303Cycling’s Nicole Odell caught up with Jillian Bearden last year, telling her story as a transgendered athlete. Read those stories here:
From The Denver Post
SALIDA — Less than three years into her transition from Jonathan to Jillian, pro cyclist Jillian Bearden has once again found serenity on her bike. Now, using studies and stats collected during her long career, she’s helping prove that transgender athletes change more than their names, they change their biology.
Bearden has watched her performance ebb since beginning hormone-replacement therapy in 2015. As testosterone fades and estrogen grows, her fastest times on favorite climbs have slipped into what she calls “the gutter.”
It was tough realizing her hard-earned power, developed over more than a decade of elite-level bike racing, was waning.
“I went from 16 minutes to 26, 27, 28 minutes,” she said of her times on her those climbs. “I was like holy … Testosterone gives you this drive, this oomph, and I didn’t have that push. My muscles looked fairly big, but I did not have that push to drive that extra energy. I had good days and really, really bad days. But at the end of it all, I always know that I won the biggest race of all. I am here on planet Earth with my family and it doesn’t really matter how slow I am. I’ve already won.”
On Thursday, when Bearden saddles up with the world’s best female cyclists for the Colorado Classic in her hometown of Colorado Springs, she will be the first transwoman to race with a pro peloton in the United States. Thanks to recently relaxed International Olympic Committee rules governing transgender athletes, and USA Cycling’s embrace of those new rules, Bearden has become a beacon for transathletes across the globe.