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.
In losing her job, Carol Tower gained time, which freed her up to participate in Zwift Academy. Here's her story...
Why did you join Zwift Academy?
I’ve been an active user of Zwift since Beta, March 2015 to be exact. It helped curb the boredom of riding on an indoor trainer. It was even better once the workout programs were released. It was good to have that structure. I lost my job this year due to cutbacks, just 4 days before my birthday. It was devastating and a lot of plans were put on hold. The Newfoundland economy isn't great and many people have been affected in various ways.
Zwift helped me cope with that loss during the winter as I looked for a new job, which I am still doing today.
Shortly after losing my job, I heard about Zwift Academy and I was eager to get involved. I waited patiently until registration & signed up right away. I wanted structured training and this was a good way to get it. In a sport that's pretty male-dominated, it's nice to have a program that focuses on women. I want to improve. I do feel stronger, so I think its working. Maybe it will give me a fighting chance!
How has the training impacted your life so far?
My training has more structure and it keeps me on a tight schedule. I'm an early bird, so the sooner I can train the better. (I participate in the Australia Group rides as they start at 8am Newfoundland Standard Time....Yes, we have our very own time zone!) I like to have my training all done in the morning. It’s what works for me. It’s integrated into my daily routine at this point.
What do you do when you're not riding your bike?
I enjoy spending time with my husband and dog! We live minutes away from a great hiking route that goes along the coastline, so I enjoy hiking that when I can. Many side streets here break off into trails in the woods, so I love walking there too. I am still discovering new trails! They are great for mountain biking and in the winter I will snow shoe in there. Fitness is a big part of my life. I work out at my home gym that also shares space with my Zwift station.
I also love creative Pinterest Projects! I like to re-purpose things. It’s amazing what kind of decorations you can re-create from old items. I am a graphic designer by trade, so I am always updating my portfolio for future job prospects. In fact, I recently did some design work for the KISS Racing Series featured in Zwift.
Do you have kids or pets? How do they feel about your Zwift station?
I have a Beagle named Conner. We adopted him from a shelter almost ten years ago. He’s a great companion. He’s very passive, so Zwift doesn’t bother him, but he will come out in the room sometimes, so I keep a bed close by. Conner is a palliative senior so we are cherishing the time we have left with him!
Cyclists have to replace a lot of calories. What's your favorite post-ride treat?
I may have a peanut butter sandwich, but I also like almonds and cherries. Supper would usually consist of chicken or salmon. I’m not a big pop drinker but sometimes as a special treat I might have a Dr. Pepper!
What’s one of your most memorable moments on a bike?
That’s a tough question. I’ve only been doing this for three years. I participated in an 80k race last year on the west coast of the island. It was my second cycling race and that was the hardest I pushed myself up to that point. The course was fairly flat which was something I am not used to since this place is so hilly. It was scary and great. I went back again this year, it will now be a yearly tradition!
Where has your bike taken you, physically and/or mentally?
Cycling has allowed me to get out of my comfort zone, meet new people and explore new places.
Cycling pushes my limits. I always feel a small level of fear when I ride outside which gives me an adrenaline rush. There is no time to think about anything else but the ride and your surroundings.
Describe Zwift in 5 words
Engaging, Motivating, Social, Innovative, Excellent