BOULDER, Colo. – “This is my office now, kind of incredible right?” said Evelyn Stevens, while riding her bicycle on the Colorado road.
What’s incredible is that the 30-year-old is even on a bike. Just five years ago she worked on Wall Street and knew nothing about cycling.
“I just wanted to feel freer,” she said. “I used to always sit in conference rooms and look out the window and think I wish I could just fly away.”
On a whim, Stevens’ sister entered her into a bike race, and she just kept on rolling — quitting her job and trading “the street” for the open road.
She said she had no idea how good of a cyclist she could be until she took that leap.
“I have to say at times it still kind of surprises me,” she said.
In 2012, just three years after leaving her office cubicle and turning pro, she took on one of the reigning queens of cycling: Marianne Vos of Holland.
At the top of a famous hill in Belgium called the Mur De Huy, she won Fleche Wallone, one of the sport’s most prestigious races.
Evelyn Stevens of USA and Team Specialized Lululemon celebrates winning La Fleche Wallonne Femmes 2012 Cycle Race from Huy to Huy on April 18, 2012 in Huy, Belgium.
She was the first American woman to do so.
Her sheet from last year reads “first place, first place, first place.”
“I said I like to win,” Stevens said, laughing.
Her biggest weapon is her ability to climb, and climb fast. In the canyons near Boulder, Colo., where she trains, we saw just how good Stevens is.
The one big difference between her work in finance and cycling, she said, “is you can’t physically crash when you worked in finance, but you can physically crash when you work in cycling.”
Less than two months ago, she did crash — on her face going 35 miles per hour.
Still, she loved cycling even more.
“So that’s when I realized that I love to ride my bicycle,” she said. “When what you love is taken away, it makes you realize ‘oh, I really want that and I really love it.’”
Her focus now is making the Olympic team in 2016 and winning gold, all the while showing what’s possible when you ride outside your comfort zone.