World Champion Interview: He has a moustache and he’s fast… it can only be America’s Ashton Lambie. World pursuit champion, 4,000 metre record holder and keen gravel rider, quite a combination. Ed Hood had to have a word.
He’s the man with the ‘tach’ who made history by becoming the first human being to ride a bicycle for four kilometres inside four minutes on the Aguascalientes Velodrome in Mexico, this year. He then iced that cake by taking the World Four Kilometre Individual Pursuit Championships on the boards of the Velodrome Jean Stablinski in Roubaix, relegating no less a personage than ‘Pippo’ Ganna to the bronze medal position on the podium. But all that track stuff is just to keep him occupied in between his first loves of ultra-distance and gravel.
The man is ‘different,’ Mr. Ashton Lambie:
PEZ: Congratulations, Monsieur Champion du Monde; did you have a Scotch to celebrate – and if so, which one did you chose?
Ashton Lambie: Not yet actually. On the trip I was able to find some incredible Belgian and French beers that I brought back. So we’ve been enjoying them, but there will be some Scotch soon. I’ve got a bottle of the Lagavulin Distillers Edition that I’ve been saving.
PEZ: Coppi – Riviere – Faggin – Porter – Moser – Orsted – Wiggins – Ganna – LAMBIE; that has a ring to it.
I actually don’t know what this list is of, except names I recognise from cycling. I definitely need to study bike racing more.
PEZ: What do you think of the current Worlds, ‘two rides’ format, would you like to see a return when there were more rounds ‘mano a mano’?
I actually think it’s a good format. I do wish the UCI would televise qualification rounds, or at least make them available for video afterwards. But I do think riding two-up qualifying and straight to finals is a solid format. I think the only other option would be to add a seeding ride into rounds (like TP format) and no one wants to watch 24 guys all ride solo individual pursuits?
PEZ: Tell us about your Worlds prep.
As usual, my world’s prep was a bit odd. I finished the World Record down in Mexico, and was obviously elated. But there are always things that can be better, and I had two months to get ready for a sea level ride, which wasn’t the same as training for altitude. I’d also felt like I did a huge anaerobic capacity block leading up to Mexico, but would probably get more return from different stimulus. So with this new anaerobic capacity, I decided to do some threshold work, a bit of anaerobic work to maintain, and lots of Zwift racing, just to keep it fun. Also, Zwift TTTs might just be the ideal training for an IP!
PEZ: Tell us about the bike – equipment, gear, tyres.
I was on the new Argon TKO pursuit frame with Zipp wheels and Vittoria Pista Oro tires. Going bottom to top, I also had Wattshop Pentaxia extensions, Wattshop underseat Garmin mount with my Garmin Edge 1030 reading from my SRM/THM 165mm crank with an Affinity 65t ring, KMC X101 Chain, and Soma 15t rear cog for a 117″ gear. I was wearing Specialized Ares shoes with Look Keo track pedals, Vorteq custom overshoes, Vorteq custom skinsuit, and the iconic POC Tempor helmet. I think that’s about everything, and you can find the power files from both rides on Strava!
PEZ: And can we ask about your Worlds ‘numbers’?
For sure! I hit a max of about 1100w on the start, with the first lap around 600w. After that I settled into around 500w (Cda of around 0.157) for 14.8 second laps. I was on a 65×15 gear (one tooth bigger than Mexico) for 117″ gear.
PEZ: No individual pursuit in the Olympics, that must rankle?
Ah, not too bad! Of course not going to the Olympics is a disappointment, but I also knew that when I decided to focus on pursuit instead of any mass start. I’m ok with a World Record and rainbows.
PEZ: Tell us tell us about your ‘sub 4’ prep.
It was incredibly specific actually. After working with Dan Bigham a bit, we landed on the wattage I’d need to do to go sub four in Mexico. I’m living with my partner, Dr. Christina Birch, at her family’s ranch in Montana, which is not totally at altitude, but still thinner air than sea level. I also used an adapter to mount my track bike on the Tacx Neo 2t, and just did all of my workouts on erg mode. So basically I worked with my coach at the time, Chris Dellesaga of Athletic Strength Institute, to come up with very specific intervals four days each week, gym three days each week, one long ride on the weekends, and one day off.
PEZ: I believe there are a lot of UCI ‘hoops’ to jump through for a record attempt?
It’s definitely tougher than just showing up for a UCI Nation’s cup. There were definitely a few things to sort out, but the UCI and USAC both helped quite a bit to make it possible. And the folks down at Republica No. 1 (an incredible bike shop in Aguas!), as well as everyone down in Mexico were incredibly helpful!
PEZ: And are you still ‘gravel grinding’?
Yes! That and ultra-distance goals are the big plan for 2022.
PEZ: Tell us about your gym.
Oh boy. We’ve actually managed to build a pretty nice gym up in Montana! Chris and I both spend a lot of time in the gym, and it’s pretty well set up. We’ve got a squat rack, row machine, dip station, glute ham machine, a sled, and a kiddie pool to cool off in when it’s hot. We’ve also got our turbos set up there, so it’s a full workout centre!
PEZ: And the RV you were calling home?
Home sweet home! We bought a 1992 Starcraft 25d earlier this summer, and have been slowly renovating it as a fun side project. I’m a moderately competent woodworker, and Chris has an incredible eye for design, so we’ve really dialled in the look past blue linoleum floors. It’s been a TON of progress, from water damage, to a new door, propane, and everything in between. We’ve loved the learning experience and learning new skills, as well as building a home together.
PEZ: Do you have an agent – what about those six day 4K track records over the winter?
Hahahaha, no agent! Just chatting and meeting good people wherever I can. No track racing planned, just Zwift and gravel for the winter.
Starting the project of qualifying for Paris-Brest-Paris and all sorts of other ultra-distance shenanigans!
# We did say that he’s ‘different,’ congratulations again to Mr. Ashton Lambie, World Four Kilometre Record Holder and World Four Kilometre Pursuit Champion. #