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 Beth York, Zwift Academy offered an opportunity for her to test her limits. A thrill-seeker by nature, this mom of two believes that there are a lot of life lessons to be learned by exploring the adventures outside of your comfort zone. Here's her story...
Why did you join Zwift Academy?
I fell in love with Zwift from day one and saw it as a tool to get outside of my comfort zone. In addition to training, I realized how social it could be. I wanted to meet other cyclists who were using it to train, but didn’t know where to start.
I stumbled upon Zwift Academy and thought “Perfect, I’ll meet other like-minded riders who want to challenge themselves, while upping my game.” Plus, I thought it was amazing that one hard-working rider would earn a pro contract. What a motivating incentive! Really, how cool is that?
How has the training impacted your life so far?
I’m enjoying the structured workouts. They’re the real deal. They’ve given me huge, measurable gains outside the app.
The camaraderie that has developed (often through the mutual suffering) has been one of the best things about ZA. I have been consistently inspired by the accomplishments of my fellow ZA Riders.
I love reading their stories and seeing posts and pictures of their epic rides on social media. It’s just awesome to be involved and grow with this training program and to share the journey with so many women riders from around the world.
What do you do when you are not riding your bike?
I’m constantly seeking adventure and adrenaline. I am a triathlete, competitive skydiver, musician (bass guitar player) and mom. Professionally, I’m a media content creator (video host, producer, writer and director), so I get to do some pretty fun and creative work. Many times I’ve been able to feature my sports, passions and “extracurricular” adventures in my media content, which is total bliss. Convergence of passions!
Do you have kids or pets? How do they feel about your Zwift station?
I have two daughters (10 & 8), and a 12-year-old weimaraner. They watch me sweat it out on my Zwift station and become a hot mess. But they know that their mommy is much happier on the days she leaves a puddle under her bike! They come to my races and are my biggest fans.
When I’m feeling exhausted and tested on the course, I envision their proud faces at the finish line. I want them to see me cross the line and know that I never gave up, no matter how hard it was to for me keep moving forward. I hope to set an example that women are strong and powerful; and that we come in all shapes and sizes. I hope they see my Zwift station as I do - a tool for empowerment.
Cyclists have to replace a lot of calories. What is your favorite post-ride treat?
I always have some sort of a smoothie after I ride: a mix of fruit, greens and protein powder. And bananas. I’m like a minion with BANANAS! But don’t let that fool you – I have a weakness for gummy bears, skittles and peeps. I like to call these treats “fuel” and eat during a ride (and yes PEEPS, the marshmallow treats- blue raspberry are my favorite).
What’s one of your most memorable moments on a bike?
I started riding and bought my first bike since childhood, just 2 years ago. I fell in love. (Dear Cycling: I wish I met you sooner so I could love you longer). I signed up for New England’s B2VT, a grueling, one day, 132 mile ride from MA to VT.
About 50 miles in, I was at the beginning of one of the first epic climbs of the ride. Despite my training on “hills” (I live in a relatively flat area with rolling hills) I was surprised at how steep the grade was. I just had no clue, but quickly learned what I was in for. I was only at the start of a 6-mile climb and I was in my very lightest gear on my little ring! I said to myself, “Get comfortable with this, cuz there is no end in sight.” I was in the company of a couple good friends and made some new ones.
We suffered and laughed through it and I realized I had found my tribe. And turns out, I really LOVE climbing. But I now know hills are not the same as mountains.
Where has your bike taken you, physically and/or mentally?
I take something with me from each ride. Crack of dawn rides are my absolute favorite. I’m usually alone and savor the solitude. I have seen so many sunrises over the ocean; with the sky painted in colors so vibrant my eyes struggle to take it in. Riding down a country road with the low sun peaking through the trees, and streaking yellow stripes in front of me. Spotting a deer and slowing to marvel for a moment; or climbing a long steep stretch and pulling over to snap a picture of the mountain I’ve conquered– so many moments like these are where I feel most spiritually connected to my planet and utterly grateful for the freedom to be on my bike.
Describe Zwift in 5 words
Connected, Engaging, Challenging, Motivating, Fun!