We are excited at SILCA to have a new ambassador on our team. Somebody we are working with to develop new product, support in his goals, and is somebody that we have really enjoyed working with in or short time together so far. Welcome Ashton Lambie to the team here at SILCA and we can't wait to get to work in the world of marginal gains and exploration all at the same time.
After bringing him onto the team we thought about how we could best introduce him. Do we introduce him as world record holder, world champion, Unbound 100 winner, partner of a NASA Astronaut candidate, or any other of his many achievements? Ashton has such a unique and interesting story we thought it might be good to introduce him as part of the team with one simple question:
You have had a wild journey in cycling, what is it like to go from local fast guy in Nebraska to pulling on a rainbow jersey in just three short years?
When I started down this adventure of track cycling, my wild goal was to go to the Olympics. From my perspective that meant a series of small goals, and controlled variables, that would allow me to achieve the biggest possible challenge in track cycling. Fast forward about 3 years after I started on a grass track, and it became clear that the Olympics weren’t going to happen. As devastated as I was, it also opened a lot of bandwidth to pursue what I viewed as the purest race imaginable, the individual pursuit. If gravel has the most variables out of your control (conditions, other racers, cows), then any kind of track has way fewer variables. And if team events have variables, then an individual race against a steady clock (instead of a mass start race against other riders) was what I viewed as the purest performance possible. But when the race isn’t in the Olympics anymore, the end of that event is rainbows at a world championship. I’d always thought of it as the pinnacle of a mountain, what’s left when you get to the top? It was hard to know without being there, and the perspective definitely changed when I made it there. I managed to prove in every possible scenario that I was the best pursuit rider on a couple select days last year. Now that I’m at the top of the proverbial mountain, is it a pointy bit at the top where we turn around and head back down, or a road you get to keep going on?
After pulling on the jersey, a lot changed, but a lot also stayed the same. I realized that there isn’t a solid answer whether it’s a peak or a road, but it’s more up to the rider. Sometimes you can’t see the peaks of other mountains until you’re standing on the top of one, even if just for a little bit. I remember having the same feeling after completing my first 1200k brevet in 2011. That was the longest event that the discipline (based around riding long distances) had to offer. And I could’ve done another one (and definitely will!), but there were also other things I wanted to try! All the confidence and experience I gained after reaching that peak of randoneurring propelled me to tackle another peak, that was even higher. And even after just a few incredible years on track, there are a lot of other things I’m excited to try in cycling! I’m excited to share this success with others, and get them to climb their own peaks of adventure and challenge. If I inspire someone to try to achieve their Olympic dreams, or even ride one day per week to work, I’ll feel like I did something, and blazing this trail will always be worth it.
I remember when I won my first national title, I was absolutely in awe that I’d get to not only wear a national champs jersey for a year, but get the little American flag bands on my sleeves and collar forever. It would be something that would identify me as a national champion for the rest of my career. And then I raced in Europe, and realized that there were lots of other faster riders, and a national title was good, but not the best. I knew what the rainbow bands were, but never imagined I’d be able to wear the jersey. Yet, 3 years later, I’ll get little rainbow bands in a specific order on my sleeves and collar forever. I’ll be the 2021 world champion for the rest of my life, and that really feels like enough for me. It really was a huge breath of fresh air, and I’ve never been more excited to focus on other fun projects! After some people commented on the world record being at altitude and not really counting, topping it off with a world championship in the same year was about as tidy as you can get. So what’s left to do now? What other peaks of adventure are visible from here?
Honestly, it still feels surreal. I’m sitting here typing this while drinking coffee out of a mug with rainbow stripes that Christina got me for Christmas. She just started work at her new job as a NASA Astronaut Candidate, and we can’t decide which mug (rainbows or NASA logo) is objectively cooler. I still use training peaks, and my program is a lot more flexible these days. It’s been a lot of Zwift racing with the team NeXT E-Sports, lots of exploratory rides around our new home in Houston, and having as much fun as possible with all of it. It’s weird when you’re training and there isn’t really an expectation or pressure of results, either internal or external. But to sit here and be truly, really, content, while still being excited about new challenges is something I hope you get to experience. Whether you take a local KOM, or just ride to work one day a week, take a moment and enjoy all you’ve accomplished. Each peak you find will hopefully lead to all sorts of new ones, and that can be the most exciting part!
We are looking forward to many other conversations with Ashton and may even have him as a guest on an episode of the Marginal Gains Podcast here very soon. Best of luck this year finding your next peak!