Female Cyclists Who Started Riding in Their 20s (or Later)

Dru Ryan
by Dru Ryan
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Female Cyclists Who Started Riding in Their 20s (or Later)

In 2008, French cycling legend Jeannie Longo finished fourth in the Olympic time trial. She was months shy of turning 50. The winner of that race, American Kristin Armstrong, also won the next two gold medals in the event. Armstrong was a day shy of 43 as she crossed the line in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Cycling, unlike most sports, often sees athletes remain competitive well into their 30s. Shorter-distance cycling (sprints, track) is impacted by age as lung capacity and muscle density decrease over time. National Institutes of Health studies show endurance athletes reach peak performance around 35 years old and undergo “moderate decreases” until their 50s or 60s when a further drop off ensues.

Even for riders who didn’t start as adolescents, the ability to generate noteworthy performances into their 30s and 40s is quite possible. If you need proof, check out these women who all started training competitively in their 20s (and beyond).

EVELYN STEVENS

 

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After a string of promising results in the ultra competitive New York City cycling scene, 26-year-old Evelyn Stevens left her corporate job to pursue cycling full time. She would go on to ride professionally in Europe, represent the United States in the Olympics ultimately setting the hour record (for most miles ridden in one hour) in 2016.

KATRIN GARFOOT

 

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The German-born Australian turned to cycling at 29 and went on to impress the cycling world. A national champion in the time trial and on the road, she’s also finished on the podium at the world championships. Retired at 36, she is considered one of Australia’s greatest cyclists.

Emily Newsom

 

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At the behest of her husband and coach, Newsom started cycling in 2013 at age 30. She excelled in local races before taking time off to have a baby. Three months after delivery, Newsom returned to training and continued her ascent through the ranks. She set the Texas state individual time trial record in 2016 and finished in the top 10 in the U.S. road national championship a year later. She currently rides professionally for Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank.

LINDA JACKSON 

Investment banker Linda Jackson took to the bike in her 30s. Three years later, she finished third in the 1996 national championships. She retired in 2000 to become chief financial officer for a San Francisco startup. The recent inductee into the Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame is the current owner of Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Once the wheels get rolling, your ability to perform is a lot stronger than you’d think. Recently, 40-year-old Katie Compton won her 15th consecutive USA cyclocross championship. Fifteen straight wins and she shows no signs of slowing down. As 2019 progresses, get on two wheels and start writing your cycling legacy today! As evidenced by these impressive women, it’s never “too late” to start a new athletic endeavor.

About the Author

Dru Ryan
Dru Ryan
Dru teaches indoor cycling at Equinox in Washington, D.C. His History of Hip-Hop classes at George Mason University and brief deejay career in the Bronx are two big reasons why his playlists are unique. Ryan‘s cycling claim to fame is having the former road world champion, Peter Sagan, comment on an Instagram photo. Follow Dru (drucyles) on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

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