Real Rider Stories: Jillian's Journey
Like many dedicated riders, Jillian Bearden started riding bikes at a young age. However, it wasn’t until she got older that racing bikes even became a thought in her mind. “I’ve been attached to my bike since I was little. It was my transportation until I got a car at sixteen. In my twenties, I was hitting the trails more and more and finally thought, I want to see where my fitness level is at, and in 2008 I hit my first race.” Jillian has been racing bikes and crushing it on the U.S. Pro Peleton ever since.
Jillian was given the exciting news in August of 2018 that she will be brought on as a Specialized sponsored athlete and ambassador for 2019. After receiving her awesome new equipment, Jillian took an important step and scheduled a Retül fit to get herself in a proper position to start the process of training for the upcoming season. Jillian came into the Retül studio this past December with her new bikes, an S-Works Tarmac and S-Works Epic, along with a shiny new pair of S-Works 7 Road and S-Works Recon shoes. With bikes and gear in tow, Jillian arrived to the Boulder studio eager to receive the Retül treatment.
A few months prior to her fit, Jillian had gone through pelvic reconstructive surgery, so making sure her bikes fit properly during the recovery process was crucial. “My body will be changing by the month as I gain my flexibility, fitness and strength.”
During this period, Retül fitter Jason Williams will help with the process by making minor changes over time. “Our approach during these initial fits was to set up a position she could begin to ride in as she continues her recovery. We expect her fit to change dramatically as she heals and her fitness of motion improves.” Explains Williams.
“This is key to getting me back to the Pro Peloton,” stated Bearden. Especially since she has a packed Summer of bike racing which includes Nationals, State and the Colorado Classic. Having her fit checked throughout the recovery process will also ensure that Jillian does not sustain any additional injuries on the bike. This will give her the confidence to train properly so she can ease into a more aggressive racing position.
Williams made changes to Jillian’s saddle width and design by adding a new Specialized Power Pro saddle with Mimic technology to fit her needs. In addition to that, they raised the handlebars on the road bike to allow for her to begin training during her recovery. The Retül data helped guide the baseline position and was informative to compare Jillian’s feel on the bike. “As a long time racer, she has a great feel for what has worked for her in the past. When the data showed the seat being a little on the low side, we raised it up and she immediately felt like the position was more familiar and comfortable.” Informs Williams. The data was actually corresponding with her perceptions of an ideal position.
Jillian truly appreciated the thoroughness of the process and understood that a bike fit is dynamic by setting her up in a position based on where her body was at on the day of the fit. “Retül was my first experience I had with a very comprehensive look at my anatomy and physiology. I wouldn’t be riding yet from surgery had it not been for Retül.” Follow up visits with Jillian will occur over time as she regains fitness and joint mobility.
When asked the ultimate question, how was your Retül fit experience? Jillian had this to say, “The Retül staff is top notch. If you are needing that extra racing edge or more comfort for longer riders, Retül is the place to go, I highly recommend it!” She goes on to add, “Besides the awesome people, gear, support and tons of amazing Specialized bikes to drool over, they have an espresso machine!!” Espresso, bikes and good people, what more could you as for?
We can’t wait to hear more from Jillian as she goes through the recovery process and kicks in her training full force. Go get ‘em Jillian!