Amber Pierce was a standout swimmer in high school, earning a scholarship at Pac-12 superpower Stanford. But before her talents at the collegiate level could blossom, she suffered a career-ending shoulder injury.
10 years post graduation, Pierce’s athleticism introduced her to a new, unexpected sport: cycling. “When I was in high school, the thought of becoming a professional cyclist was not something that even crossed my mind. It wasn’t something I was even aware of or that I existed within the realm of my consciousness,” Pierce said. “And here I am, 10 years late, doing this thing.”
Bicycle racing is like NASCAR, chess and boxing. NASCAR because of the drafting, chess, because the team members each have specific strengths they use to get one person to the front. And boxing, because racing can be a little more physical than spectators realize.
Pierce now rides with Team Colavita/Bianchi in her role as a “domestique”, a position that requires her to help other teammates win the race. “I always get looks of shock and confusion from people, when they hear what I do for a living,” says Pierce. “But it’s been a really beautiful career.”
Pierce has also displayed aptitude off the track. She is a skilled contract negotiator, which is helpful in managing her sponsorships and marketing herself as her own brand. In her spare time, Pierce speaks with school children about her career and the possibilities it opened for her. “The most common question I get is, ‘I didn’t know girls could do that,’” remarked Pierce. “That really gets me. I’m not necessarily going to inspire every kid in that class to go race bikes, and that’s not my goal. But, what I would really like to impress on them, is that there are opportunities out there for them that they can’t even imagine yet. There is more possible than they can see at that time. Maybe, them seeing a professional bike racer, which they didn’t even know was possible, might open their minds that the world is full of more possibilities than they previously thought.”
Pierce will race in the U.S. National Championships at the end of June.
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by Colavita USA (May 10th, 2017)