LAWRENCE, Kan. — The fastest man on a bike who you've probably never heard of, Ashton Lambie recently shocked the cycling world.
"I just like going fast," said Lambie, who broke the world record in the 4,000-meter individual pursuit in August with a time of 4:07:25. "That’s probably my favorite part, just going super fast, going super hard."
In a matter of a few years, Lambie has gone from long-distance rides on the country roads in Kansas to world record holder.
"Uh, it's kind of sunk in," Lambie said.
The cyclist, who now lives in Waverly, Nebraska, got his start on the back roads of Kansas and worked at Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop in Lawrence.
"When he came to work for us, he was just this humble, corn-fed kind of guy," said Dan Hughes, the store's owner. "He was like, 'Aww shucks, I got a big mustache, I’m going to pedal my bike around.'"
Hughes added that Lambie has impressed him.
"I think what Lambie has done in the last three years kind of transcends a lot of the cycling norms," he said.
After rising through the ranks of long-distance rides on dirt roads, Lambie set his sights on the velodrome, or track cycling. He started on a handmade grass velodrome that is carved out of a field on a farm outside Lawrence.
"It's a very quintessentially Kansas, Midwest thing. I think it’s cool seeing videos of how many people are using the grass velodrome now, like that is awesome," Lambie said. "That is mission accomplished."
There is nothing traditional about Lambie. From his bushy mustache to Hawaiian tattoos to his cycling style, Lambie is different.
"It’s almost like a superpower," said his strength coach Chris Dellasega. "His ability to just kind of say, 'Tell me what I need to do; I’m going to do it.' And that is not something you come across very often. He's just cut from a different cloth, in the sense that he can just take it in stride and just keep trucking."
Lambie is now part of USA Cycling and is focused on competing, but he has his sights set on the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
He still trains on the country roads near his home in the Nebraska countryside.
"You could make a pretty good argument that this is the best, or one of the best, training facilities in the country," Lambie said. "You don't have to worry about getting hit by cars, just cows. It's a good place to train, I like it."