Photos Wes Duenkel Interview by Kate Erwin (B&W photos courtesy of Kate Erwin) Introduction by Tayler Rae Dubé, More information about Ashley here! Ashley Frieberg is a force of nature. At only 23-years-old she is already ten years into a successful career in car racing and, in 2014, was the first female overall winner at they Daytona International Speedway. Recently, Ashley has started making noise in the cycling scene as well, picking up a cyclocross bike to help her stay fit for racing. We are truly inspired by Ashley's story, a female athlete taking a male dominated sport by storm.
Which came first, bikes or cars? I have been racing since I was 13 in a go-kart, and moved into cars when I was 15 before I even had a driver's license! I only recently started to ride bikes as a part of training for auto racing, and last fall was the first time I ever raced my bike! When was your first cyclocross race? My first cyclocross race was Quad Cross on September 7th last year. The most prominent memory I have of the race was that I couldn't stop smiling... even through the pain!
What were your fears? My biggest fear was that I just wasn't strong enough for cyclocross, since most of my training for auto racing is upper body strength. I hadn't been racing my bike all summer like most of the riders out there. Honestly, I did better than I thought because I discovered that I was halfway descent rolling speed through the corners! When was your first car race? My first car race was at Road America in Wisconsin in 2007, and I finished in the top 5. When was your first race as a professional and how did you do? My first pro car race was at Daytona International Speedway last year in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, and I won the race.
What is your threshold for cold weather riding? I would say below 30 degrees is getting pretty cold! But I will race in any weather for cyclocross! What is your cross training like? For car racing I have to focus on my upper body, core, and aerobic strength, so I spend time lifting weights and working out using my body weight, rock climbing, using my battle rope, running, hiking, cycling, and swimming. I try to constantly mix it up and get involved in different sports. I've been trying to do more cyclocross-specific training when I have had time between my racing schedule, which is pretty busy in the Spring and Summer, but along with riding I do pylometrics, lift weights, and run.
Bibs or shorts? I just recently discovered bib shorts this summer and I totally get why people love them, so comfy! They're my new go-to! Do you ride with music? If so what? I never ride with music because I love to be immersed with the world around me when I ride! Vermont is too beautiful to close off!
What adjustments would you like to see in the cycling world and in the auto-racing world in regards to women? I honestly think they both have positives and negatives. In car racing, there just aren't many women out there. I usually find I am the only girl competing against a field of men! But in auto racing, women are treated fairly equal which makes it exciting to go head-to-head with a man unlike most sports. In cycling there are tons of women racers, honestly, my first cyclocross race I was so inspired by all these strong, incredible women out there kicking butt! I wish auto-racing was like that! But I do wish they were treated equal to the men in terms prize money and recognition, we work just as hard and the racing is just as good.