Ride the World Championships Freight Train with Evelyn Stevens
Along with her Specialized lululemon teammates, Evelyn Stevens defended her team time trial (TTT) crown in the first event of this years road World Championships on Sunday, September 22nd. Going into this event she told us, “I feel like I am part of a speeding freight train and it is the event that makes me the most nervous but also the event I am most excited about.” With one win under her belt, Evelyn is striving for stripes by the end of the week. Below she sheds some light on her prep over the last month, as well as the race itself.
Evelyn Stevens Rider Journal: I hate white kits. When I ride in a white kit, I feel like an oversized burnt marshmallow that fell on the ground while trying to make a delicious s’more. Even though I am human sized magnet for bike grease and dirt, ever since I experienced my first World Championship in 2009, I ardently chase the dream of one day wearing the revered World Champion white kit all year long.
I left my job in NYC in July 2009 and in August 2009 after guest riding on a few pro teams in the US, my teammate Kathryn Curi Mattis kindly recommended that I submit a discretionary petition to be on the US World Championship team. I curiously looked at her and said “what is that?” For those outside the sport, it is a common question. The World Championships occur annually, usually at the end of September and since last year there are three events. First is the Team Time Trial, which you race with your trade team. The second event is the Individual Time Trial, which you race for your national team. And the last event is the Road Race, which you also represent your country. If you prove to be the best on that day, for the entire next season you are deemed the World Champion and race in a white kit with world champ stripes. Thanks to Kathryn’s suggestion, I submitted the petition and had the honor of lining up next to America’s best cyclist at the end of September 2009 in Mendrisio, Switzerland. It is a memory that I will always treasure. This year, the World Championships are taking place in one of the epicenters of cycling enthusiasm, Firenze, Italy.
My Specialized lululemon teammates and I will be fighting to defend our Worlds TTT title. A few of you might be reading this and thinking, what the heck is a TTT. The team time trial consists of teams of 6 riders and we all don our super fast and albeit a bit odd looking one piece skinsuits, aero helmets and try to get as close to one another as possible in order to go as fast as possible through small streets and tight corners. This year, the course begins in Pistoia, Italy and we will zoom through 41 kilometers into downtown Firenze on our wickedly aero Specialized Shiv’s and HED wheels. I will never forget the night before last year World Championships, no one on the team spoke at dinner, the nervousness, focus and excitement was palpable. 24 hours later, standing together as a team as TTT World Champions in Valkenburg, Holland, made all the training, nerves and no talking at dinner worth it. This year the team is a little different, with three women returning from last year’s team and three new riders, but the focus and excitement is just the same.
September is one of the most interesting months for most professional cyclists. Training often begins the prior November and the racing usually begins in February / March. When September comes around, most professionals have at least 50 races under their belts, a considerable amount of training hours logged and way too much time spent on airplanes and airports. Personally, I often feel like I have only a few solid race bullets left, so my training and race schedule is decided by how my body and mind are feeling.
After some one on one time with pavement in Italy at a race in March my season has been a bit up and down. The biggest thing I have learned so far in this season, is to remove expectations and instead focus on doing what I love and when it goes well, enjoy it and when it doesn’t try and learn how to improve for the next time. This year, I decided being in one location for a month and avoiding airplanes would be key for my mind and body leading into the Worlds. I was in Montecatini Terme, Italy racing the Giro Toscana, a five day stage race throughout the Toscana region of Italy. It was a great chance to get a little race fine tuning in and since I have an amazing staff, I was also able to really stay on top of my recovery, ie massage, sleep and proper nutrition.
On September 24th I will be donning the stars and stripes in the race against the clock and on the 28th I will be lining up with 6 of the best American female cyclists to race the Road Race. After the Road Race on the 28th, the bike goes into storage and my month of holiday begins. You can follow the race on Universal Sports, check my strava files (hopefully we set some new QOMs).