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Zwift Quads for the (Winter) Win!

We'll get around to how training on Zwift has myriad benefits, but first, it's relevant to point out that I took up Masters alpine ski racing two years ago at the age of 51. During the first year after I met my husband, I would go to watch him race and volunteer in different roles at the races we would travel to in our van. But if you grew up with a competitive spirit, you understand that it is pretty much engrained in your soul, and standing on the sidelines is not your thing. Are you with me?

This was my second season jumping into races here and there, making my way down the course—turn left, turn right, red, blue, red, blue—don't fall down was my mantra. I starting skiing at the age of three and grew up skiing in Colorado. I've always thought of myself as a pretty darn good skier, yet as I'm slowly progressing in the sport of ski racing—I wish I had grown up in the gates because I want to go faster and I want to win!

The relevancy here is the strength, the power, the grit, and determination that drive one's ability to actually race the gates versus ski the gates. And while I still have a long way to go and so much to learn, one big moment of realization came during the recent U.S. Alpine Masters National Championships in late March.

We'd had a solid freeze-thaw cycle from day to night on the mountain here in Sun Valley, and the Giant Slalom course for our first run in the morning was bullet-proof, or as ski racers like to say, "it was firm." Not ice, just firm. LOL. As I pushed out of the start gate, I knew I had to be aggressive to battle the surface or it would chew me up and spit me out. Halfway down the course there was a section that was so hard and chattery that I literally couldn't see, but I held my line.

As I went through the finish line and down to the scoreboard, I saw my time. I was significantly faster relative to my competitors than I usually am. Many of my competitors were talking about how hard the course was and how they didn't have the strength on that hard snow and it beat them up.

That's when the light went on for me—I've got these quads that cycling built! The ability to ride all winter and maintain leg strength, muscular endurance, and hold on through those efforts above threshold in structured workouts, may have played to my advantage.

In my first U.S. Alpine Masters National Championship, I brought home a bronze medal in the Giant Slalom and a silver medal in the Slalom (both in my age category). I skied clean and to my strengths and took away what I need to work on for next season. Thank you, Zwift for helping to keep me focused and strong all winter—for more than just the time I spend on the bike! 

(That's me on the left, getting my silver medal in the slalom) SO MUCH FUN!

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