I’d been racing for about 3 months when I was offered a chance to go to an Olympic team pursuit training camp. I felt in over my head to say the least. I remember getting the first email with the list of all the other women that were going to be there. And then towards the end of the list was Evelyn Stevens! I thought to myself, “There is no way this can seriously be happening!”
Evie was the racer I had followed the most, and I was excited to meet and learn from her. What I didn’t expect was to become friends with her. Camp was more than hard, but Evie was such a positive source of encouragement and knowledge through the whole experience, always ready to answer questions or congratulate you on an effort, even when you wanted to throw up.
I recently had the chance to sit down over a mid-ride coffee with Evie to talk about her new team, goals, and experience with Zwift.
KS: You’re on a new team this year, Boels-Dolman. Can you tell us a little bit about the team and how you became a part of it?
ES: I joined Boels-Dolmans this year because it’s one of the best teams in the world, supported by great technical sponsors, such as Specialized. The title sponsors, Boels Rental, a heavy machinery rental company based out of Belgium, and Dolmans, a landscaping company, are both big supporters of women’s cycling, and I’m excited to be racing for them.
KS: What are some of your goals for the 2015 season and leading up to the 2016 Olympics?
ES: In 2015, I want to target success in individual time trials and the TTT at Worlds. In 2015 and 2016, I want to continue to get stronger on the bike and win more races. Zwift is a great training tool for me because I push myself harder each training session.
KS: Training isn’t always the best, especially with weather or life getting in the way, which means having to train indoors. Do you remember your first indoor trainer workout? Did you love it? Hate it?
ES: My first indoor trainer workout was when I was living in NYC. I was working full-time and had just got into bike racing. My coach at the time had me buy a trainer, and I will never forget my first workout. The 2 hours felt a bit like 24 hours, but I loved the fact that I could get a workout in at 9pm in my apartment living room (not sure if my roommate liked it though)!
KS: You are such a positive influence for so many. What keeps you motivated on and off the bike?
ES: I love the bike, and I love to win. I’m always motivated to be better than I was before. I know that I will sleep better at night when I know I’ve given it my all in everything I do.
KS: When you heard about Zwift what went through your mind?
ES: When I first heard about Zwift, I was excited. I’ve spent many hours on a trainer and was thrilled with the prospect of using a program that actually allowed me to feel like I was riding outside with others, not just sweating alone in a garage.
KS: What made you want to try Zwift?
ES: I have always valued the benefit of a trainer workout. Before Zwift, the riding could be super boring, but I knew that the training was really effective and essential for my performance on the road. When I learned about Zwift, it was a no-brainer. Zwift makes an already effective indoor workout more fun, competitive, and interactive.
KS: Now that you’ve had some time on Zwift, what do you think?
ES: I love it. It helps make the time on the trainer pass faster. It’s also nice to be able to ride virtually with friends that don’t live near me. Also, I’m super competitive, so I find that my workouts on Zwift are always a bit faster because I like to race everyone on it!
KS: Do you think Zwift will be a way for more people, even kids, to get into cycling who may have reservations about riding outside?
ES: For sure. I hear a lot of people say that riding in traffic makes them nervous, so riding on Zwift is the best of both worlds. It allows you to ride with others and makes you feel like you are outside, but you don’t have to worry about any cars.
KS: What are some training/riding tips you have for future cyclists?
ES: I would suggest inviting your friends to join you, especially when you’re training with Zwift. You can all do a similar workout, or you can make it like a race. I think the best tip I received for my cycling career is to make it fun and enjoy it. It’s important to be focused and to follow a training program, but the best cyclists are the ones that love the sport, and more than anything, love to compete.
KS: Last but not least, what is your favorite ride food? Cause let’s be honest cyclist love to eat!
ES: My favorite ride food is homemade biscotti with almonds: it’s like having a little dessert throughout your training ride!
Evie Stevens began racing professionally in 2010. She has raced for teams such as Specialized Lululemon, won national titles, and competed in world championships. Starting in 2015, she will be racing for Boels-Dolman. You can follow Evie on all her adventures on her social media sites Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @evelyn_stevens. And watch out for her on Zwift, snagging KOM’s and green jerseys. If you haven’t heard Evie’s whole story, check out this recent article in Business Insider.