Amber Neben hardly needs an introduction. In fact, to try to sum up in a couple paragraphs what she herself has already put into full-length book form seems dangerously reductionist.
But as one of the most decorated female cyclists in the history of the sport, Neben’s reputation speaks for itself, and it’s worth a gentle reminder to know who exactly we are talking about here, and why she remains one of the most relevant and dominant forces both within the peloton, and outside of it as well.
After a stress fracture put a premature end to her running career during her time at the University of Nebraska, which she attended on a cross-country/track and field scholarship, Neben left running in the pursuit of a PhD in biology.
While at the University of California, Irvine, Neben took up cycling and quickly found a knack for it, finishing in the top ten of the collegiate national cycling championships. She decided to forego the remainder of her PhD program (still earning a master’s degree, mind you) and took up cycling full-time.
Since then she has been two time-time national road race champion, three-time national individual time-trial champion (an event in which she has finished on the podium ten times since her debut in 2002), two-time Pan-American individual time trial champion (2006, 2018), a two-time Olympian, only the second-ever American woman to win the road race and time trial national title in the same year (2017), and two-time world individual time trial champion (2008, 2016).
As one of the most accomplished and disciplined athletes in the sport, Neben still finds room for experimentation and flexibility with regards to her training and nutrition, even after sixteen years in the professional ranks.
Feeding off her victories at this year’s editions of the Pan-American Time Trial Championships, Chrono de Gatineau, U.S. National Time Trial Championships, and Chrono Kristin Armstrong, Neben took the time to catch up with us on what else feeds her both leading up to and on race day.