Professional triathlete Ashley Clifford says that she has been an athlete her entire life, which is hard to argue when you discover she started swimming competitively at the age of five. In high school she took up track and cross-country, which nurtured a love for running that she carried with her into her college years when she began running half Ironman distances. In 2007 she finished her first triathlon – the Ironman Orlando 70.3. In 2010, she graduated college and completed her first full Ironman in Louisville with a time of 11:45. From there, she has only continued to improve her times, and making a name for herself in the sport. We recently caught up with her to see what she is training for, and to find out which pieces of gear help to get her through training and a race.
Gear Institute: Hi Ashley! What are you up to these days? Are you preparing for any events?
GI: I’m sure training is the main part of your focus right now as the event draws closer. What are some pieces of gear that you always take with you when you are preparing for a race?
AC: I always carry a smartphone with me on my training runs and rides as it allows me to stay in contact, and it is good to have on you in case of an emergency. I also don’t hit the road without a bike tire repair kit. There is nothing worse than getting caught out on a ride with a flat tire and not being able to fix it. Of course, I always take a water bottle along as well, but sometimes I’ll fill it up with tea to add a little variety and flavor.
GI: Give a shout out to your sponsors. What products are you using to help you train and race that you are really impressed with?
AC: I love my Cannondale bike. It is an incredibly smooth ride. I’m also very appreciative of my training and racing clothes from Sugoi as it always keeps me comfortable and cool. I especially love my Hydrolite jacket, as it is light, flexible, and water resistant. I’m also a big fan of Infinit Nutrition, which provides electrolytes while training and competing.
GI: Do you have any rituals or techniques that you use when it comes time to pack for an event?
AC: I create a checklist of crucial items before I go. This helps me to stay organized and ensures I bring everything I need with me. The list will have things like hydration, calories, healthy food, money, and my phone. Items that I can’t get along without when competing.
GI: What is one trend in the gear industry that you are excited about or interested in at the moment?
AC: I moved to Florida at the beginning of 2015, so rght now, I am interested in apparel to ride in hot sunny weather and use minimal sunscreen. The Sugoi Icefil collection accomplishes this; the fabric cools as you perspire and offers 50UPF sun protection too.
Thanks for your time Ashley. Good luck in Racine!