Colorado Springs, Colorado
(8/15/19 – 9/20/19)
It’s been a while since my last update, so it looks like I have a bit of updating to do! The road season has officially come to an end but if things keep going the way they are going, there may be no offseason in sight for me. I’m also taking an anatomy and physiology online course this fall, so I am definitely staying busy!
Earlier this year I received an invite to attend a track talent ID camp for the women’s team pursuit at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in September. With my only track experience being a couple talent ID camps last year, I decided that I needed to go out to Colorado early for some track specific training to be as best prepared as I possibly could. I had multiple people recommend I work with Performance United, a Colorado Springs-based high performance training center, and after giving it some thought, I couldn’t think of a better way for me to get prepared for the upcoming camp.
The training in Colorado was some of the toughest yet most rewarding training I had ever done. It was also different from a lot of what I had done in the past, which made it extremely challenging yet exciting at the same time. It was encouraging to see my progress from one week to the next, and the amount of PRs being made was super rewarding. Not to mention, the coaches and riders were all super encouraging, experienced, and focused, making it the perfect training atmosphere. By the time the USA talent ID camp rolled around, I knew I was as prepared as I could be (thanks to Performance United). Thankfully, I was able to put out some solid numbers/times and received an invite to attend another USAC camp in November, which I could not be more excited about! With that said, I’ll be going out to Colorado a few weeks before the next camp to continue working with Performance United who I have no doubt will help me improve my track abilities even more.
(9/26/19 – 10/02/19)
After spending five weeks in Colorado, I was pretty excited to go home and re-set. However, I was only home for less a week before I had to leave for another event: the Zwift Yorkshire Classic in Harrogate, UK. For those unfamiliar with Zwift, it’s a virtual cycling/running world where you can connect your treadmill via Bluetooth or bike via smart trainer with Bluetooth and watch your avatar along with other riders on-screen. You can track your power, heart rate, cadence, etc. which is super useful especially for training! There are even group rides and races you can do to ride/race with people from around the world. Our team has done many Zwift races throughout the year and has even hosts a community group ride once a week called “The Road to Tokyo.” Even though I’d already been on the road for a while, this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up since my brother was racing the UCI Road World Championship that same weekend and my dad was planning to fly out to watch. Our family is hardly ever in the same place at the same time so I knew this was going to be a special trip!
After a crazy travel day, and a late night watching the junior men’s Zwift race, I was feeling a bit drained but excited at the same time to race following evening. The morning of, I got to do an easy spin with my brother and the rest of the team USA guys, and then watch the elite women’s race (my teammate Chloe crushed it finishing 4th) afterward. The day was off to a good start! A few hours later and I was at the Zwift Draft House warming up on the trainer for the Zwift race. I knew it was going to be a tough race as the distance was only 14 kilometers (8.7 miles), and the course consisted of a punchy, hilly circuit lap of the Worlds course. As predicted, the race was fast from the start, and though the pace let up slightly a few times in the first half, as soon as we hit the major climb about half way through, the newly crowned junior world champion Megan Jastrab threw down an attack that no one could respond to. I was the first to chase and almost close the gap, but Megan slowly opened up the gap more and more as we climbed. Another rider caught me the top of the climb and we worked together for a little bit on the following descent. We were soon caught by another rider who had made it back on, and by the time we got near the finish, Megan had increased her lead and it was down to the three of us fighting for second. In the end I didn’t quite have the legs to out-sprint the other two riders on the final stretch and finished a few seconds down in 4th. Looking back, I realize I also could have timed using my power-up better as I think I used it about 100 meters too early. For those who are unfamiliar with power-ups, they are “boosts” that you can use periodically throughout Zwift rides or races that can give you advantages via aerodynamics, weight, draft-ability, experience points, or visibility. You can never predict which one you’re going to get and they only last for about 10-15 seconds. This feature definitely gives Zwift more of a “game-like” feel.
This wasn’t my best Zwift race but it was definitely the most fun I’d ever had doing a Zwift race, mostly due to the sheer amount of people watching and cheering us on. All of us were up on a stage surrounded by bright lights and TV screens showing the race action for the audience, which made the whole event quite a spectacle. The room we were in was filled to max capacity and the energy and cheering throughout the race was unreal. Huge thanks to everyone at Zwift and Team Twenty20 for this amazing opportunity. I already can’t wait for some more Zwift races next year, and am so excited that there will be an official UCI Zwift World Championship race in 2020!
After the Zwift race, I had a few days left to hang out and explore the Harrogate area. But first, my dad and I got to watch my brother compete in his first UCI Elite World Championship road race. Rain, wind, and cold made for one epic day of racing with only 46 finishers of the nearly 200 that started the race. It was tough enough being in those conditions watching the race, let alone actually racing out in the elements for over 300 kilometers. Serious respect to all those who raced. Not surprisingly, my brother being the warrior he is, made it through unscathed and finished 41st!
After the chaos of the weekend came to a close, we had a couple days to relax and explore. I was able to do some amazing training rides in and around the Harrogate area and I must say, England has some of the most gorgeous countryside I’ve ever seen: rolling green hills and sheep everywhere! On our last day, we even got to explore a massive castle, something I finally got to cross off my bucket list!
Thanks for reading! – Shayna