Ryan and Stephens talk e-racing vs. road, a return to the Olympic Training Center and what's nex
Since COVID hit in March, Olympic hopefuls Kendall Ryan and Lauren Stephens have had to make some significant adjustments in their training and lifestyle. Stephens made the best of it and moved all her training indoors. She used Zwift almost exclusively to train and race and quickly became a force in the e-racing scene. Her domination culminated with victory in the Virtual Tour de France at the end of July, before traveling to Europe to compete on the road for the next three months.
Back in March, Ryan was packed and ready to return home from the Olympic Training Center after a track camp, but COVID restrictions left her in limbo. Now, five months later, Ryan has returned to the OTC to resume training. We checked in with the Olympic long team athletes to see how Stephens is re-adjusting to life in the peloton, what the differences are between e-racing and road, and what's changed for Ryan at the OTC.
Kendall Ryan "I didn't want to fly during the pandemic, so I decided to drive my car out of the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. It's about a 16-hour drive, so I split it in two days and stayed at a hotel for a night in Utah. "Since I made it to the training center on Thursday afternoon, I've been under quarantine. I have about a week in quarantine and a couple of COVID tests to pass, and then I will be moved to another building and can use the facilities at the training center; the cafeteria, the velodrome, and the gym. "The only time I'm allowed out of my room is to ride outside for my training, but I'm not allowed to stop at a coffee shop, gas station, etc. so all my rides are under two hours this week. The training schedule will be a lot different this go around at track camp. We usually have two workouts every day at the track with a few rest days in between or an easy ride in the morning and then the gym. Now we have to split the track schedule with OTC onsite athletes and offsite athletes, so no double days on the track, it seems just a morning or evening track session, but I will still have double days during camp coupled with the gym or a ride out on the road. "I am looking forward to riding with other people soon and pushing each other in workouts. I'm also happy and relieved to see that all my teammates on TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank and the USA national team are healthy and doing well. It's been a weird year. I've never not raced for this long in my entire life. I guess you could say I'm charged up and ready to go."
Lauren Stephens "I've always had fun using different disciplines to train for racing on the road. E-racing is another discipline I can add to my toolbox. In the last few months, I was almost only riding on Zwift. I developed a passion and would get excited to be riding on the platform just like I do when I get out on the road. I love to compete and ride my bike, and Zwift is an opportunity to do that anytime, which is something that other disciplines can't offer.
"This Fall's road racing season is packed full of Spring Classics and a couple of stage races. I plan to find some time to enjoy Zwift, but for the next three months, my focus will be on the road. "It was great to get back racing on the road at Strade Bianche. It had been the last race I prepared for before lockdown, so it was like time had frozen, and I just started right where I left off. It was a sweltering day with lots of steep climbs. I think these two pieces of my training were missing from riding on Zwift.
"With about 20km to go, my legs began to cramp, and I couldn't stay with the peloton. I was disappointed, but I know with a couple of weeks of training outside, I'll be ready for the rest of the season. Zwift built my fitness, and now I just need to fine-tune some details. Ride on."