking idea! Very cool!

Sandy
Sandy (@sandythomson)
1 year ago

Huge respect for this. Just started zwifting in January and tackled the mountain route, including the radio tower, for the first time. Enjoying watching your amazing progress, but not planning to follow you just yet!

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

Awesome! Welcome to Zwift! Thanks for the note! And you do you! I support that!

irishliz
irishliz
1 year ago

What is bidon route ? I have all the difficult ones left 🙁 I have completed 60 of the routes so far , not putting a time limit on it, but diving my other half crazy as I am now addicted and he wants me to focus on other things lol. I am doing both I said hehe

irishliz
irishliz
1 year ago
Reply to  irishliz

well done Monica I am following your comments and thanks

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

My husband Eric put together a graph with a number of bidons beside each route based on how difficult or long the route was. You can see that info and even print out a schedule to do yourself if you want: https://zwiftinsider.com/route-ride-schedule/

Alistair Flack
Alistair Flack
1 year ago

Top work! Impressive work and just think how amazing it will be to look back at everything you WILL have accomplished

I haven’t summoned the courage to do the really long routes…but they are sat there in the back of my mind, calling me 🙂

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

Thanks for the encouragement! It seems like you should probably do at least ONE of the harder routes! 😀

Ądreé
Ądreé
1 year ago

I have to ride on! only four routes to complete my badge collection. Pretzels and four horsemen are easy but demanding. Unlike the prl full which is boring and unfortunately is hard to complete in one go without a pause. But I will try do this hard way. Side effect of collecting route badages is that I have got some others sticks like lift off, avid climber and pair of best wheels. My next challenge will be to get masochist badage and neon bike. See you on road to the sky.

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

Thanks for the tips! Ride on!!!

Ądreé
Ądreé
1 year ago
Reply to  Ądreé

I just managed to ride the prl full route. 100% pedaling time, 100% trainer difficulty, mostly on zone 3. This is five bidon route 🙂 I am happy. Now 2 pretzels left and four horseman. I should finish all this by the end of February.

Gilbert T
Gilbert T
1 year ago

Hola Monica, I wanted to post something for the longest time. You have inspired me to do this challenge, but I know with my schedule, kids and soon sprint time in the Easter PA it will be very hard to ride indoor when is so nice outside. But my goal is to do all 67 route in 2020. Currently I have completed 30 routes which include all of #1 Bidon. I wanted to comment about you being mad last week during your drop out. That seems to happen often, but it is always when you climbing at least on my… Read more »

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

Well, to @Eric Schlange credit he’s put the distance based on what Strava says about the route. Which is more accurate than what some places say about the route. Sometimes the info is off by a little bit, depending on where Zwift starts you at any given ride. So if we all just look up each route on this web site beforehand we’ll see what the lead-in is. I hope that answers your question.

ChrisB200SX
ChrisB200SX
1 year ago

Another solid week Monica! Big Loop and PRL Half is pretty decent on top of the other routes. Another tough one you’ve completed before me! After manflu (which symptoms seemed curiously similar to Covid-19) I finally felt like my lungs could handle some exercise on Sunday (12 days after the previous zwift ride!?). I managed a steady and reserved Dust in the Wind in 82 minutes, it seemed a sensible plan because it’s mostly flat, I still averaged 221W, which is around 85% of what I should be doing, so maybe not so sensible in terms of effort and my… Read more »

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago
Reply to  ChrisB200SX

Wow! Way to jump right back into it as soon as you were feeling well enough! Although was it really best to ride a route called “Dust in the WInd” when your lungs are still trying to recover? Haha!

Your post reminds me I should include just how strong I am or am not so that others don’t assume it’ll take them quite so long to finish a longer route! Thanks!

Oliver Radermacher
Oliver Radermacher
1 year ago

very very inspiring – ride on!!!! And I hope you won’t fall off the bike so that you can wrrte the next article of your coming week 😀

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

Haha! I’ll do my best!

Robert Schutte
Robert Schutte
1 year ago

Hi Monica! I think it’s awesome that you’re doing this quest and that you’re sharing your experience with all of us! It actually inspired me to start collecting route badges myself! Sadly, I rode 3 different short routes the other day (I got the achievement banner on screen and saved each one individually) but my badges are not showing up. I’ve been working with Zwift to correct it, but even my screen shots showing I’ve completed the routes aren’t enough to get it fixed. Rather demoralizing. I don’t have time to ride the routes multiple times in order to get… Read more »

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

Sorry to hear that, Bob! I’ve not had a problem with any of them! I hope you get those badges!

Doug Kelley
Doug Kelley
1 year ago

Nicely done. Doing this challenge as well, and as a complete noob to Zwift… bought a trainer in January, did one test ride and then found this thread. Been pounding through the routes while scheduling in the TdZ rides as well. Happy to have my first Alpe climb and the first of the “long” rides (pretzel) under my belt this past week.

Anyway… I digress. My post wast just supposed to say “heads up for the new seaside sprint route 2/2020.”

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

Awesome job with the Alpe and Pretzel! I hope you’ve also set yourself up for the Everest challenge so you can start work on getting your tron bike with all that climbing!

Kaj
Kaj
1 year ago

Hi Monica, you’ve inspired me to also try to collect all route badges! I take on quite a different approach, I guess. First off there are some multi day events that I want to take part in (Tour de Zwift, Tour of Innsbruck, Haute Route Watopia, some weekly racing league) which already ticks off quite a few badges and also gives you some company along the way. Then I first just start doing the short routes as quickly as possible, because to me, mentally the longer routes are way easier than the short ones – perhaps this sounds counterintuitive, but… Read more »

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

Very cool to hear how you’re going about it all!

My initial response about whether a workout would be cheating is to say it would not. You’re putting out the watts, even though Zwift is the one determining how many you should be putting out. You still have to do the work. I think cheating would only be if you’re doing a workout that has everyone stay together, no matter the watts. What do you think?

Kaj
Kaj
1 year ago

I think I agree.. Even though it would be kind of weird to do a hard effort on a downhill section and have a relative rest on a steep uphill, you’re still doing the work to finish the route.

Nathan Lipke
Nathan Lipke (@nlipke)
1 year ago

I did it today (1/2 half as a workout). Those last 9 km were the worst part of it!

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

Well done! And agreed!

Kaj
Kaj
1 year ago

x

48
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x