Evelyn Stevens (31) is a truly unique human being. A Dartmouth graduate and former Wall Street investment banker, Evelyn bought her first bike in 2008. Just one year later, she had given up her job, competed in the World Championships and signed for professional team Specialized Lululemon. We caught up with Evelyn, who this year will race for Boels Dolman to find out how somebody makes the transition from Wall Street to Pro Cyclist in such a short time. Safe to say, we are in complete awe!
My personality might be described as mildly intense. I didn’t really know this until I became a cyclist. You spend so many hours by yourself.
I played tennis in college, graduated Dartmouth in 2005, moved to New York City and went into the working world, I went to work on Wall Street for Lehman Brothers, followed by a private equity firm.
I think I get my stamina from Lehman Brothers. I went days without sleeping.
I really loved cycling right away. I went to visit my sister in San Francisco, she convinced me to do a cyclocross race.
I won my first bike race so I think that was a big kicker.
I bought my first bike in June 2008 and started out by racing in Central Park.
At first I rode recreationally, then people told me I should get a coach so I did and I started training.
I would come home from work at 8 or 9pm and go on the trainer for an hour or two every evening.
I went to the World Championships in 2009, I think about that now and how many hours I trained compared to what I do now, it was mad.
I took the high road into cycling – my first cycling team was Specialized Lululemon.
I nearly died on my first training camp. I was not used to riding that long, I was used to riding for an hour and a half on the trainer.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into so I don’t think it was as intimidating as it could have been. Ignorance is bliss.
In the beginning I had no idea I was beating girls that I shouldn’t be beating. I didn’t really think about it, I just liked winning so thought ‘I just want to get up there and beat you’. I just had no clue about it.
I had really great teammates who helped me find my way, I mean they gave me a really hard time as well but they definitely helped me!
I have learned that anyone can do anything. If you put your mind to it, well I probably can’t become a model or singer, but everything else I feel like if I really want to do it, I can figure out a way to do it. That is what my move from finance to cycling has taught me.
I didn’t think about my decision [to leave my job] at the time. I had a gut feeling about the cycling so I did it. When I look back on my decision to give up my career for cycling I do think it was insane. Who does that? Who is on a really good career path and takes a year off?
My plan wasn’t to become a pro athlete. My plan was to take a year off and just mess around. I had been so on the straight and narrow.
The adjustment to life as a pro was difficult as I had so much down time, but I have adapted very easily now to this lifestyle – I sleep a lot that kills a lot of time. I eat a lot so I cook a lot. I also do yoga and I read.
My favourite show, which everyone makes fun of me for is called Drop Dead Diva. Nobody watches it but it is awesome. Right now I am into the Wire, it is amazing.
Stepping out of your comfort zone allows you to grow, to develop and improve. This is the first time I have ever switched teams. At camp in September I felt like the new girl in school.
I think I have become a little bit of a princess. When I first started out I thought I could ride any bike, not any more. I really only want my Specialized Amira SL. Anything else I don’t quite like.
I think I’ve found the one. Specialized have worked with me on numerous occasions giving me saddles they thought would be good for me. We have been working together on a new saddle that will be unveiled soon and I actually think I have found the one. I have ridden it since August and haven’t changed it yet.
Bike fit is so important. It is really important for comfort, injury prevention, power and recovery day after day.
I am not the best with recovery. But I always make sure I drink my recovery, or eat right after. Sleep is my biggest thing. But I also do yoga, foam roll and massage. And ice baths too, but not as often because I am lazy.
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