By Jade Wilcoxson

September 28, 2013—Tuscany, Italy—Worlds. It was sensory overload, it was incredibly stressful, and it was awesome—all wrapped up in one glorious package.

There’s definitely added pressure at a World Championship race because, first of all, it’s a one day race. You’re either going good or you’re not, and you’re not getting any do-overs. If you’re feeling terrible, you don’t get to show your team the next day that you do actually have fitness. And it’s streamed online, so the whole world knows how you’re going that day.

The World’s course was perfect for our team. We had two of the best climbers in the world and a pretty strong support team to boot. So, a win or a podium was looking good (insert more stress here).

I knew my job was done when I had absolutely nothing left in the tank.

I was stoked about our race plan because we each had a very specific job and we had to trust that each of us was going to do our job in order to setup up our climbers for the win. It was going to be a true team effort, which is what I love about road racing.

Carmen and I controlled the 30k of flat road leading into Florence, making sure no breaks got up the road. We then kept our climbers safe as we wound through the beautiful and historic parts of Florence. I’ll never forget riding by the Duomo, on the cobbles, with fans 5 deep cheering us on. Then we tried to blow up the field as best we could to the base of the climb. I knew my job was done when I had absolutely nothing left in the tank.

Job done.

Carmen faced a similar fate a few hundred meters up the road. Andrea, Kristen and Megan then started their jobs on the climb, followed by Mara and Evie.

Evelyn Stevens

Evelyn Stevens begins her climb at the 2013 Road Race World Championship. © Sirotti

The circuits were incredibly difficult. Without a doubt, it was the toughest course I’ve ever ridden. It was a race of attrition: only the strongest would survive in the lead group. One by one, the US riders gave it their all and popped off the back of the group, until only Evie was left.

Evie had an amazing ride. Her hard work all year and amazing work ethic paid off. She was there for the final climb. Evie put in a solid attack, but when Vos countered, no one could go with her. It was an amazing attack on a 16% grade climb. Ouch.

We rode as a team. It was an incredible race, and even though we didn’t get the result we’d all hoped for, I think we can all be proud of the way we rode.

Once again, we demonstrated that women’s bike racing is exciting and well worth watching. I think Team USA is well on its way to a World Championship medal in Spain next year or in Richmond, Virginia, in 2015!