Couch to Route Hero, Week 7 Done

Couch to Route Hero, Week 7 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!


I was reminded this week of what my Chiropractor told me years ago: “If you want to stay out of my office I’d suggest not adding more than about 10% to your riding each week.

I have an appointment booked with him this Wednesday.

The Rides Lined Up

5 new badges were added, for a grand total of 47 done. Only 20 left! 

I rode 144.53 miles and climbed 14,826 feet in 13 hours on the bike this week. I’m not a math wizard but I’m pretty sure 8.5 hours on my bike last week and 13 hours on my bike this week is more than the 10% prescribed by my Chiropractor. Oops.

Routes Completed:

The Pretzel

The Pretzel was my first 5+ bidon ride ever. I wanted to really be thorough about my write-up as I’ve been asked again and again how the ride went by people who haven’t ridden it yet. Check out my “The Pretzel” ride story >

The short and sweet version is: I shouldn’t have scheduled it in so closely between two things I already had going that day. I cried at one point. I almost lost a few toes (that may be an exaggeration). And I finished!

The Middle Rides

I think it’s important to note that two of the rides I did midweek had the word “Knickerbocker” in them. If you don’t know what that is, be sure to look it up. But most importantly, say “Knickerbocker” out loud, three times in a row. More fun to say in American English, if you ask me. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/pronunciation/english/knickerbockers

Quatch Quest

Quatch Quest was my second 5+ bidon route of the challenge. Done just 7 days after The Pretzel. My full write-up is here > 

The short and sweet version is: I learned a lot from The Pretzel and while this ride was LOOOONG it was still better than The Pretzel! 

Zwift Glitch?

I noticed something quirky on these longer rides that I hadn’t seen before, probably because these rides had longer breaks than I usually take. The Zwift Companion app displays the amount of time you were logged in for the ride. You have to have a screenshot of the end of your ride or check Strava to see what your actual ride time is.

According to the Companion app my Quatch Quest ride was 4 hours and 45 minutes long. But only 4 hours and 12 minutes of it was riding. Is it just me, or shouldn’t it just display ride time?

The next week in the challenge

I am really frustrated to say that I’m taking a rest week this next week. I wanted to press on, but my body is telling me I need to slow down. I’m beginning to get sick. A sore throat and general fatigue. Everyone tells me it’s a good thing to rest, but it feels like I’m quitting. 

I WILL be back next week to talk about what it was like to rest up, including what I learned, what exercise I still did (if any), and how much I hated watching what I ate since I didn’t have tons of extra calories that I was burning each day. 

How about you?

Please tell me you’ve cried on a ride, what you did during a rest week, and how you’re doing with this challenge!

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.

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David Cooper
David Cooper
1 year ago

I have never cried on a Zwift ride, but fat, middle aged me shed a tear or two heading up a long climb in Northern France while doing London-Paris half a dozen years or so ago. Fortunately, I was so far behind all my buddies that by the time I rejoined them at the top, my face had dried out in the sun. Mucho kudos for your quest Monica, enjoying the write-ups … rest up and come back fresh and strong next week. Not being quite as disciplined as you in terms of how I am approaching them but got… Read more »

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

Thanks for sharing! Glad I’m not the only one who gives it my all (even emotions) when riding difficult rides!

Ride on!

Joe
Joe
1 year ago

2 big rides last week….you might just pull this off and it’s inspiring to watch!!

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

Haha! I laugh at the word “might!” I’m definitely far more inspired to pull it off because you all are watching! Thanks for the inspiration back!

Joe
Joe
1 year ago

I love reading about your progress Monica! I have eleven route badges remaining, including all the five bidon ones. I’m feeling a wee bit daunted, but I’m Inspired by your posts. Enjoy your week off!

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

Thanks, Joe! Schedule one of those 5-bidons in and get it done! If I can do it you DEFINITELY can!

Jim Mattson
Jim Mattson
1 year ago

Nice work! A recovery week sounds like a wise decision. I hope your back feels better after the trip to the chiropractor!

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

Thanks, Jim! It’s getting much better!

Kaj
Kaj
1 year ago

As my fellow countryman and ex Tour de France winner Joop Zoetemelk often famously said: “The Tour de France is won in bed.” Knowing when to rest instead of continuing against your better judgment is a highly underestimated quality, if you ask me!

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

So what I’m hearing you say is after this week I’ll be able to win the next Tour de France! Awesome!!!

Kaj
Kaj
1 year ago

Who knows..!

Oscar Breugelmans
Member
Oscar Breugelmans (@oscar_breugelmans)
1 year ago

Two 5+ bidons in a week, that’s like running 2 marathons in 1 week!
I am not following a set schedule, but closing in nonetheless with less than 10 achievements to go.
Keep up the good work 😀

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

10 to go? You’re so close! Very cool! Ride on!

Jon Sweet
Jon Sweet
1 year ago

Fascinated to hear your experience every week, you are quite an inspiration.
I’m at about the same point with 21 rides to go, but leaving all the big 4+ bidons til last. I’m sure I too have “sweat” dripping from my eyes sometimes on those tough climbs! I hope your rest and recovery does you good and you can ride on to complete the quest you have set!

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

Thanks, Jon! Let’s finish strong!

R R
R R (@karel-grootte)
1 year ago

Good to hear you take a week off! You don’t get better during training, you get better while you rest. So don’t be frustrated, finish staying alive and healthy is more important than finishing “on time” (which is a crazy schedule anyway… who made that schedule?) After 14 days in a row I needed to take a day off, and decided that I will take a day of rest after the 5+ bidon rides and maybe even the 4 bidon rides, or maybe a 1 or easy 2 bidon (are there any easy ones…) active recovery ride, but no obligation… Read more »

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

It’s nice to know I’m not just a crybaby!!! Thank you for the tips on how to rest well!!! This helps a lot!

Tina O’Shea
Tina O’Shea
1 year ago

Keep up the great work Monica! I really enjoy reading your posts. I have 11 routes left to complete, including all the 5 bidon ones – there might yet be tears! Have a restful week off – you’ve definitely earned it!

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tina O’Shea

Thank you, Tina! Get those 5 bidon ones on your schedule! I’ll see you out there!

Edward Redfoot
Edward Redfoot (@rothfusz)
1 year ago

Great week Monica! Don’t sweat the rest week. Even the grand tours have rest days and they are only 3 weeks long. Besides reading the editors notes, it says in eleven weeks not eleven consecutive weeks. If you don’t get any badges on your rest week you are still golden 🙂 Looking forward to the rest week write-up. Sometimes rest is more painful than riding but still required if you want to stay healthy.

Ride on and on and on ………..

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

Thanks, Edward! I appreciate the encouragement so much!

Garret L.
Garret L.
1 year ago

Great Job Monica! I have a feeling you are going to feel very strong in the remaining weeks following a well deserved week of rest!

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago
Reply to  Garret L.

I hope you’re right! Looking forward to finishing well!

Francis
Francis
1 year ago

Fairly new rider (and French-speaking) rider here. I’ve seen you use amounts of bidons to qualify your rides. How does that work? Is it related to the time or distance. And what is 1 bidon equivalent to?
Thank you very much for these articles. They are very inspiring. I’m trying to get all my routes badges (in a much longer time period than you :p ) and you motivate me to keep on riding the big climbs.

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

So glad you’re inspired! The bidons is how Eric broke the rides down, based on approximately how many bidons of water one should drink during the route. More info here: https://zwiftinsider.com/route-ride-schedule/ I hope that answered your question!

Brandon
Brandon
1 year ago

Sorry to hear you’re suffering. I think it’s good though that you’ve noticed that you’ve overdone it and are doing the sensible thing of stepping back for a bit to recover. Cycling should be fun but risking your health is not worth it. I’m sure that after a break you’ll come back both physically and mentally stronger.

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

Thank you for the support, Brandon! I’m definitely itching to jump back on the bike!

George Stacko
Member
George Stacko (@gcastacko)
1 year ago

Great work Monica! I enjoy reading your journey on Route badges. You are making great progress! Listen to your body and if it says take a break do so. I started the route badge challenge shortly after seeing an article about it. I’m down to 2 left Four Horsemen and Mega Pretzel. The worst by far in my opinion was The Uber Pretzel at 79 miles and you don’t start climbing the Alpe until you are 72 miles in! Keep posting enjoy hearing your take!

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

Thanks, George! Glad to know that the PRL Full might not actually be the worst. Maybe.

Mily
Mily
1 year ago

It’s great that you are taking a rest week. I am feeling a bit exhausted too. These longer rides are no fun! Rest up! 😎

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

Thanks, Mily! You rest up too!

D.J.Hunter
D.J.Hunter
1 year ago

Please have a little break! You gave my 8 year old son a ride on the other day and he was excited when I explained what you were up to!

Monica Schlange
Top Member
Monica Schlange (@mmisc)
1 year ago
Reply to  D.J.Hunter

How fun! Thanks for sharing! And thanks for the encouragement to take a break! I’ll do just that!

Dan Aponik
Dan Aponik
1 year ago

I’m sure Eric has given you some good advice on this, but by rest week, I’m sure you mean you’ll alternate a day off the bike with a day you do a super easy spin to keep your legs loose and the blood flowing to aid in your recovery. I’d say an easy 45 minutes to 1 hour every other day would be just about right.

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

Thanks, Dan! I’m definitely not doing nothing! I appreciate the tip!

Richard
Richard (@rsduchemin)
1 year ago

Is it just me that thought the Knickerbocker routes referred to the route maps similarity to a Knickbocker Glory??

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

*googles knickerbocker glory* WHAT???? Those look amazing!!! Now I need one (once I kick the watts back up again!).

ChrisB200SX
ChrisB200SX
1 year ago

That’s a serious week, congrats, although you made it sound like 8 days with the gap between Pretzel and Quatch Quest?
Big increase in distance, hours and climbing, probably would have been better spreading that out over two weeks rather than having a week off.
It’s not possible to overtrain, but it’s all too easy to under-recover.
You are still ahead of me on The Pretzel and Half PRL, I’ve only got those and more difficult left though. 6 routes I think, could take me 6 weeks… or more!

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

Oops, Pretzel was on Sunday, Quatch Quest was on Saturday. So just one week.

I like your saying about overtraining and under-recovering. Good one!

Schedule those difficult rides and get at it, man! Haha.

Ądreé
Ądreé
1 year ago

Resting? No! I feel very tired, but I have only two routes left to finish, uber and mega pretzel. I can’t wait to end this up. This will be the last two rides in my cave of pain this season. Then I go back to riding outside. I

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

Now that I’m doing some resting (active recovery, really) I’m more so a believer in it! If you feel very tired it might be time to do the same. Then again, you know what you can handle more than anyone else can! Ride on!

Ądreé
Ądreé
1 year ago

As you said before. 10% legs (body), 90% mental. This week I completed the prl full, four horseman, uber pretzel (it is realy tough) plus for fun lutscher CCW and road to the sky. Now I must pause for 2-3 days and then do my last remaining route mega pretzel. Should be easy.

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

What? Those are insane routes! Are you sure you’re a human?

Ądreé
Ądreé
1 year ago

Yes. I’am human. Normally I don’t have time for such long “trainings”. But my son and wife went to the chess tournament for a week and no one complained to me that I spend so much time playing.

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

Ah, capitalize on the time you have! Very smart!!!

Flex Rampant
Flex Rampant
1 year ago

Superb effort Monica! I took a week out (somewhat enforced due to work commitments) whilst you were caning the 5+ bidon routes. I’m back on it now and I’ve found it seems to have done me the world of good. I’m able to put in and sustain a decent amount of effort, although when attempting to complete the dreaded Achterbahn the springs and cogs very nearly came out of my knees at the top of Innsbruck KOM yesterday! Contemplating what to do today Lutscher CCW is a definite, to complete everything Innsbruck has to offer, and depending on how I’m… Read more »

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

Achterbahn and Lutscher CCW are two I haven’t done yet. NOT looking forward to them! Did you end up completing Lutscher CCW?

Flex Rampant
Flex Rampant
1 year ago

Well done Monica! I think you’re being wise re taking a week out. I’ve not cried on Zwift, but have cried many times when out on the bike. The elements, pure exhaustion and just reaching my wit’s end! Keep it up! Awesome riding lady. 👍💪😃

Flex Rampant
Flex Rampant
1 year ago
Reply to  Flex Rampant

Not sure what’s happened here but this last comment wasn’t me 😕

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