Last year, Zwift showcased the progress flag for Pride Month. What does the progress flag mean to you?
The progress flag symbolizes the power and potential of sport to bring the best out of each of us. Sport can serve as a reflection of society. But sport can also propel society forward. By signifying that diversity is a welcomed strength, the progress flag empowers athletes to celebrate our differences and spread that spirit of inclusion to society at large.
What is the greatest challenge LGBTQIA+ athletes face today?
From my perspective, the greatest challenge is simply getting society to understand that LGBTQIA+ rights are human rights. And hence, LGBTQIA+ athlete rights are human rights. We are all humans, and we all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, on and off the playing field. Specifically, right now in America, this focus is on trans athlete rights. Trans athlete rights are human rights, and trans athletes deserve to participate in the gender category to which they identify. Everyone deserves to feel the power, joy, and freedom that participating in sport can afford.
What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
I love connecting with people in person -- I have missed that so much over the past year! Zwift has been a godsend for that reason. It has been so comforting to chat with people from all over the world while sweating on my bike in my tiny studio apartment. It feels self-serving to call it giving back... one thing I really enjoy doing in life is learning and sharing other peoples' stories (through podcasting and writing).
Is there an athlete that mentored you? What did they do? How did it help you?
My biggest mentor is my brilliant coach and incredible athlete, David Roche. He has opened my eyes to the fact that we all possess boundless strength, love, and compassion within ourselves. We are capable of accomplishing so much more than we think. And lifting others up and celebrating their success lifts ourselves up, too.
What’s an important lesson you’ve learned as an athlete?
I used to give myself crippling anxiety over failing, which turned into a vicious cycle. And then I reframed it. Failure is an opportunity to prove to ourselves how strong and resilient we really are. It's not something to be feared.
What’s the song, artist, or band that gets you pumped up for a ride/run?
Anything by Queen! Especially "Don't Stop Me Now." I sing the lyrics "I'm a shooting star leaping through the sky/ Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity/ I'm a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva/ I'm gonna go, go, go/ There's no stopping me" over and over during really long days on feet/in the saddle. Hahaha.
What would you tell your younger self?
Your weakness in one thing translates into a strength at something else. So don't despair if you feel frustrated by your results. I was a competitive swimmer growing up, and no matter how hard I trained, I was never as good as I wanted to be. It was really discouraging to be the first one in the pool at practice and the last one out and yet not improve as much as I wanted or qualify for the big championship meets. But never meeting my goals fueled my work ethic and ultimately taught me that the journey was what I loved the most. It was a nice added bonus that the work ethic I honed through years of swimming did translate to success in running and triathlon :)
Authenticity is a buzzword right now. What does that word mean to you?
Authenticity comes down to just being yourself and standing up for your values and what you believe in.
Do you have any pre-event rituals or superstitions?
I try not to! As an ultra runner, adaptability and being able to roll with the punches can be your greatest strength, so I try not to get too set in a routine. That being said, I cannot do anything without coffee.
If you could ask allies to do one thing, what would it be?
Go have a conversation with someone who is different from you in some way. Once we get to know someone, we realize that we are bonded by our humanity. :) That's one of my favorite aspects of sport—we all come in different shapes, sizes, strengths, weaknesses, and perspectives, yet sport unites us in our shared love of pushing ourselves, pushing each other, and coming together around an activity we hold dear to our hearts.
Abby will lead a ride on June 12 at 7:30am PT