Please tell us about yourself!
My name is Tracey. I am 51 and live in a small village called Napton-on-the-Hill, which is Warwickshire. I have known my husband Ian, for 32 years and we’ve been married for 21. We have 2 grown children, Carl and Natalie, who live nearby with their partners and my grandkids, Isabelle who is nearly 3, a beautiful baby boy, called Theo who was born only days ago, and Maisy who is nearly 1.
I work part-time in the marina in the village, assisting people with their holiday bookings on narrowboats. It’s not the most exciting job in the world but it pays for my cycling and is a beautiful place to work.
Besides cycling, which is the love of my life. I do a bit of running. In fact, I just signed up for the London Marathon 2018. I also like to make cakes and decorate them, usually for my children and grandchildren.
Tell us why you Zwift and what got you started.
I love Zwift. I first heard about it from a friend who started on Beta. I applied to join but didn’t have the equipment. However, I kept following my friend on Zwift as I was really intrigued as to what it was all about. Eventually in January 2016 I joined and was initially on a dumb trainer, which very soon changed. I invested in a Wahoo Kickr Snap, dongle, extension cable and yeah! I was right there!
One of the reasons I wanted to join Zwift was that living in a small remote village the winter can be pretty harsh and when it snows, that’s it! Nobody goes anywhere.
What’s your Zwift set up?
The bike I use for Zwifting is my old original intro bike. It is a Trek Lexa, only 8 speed but it does the job and means I don’t have to keep swapping my bike over. When my daughter left home I confiscated her bedroom. It is now known as Tracey’s Bike Room. It has all my riding gear in one place, it’s MY space! I run Zwift from my laptop to my 38” TV which is just right for the size of room. I have rubber gym matting on the floor to reduce the amount of noise downstairs with a Wahoo trainer mat as well. I also have my yoga mat and kettlebells in the room, but honestly, they don’t come out that much!
Yeah, my non-cycling specific workout gear doesn’t come out much either. How often and where do you prefer to ride on Zwift?
As often as I can… usually 4-5 times a week, but could be more if the British weather is rubbish, which a lot of the time it is. I like to mix things up a bit when I ride, at the moment I’m training for the Wales Velothon and RideLondon later in the year, so I am trying to get some hill climbs in on most rides.
I love Watopia, especially since the arrival of the volcano. Love cycling the laps and watching the counter go up. My most favourite place in real life is London and even in the virtual world I love it. The best part is Tower Bridge. Always brings back lovely memories for me from running the London marathon and cycling the London Revolution last year.
What kind of bike do you ride?
I bought my Trek bike about 3 years ago and it did me well, but when I started entering events it just wasn’t good enough. After a lot of nagging (it usually works) my husband bought me my bike I love. It is a Cannondale Super Six Evo. I’ve had it now just over 2 years and upgraded the wheels and cassette to an 11 speed. I’ve eventually found a perfect saddle and riding it is a pleasure. I only use this bike outside.
What’s your must-have piece of equipment for riding?
When Zwifting I must have my music on. I just hate cycling indoors without my music. It’s very random 80’s non-stop music, but I love it and it has a great beat. I don’t ride outside with music, but indoors it’s a must.
Music always propels me on Zwift as well! How has Zwifting changed your IRL rides?
I never would have thought that Zwifting would make as much difference as it has. Hills… hills… hills, my nemesis. I hated them and would change my route so I didn’t have to do them, but Zwift has taught me to… I wouldn’t say embrace them… but to realize that you just have to get over them! At first stopping on a hill in Zwift made me feel that I had failed, but with Zwift you stop, breathe a minute and then do a bit more. It made me realize that I wasn’t failing but just learning to go that bit further. There is nothing wrong with stopping and then doing a bit more. Now, I feel that I can keep going and have made it to the top of the Mountain (not the Tower yet) up the cobbles in Richmond and Box Hill in London… and in real life I have tackled a 6% hill near where I live and reached the top a few times now, without stopping. That’s something I probably wouldn’t have even contemplated doing a few months ago.
What’s your least favorite thing about Zwift? What’s your most favorite?
Least favourite is when it crashes for no apparent reason and then I have to upload my ride manually. Very frustrating. Most favourite is that I get to ride with people from all over the world. I don’t ride with people in real life so having other people to ride with is great.
Yes, I love the friendships created! What is some advice or info you wish you knew sooner in your cycling journey?
That hills are not really that scary. Just go for it, keep pedaling and you reach the top eventually. Zwift has really taught me that lesson.
Anything else that you’d like to add that tells us more of your Zwifting Story?
Zwift has really changed me and my cycling. It has given me the confidence to enter lots of real life rides. Last year my main ride was London to Paris and this year my main ride is London-Amsterdam-Brussels. I’m sure I would never have been able to complete these rides without the unlimited use of Zwift, especially over the winter months. However, I will always pay for Zwift even through the summer months. They do a fantastic job to make us all better riders.
Thanks for sharing your story, Tracey! Ride on!