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.
For Megan Killeen, the phrase, "It's as easy as riding a bike," didn't ring true. This adventurer and National Park Ranger was petrified of riding a bike...until the community of Zwift Academy showed her the way.
Why did you join Zwift Academy?
I joined Zwift Academy (and Zwift in general) because for my entire life, I’ve never once felt comfortable on a bicycle. I learned to ride at the ripe old age of 12 and crashed my bike soon thereafter, resulting in a decade-long hiatus from my bicycle.
Two pretty big life events convinced me to get back in the saddle: 1. a knee injury in college that ended my dance career before it could start, and 2. I fell head over heels for a National Park Ranger who rode (and continues to ride) his bike every day that he isn’t patrolling in the wilderness. I figured the best possible way to rehabilitate my knee, develop a new kind of aerobic fitness, and explore the roads with my new partner in adventure was to get back in the saddle.
How has the training impacted your life so far?
Zwift Academy has completely transformed my riding and me as a person. For 12 years, I couldn’t ride my bike. I was shaky, stressed out, and swerving all over the place every time I tried to pedal. Now I ride several times a week (sometimes outside when I can find the time!) and I love it. Zwift and Zwift Academy is completely responsible for the transition.
The program allowed me the opportunity to learn the mechanics of my bike better and how my body fit in with it. I learned to shift properly without looking down at my hands; I learned to find my balance when I got out of the saddle; and I learned all about power, cadence, and watts per kilogram.
Zwift Academy has given me such a feeling of camaraderie and community support. I can ask the other women riding questions without feeling ashamed of my naïveté. I can learn without ridicule. And each time I join a group ride, I am inspired to push harder than I ever thought I could because let’s be honest: there are some seriously fit and badass women riding for ZA!
I’ve even made Zwift friends, men and women from all over the world! Sharon Matyear (ZA) and Steve Masi both paced me when I completed my first imperial century on Zwift. Alison Kubota (ZA) chats with me over Strava about my heart rate or my power output. Maggie Kean (ZA and CISCYCLING) always checks in with me when we’re both riding and texts words of encouragement.
I grin every time I hop on the bike because the community is so welcoming, nurturing, and just competitive enough to keep me striving toward higher goals.
What do you do when you are not riding your bike?
I’m currently a National Park Ranger. I’ve worked two summers at Mount Rainier NP and one winter and this summer at Olympic NP. I backpack, hike, swim, snowshoe, and Nordic ski but I’d like to take up some more snow sports. This year I’ve been doing my own wilderness patrols and it is simply the best job ever!
I also write creatively and just finished a 700-page action novel about… you guessed it—National Park Rangers! It’s currently being edited but I hope to start pitching it to literary agents before the end of this year. If I’m not outside exercising, I’m usually writing stories about fictional people who heli-ski, go on searches and rescues, etc.
When I dedicate my time to something, I give it everything I’ve got, and Zwift Academy is no exception!
Do you have kids or pets? How do they feel about your Zwift station?
No kiddos yet because I’m 24 and having way too much fun adventuring, but certainly some day! I haven’t used my Zwift station in my parents' house on the east coast yet, but I imagine my miniature poodle Seamus will be utterly baffled by it when I return for the holidays…
Cyclists have to replace a lot of calories. What is your favorite post-ride treat?
ICE CREAM. Frozen yogurt, milkshakes, anything cold and sweet!
What’s one of your most memorable moments on a bike?
I recently rode the last five miles of the Hurricane Ridge road in Olympic National Park! This doesn’t sound like much but it was 1800 feet of climbing and I didn’t swerve once, even though there were cars passing by the entire time. For someone who was once petrified on a bicycle, this is just the best thing I could have done! I hope to ride the entire 17 mile road before the end of this summer and after finishing Zwift Academy, I know I can not only do it, I can crush it.
Where has your bike taken you, physically and/or mentally?
Physically, I’ve done a little bit of riding in Death Valley, California and Snow Canyon State Park, Utah.
Mentally, my bike now takes me to a place where I am in control of everything that matters: my breathing, my cadence, and my gaze on the road (or screen!) before me. I’m a more disciplined athlete now, a person whose focus is as precise as a laser.
Zwift Academy has helped me reach my goals and then push past them. I feel as though I’ve earned the right to call myself a cyclist.
Describe Zwift in 5 words
Fun, Friendly, Challenging, Rewarding, SWEATY!