Evelyn Stevens spent some time last week scouting the elite women's time trial and road world championship courses in Richmond ahead of the 2015 road Worlds.
Fresh off earning the bronze medal at the 2014 UCI Road World Championships in Spain as well as winning the team time trial with her Specialized Lululemon teammates, Stevens is optimistic about her chances to medal again next year.
"The time trial course in Richmond is comparable to this year's course in Spain. Ever since Worlds were in Florence, Italy, the courses have been very power-oriented."
After checking out the courses with a police escort thanks to the city of Richmond, Stevens said, "The course looks like a great course. It's exciting to have the world championships on home soil. Everyone in Richmond has been wonderful - very welcoming."
In addition to her bronze medal in the individual time trial at this year's Worlds, Stevens also got a silver medal in 2012 and was fourth in 2013.
Although she will be switching from the Specialized Lululemon team to the Boels Dolmans team in 2015, she hopes to continue her three-in-a-row TTT winning streak with her new teammates.
"We'll still be keeping my old team's sponsors Specialized and Lululemon, and the team time trial will be a big goal for us. I'll be on my new team with a lot of talented women, and I'm looking forward to supporting them. The beauty of cycling is that sometimes you get to race for yourself, but it's always rewarding to race for your teammate and have her get the win."
Stevens is hoping for a few more chances to ride the courses ahead of the 2015 Worlds, but admits that could be tricky since parts of the courses run backward on one-way streets and the entire course is in city limits.
2015 will be a big year for Stevens. "It's the year that leads into the 2016 Olympics. Obviously Worlds will be a focus, but to do well at Worlds, you have to do well at some other races and build your confidence. You have to work hard. When you work hard and go well in the earlier season, you go well at Worlds. Worlds also gets a lot of press for women's cycling."
Stevens did her first Worlds in 2009 in Mendrisio just after she started racing. She also raced in Geelong, Copenhagen, Valkenburg, Florence and Ponferada.
"Here I was travelling all over the world, but this time my whole family will get to come to Richmond. Friends will be able to come. People will speak my language," she said.
"We as American cyclists have to be in Europe a lot and while I'm not uncomfortable there, it's not easy. I don't speak the languages well, my friends and family aren't there and I'm on a different time zone. My fiancé is nine hours away."
Stevens only raced twice in the US in 2014 - in Philly and in California. "Because the Worlds are in the US, maybe we'll have more chances to travel with the team back to the US," she said.