What Happens When You're Not Allowed To Cycle Outside?


CWRB chats to cyclist Rachael Anderson about her love of cycling and the motivation to keep going when your circumstances throw challenges.

Tell me a little about you - who is Rachael Anderson??

I grew up in Oklahoma and was a complete geek. I had myself convinced that sports were terrible and that there was no point to them. Then I joined the Army to help pay for college. Although I eventually realised that I did enjoy sports, my new found athleticism was hindered by a stress fracture in my hip. After I was medically discharged, I moved to Hawaii as a network engineer, where I started to get into running as well as rowing.

During my years there, I learned about Ironman and told myself that, one day, I would finish an Ironman race.

After several years in Hawaii, I made the decision to change gears and become a math teacher. I moved to South Korea in 2009 in order to teach and continued to run while I was there. I also started to dabble in cycling on a recreational basis.

After I met my husband (I was his scuba instructor), we moved to Thailand for a year and then to Pakistan to work at Karachi American School. We’ve been here since 2014 and have had the pleasure of starting the first two-year community college in Pakistan - Karachi American College.

couldn't believe when you said you couldn't ride outside! Tell me more about the reasons behind that

So, I should preface this by saying that Karachi is nothing like what I imagined. There are a variety of sports groups here, including Critical Mass Karachi. This group hosts several rides a week, and includes both women and men. I have a few girlfriends who ride with them regularly and say that it is a fantastic community.

Unfortunately, I am unable to participate due to security restrictions that are specific to our school.

You mentioned you're new to cycling, what got you interested?

Since arriving in Karachi, I have been working towards my goal of completing the Last Annual Vol State 500k road race. This is a running race that is held in Tennessee in mid-July and is the brain-child of Barkley Marathons creator Lazarus Lake. I was able to complete it this past summer with a time of 7 days, 18 hours, but realised that I would need to train more in order to get a better time.

I ended up signing up with a fantastic coach whose specialities are ultra running and triathlons.

As part of my base training, she started me on twice weekly cycling and swimming workouts. Needless to say, I was hooked. I started to look into how I could cycle in Karachi given the security restrictions and learned about interactive trainers and Zwift.

Zwift must be a godsend. What else do you do to stay motivated?

It is! As someone who has trained for running by repeatedly doing a 1km loop around my campus, I find Zwift to be revolutionary. It’s the next best thing to riding outside with real people, and I enjoy the social interaction it allows. Right now, I’m using a Specialised Allez E5 Sport and an Elite Rampa trainer. The whole setup is connected through my MacBook Pro to a TV, so I feel like I’m immersed in the environment.

For some extra motivation, I listen to music in the background (I’m in a Rammstein phase at the moment) and sometimes run Zwift in windowed mode so that I can watch a movie while I ride through Watopia.

As much as I love cycling, I also look forward to my strength training, swimming, and running workouts each week. Mixing things up keeps me from getting too bored.

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