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.
Rachael Elliot has unique talents. This 2 X World Brompton Champion and former professional violinist loves to compete. Zwift Academy offered her a place to channel her effusive energy and talents and it paid off. She made the Semi-Finals. Here's her story...
Why did you join Zwift Academy?
As a female rider on Zwift, joining the Academy seemed like a natural thing to do. I'm quite a competitive person and, having had some pretty good results on the road, I wanted to see how I fared on a much larger, global playing field.
I liked the camaraderie that was beginning to start amongst the female rider contingent on Zwift, and thought Zwift Academy would be a way of forming even stronger bonds with the ladies on Zwift.
How has the training impacted your life so far?
I've always fit life around my rather heavy training schedule, rather than the other way round - so not much has changed from a "life interruption" perspective.
I am, however, having to be more structured with my training in order to fit the specific sessions in, and find myself having to shift rides around, shorten my cycle commute and train on the trainer at a time normally reserved for owls!
What do you do when you are not riding your bike?
I always need to be "doing" something, and my main other passion is music. I used to be a professional violinist, and I think the discipline which you apply to practicing transfers very well to following a strict training regime on the bike.
I also love baking, and am well known for producing tins of freshly baked cakes at the end of time trials! My love of cycling means I also organise races, hold various positions on cycling-related committees and act as a general dogsbody to my friends at races.
Do you have kids or pets? How do they feel about your Zwift station?
I don't have pets or children. The closest I've got was when a muntjac deer let itself in through the conservatory door when I was on the trainer. I was mid-interval, looked up - and saw two very black eyes staring at me, absolutely terrified. In reality, I was more scared than the deer, but it still makes me smile.
Cyclists have to replace a lot of calories. What is your favorite post-ride treat?
I'm very simple! I tend to crave protein when I've finished a session, so keep a stash of cooked chicken breast and fish sticks in the fridge.
What’s one of your most memorable moments on a bike?
Am I allowed two?
The first was when I was going for the national 30 mile record. After riding 29 miles, I knew I only needed to complete the final mile in over 5 minutes to break the record. Stopping my Garmin with 2 minutes to spare was a feeling of pure elation!
The second was completely different. I love training in Tenerife - it satiates my appetite for tough cycling coupled with a love for all things geothermic! I'd cycled three hours to the base of the tip of Teide, and the remoteness of a completely alien and deserted landscape was something I'd never experienced before.
Where has your bike taken you, physically and/or mentally?
I definitely view my time on the bike as something which is beneficial to both my physical and mental wellbeing.
Some people ask how I have the energy to seemingly be on my bike all the time - but I actually find the time on the bike refreshing, rejuvenating and energizing!
Describe Zwift in 5 words
Collaborative, Fun, Innovative, Groundbreaking - and Addictive, of course!