Tanja Erath, the 28 year old German who got 5th in the Red Hook Criterium 2017 series, made it to the semi-finals of the Swift Academy and is still in the race for a spot in the UCI women’s team Canyon/Sram Racing. We briefly talked with her to find out more about how she got into the competition, how she trained for it, and what her goals are.
Text: Brian Megens
What is the Zwift Academy?
The Zwift academy starts as a 6-week training program with 5 group rides, 2 races and 8 structured workouts. You start with a FTP Test as a foundation for your following workouts. All units are completed on an indoor trainer in the virtual Zwift-World. In the end you have a shot at a pro contract with CANYON//SRAM Racing.
How did you signup/get to know of the competition?
A friend of mine told me about the program last year, but it was already to late to join and I had no rollers or powermeter at the time. As I did get the required equipment this year, I decided to give it a try.
Did you do specific training for the competition?
No. I started into the program right after RHC Barcelona and had time to finish the 15 units untill RHC Milan. So my coach and me tried to plan my training including the Zwift Programs. That worked out quite well. Even though my first FTP Test 2 days after Barcelona felt awful. After I finished the program in 5 weeks I felt super fit and had one week left to recover before racing in Milan.
Why did you enter the competition?
I would really love to ride my bike and compete with girls at such a high level. The RHCs this year showed me how much fun and also how challenging it is to compete with such strong riders . I had a great season and I love the idea of the racing and cycling being more than a weekend plessure.
How did you qualify for the semi-final?
2161 women signed in, 532 finished the program and the top 10 riders were selected by a panel from CANYON//SRAM Racing, Trainsharp and Zwift to progress to the Semi-Finals. So it seems my watts were quite okay.
What are the next steps in the competition?
The semi-finals take place between 1 November and 14 November, still on the indoor trainer and in addition some outdoor rides. All 10 girls receive a Wahoo Kickr, so our equipment is even. I can finally give my borrowed one back to my teammate, thanks again Björn!
How will you prepare for the next round?
I had a “week off” after the final RHC in Milan and get back to my structured training now, so I hope I am still in shape when the semi finals start next week.
What is your ultimate goal?
I am already more than happy about being one of the 10 semi-finalists, but the ultimate goal is to join CANYON//Sram Racing in 2018 and concentrate fulltime on road racing. That would be a dream come true!