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Back 2.26.2016

Final Countdown for Evelyn Stevens Hour Record Attempt

“Deep breath,” coach Neal Henderson counseled.
“We’re going to go in 10……. 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…”
With that, American pro cyclist Evelyn Stevens was off for the middle of her three final 5k efforts Friday. This was the final training session before her attempt at noon (MST) on Saturday to set the women’s UCI Hour Record under the covered Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center Velodrome. Stevens was practicing her standing start… Any time trial start is crucial but in an hour-record attempt – where every lap has its own goal and pacing demands are merciless – it’s absolutely crucial.  

“You need to get up to speed quickly because you don’t want to be bogged down in too big of a gear and take two or three laps,” Henderson said. “So literally the acceleration will be done within one lap and maybe in even slightly less than one lap she be at speed. It’s a significant peak power in that the torque is going to be several hundred pounds of force into the pedals the first couple of pedal strokes.”

Stevens, who races on the road for Boels-Dolmans Pro Cycling, is attempting to surpass the UCI Hour Record of 46.882km set by Australian Bridie O’Donnell last month in Adelaide, Australia. During Friday’s final prep work, Stevens was relaxed and friendly between efforts and fully focused during them. 

And it was an impressive workout where Stevens:

- Replicated her roughly 20 minute warm up she’ll use Saturday. “We start off easy. There’s a small progression first to near threshold, then come back,” Henderson said. “Then she does three one to two minute efforts basically just below, just above, and right at threshold.”
- Three 5 k efforts, the middle one from a standing start. “We’re not going way over (goal pace). If she goes a little faster than goal today that’s fine for 5k. But she’s not like trying to go super fast.”

- Finish off with some motor pacing.

Each of Steven’s support team in the velodrome Friday was busy with coaching or prepping bikes with Stevens focused on her final preparation.
“People are like, ‘do you think you can do it?’ Well, I don’t have any idea until I get there. But I know I have the best equipment, the fastest wheels out there, best bike out there, best helmet, best shoes, best coach,” she said. “You have this kind of network around you where it’s like, OK, all I have to think about is just being there and doing it, and knowing that I have the best stuff just takes that edge out of it.”

Stevens said she’s prepared for a challenge that’s as much mental as physical. “You’re going to have these thoughts, ‘what if I can’t do it?’ ‘This hurts. I got 47 minutes to go.’” She’ll come back to the present moment. “Just realizing that you can do anything for a lap,” Stevens said. “I think it’s like athletic meditation on suffering.”
Now all the preparation is complete. Well, there’s just one final piece of prep – breakfast Saturday.
“An aggressive amount of oatmeal,” Stevens said.