She's Got Gumption: Neah Evans

I started a series of posts, interviewing people I find inspiring and aiming to learn from them. The previous interviewees are Cat Simpson and Susie Chan.

This one is a little different. I'm going to highlight someone with very little online presence. Someone who I personally adore in real life: Neah Evans. Neah started as a runner. Well, actually, she started as a general all-round athlete. Her family are highly active and she has been involved in a huge variety of sports. She and I met running for the university team and it was close to love at first sight. She was a brilliant runner, especially on the hills. Neah has recently left the world of running behind to become a competitive cyclist, in between working as a vet. She is a total inspiration to me- strong, clever, funny. What a gal.

Neah and I at Scot Unis

On Cycling

Okay, you know I know nothing about the world of cycling. What exact kind of cycling races do you do?

I am a track sprinter.  The main events I will do are match sprints, team sprint, keirin, and 500m time trial. All this takes place in velodromes on fixed gear bikes with no brakes. It's a mix of top speed, acceleration and tactics.

What does a week of your training look like?

It depends a lot on work and what events are coming up- my program is about to change to be even more sprinter-specific. Currently I will do 20 mins on the rollers every morning, 2 or 3 road rides of around 1.5 hours, 2 or 3 gym sessions (squats, dead lifts and leg press is the main focus) and 2 or 3 track sessions per week. I will stretch and do some very basic yoga most evenings.

Does it include any cross training or strength training?

I do strength training mainly at the gym but some of the sessions I will do on the bike are designed for strength. Track cycling is very specific so I don't really do cross training. (I do a little because I enjoy it rather than it helping cycling).

What is your diet like during training? During life?

On the whole my diet is fairly good. I work hard to get enough protein as I'm a vegetarian but I haven't had any issue with this. I should probably mix it up more- my staple is porridge and a lot of fruit for breakfast, omelet and quinoa with salads for lunch, and either banana pancakes or protein shake for dinner with a lot of coffee, cereal bars and nuts for snacks.... and of course some cake.

Neah at the Revolution Series where she came 3rd. Photo Credit: Robyn Stewart

Photo Credit: Robyn Stewart

Its no secret that training for any racing takes time and energy, would you say you've sacrificed anything to be as good as you are?

For sure, I'm still relatively new to cycling but I have missed parties, hanging out with friends, seeing family; all to race or even train. My friends are very understanding as many of them are sporty as well, so are very supportive.

What has been your best moment in cycling so far?

As I'm still new to it (only started racing  beginning of last year). I did a race in January where I finished 3rd (beaten by an Olympic medalist and a current British squad member). It was very fun racing with people of such high caliber, and also in front of a large crowd.  But the so far the best moment was when I found out that I've been selected on to the Scottish performance program.

On Running

What was your proudest achievement running?

I have had so many highs from running. I have won the under 23 hill running championship twice now which is cool. My first win was very special it was a low-key hill race but of a decent standard, my parents had also raced and won their categories. It was a very good family day out, it was lovely to have them see me win my first race.

Okay, I'm going to hit you straight here- do you miss it?

Yes. (Now I feel bad for asking!)

Is there anything you don't miss?

Not really I just loved running.

Racing on the hills
On Competing

What do you do to prepare mentally for racing?

There is nothing I do specifically, I run through the plan in my head. This is more for organisation, I'm a great believer in just winging it.

What have been your favourite and least favourite competition experiences? Why?

It's hard to have a favourite to least favourite, as every event is so individual. So long as I feel I have done my best I'm happy. I complete because I love it- for every low there is a high.

 Do you have a competitive spirit with other racers, or are you trying to beat yourself?

I'm super competitive, mainly against myself, but I do like to beat others.

Would you say racing for running and racing for cycling are quite different? Or do they have more in common than we'd think?

They are very different. The training, race prep, even how the races unfold are very different. You can go into a running race knowing who is out and predict fairly well how it's going to go, you really can't do this with cycling. Even the post-race feeling is different.

Whats Next?

Whats the next race, the next challenge?

My main target this year is the British champions in September.

Would you ever get into triathlon? It seems like many people in your two sports do.

I have been asked this a lot, I would really like to do one at some point but it won't be for a while; I find it hard enough to have the time to train well for one sport, so three would be difficult!

What other dreams do you have in sports in general?

I don't have time to dream!!! I'm keeping my head down and training hard, will just have to wait and see where I end up. I want to be the best I can be- if this means I can compete at world cups and Olympics then great, if not so long as I have done my best I can't ask for more.

Showing off her enviable yoga skills.


Thank you so much Neah for taking the time to reply to my questions.

So lessons from Neah to you: eat well, train hard, don't let dreaming stop you working hard towards what you want. And, lastly, there's nothing that wrong with just winging it. You can follow Neah on twitter here.

Who inspires you?


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