Evelyn Stevens hasn’t followed the traditional career pathway of a pro-cyclist. Whilst many are on the bike from the age of seven, and signing a contract with their first team at the tender age of eighteen or before, Stevens graduated and got a job as an investment banker on Wall Street before buying a bike in 2008.
After spending her evenings glued to the turbo trainer, she raced her first Cat 3/4 crit race that year, signed a pro contract in 2009, and was USA National Time Trial Champion by 2010.
Now, aged 32, the Boels-Dolmans rider has stacked up an impressive trophy cabinet of time trial and team time trial wins. It was recently announced at the 2016 Beols-Dolmans Team Presentation that Stevens intends to take on the Hour Record this year as well as supporting the team and seeking time trial success.
Having an early life so very different to that of many of her team mates comes with its highs and lows. We chatted to Stevens about her experiences in the peloton – the good, the bad, and the lessons she’s learnt that could apply to all of our lives in more ways than one…
“I’ve had panic attacks going downhill… it’s important to not beat yourself up too much when you do have that moment.”
One of the toughest elements of joining the peloton later in life is learning to feel comfortable hurtling around corners at the kind of speeds that can knock the air from your lungs, just inches from the wheel of the rider ahead. Stevens is honest with us – she’s found it hard: “I’ve had panic attacks going downhill” she says: “It sucks when it happens, you might lose a ton of time and feel stupid, and people don’t understand why you can’t get down that descent… but mentally you just go, and the next day you’ll be able to do it. It’s important to not beat yourself up too much when you do have that moment.”