Final year medical student and Zwift racer extraordinaire, Zoë Langham has been on and up and up this winter. Currently racing for the VeloSkin sponsored Wahoo Le Col Esports team on Zwift, she won the GB Esports World Champs qualifier - beating the likes of Mary Wilkinson and Illi Gardner - giving her a place on Team GB for her first world champs.
The UCI Esports World Championship will take place on 26th February on the Knickerbocker course in New York. It is a 22.5km course and will be looped twice, taking in the New York KOM, an incline of 1.4km with an average gradient of 6%, but with a few kickers along the way.
So ahead of her first esports World Championships, we thought we’d ask Zoë a couple of questions about how she’s preparing, and why she values VeloSkin as one of the Wahoo Le Col team sponsors.
How are you feeling about the race and the chance to represent GB on the esports world stage?
Awh I’m super nervous, but I couldn’t be more proud. I think it’s a lot of people’s dream to put on that kit and I couldn’t ever have imagined myself in it! Just to be there on that start line facing some of the strongest women on Zwift and IRL is an honour and a moment I won’t forget.
How’s the prep going and is there anything different about preparing for this race compared to something like the Zwift Racing League (ZRL)?
I will taper a little more as usually in ZRL you have six days if you’re lucky haha! Training wise I’ve done what I can in my short amount of time with High North Performance. There is definitely more to come, but they have brought me on more than I thought possible so far.
What do you think of the Knickerbocker course? Any points you think will be crucial to the outcome of the race?
It’s tough isn’t it! Haha no room for hiding on this course, it’s either up or it’s down! I think the KOM is the obvious choice where the main damage will be done each lap, that said there are plenty of descents that can catch lone riders out if they lose the draft. There are also smaller, but significant, climbs along the course that could be enough to catch anyone tiring.
How will the VeloSkin products be useful when it comes to prep, racing and recovery?
I never ride without my VeloSkin chamois cream. I know some only use cream for longer rides but as a female that will do at least 2 hours a day it’s really important I don’t do any ‘micro damage’ as there is not much time for my skin to recover between rides. After longer 4+ hour rides I will always use the Soothing Recovery Gel again to optimise skin recovery. Anyone who does regular training will have experienced a saddle sore and there is no joke about how many days it can keep you off the bike! Skin protection is as important as fuel and training.
And finally, have you got any tips you can give anyone who’s thinking about trying Zwift racing?
Give it a go and never look back. For once in cycling history we have a platform where it doesn't matter about the bike you can afford, the time you can commit, or the country you were born in. You don’t have to be top level to race either, there are plenty of categories to suit all abilities and ages. The other thing? You can’t crash, and the weather is never an excuse. Try it for fun, for health, for a team, whatever your reason just try it. Also… invest in a fan!
You can shop Zoë’s VeloSkin essentials below: