"What’s the point of living next to these mountains if you’re not going to climb them? This route packs 12,000ft of climbing into 93 miles. It requires commitment and a lot of preparation, but you won’t regret it."
Distance: 90.3 miles
Elevation: 12,057 feet
Download the gpx route
How did you get your start in cycling?
I have been an athlete since the age of six when I started playing fast pitch softball in Birmingham, Alabama. After graduating from high school in Illinois, I chose to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I worked hard to eventually become a starting player. After college, and a short stint in a semi-professional league, I realized that I needed something new to fulfill my athletic desires.
My boyfriend at the time had picked up cycling, so I decided I would give it a try. I started riding a little bit that fall/winter and in 1998 I joined the Famous Footwear cycling team. The team was chock-full of experienced veterans who had been around the sport for years and were eager to teach a rookie like me the ropes. It wasn’t until years later that I realized how fortunate I was to have learned the basics of bike racing right out of the gate.
In the fall of ‘98 I moved to Berkeley, where my eyes were opened – I discovered that people actually raced bikes for a living. In 2002 I signed my first contract for a US team called Talgo America, and a year later I began racing full-time in Europe with Team SATS.
It wasn’t until 2008 that I picked up cyclocross on a whim. With a little nudging from my road team director, Carmen D’Aluisio, I was convinced to race CrossVegas because it was a “crit on grass.” I finished with the biggest grin on my face and my love for cyclocross was born.
What’s the one story from the history of cycling that we should know?
I’ve got enough of these stories to last all day. Today, I’ll pick the story of Evelyn Stevens.
Evelyn started riding after college, while working on Wall Street. In 2009, just a couple years after first clipping in, she began racing full-time. In that same year, as a rookie, Evie left people speechless when she took control of the World Championship road race in Mendrisio – I witnessed it first-hand, as her teammate. She then went on to represent the United States at the London and Beijing Olympics, broke the world hour record, and won four team time trial gold medals at World Championships. And she did it all with a smile on her face.
Who were the first people you rode with? How did they influence you?
The first people I rode with were the people of Madison, Wisconsin. If it weren’t for the amazing community of cyclists way back in 1998 who embraced me, supported me and were willing to teach me, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Who is your cycling role model?
The women around me, from those at the top of the sport – racing because it’s their passion, not because they make a lot of money – to the women who are just getting started in cycling who have never used clipless pedals before but are determined to figure it out despite how many times they fall over.
What would you tell someone just starting out in the sport?
Progression in this sport will not always be linear. There will be detours along the way due to injury, illness and life that will cause you to take a left turn instead of a right. But how you manage those detours are what will shape you and define the kind of rider you become.
Coffee ride, paceline, or three-day epic?
Three-day epic! My days of pacelining are over.