Zwift Academy is a community of fun-loving, competitive women from all corners of the globe. They are moms, daughters, doctors, lawyers, caretakers, entrepreneurs, bosses, and more, who remarkably balance training with all of life's responsibilities.
Each week, we'll tell one rider's story to uncover a little bit more of the motivations and personalities behind this inspiring group of women.
Lynn Beaumont started Zwifting earlier this year. Here's her story...
Why did you join Zwift Academy?
I discovered Zwift early in 2016. The concept had peaked my boyfriend’s and my curiosity. I couldn’t bike at the time due to injuries to both shoulders from getting hit by a car while biking back in August 2015. He tried it and fell in love with it straight away. Months later, when I could finally manage 10 minutes on the bike, I fell in love with Zwift, too. Slowly, I worked myself up to an hour. This was monumental to me because I have been dealing with debilitating pain, fatigue, depression and nausea for some time due to the crash and a previous severe concussion. Zwift helped me stay motivated.
Sport has always been part of my life. It has been a resource for reducing anxiety and has provided me with those wonderful endorphins that boost the mood, even if temporary. I’m the type of person who keeps trying - I rarely give up! I tried to get through my post accident depression without any external or pharmaceutical help. My brain changed after the accidents - I was irritable, crying, upset, and I had suicidal thoughts. This was a horrifying wake up call that forced me to hospital to get the professional help that I desperately needed.
With the aid of counseling and antidepressants, I finally had real energy and a new lease on life. That is when I decide to join the Academy, as I felt my body could tolerate a heavier training load. The Academy gives me an objective and helps me in my rehabilitation process.
The social aspect of the Academy is so important as I am unable to bike outside. The training gives me the exact same feeling as if I were biking with a group! It has helped me immensely.
How has the training impacted your life so far?
I love to train. I love intervals. I love having a goal and so the Academy is giving me an objective for the summer: to get better both physically and psychologically and to keep me busy as I am also still unable to work.
I love TrainingPeaks! I use it to watch my level of fatigue and to avoid overtraining, which I always did in the past. I like following others progress as it pushes me to stay on track. I am still pretty fragile physically and cannot sustain a lot of trainings in a row, but at least I am biking, pushing some watts and loving it! It also helps to boost self esteem as that was pretty low back in April 2016.
I don’t compare myself to other riders as that is pointless. Instead, I use my training to be proud of everything that I have overcome in the last few years and to realize that I am resilient and that even if things are hard, it always ends at some point!
What do you do when you're not riding your bike?
I am a part-time cycling coach, working with kids, 8-13 years old at the competitive-development level. Next Fall, I will be working with my mentor, coaching teenagers in cycling and triathlon, in the sports-studies program at the high school level. Coaching has also helped me boost back my self esteem as I absolutely love it and hope to do it full time. I have a great opportunity coming up in July, as I will be coaching a team of 10 cycling athletes at the provincial games finals, which is like the Olympics for kids here in our province. About 2000 athletes compete in various disciplines, for gold medals. We have opening and closing ceremonies just like the Olympics!
I am also still in rehab at this time so I am not working at my full time job, coincidentally as a rehab specialist. I am, however, on the right track and I should be able to be back to work full time again by the fall.
Do you have kids or pets? How do they feel about your Zwift station?
I have a 20-year-old daughter who no longer lives with me and I have a wonderful yellow lab named Mango, who is usually my mountain bike sidekick and trail running buddy. He had to adapt to my new situation and accept very short walks for sometime, but now we have graduated to 1 hour long walks up the mountain - his favorite place. Mango could care less about my ‘Zwifting’ as there is no food involved for him!
Cyclists have to replace a lot of calories. What's your favorite post-ride treat?
I mostly have a soy chocolate beverages after training. I can’t bike outside for long sessions yet, so I don’t need to replace a lot of calories. The longest ride so far has been a 1h 45 min training. Boy did my arms not like that, but I finished it anyways!
With the accident and the depression I had gained a lot of weight, about 20 lbs. It took me a while to be motivated and to believe that I could lose some of it. Cycling helps - so far I have lost a total of 12 lbs!
What's one of your most memorable moments on a bike?
I have so many! I have been biking for 8 years and 5 of those were competitive (Masters level). I would have to say, the many cycling training camps over the past years; Nice (France), Arizona, Virginia (at least 5 times) and Cuba. I really hope that there are more to come.
Where has your bike taken you, physically and/or mentally?
To me, biking is freedom: you can go fast and see lots of beautiful scenery.
It’s meeting great people who share the same passion and who don’t care what you do for a living. Biking is pushing your limits and knowing that you’ll survive. It’s getting to know yourself and learning how to overcome your fears.
You either love biking or you don’t. I can’t live without it, yet!
Describe Zwift in 5 words
Social, fun, goals, achievements, addictive