Just a few days ago, Monica (my wife) and I were chatting about fitness goals for the new year. After setting a goal of riding 5 days a week for the first three months of the year, Monica upped the stakes even more: she asked me to create a plan for her to ride all of Zwift’s routes in 90 days.
It sounded like a fun challenge to me, so I dove in. And now we’re sharing this plan with all of you, in hopes that you’ll join Monica on her route-conquering quest!
How It Works
There are currently 67 “free-ridable” routes on Zwift, so this is the list of routes we’ll be riding. (There are many other “event-only” routes available, but we’re leaving these off the list since they are event-dependant and not included in the Zwift Insider Route Hunter Leaderboards.)
I broke the routes into 5 groups, roughly based on the number of water bottles (bidons) it would take you to finish the route:
- 1 Bidon: 27 routes
- 2 Bidon: 16 routes
- 3 Bidon: 11 routes
- 4 Bidon: 7 routes
- 5+ Bidons: 6 routes
Once we had that list, I organized it into a progressive schedule of 55 rides. (That is 11 weeks of 5 rides per week if you follow Monica’s schedule–or you can complete it in under 8 weeks if you ride every day.)
The schedule doesn’t tell you specifically which route to ride, until the very end when we’re on the hardest routes Zwift has to offer. Instead, it will have you choose a route from the list based on bidon count–so you may need to select a 2-bidon route for the day, or a 4-bidon route, or perhaps 2 different 1-bidon routes!
Recovery Is Key
The schedule begins with easy efforts, having you ride just one or two of the easy “1 bidon” routes per day. The idea here is that even a beginning cyclist could take on this challenge.
But as it builds to the “3 bidon” routes, we intersperse difficult rides with recovery rides, so your body can properly recover. Remember: you don’t get stronger while you ride, you get stronger afterward when your body recovers! So take it easy on the recovery days (which have a grey background in the schedule) so your body can be strong for the harder rides.
The Final 6
The final 6 hard rides of the schedule are Zwift’s toughest routes:
Make sure you are well-hydrated and stocked with necessary nutrition before you take these rides on, as they will take you anywhere from 3-6+ hours to complete.
Update: She Did It!
On April 10, 2020, Monica completed the the Couch to Route Hero challenge! She began on January 5th.
Questions or Comments?
Thoughts on the schedule? Thinking of taking on the challenge? Comment below!