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 McGrew designs rovers to roll around Mars. When she was looking for her next challenge, she landed on Watopia to explore Zwift Academy. Here’s her story…
Why did you join Zwift Academy?
I joined ZA for the chance to compete to be a professional cyclist, wow! But in reality, to experience the type of training involved to get there is motivation in and of itself, as well as the chance to virtually train with women all over the world.
The online community has been incredible and the camaraderie of riding with women on Zwift is so much fun.
I love that ZA has upped the female-to-male ratio on Zwift, although it sure does make the QOM’s a lot harder to achieve and hang on to. All of the strong women on Zwift are inspiring and have given me even more to strive towards in getting my watts ever higher.
How has the training impacted your life so far?
The Academy program has provided a specific focus to my training. I’m a runner and recently a duathlete, but often find myself at the mercy of foot stress fractures. Cycling keeps my feet happy, and I’ve discovered I’m a much better cyclist than I ever was runner.
Now I wish I would have started cycling earlier in life, but feel like its something I’ll be able to keep doing for decades to come. It’s such great cross-training for injury prevention. The Academy workouts have boosted my motivation and forced me to keep a more consistent schedule in order to fit in both running and cycling workouts.
What do you do when you’re not riding your bike?
I am a NASA aerospace engineer, where I work on designing and landing rovers on Mars. It’s been challenging and exciting to be a part of many successful missions and work with incredible people to fuel humankind’s fascination with outer space.
Astronauts require several hours per day of exercise to maintain heart and bone health in zero-gravity. I’ve got a great idea! Perhaps they can keep fit in space with Zwift during their next mission to Mars!
The engineer in me loves number-crunching, and I’ve had fun analyzing my ZA workout data and correlating heart-rate, power and intensities to my own fitness improvements. While my job involves a lot of mental exercise, I prefer my hobbies to be creative and physical. I also enjoy running, pilates, knitting, jewelry-making, spending good times with friends and family at various places and events in our city, and most of all – traveling! I love seeing the world, experiencing new places and cultures, and making memories.
Do you have kids or pets? How do they feel about your Zwift station?
Nope! My husband Chris (who is also a hard-core cyclist and Zwifter) does refer to our bikes as our “kids”, though!
Cyclists have to replace a lot of calories. What’s your favorite post-ride treat?
What isn’t?! I’ll eat just about anything after a good ride. I’ve fallen in love with the incredible Tex-Mex cuisine we have here in Texas. Can’t beat chips, guacamole and then some fro-yo to cool down after a hot day on the road.
What’s one of our most memorable moments on a bike?
In 2015, Chris and I planned a trip to ride segments and watch the Alpine stages of the Tour de France. It was a dream-come-true experience for Chris, and I wanted to be certain I could keep up with him and enjoy cycling on those difficult mountain routes.
Our months of training paid off, and through that training and then ascending (and descending!) the Col de la Forclaz, Col du Glandon, Alpe d’Huez, and Col du Sarenne, I discovered my climbing talents. The vistas along those routes are breathtaking and I was ever so grateful that we could use our bikes as vehicles to see the world and experience life together.
Where has your bike taken you, physically and/or mentally?
I’m a bit of a ‘fraidy-cat’ when it comes to physical risk-taking and being uncomfortable. When I started cycling, it was difficult to imagine spending hours in the saddle riding 100+ miles or the terror of descending mountains on a bike.
Cycling has given me courage to try those scary things, and every time I’ve conquered a fear, be it flying down a mountain in the rain, riding over 8 hours with over 10,000ft of elevation gain, or pushing myself to new limits, I’ve found being on the bike to be the best way out there to bolster my mental fortitude. It’s opened a whole new world of sport, challenge and excitement that I never knew before.
Describe Zwift in 5 words
Zooming, Wonderful, Interactive, Friendly, Thrilling