As the first all-female Zwift racing team, Team Fearless helped pave the way for other women’s teams and clubs.
Now they do much more than race. They organize Zwift races of their own and lead group rides, and they have held four Annual Women’s Team Championships.
“We have ladies on our team from all over the world and of varying ages and levels of fitness,” says Cheryl Nakamura, one of the Fearless leaders. “It’s been fun to get to know each other and find commonalities that bring us together as a team. We have Zoom calls, monthly challenges for members to do for fun, and have enjoyed many meetups, events, series, and races on Zwift together.”
Cheryl, who goes by “Ms Sakushi” in Zwift, is 57 years old and lives in the state of Minnesota. She has loved road cycling since she was a teenager, when she would go on week-long bike trips at summer camp.
Cheryl found Zwift in 2016, and during her first Zwift Academy, she regularly joined a group ride led by Amy Levang. She loved the ride so much that when Amy founded Fearless after graduation, she joined right away!
We asked Cheryl about Fearless and what it’s like to be part of this group, and she was happy to answer.
Zwift: When did Team Fearless form, and who started it?
Cheryl Nakamura: Team Fearless was started in 2016 after Zwift Academy. Amy Levang (owner) wanted to keep the spirit of ZA going and asked if ladies would be interested in starting the first-ever female-only Zwift team. Hundreds raised their hands and joined the FB group Amy created. I was one of them. Our logo and Fearless kit was designed by Amy and the “less than” sign in fear< is fashioned after Rosie the Riveter. Over the years since, other female-only teams were started. We love the competition and encourage all Zwift ladies to find a team that fits for them!
Z: What would you say the group’s core purpose and goals are? Why do you believe your group is important to the Zwift community?
C: Our core purpose is to promote ladies' races, training, and overall fitness. Our goals are to continue to provide opportunities for our members and for the Zwift community of women to race, ride, train, and have fun encouraging each other to be stronger together! We also have built a stronger group of female runners on our team and are planning Fearless run events.
Fearless believes promoting and encouraging ladies in the Zwift community is key to getting the most out of Zwift. We are always looking for new creative ways to get Zwift ladies and our members involved and engaged in getting fitter, faster, and stronger.
Although we are mostly a cycling team, many of the members also run and have joined the ZA Run, ZA Tri, and Zwift duathlon fun.
Z: Who are the group’s leaders?
C: Owner: Amy Levang
Current admins: Laura Epelbaum, Cheryl Nakamura, Carrie Tolentino, Jeannette Rosbach
Our ride leaders have varied over the years. Currently they are: Winter Powell, Carolyn Audilet, Melanie Beets, Joey Lythgoe, Dani King, Amy Levang, Laura Epelbaum, Lauren Allen
Z: Is your group affiliated with a Zwift racing team?
C: Team Fearless is the first all-female Zwift racing team. Currently we are an invite-only team. Those interested in joining our team are encouraged to join and interact on our Facebook Fans page and our Fearless events. Any current Fearless member can invite candidates to fill out our application. Once on the team, there is a once-a-month race requirement.
Z: Sport can be a powerful platform for equality. How do you think participating in cycling can empower and benefit women and girls?
C: Participating in cycling is a great way for women and girls to get stronger together both mentally and physically. This strength builds self-confidence, strong bodies, and mental willpower. These positives can be used in and through all aspects of life.
Z: What are the benefits of being involved in a community of women who ride?
C: Being in a community of women provides support, encouragement, and motivation to get out there and push yourself beyond your current limits. We discuss all kinds of topics in our Facebook group including those specific to women's sports. We love to encourage everyone no matter their fitness level to try to do their best and try new things. The sense of accomplishment and camaraderie by doing it together is such a positive experience!
Z: Are there any special memories or experiences with this group that you'd like to share?
C: Getting our Fearless in-game kit was a highlight to match our Fearless IRL kit. All our members love our kit! It’s always the thing that new members look forward to getting unlocked in their garage and wear proudly.
The special memories are celebrating individual and team achievements, members unlocking their Tron bike or climbing the Alpe for the 1st or the 25th time or completing route badges or getting on the podium in a race! We celebrate all the wins and all the moments as special!
I've met so many amazing people through Zwift both on our team and within the Zwift community. What a great way to bring people together across the globe.
Team Fearless Rides
Fearless Recovery Ride (women only)
- Schedule: Mondays at 5:05 a.m. CST
- Pace: 1.3-1.5 w/kg
Fearless Cruisers (women only)
- Schedule: Mondays at 8:00 a.m. CST
- Pace: 1.5-2 w/kg
Fearless Beginner/Recovery Ride (women only)
- Schedule: Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. CST
- Pace: 1.5-1.7 w/kg
Fearless Recovery Ride (women only)
- Schedule: Thursdays at 4:05 a.m. CST
- Pace: 1.3-1.5 w/kg
Fast & Fearless – Women's Fast Social Ride (women only)
- Schedule: Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. CST
- Pace: 2.5-3.2 w/kg
Friyay Fearless and Friends Social Ride (mixed-gender)
- Schedule: Fridays at 5:00 a.m. CST
- Pace: 2.3-2.7 w/kg
Team Fearless Races
Fearless Women’s Night Crit
- Schedule: 12:45 p.m., 5:45 p.m., and 8:45 p.m. CST
Fearless Women’s MTB Race
- Schedule: Wednesdays at 12 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. CST, Saturdays at 4:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. CST
Fearless Women’s Weekday Race
- Schedule: Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. CST
Fearless Women’s Time Trial
- Schedule: Fridays at 12:15 p.m., 5:15 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. CST
Fearless Women’s Weekend Race
- Schedule: Saturdays at 8:40 a.m. CST
Fearless AGES Women’s Race
- Schedule: Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. CST
Fearless Beginners Race
- Schedule: Saturdays at 9 p.m. CST, Sundays at 9:05 a.m. CST and 12:10 p.m. CST