Ashley Clifford, Professional Triathlete
Location: Carmel, Indiana (USA)
Having placed among the top-5 in most of her 2013 races, Ashley’s first year as a pro triathlete is off to an exceptional start! Drawing on her background as a competitive swimmer and runner, Ashley has consistently gotten faster as the season’s progressed. So much so that she’s now ranked among the world’s top-30 women and has earned enough points to qualify for the Ironman World Championships this October in Kona!
Ashley’s bubbly personality and fierce competitive spirit combine to make her an exciting athlete watch.
We are proud to welcome Ashley to #TeamBIOM and encourage you to join us in rooting for her this year and beyond.
When did you begin competing? Were you always a triathlete?
I’ve been competing in triathlons since the summer of 2008. I grew up swimming year-round for a competitive club in Carmel, Indiana, which I loved. In high school, competitive swimming was only available during the winter months, so I joined the cross country and track teams to stay in shape.
I finished my first half-Ironman in Florida after my sophomore year at the University of Indianapolis. I had no idea what I was doing. I literally packed running shoes and my goggles, I rented a bike. It was a disaster but I fell in love with the sport.
After I graduated from college, I competed at Ironman Louisville. My technique was great for the swim and run (I recorded the third fasted female run split) but I lost a lot of time on the bike. I knew that in order to break into the next level, I really needed to work on my cycling. Since then, that’s what I’ve been focused on – and now I can say I qualified for Kona!
When did you realise this sport was something you were able to do at the professional level?
I’ve always been a competitor. I grew up participating in sports – in time consuming sports. When I was swimming competitively, I would be at practice for hours in the mornings, be outside all day with friends and then go back to the pool in the evenings. I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and had a very active lifestyle. Competing at the professional level just makes sense for me.
What is your all-time best competition memory?
It would have to be the Louisville Ironman in 2011. Despite the hot weather, I finished third overall and was officially welcomed into the professional ranks. It was always my goal to go pro – and accomplishing it was an incredible feeling.
You qualified for Kona! Tell us a bit about that?
I found out on July 29th via email – and it was so exciting! The amount of support I’ve felt from friends and family has been overwhelming. I earned qualifying points throughout the season at different Ironman sanctioned races. At the end of July, the top-28 women are invited to Kona. To be among the group of talented athletes is so exciting.
What are your dreams for your athletic career?
I’m just focusing on my training and enjoying the experience as an athlete. I’d love a podium finish at Kona one of these years, I like the Ironman distance. But I’m just concentrating on enjoying each day.
What is your favorite post-competition meal?
I really like Fettuccine Alfredo! And, of course, a big bowl of chocolate ice cream for dessert.
What animal do you most resemble when you’re on the course and why?
I would have to be a race horse because of the determination and focus of those animals. Also, the thrill you get from watching them race.
Any final thoughts?
Yay, I’m going to Kona for the first time!