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Five Minutes With... Ashley Carelock

Five Minutes With... Ashley Carelock

27 September, 2022

Beccy Waters

By: Beccy Waters

Lover of all things on two wheels, Ashley Carelock spends her time split between riding her fleet of bikes and running her farm in southwestern Colorado. We've always admired Ashley for her gratitude and humble approach to racing.

Ashley Carelock dipped her toe into the world of bikepacking in 2019 at the inaugural Across Andes where she took sixth in the solo category, as the only woman in the race she was unashamedly racing for the overall. She has a season of domestic gravel racing under her belt, holding her in excellent stead for her upcoming race. She lines up at the Atlas Mountain Race this weekend as one to watch, given she is a Texan born, Colorado resident she has ample experience in dry, remote climates at altitude and on similar terrain.

Header image: Shania DuBose.

1. How real is the stoke getting now?! What are you most excited and apprehensive about heading into Morocco?

I’m beyond excited to go to Morocco! The race was postponed twice due to Covid, so it kinda feels like a dream come true. I’ve been thinking and wanting to compete in this race for over two years now, and I can’t believe it’s finally here. I’m most excited about seeing the country by bike. There’s just something about bike packing that allows you to experience the landscapes and culture more intimately. I honestly don’t have too many apprehensions. What will be, will be. I just need to do what I love, and remember how lucky I am to be out there.

2. How do your bike setup and equipment list differ from your previous races?

I will be on a completely different bike for this race, the Rodeo Adventure Labs Show Pony. It’s Rodeo’s first generation hard tail mountain bike. I’m running a MRP Ribbon SL fork and Nex-Gen Sports V3 Enduro wheels with Maxxis Recon Race 2.25 tires for more comfort on the rough terrain. I’ve also added the Wren Sports Perseverance handlebar - an integrated aero bar, with Ergon GP3 grips giving me lots of options for my hands. I’ve learned that the more comfortable I am, the longer I’ll ride! My equipment list will be similar to other ultra races, taking only the essentials. The only difference, I will be carrying more water than I normally do, a little over three liters.

3. Both your Across Andes 2021 and this year’s Tour Divide attempts were cut short due to a dog bite and the storms early in the race, respectively. How do you manage your emotions following these races and channel them into upcoming events?

My experience at Across Andes was traumatic and very tragic. I made a few gambles early on in the Tour Divide that, in the end, did not pan out for me, resulting in an illness and an epic eye infection. Both of these events taught me that I can never control every variable, instead I need to embrace every outcome with grace and acceptance. I remind myself how blessed I am to want and be able to compete in these events. All I can do is give each race my best.

Image: Matt Maynard

4. How has life on the farm been this year? And could you tell us more about your farm-life?

Life on the little hobby farm has been great! Three years ago I planted a pollinator garden and added one hive of bees. Winters here in Southwest Colorado are long, and I want my bees to thrive, so I waited until this year to harvest some honey. It was everything I hoped for and more. Currently, the orchard is full of apples and pears, and I’m taking a few with me to eat on my journey. They will remind me of home.

I’ve also taken on another part time job with a nonprofit called CYCLE Kids. CYCLE Kids works within schools combining the fun and practical skill of riding a bike with healthy nutrition lessons that put children on a path to success. My job is to set up programs in the Four Corners region, and to visit the schools. Seeing the kids with their bikes, the joy and enthusiasm they express, is worth all the effort!

We wish Ashley all the best of luck with her ride at the Atlas Mountain Race this weekend and veteran commentator Thomas Chateau will be providing commentary here.