His hips don’t lie – Ashton Lambie ventures into XC mountain bike racing at the Sea Otter Classic

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MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (VN) — When Ashton Lambie worked at Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Shop in Lawrence, Kansas, he took a team trip to Salida, Colorado to go mountain biking.

It was formative – in a way.

Read also: World champion Ashton Lambie leaves the track and goes off the beaten track

“I remember very specifically on this track that there were these big drops and I crushed them all,” Lambie told VeloNews. “And I was like, ‘man if it’s a good one like mountain biking, maybe it’s not for me.'”

It was the last time until very recently that Lambie rode a mountain bike (it was in 2014), but this weekend at the Sea Otter Classic, the individual pursuit world champion will be back on big tires . He’s in California for the Fuego 80k XC race, the first of the Life Time Grand Prix, a series of six XC gravel and mountain bike races.

In order to prepare for Saturday’s 50-mile race (as well as the other two Grand Prix mountain bike races, the Leadville Trail 100 and Chequamegon), Lambie recently took a week-long trip to Bentonville, Arkansas for a mini camp. training. He and his partner, former trackie-turned-astronaut-in-training Christina Birch, hiked the historic trails of northwest Arkansas for five days where “it was basically a few days she was yelling at me to keep my elbows apart,” Lambie said.

Lambie said he saw some micro improvements during their time on the trails – “I still don’t know how to steer with my hips, which is another thing, but my elbows are out a bit more” – at least enough to give him the confidence to line up on Saturday.

Lambie’s dedication to the track, and world records and IP championship titles in particular, have given him impeccable bike riding skills, so even if his elbows aren’t properly bent, he should be able to navigate the course.

However, he’s not betting on podium finishes in the series’ mountain bike races.

“I don’t have a lot of expectations, I think I could do well in both events, but I’m probably not a competitor,” he said. “But I think having a UCI world champion even in a different event coming up in the Grand Prix series adds a bit of legitimacy to it and a bit of character.”

Along with the mustache that frames his million-dollar smile, Lambie will bring character to mountain bike racing with his bike, a prototype from Affinity Cycles. The Brooklyn-based brand, which specializes in track bikes and fixies, has made the Lambie and Birch a pair of titanium hardtail mountain bikes for the season.

Although Lambie will be much more in his element two months from now at the Unbound Gravel 200-mile race, he doesn’t plan to gag at Saturday’s event.

“I’m really aiming for this race [Unbound],” he said. “But it’s also a race, and I want to go fast and have fun.”

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