First things first, introduce yourself
My name is Madeline Pearce, I’m a 21 year old cyclist from Atlanta, Georgia and I race for Butcherbox Cycling, part of Butcherbox Sports and the Fasturdays Racing Alliance. I’m currently in college studying Cellular & Molecular Biology.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia
Where is your current home?
I’m currently in school at Piedmont College in a small town called Demorest, Georgia where I train under former Olympian Jame Carney and his wife, former national champion Erica Allar Carney; but Atlanta undoubtedly my home. During the summer I’m lucky enough to travel all over the country racing for Jame or my team, Butcherbox.
How did you get into riding a bike?
I actually started in triathlon then switched to cross-country and track in high school. I would ride my bike once or twice a week for cross training, but In my junior year I kept getting injured running so I started riding more and more to keep my fitness. Eventually I could keep up on the group rides at the bike shop near my high school and several friends that already rode and raced talked me into doing bigger stuff and eventually racing.
What is your local climb? The climb you do the most out of any other.
Oh boy, well Georgia, especially north Georgia is a lot hillier than most people expect, so I can think of quite a few. It’s not a huge climb, but I’d have to pick what’s called “Publix Hill” on the Tucker group ride on Saturdays in Atlanta. The Tucker ride is almost stuff of legend in Atlanta and is pretty much full gas year round. It’s the place to be on Saturdays, and easily ranks up there with some of the hardest races I’ve ever done even though it’s just a group ride.
What is it like?
It’s about .6 miles long at about 5%-6%. Doesn’t sound like much but the group basically treats it as an attack zone so there’s people flying off the front and the back all at once. The ride is pretty hard the whole way through, so it’s not like you get a break leading into it, or even after. It’s essentially the point in the ride where most people either make it, fall off the back, or end up taking a shortcut to skip it all together.
What kind of efforts is the climb suited to?
Ha, it’s not really place for efforts, but more of a place to do your absolute best to hang on!
Is the Strava QOM for the climb ever in your thoughts, or do you strictly focus on the goals of the current effort?
I mostly focus on sticking with the group, but it’d be cool to have the QOM one day! Two of my past teammates have the KOM and the QOM currently.
Any other climbs in the area you prefer, or is this climb your favorite?
So many, the base of the Appalachians is only and hour-ish north of Atlanta and there’s a series of 3 or 6 mountains people ride called 3 or 6 Gap. They’re all decent climbs, and you typically start on the longest one called Neel’s Gap, which is about 7 miles long. Riding up there is a long day whether you do the 3 or 6 option, and I’m almost always ready to crawl into bed as soon as I get off the bike.
What about favorite climb overall? Any reason?
Probably Woody Gap at the end of the 3 Gap ride, because it means the ride is finally over.
What is the hardest climb you’ve summited by bike?
That would have to be Roan Mountain just outside Johnson City, TN. It’s the finishing stretch of a long road race, a category 1 climb of 7.4 miles and 2580ft of elevation gain from base to summit. You finish at about 5k feet of elevation too, so the air thins out at the top. I had to lay on the ground for a good 30 minutes after finishing that race, but the views going up were awesome, and descending it was pretty rad too.
What kind of riding do you do in general? Is it more for training or pleasure?
All of my riding is training, but I absolutely love it. I just love riding my bike and would literally ride all day if I could.
Touchy subject, but something that has happened to every bike rider at some point, getting dropped. When did you last get dropped in a race or ride? What was going on when you got dropped?
Actually last Tuesday at the local training crit; I was exhausted! Luckily you can hop right back in so I did. The group averaged about 25mph that night, which is pretty fast considering it’s a rolling course.
Did you get back to the group you were with?
Gruelling turbo session or climbing the worst climb you can imagine in wind and rain?
Oh a climb for sure. I cannot STAND the turbo.
On to more current matters. Which team/club are you riding for this year, and what do you aim to achieve in 2019?
I’m currently riding for ButcherBox Cycling. It’s the first year for the Women’s program, and it’s super rad to be following in the footsteps of such a strong men’s program and everyone it’s honestly like having a second family. It’s my second year racing in the Women’s Pro field, and I hope to gain more experience racing with a team at such a high level.
What are your interests away from the bike?
I really love science, especially biology, and I’m super happy to be at a school with a pretty tight knit biology department. I don’t play any instruments, but I love all kinds of music and I’m always looking for new stuff.
Quick fire questions
Tell me your…
Go to summer road bike? My bike, a Van Dessel Motivus Maximus.
Dream bike? S-Works anything honestly.
One climb to ride said dream bike up? Mont Ventoux
Favorite cycling book? Pro Cycling on $10 a Day (Hi Phil!)
Favorite cycling movie? My team’s documentary on YouTube: American Crit
Favorite pro rider(if any)? Sagan forever.
Why? ...why not?
Favorite piece of cycle clothing you’ve owned?
The ButcherBox Twilight Suit, aka the Vie13 Warrny Skinsuit. I love wearing skinsuits in general, but this thing is absolutely stunning and only comes out for very special occasions.
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