Fast Talk Femmes Podcast: Ashleigh Moolman Pasio’s Balancing Act between Athlete and Businesswoman

Learn how pro cyclist Ashleigh Moolman Pasio manages to successfully balance being a business owner while maintaining her cycling career.

Fast Talk Femme episode 115 with Ashleigh Moolman Pasio

South African professional cyclist Ashleigh Moolman Pasio rides for AG Insurance – Soudal Quick-Step and will be competing in the 2023 Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift from July 23 to July 30. She is a six-time South African National Road Race Champion, a Commonwealth Games medalist, 2012 Olympian, and winner of two inaugural events: the Tour de Romandie Féminin in 2022 and UCI Cycling Esports World Championships in 2020. But her accomplishments don’t end there. Alongside that, Ashleigh has a degree in Chemical Engineering and owns the cycling tour business Rocacorba Cycling

In this episode, Ashleigh discusses the art of balancing training, racing, and her cycling career with the demands of being a small business owner. She reveals the secret to her success: applying a problem-solving approach to challenges. Tune in and get to know more about Ashleigh and her business.  

Catch up on previous episodes of Fast Talk Femmes and subscribe for episodes on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsOvercastSoundcloudSpotifyStitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts! 

Episode Transcript

Julie Young  00:05

Welcome to Fast Talk Femmes with Julie Young and Dede Barry. Our guest on today’s episode is Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, a South African professional cyclist who rides for the UCI women’s professional cycling team – AG Insurance – Soudal Quick-Step. She is an Olympian, has won the South African national championships multiple times, podiumed in the Commonwealth Games, the Strata Beyond Key, the Jared Italia, won the Tour de Romandie in the world tour race, and she also won the first edition of the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships.

Julie Young  00:43

In addition to her success on the bike, Ashleigh has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the Stellenbosch University, where she met her husband, a semi-professional exterra athlete, Carl Pasio and Ashleigh own Rocacorba Cycling, a cycling tour business that they operate from a 17th century estate in precarious Spain at the base of the infamous Roca. Korba ascent are many of the best professionals in the world have trained and tested.

Julie Young  01:14

Ashleigh is unique in the women’s professional peloton, in that she has balanced being an entrepreneur and business owner with her cycling and manage to succeed at both. Our discussion with Ashleigh will focus on how she balances training, racing and the demands of being a small business owner.

Brittney Coffey  01:32

There are more female athletes in endurance sports than ever before. Yet until recently, female athletes simply followed advice and protocols that had been designed and tested on men. This is rapidly changing and in our newest release from the craft of coaching with Joe Friel, we explore the art and science behind coaching female athletes with expert insights and advice from the likes of Dr. Stacey Sims, Alison Freeman, and Lauren valet. Check out the craft of coaching module 12 coaching female athletes at fast talk labs today.

Dede Barry  02:07

Ashley, Welcome to Fast talk them. It’s a real pleasure to have you join us and we appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule. I feel like we barely scratched the surface of your pomares and our intro. And I’d like to start out by asking you what race performance you’re most proud of?

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  02:25

And that’s a good question. It’s always an interesting question because there’s, there’s obviously different highlights at different phases of your career. And they’re all part of of the growth but I must say winning the tour Rahman de at the end of last year in October time was was really a massive highlight for me. You know, enemy conclusion had been pretty much unbeaten appeal for for quite some time and to finally be the one to to break her winning streak and beater APA, APA, proper Swiss help, was really something special. So that’s a real highlight.

Dede Barry  03:01

Yeah, that was amazing. Yeah, quite an accomplishment. Congratulations. Thank you. You know, when I look back at the last, like 2030 years of women’s professional cycling, there haven’t been a lot of South African female cyclists that have made it into the world tour. And like, I just be curious to hear about what your entry point was into the sport of cycling and racing. And also just get a sense of, of what the development system is like in South Africa for female cyclists. So I got

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  03:31

into cycling quite late in life in that I only discovered my talent while I was studying at university. So I have a kind of unconventional route into cycling, but this isn’t uncommon in women’s cycling, actually, to be honest. So I first finished my degree as I’m a qualified chemical engineer. And it was through my husband who I met at university that I was introduced to pro cycling he he came from a triathlon background. And so when we first started dating at university, we were both studying engineering, I came from more of a like hockey team sports background hockey or tennis, these kinds of sports and studying a very demanding degree like engineering, it was very difficult to, you know, to be part of a team and to make team practice times. So I started leaning towards Karl’s interest, which was still triathlon at the time and endurance sports so I just jumped in the deep end and started trying to train with him naturally tried to get into triathlon, initially, but I’m not a particularly fast swimmer. So that was a bit of an issue, and then did a bit of do Athlon and some half marathons and I kept injuring so that’s what eventually forced me to focus on cycling and a decision I don’t regret because it became clear very quickly, that that’s where my talent really I’m Les, I have, you know, a really good power to weight ratio. So I’m a small petite person, but you know, I go uphill really fast. And so yeah, I call identified that. And he really started, you know, encouraging me to take it more seriously. And it was really interesting because in the early days, he would say things like, you super talented, you could be world champion one day, and I thought he was barking mad. You know, this, this guy telling me, I’m just, I’m just an ordinary person. And he’s saying things like, I can be world champion. But you know, as I, as I was studying and going through this growth path, in cycling, I suppose it started to become a more and more realistic goal, you know, so I first started off just racing local leagues in South Africa, and racing amongst men, because at that time, the woman, you know, we would start with the veteran men in the local league races. And very quickly, I was performing and winning these these kinds of races, then moved on, you know, to the more, you know, national scene of racing, the national championships, and once again, very quickly, I rose to the top. And then in, in my final year of studies, I had the opportunity to, to come over to Europe to race, a tour in France called the tour of Aadesh, which still exists today. And I came over and it wasn’t a plain sailing, first experience, like I had quite a bad crash early on in the race had to chase back on a bike that was one size too big for me. So, you know, there were plenty of challenges. But somehow, I’m, yeah, I like challenges and the bug immediately, but that Europe is the place where I want to be to, you know, chase this goal of, you know, becoming one of the best cyclists in the world. I knew that if I stayed in South Africa, and raced on the local scene, I could be the best in South Africa. But I would never be able to be competitive on an international level. Because in order to be competitive internationally, in cycling, you have to be in Europe, because that’s where the racing happens at the highest level. So literally, as I finished my degree, at the end of 2009, my husband will call and I got married, and we made our way over to Europe to pursue a professional career in cycling, and yeah, now I’m what into my 30th season, or is it already my 14th season, so I feel like a real? Yeah, one of the older, more experienced riders in the peloton now have been around for a long time, but also seen incredible developments in women’s cycling. So from the time that I started to, to today, many, many things have changed. But yes, the reality is that, to date, I’m still the only y’all it’s starting to change a little bit with South Africans. But yeah, I’m pretty much the only proper professional cyclist in Europe. And that has to do a lot with the barriers that we face, coming from a different continent, you know, having to be based in Europe to be a pro. I mean, first and foremost, it’s phases, which are a real issue. So just to be able to be in Europe long enough to to improve and to be a professional is a is a challenge. And then of course it’s leaving your home country, leaving your family coming to different continent different languages, and trying to find your way that makes it really, really complicated. But are we starting to see that change? But it’s still going to take quite some time. Before, you know we see more and more, especially female South Africans in the pro peloton.

Dede Barry  08:44

Actually, when you move to Europe, did you have a professional contract that first year,

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  08:49

so I was really lucky in that the local teams so when I first started cycling, while I was studying, road cycling in South Africa was was really popular. It was actually booming, there was quite an active local racing scene. And so I managed to get myself on to what would be called a pro team in South Africa. And I actually got onto that team through power data. So you know, initially when I started approaching team saying, I want to be one of the best in the world and I need to be on your team. I often found obstacles that are well, you studying. You live in Cape Town, because most of the racing at the time happened in the north of South Africa. So Johannesburg. So all of these obstacles were used against me and I was super determined. So the team that I purchased it, okay, well, we’ll send you a power meter. At the time. It was a power meter based in the wheel so they could send the wheel to me, and they asked me to do a power test. And they thought this was their way of getting out, you know, like, Okay, well, once she’s done this test, it’ll be an easy answer just to say sorry, you’re just not good enough. And I did the test and literally after sending the file to them, I think it was worth it. In five minutes that they found, and they were like, Okay, we signing you. So the way I got into cycling was very much on my power data. So my power to weight, it stood out immediately, as you know, having world class potential. So I was really lucky that this pro team that I got into in South Africa, the guy who owned the team, he, he was very forward thinking, you know, in that power data was really significant to him, which is quite abnormal, because in pro cycling at that time, you know, the mentality was still quite old school. So it was more around, you know, winning races or training many, many hours, they weren’t always looking at power data, but he did. And so he very quickly, just like, Ah, I realized my talent and my potential. And so he said, he was on a mission, basically, to help me get to Europe, because he, he recognized that I had world class potential. So the race that I did in in France, he actually facilitated. So he managed to get our local South African team club team, basically, a start at the Tour of Aadesh. And during that tour, you know, we we took up the opportunities to network. So it was during that tour in France, that we made a connection with a European or a Flemish team of Belgium team called lotto. I mean, they still exist today, actually. And we managed to create a relationship that they took me on for the, for the next year. However, at that point, I was not paid to ride in Europe. So I was literally just given a spot a bike, transport all the infrastructure and support that I needed to race, but I wasn’t paid a salary. And so in the very early part of my career, I was basically riding or racing all year round, in that I was trying to race the South African season, you know, in the Southern Hemisphere, as well as the European season in the northern hemisphere. However, my South African racing was basically paying the wage, you know, all year round. So it was quite a challenging situation in in terms of like balancing or keeping sponsors that were based in South Africa happy, while most of my goals were actually in Europe. And that continued for three years, before, you know, racing for lotto with this kind of contracted to a South African team. But racing, both seasons. And then in 2014 was the first time that I got a contract with a European based team based purely on my ability in Europe and paid a salary to raise full time in Europe.

Dede Barry  12:39

Wow. That’s amazing. Sounds like you had a lot of challenges to overcome. Yeah,

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  12:43

they were a lot of challenges to overcome, that’s for sure. But yeah, it’s it’s great to see how women’s cycling is evolving. And it is becoming easier and easier for you know, young girls to really aspire to be a pro cyclist and to see it as a career choice. Because, you know, when I was doing it was purely on passion. And some people, it at the time, many people thought call, my husband and myself were super crazy, because, you know, we had these, you know, really high regarded degrees like we both we both engineers, yet we, you know, put that aside and went on this crazy adventure to Europe to try the pose pros, and I was really, we were doing it on passion and very little money at the time. But yeah, I mean, I’m lucky enough that yeah, the talent, talent got me quite far. And that it turned into a proper career. And now it’s becoming more and more viable. And definitely, all the passion, hard work and sacrifice. Is is being repaid at this point in time. Hey, Ashley,

Julie Young  13:47

it’s great to finally meet you. And I’ve been really looking forward to our conversation today. And just listening to you talk, just thinking about, you know, the challenges you overcame, I always think it’s interesting when people are so determined, and they know where they want to go. They don’t really see the challenges. They’re just always looking for the solutions. And I just think that’s an interesting trait.

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  14:09

Yeah, that’s a it’s a really good point. It seems to be a bit of a character trait, on my part, to be honest. You know, every time I achieve a goal, then I set the next goal and often, they’re super ambitious goals. And there are plenty of people that think I’m, I’m mad, but yeah, I tend to, to be a sucker for punishment or hard work, I don’t know, or just super determined. But yeah, I really like going after these ambitious goals and, you know, joining you know, getting over to Europe and first just over overcoming the obstacles of you know, earning a proper wage making it a viable career. But then, very quickly, also, just the, the challenges that faced women’s cycling as a whole you know, started to to really intrigued me. And I suppose it comes also a little bit from the engineering background. Yeah, you Essentially, engineering is is a problem solving mindset, right? So, I identified also very quickly the problems within the sport and in particular within what women’s cycling, and started to become really ambitious to, to help sort of influence change as well. And I suppose, you know, that kind of purpose or deeper purpose has also been a huge part of helping me overcome, you know, the mental or physical challenges that I’ve had to face as an athlete. So let’s say injury or, or, you know, maybe missing goals or that type of thing. You know, having a deeper sense of purpose to, to be a change maker in the industry as a whole has helped me to stay motivated and focused even through these challenges.

Julie Young  15:46

And that makes perfect sense, like you said, the engineering mindset of being a problem solver. And for you of just jumping into that problem solving mindset as these challenges arise. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Julie Young  15:59

So you kind of mentioned this your first race that the r dash and DD and I are well aware of this because we spent a lot of time racing in Europe and I think it’s so hard to explain to people just how intensely like insane the racing is in Europe and just how different it is to be in that peloton. How was it for you integrating into the world to our peloton?

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  16:24

Yeah, again, an interesting one. I mean, I was definitely thrown into the deep end coming from South Africa where we have you know, quite wide roads we don’t especially the roads that we race on, there isn’t usually a lot of road furniture or, or obstacles. So it’s it’s, you know, if you’re in a peloton, maybe of 30 riders or at most, it’s really easy to move in the peloton or to come from the back to the front at any given moment. And then coming over to Europe, it’s a totally different ballgame. I mean, you’re on narrow streets, lots of road furniture, peloton is a bigger movement in the peloton is totally different. And, again, I’m lucky that I’m, I don’t know, I’m not afraid of challenges. So, you know, right from the onset, I was pushing the limits, you know, to try and to learn as fast as I could. And okay, that came with consequences. So in the first year, as a professional I, I broke my collarbone three times. And that’s obviously an indication that I was maybe pushing, pushing the limits too much in terms of, you know, fighting for positioning, and possibly coming short at times. But it’s all part of the learning curve. And I’m lucky in a way that, you know, that’s part of my character to keep pushing to keep trying and not to be afraid, for example, to be in a peloton because there are some pros that come from, you know, America, Canada, Australia, South Africa, where you know, they’re thrown into the peloton in Europe, and, you know, not growing up here and having all these obstacles to overcome moving in the peloton or the road furniture, it really throws them often. And they struggle to overcome the fear, and to become good at positioning. So I’m really lucky that I’ve always sort of relished in the challenge. And I never shied away from from obstacles or overcoming injury. But yeah, it, it requires a special mentality or mindset to want to keep pushing and trying to eventually find your space, because they there is a point when you’ve proven yourself somewhat, and it’s not necessarily winning a race, it’s just proving your strength, being active in the races, you know, proving that, that you you belong there, that then kind of creates this respect from the other writers where maybe they, they will give you the space more easily then catch you off. So it’s kind of it’s quite a cutthroat environment, as I’m sure you guys know, there’s a pecking order and to work your way up that pecking order, you know, sometimes, you know, takes takes time takes a lot of persistence. But once you get there, then it does become a little bit easier. However, saying that things are changing nowadays with the new generation and the new way of thinking in that often as all the writers are talking about how the youngsters they just don’t respect us anymore. So you know, it’s always changing and always evolving within the peloton. But Cycling is a tough sport, as you know, it takes a lot of your resilience and guts, you know, to be there in the right moment in the races and to be able to, to get results or to play the role that you meant to play.

Dede Barry  19:49

What about culturally like being a South African and signing with a Belgian team? Did you speak Flemish at all? Or, like was that an adjustment?

Chris Case  19:58

So I’m lucky enough that I Actually Flemish or Dutch teams have been quite easy for me to, to integrate into because South Africa, there’s a lot of history with the Dutch. So we have actually a language called Afrikaans, which is Dutch. And it’s actually closer to Flemish than what it is to Dutch. And so it’s much easier actually, for me to integrate into those team environments, because I can actually understand a lot. Now, at this point in my career, I don’t I mean, I can speak, it’s my second language, Afrikaans or South African, Dutch, English is my first language, but I can speak it. However, I don’t really need to speak it, you know, as long as I can understand the data or the Flemish I get pretty far. But yeah, I’m in Europe as a whole, like I live in Spain, or in Catalonia. And to be more precise, but yeah, that’s, that’s totally different, you know, the Latin languages are a lot more complicated for me to pick up, you know, because I had no exposure to it at all, growing up in South Africa. So that’s been a little bit more complex. But having said that, it’s also quite interesting, which I think is a little bit the same for, you know, Canada, and I’m in the Americas is that, in our heritage in South Africa, is, is often rooted in Europe, or in the UK. And so, in a way, coming over to Europe, or you actually do feel that you relate really well, to the culture here, or that that’s my experience. And so actually, it hasn’t been that hard to interview, upgrade myself into the European culture or lifestyle. It’s just more the Latin languages that were a challenge, especially initially,

Julie Young  21:46

you know, as I was just thinking about when you’re talking about the world tour, and just integrating into that. And, again, I think it’s people just don’t understand the difficulty. The challenge is to succeed at that World Tour level that you talked about identifying through power numbers, and we’re seeing that more and more, but yet, it’s so much more than just hitting power numbers. And like, you’ve been explaining and describing and painting this picture for us, you know, all the different things, it’s the cultural things, it’s the you know, you’re in an entirely new place, you’re far from home, the peloton is different. And again, I just think it’s important for people that understand this that, you know, when they’re watching coverage on GCN, it’s not as straightforward as just hitting power numbers.

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  22:31

No, it’s definitely not. And actually, that’s an interesting point, and I’ll come back to the power numbers. But yeah, I think that’s what makes it even more complicated. For, for people from outside of, of Europe to be successful as as a pro because there’s, there’s no hiding from the fact that they’re Pro Cycling is Eurocentric, to this day, and that’s what makes it more and more difficult for us coming from, you know, other continents or especially the southern hemisphere, or far like America, you know, all these continents so far away, to make it because it’s not an easy sport, and we don’t have our families to, you know, to lean back on or, you know, after a hard race to go home and see your mom, or your dad or, you know, have the support of parents or, or family to help you get through the challenges or to make you feel better. So, yeah, it is, it is a lot harder. I mean, we’re lucky in this day and age that, you know, through the internet and zoom calls, and, you know, WhatsApp and social media, it’s way easy, easier to stay connected. So I think it’s totally different. And nowadays, in that regard, at least, we can stay connected through through the internet and social media. But yeah, it’s not quite that simple. Like, especially making it you know, I had to be quite innovative in how I how my husband and I made it possible for us to live in Europe, while our income was coming from South Africa. You know, we didn’t have you know, our parents house to live in while we were trying to make it as a pro, you know, and that’s why I’m very grateful that I had an engineering background because it helped me, um, you know, the problem solving mindset, putting sponsor proposals together, you know, thinking of how I could give sponsors in South Africa exposure while I’m spending most of my time in Europe, it helped me to do that. But yeah, it’s certainly not easy and then going back to the power numbers, you know, Cole really said to me from the onset like you can be world champion and it was it has been quite a hard journey in that respect. It’s through my career in knowing that I have the talent you know, I have the numbers even you know, in the in the world tour races I perform at the highest level, but then going to a world championships or an Olympic Games where I don’t Have as the depth in support that the other nations do, or the European nations do, and that my teammates aren’t able to support me or I don’t have enough teammates to support me, and then, you know, always fought falling short of that goal of being world champion or Olympic champion, which for a very long time, and women’s cycling was really the pinnacle of the sport, because these were the events that got the most attention. Now, we luckily getting more and more exposure in in World Tour races as well. So your goals with the trade team are more significant. But then getting back to the power numbers and the the COVID pandemic and the virtual world and in particulars worked. That was also a really a big experience for me. And when I mentioned that my my biggest highlight is winning to a remedy. Actually, very quickly, in the back of my mind, I thought hang on, there is another really big highlight. And that was winning the eSports World Championships in 2020. Because finally, I won that world title that Cole had spoken about for so many years. And why it is so significant is that on a platform like Swift, it is a little bit more about the numbers. Because obviously, that’s how the how the platform works. And so for once in my career lining up on the sideline of a world champs, I really felt like, Okay, I am the best here today. And it’s going to take a lot for others to beat me because it came down to the numbers, whereas on in road cycling, there’s so much more at play, you know, it’s tactics, it’s luck, it’s teamwork, all these other things that add up to the result at the end of the day, and that’s what makes this board special, of course, but eSports, and Swift has also opened up a whole new world, for me, it’s something I’m really proud of, to have, you know, overcome the adversity of the 2020 year and changed or basically, you know, used adversity to create opportunity for myself, and that was to win the world title. And then also to take it further and to, you know, build community on Zwift. To help me or to start acting on all these ideas that I had about growing woman’s, I think growing female participation, and through community. And so yeah, I live a little bit of a parallel parallel life, you know, I have this life in the virtual world and on Swift, and it’s really important to me, but then at the same time, you know, I race in the real world. And I have actually a cycling tourism business, where I’m interacting obviously with, with people on a day to day basis in in the cycling industry.

Dede Barry  27:36

Actually, I’ve had a lot of empathy for you and Kezia new ADAMA, because I feel like I’ve watched you and the Olympics and the World Championships, always be in there, and never having the team around you to to be able to strategically ride to win. So yeah, I understand the attraction of the eSports Zwift events. But you know, I was kind of curious, I’m not someone who has engaged much in indoor riding, like I’m very much and an outdoors person. And I do feel like it’s a it’s a different motivation. There’s not always great crossover in terms of success riding and being able to punch the numbers indoors versus outdoors. And I’d be curious to know, are you able to hit the same numbers, power numbers indoors that you do outdoors.

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  28:24

So this is an interesting one. So obviously, with the COVID pandemic, I was also not a fan of indoor cycling. And the big reason why I wasn’t a fan of it was this very fact that I couldn’t get the same numbers on the indoor trainers, what I could outdoors, and I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to training. So obviously, you know, indoors was off was I only ever used it, it was bad weather and I had an interval session to do. And then the frustration of not being able to get the numbers that I would be able to get outdoors. So in other words, feeling like, you know, I hadn’t fulfilled the full potential of the workout. That frustration is what kept me off the indoor trainer. But with the COVID pandemic and having a really hard lockdown in Spain, I had no option, but to try to embrace the virtual world or to sit on the couch and just lose all my fitness. So, you know, I threw myself into the challenge. And I very quickly realized that yes, it’s, it’s hard on an indoor trainer. And the reason that it’s hard is because you know, it’s unnatural resistance, you’re working against a resistance. So I like to think of it now. Or the way I explain it now is that it’s almost like combining a gym workout with as a bike ride, you know, so you’re getting almost the same stimulus as you would like pushing weights or doing resistance work in the gym, but with a cycling action. And so it takes time, but if you spend enough time on NATO training, you can get the numbers. So obviously with the COVID pandemic, I was on the indoor trainer literally every day for five weeks. And so I started to see, you know, in the beginning was really hard, I couldn’t get the numbers, I was feeling frustrated. So my coach dropped my threshold power just to make the numbers more achievable. But then as I adapted, and after taking actually an easy week to actually allow the muscles to make the adaptation, I got back on the indoor trainer and I started getting the same numbers. So it’s about making an adaptation to that stimulus or to that, that unnatural resistance, which then allows you to reach those numbers. And now I have actually found a really good balance, where I do feel that the indoor trainer makes me stronger outdoors, because it really helps me, especially as a smaller, more petite rider, you know, I would often I really rely on power to weight or on high cadence to produce the numbers outdoors. Whereas now doing balancing indoor and outdoor riding, so still doing one, one intensity session a week on the indoor trainer, it helps me to build my brute power or my talk, which then makes me more powerful and better at time trialing or at a breaking away, you know, just holding a higher force for a longer period of time. So they do complement each other, but you have to consistently, you know, do both, you can’t expect to spend the whole summer riding outdoors, and then come and be good on Zwift or racing on Zwift, you have to keep, you know, using using them both on a weekly basis. And I suppose the other reason why I really opened my mind to Swift was for the very reason that, you know, I know how hard it is as a South African to make it in Europe. And I’m so far away from home now, you know, in terms of being able to mentor younger writers from South Africa. It’s impossible, the way I’m living my life right now, unless I embrace a platform like Swift. So, you know, just, it just opens up the world, all of a sudden, from my home in Spain, I can ride with young, young, upcoming talent from South Africa and mentor them, and help them or race with them on the same team. So it was also for that reason that I really opened my mind to the potential to hurt. And also we have huge challenges in South Africa with road safety. And that’s one of the reasons why road cycling has actually kind of died. In the country. It’s more mountain biking or gravel riding that’s become popular because it’s just too dangerous to be on the roads. And so again, a platform like Swift is a great place for young girls or women in South Africa to be able to, to ride more regularly without being worried about the dangers.

Julie Young  32:42

Such a good silver lining story with COVID and swift and yeah, again, like change, you know, trends like as opposed to seeing something as this huge challenge at you just overcame it figured out a solution and a huge blessing. Yeah. And I also Yeah, I totally, you know, agree with you in terms of, of Swift. I think it’s funny, I think we all tend to be kind of an all or nothing like, Oh, I love the outdoors. I hate the trainer. I love the trainer, I hate the outdoors. And I think trying to help people come to that middle point, you know, where you pointed out that there’s benefits to both? Because, you know, I think there’s also that mental benefit to the trainer of mentally embracing kind of that consistent resistance and that that load. But then I think super high quality workouts entirely controlled. But then I think you get people the other extreme, they just love the trainer, and they never want to be outside and you’re like, Yeah, but you have to deal with undulations and wind and all those things that mentally you know, can make the sensations challenging.

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  33:45

Yeah, no, exactly. For me, the ultimate scenario is to find the balance of both. Because, yeah, they have, they have benefits for for very different reasons. Like I also love being outdoors and in the nature and, and what we can see by bicycle is amazing, or the people that we meet are riding our bikes outdoors is really incredible. But then as you say, I mean, Zwift is a great place to get a really focused workout, then, you know, it’s really efficient or effective, especially for people living in cities or working. You know, you can get home from work and smash out a 45 minute session, and you’ve really, you get a really good load or from from that session, whereas if you have to go out, you know, you might have to stop and start with traffic lights before you can even do something. And yeah, it takes much longer two hours to get to get at least the same load. So it’s really effective. And then as a pro what’s also really great about doing one interval session a week on on Zwift is that it really allows you to kind of create the sort of neural pathways between like your mind and your body. I’m not sure if I’m explaining it 100% correctly with the right key words, but, you know, when you’re doing intervals outside, there’s other distractions. And of course, in racing, this will be the case, but in terms of building the muscle or the neural pathways, or making your mind feel that it is capable of, of pushing those numbers or doing that effort, it’s that kind of connection that you can create on Swift, because you can go in and do your effort. And really just focus on being in the zone. As such, you know, when you’re not thinking you’re just pushing, you know, and it’s just that automatic connection between mind and body. And I think that that’s also a training stimulus, to be honest. And I believe it’s also made me better outdoors.

Julie Young  35:44

I think that’s a great point about it’s such a focused effort. And as you’re riding, you can kind of play with different techniques, like what am I doing with my ankle, my foot position? How’s that activating muscles, you know, just how are you most efficient? And you’re right, it’s in such an entirely focused effort. Yeah, you can get all of that feedback.

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  36:04

Yeah. But then the ultimate is, you know, for those that get into cycling on a platform, like Swift, and then become almost like, addicted to that platform and feel maybe fearful to go outside, you know, your ultimate scenarios that you want those people to then take that step and also go outside, and, and feel the freedom that riding outside gives you because I think that’s what we all love about riding outdoors is that feeling of freedom. So yeah, I mean, the best case scenario is always to find the balance.

Julie Young  36:35

Yeah, it’s mental health, for sure. And I think writing outside really adds to that mental health. Yeah.

Brittney Coffey  36:43

Hi, listeners, we’re so excited that you’re here to check out fast talk them a new podcast series, it’s all about the female endurance athlete. Here at fast talk labs. We pride ourselves on being the pioneers of information and education in the endurance sports world for both athletes and coaches. If you like what you hear today, check out more at fast talk

Julie Young  37:07

Ashley, I’m going to shift a little bit correct me, but I believe you’ve been at the World Tour 10 years now on World Tour teams. And you’ve you’ve alluded to this a little bit, but can you tell us through that 10 years, what you’ve experienced and seen in terms of changes?

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  37:24

Oh, wow. Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s been quite an evolution in that, yeah, I mean, woman Cycling has just become that much more professional. Over the years. So, you know, when I first came over to Europe, we had, there was no such thing as buses, or even camper vans at the time, you know, it was just, you know, race, race cars, and maybe a slightly bigger vehicle, you know, when we had to change for for a race, often we’d be on the street, you know, wrapping a towel around us, you know, trying to create some kind of privacy or finding a bathroom in a bar, you know, to get changed, to get ready for the race. So that’s just one small thing. I mean, even just the access to equipment, you know, in the, in the early years, it was quite frustrating for me as a small, a light climber in that often, you know, your your women’s specific bikes were heavier, or not as stiff, you know, because it was just, I don’t know why it was just, you know, mindset that a woman needs a more comfortable bike, not necessarily a speedy race bike, you know. So those kinds of frustrations in the early years, and even just the frustration of not being taken seriously by male staff. So if you have a male mechanic, and you come as a woman, and you say, I feel something is wrong in my bottom bracket, and they don’t take you seriously, because you’re a woman, what do you know, you know? So all of that has really changed the infrastructure. Now we have team buses, I mean, it’s, it’s quite common. You know, we were on the best equipment. Like, for example, now I’m on a team where there’s the men’s team, you know, the pseudo Quickstep team, and then the Ag insurance, pseudo Quickstep we the the women’s team, that partners with the men’s team, and we have the same access to the same bikes, the same equipment, the same ceramic seat speed bearings. So that sort of level of of equality in access to to the best. And then yeah, I think also we just being taken more seriously, as, as women, you know, we we know our stuff, you know, we know our equipment, and exposure. I mean, that’s been the big game changer. So obviously, in the early years, the reason why we didn’t have, you know, the buses and the big budgets and the good salaries was because we weren’t getting enough exposure and then the exposure started coming in. But then and you know, I kept bringing this up in interviews like it’s great to have exposure, but we need continuity of exposure because that’s how you Build the fan base. Because if not, you know someone might come across your race and watch it and think it’s really exciting. And then the next week think I want to watch you know the woman’s Flanders but not be able to find it. And so for a long time, women’s cycling really relied on a die hard fan fan base, you know, you really had to be 100% dedicated to finding out about the racing or we would watch or we would follow it whereas now you know, with GCN and Eurosport taking up woman same thing. It’s it’s readily available on a on a week to week basis. And which has also made a huge difference. And then of course, the Twitter for Twitter, France farm of x with last year has just elevated the to the next level. Because there’s no doubt that the Twitter Frost is the biggest bike race in the world. And it’s a one race other than the Olympic Games that everybody knows about. And so to finally have one for the woman’s peloton has made such a big difference. It was so evident from the onset, you know, lining up on the stock nine in Paris on the shamsky say how big that event was. And it’s different to any other event, you know, the tension, and the exposure is just on another level. So yeah, it’s incredible. More and more men’s teams now, obviously, are feeling the pressure to to take on women’s teams, which again, then is increasing the level in terms of infrastructure and even pay. Because, you know, for men’s teams, it’s still there’s a big, big difference or discrepancy between salaries of your top male riders on salaries of top female riders. But it’s it’s steadily increasing and growing. And because the men’s teams are adopting the women’s teams, there’s pros and cons to that, of course, because if you have your woman’s only teams, and like Let’s even say st works, which is the top team in the world, and I wrote with them last year, they are actually struggling to match the salaries of the men’s teams that are coming in with women’s teams because the men’s teams come in at a much higher starting point because the you know, the salary of the domestiques in the male’s peloton is the salary of the highest paid woman’s woman cyclists for example, you know, I mean, so for them, they’re just coming in at a much higher starting point, which then creates the challenge for you know, the long standing women’s teams to be able to stay in the market, you know, end to end to match it. So that’s where, you know, they have their pros and cons, obviously, it’s great to see how fast almost cycling is growing in this momentum that we’re getting. But at the same time, you know, we have to be careful that, you know that, that it’s not too fast, and that we don’t lose some of the teams or the races that have been around for years. Because they just can’t keep up. So it’s about kind of finding that balance. But yeah, I mean, it’s it was really, really wonderful nowadays, what what really warms my heart is the fact that young girls can watch women race more readily on TV, because it’s all about relatability. You know, if you can’t, if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. So, you know, for them to be able to watch us race now. And for to now actually be in the minds of young girls that I want to be a bike racer one day and that that’s actually a career. I think that’s, that’s really special. And that’s that’s the big turning point for the sport.

Julie Young  43:24

Yeah, I mean, I agree just from being on the outside the exposure. I mean, I’m just addicted to GCN like I have it streaming all day when I’m when I’m working. And I think it’s just the way as you said, it’s the consistency of that, and really having the opportunity to understand the characters and the personalities and, you know, really become as you know, you said associate with those writers, and just Yeah, understand those stories has become so valuable to the growth of the sport. Definitely. Yeah. So you had mentioned your new team ag insurance. How’s that going?

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  43:58

Yeah, I’m loving the new team. So yeah, it’s a very ambitious project, which suits me very well as you know, being an ambitious person myself. So Natasha, cannabinol, Natasha, and service, connivance DeVos was a professional cyclist himself. So it was Natasha. And Natasha has had this dream. I mean, they have they have three daughters. So I suppose that’s also part of part of the motivation, but they’ve had this dream to get to positively influence women’s cycling in the way of creating a full pathway because what was or is still actually happening is that a lot of there’s a lot of focus on the world tour. So you know, because that’s obviously where the exposure is. So um, you know, new teams are starting and wanting wheelchair stasis or men’s teams are up adopting or creating women’s teams and they want world to status. And so the aging insurance project is really cool because it’s it’s full pathway. We have a junior team and under 23 team and in the lead team, so we haven’t yet got welfare status. And hopefully next year, we will, but it hasn’t really made all too much of a difference, to be honest. But yeah, it’s really great to see that full pathway. And yeah, it’s really special, just as a team, you know, I’ve never been part of women’s team, that that’s this big, you know, because we have the junior the under 23, and the elite team or, you know, all operating under under one structure. So that’s really special, it also means that I do have quite a young team around me. So I’m really on the team as as sort of a mentor such or to help the youngsters grow. And that also, you know, resonates really well with me as sort of a purpose driven athletes, I really like to be able to, to play a role in in helping others realize their full potential. And that was the big reason why I made the shift to this team, I was actually planning to retire. So I thought that signing with st works for two years was you know, the last contract I was going to sign. And then, you know, if I had to continue just purely in the st. Works offered, maybe I would have retired because I was feeling less motivated in that super, highly aggressive environment, you know, where, you know, we were a team of all the strongest riders. So you’re not only just starting on the sideline to to beat the other teams, you’re almost starting to beat your own team members, it was a really weird environment, to be honest. And it works for some, but in my case, it it wasn’t really ticking the boxes, for me in terms of motivation. So when this opportunity came up, to join the edgy insurance, pseudo Quickstep team, and with ambitions that Natasha and servoz had, and the role that I could play, which to me had had more more purpose, it was a no brainer to continue. And I’m really loving. Being there. Of course, it means sometimes I’m isolated, because I don’t necessarily have the strongest team around me. But I’m still happy with that, because I take a lot more satisfaction out of being part of a project where there is, you know, there’s growth, or you creating somewhat of a legacy or you’re positively influencing others than just being part of an of an environment where all I’m thinking about is winning races myself.

Julie Young  47:25

And I think, to me, it seems that there’s a big difference in the team environment based on the motivation of creating that women’s team. You know, you have it, you said here that there’s some really strong motivations in terms of creating that full pathway versus a men’s team that creates a women’s team just as a kind of afterthought, for lack of better word or because that’s the politically correct thing to do. So I think it seems to me the motives of the creation of the team can really create the positive environment. Yeah, definitely. But I agree with you, like, I think for you, like as you said, there’s a sense of purpose. And I think that’s really energizing.

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  48:01

Yeah, definitely. Yeah, it’s actually really interesting, because Patrick LeFevre doesn’t necessarily have the best reputation when it comes to the things he’s he’s said about women’s cycling, but it’s been really interesting being part of this team. You know, initially, I was a bit nervous, because I thought, you know, signing with a team that’s owned by Patrick LeFevre, you know, am I damaging my own reputation, and what I stand for, by associating myself with his name, but you know, what, continue, as you know, I’m not shy to take up a challenge. And, you know, what continued to motivate me is that, you know, the, the ambition of the team, or the purpose of the team still aligns with me as a person. And then it’s been interesting, actually, you know, being on the inside and actually getting to know Patrick, because he’s very different to, in person to the way he’s painted in, in the media. And there’s no doubt he does, he doesn’t really have the best way with words. So he doesn’t always find the best way to say something. And then the media generally likes to latch on to certain parts of what he said, which are often controversial, rather than giving the whole picture of what he said. And so then that’s often what comes across really negative in the media, there’s no doubt that that he’s a businessman and, and that he, you know, he’s he didn’t want to just create a woman’s team for the sake of creating a woman’s team to keep his sponsors happy or, or to do the politically correct thing. He wanted to create a women’s team that could perform at the at the highest level or be as competitive as his men’s team. But also that was thinking about development as well. You know, he didn’t want to just, you know, put the money and get the best riders and go straight into the world tour because that’s not sustainable. So he actually applied his business mindset to the whole project, in that, you know, creating sustainability within women’s cycling as well and yeah, getting to know him. I’m actually as the person, you know, I realized that he has a good heart. And he really means well, and he really does want to see his woman’s team, you know, getting better and better with the years and being properly sustainable within a cycling context. So yeah, it’s been a, it’s been a good experience around.

Dede Barry  50:19

Actually, it’s interesting to hear your insight on Patrick, I, obviously have struggled to listen to some of the things he said in the media over the years and was actually really surprised that he got behind a women’s team. But that said, service can happen as a former teammate on my husband’s and I raced with the Tasha. I know that both of both of them and I really respect them. And it’s good that they’re leading the team because I think their hearts in the right place, and I think they’re gonna do a great job with development. Yeah, definitely. They’re, they’re good people. Ashley, I want to shift the conversation a little bit. Now to talk about your business. I’ve ridden my bike by your estate at the base of Roca, Corbyn, Spain many times, and I hope one day, I’m going to get to visit it, but I haven’t yet. Can you tell us a little bit about it, like when you purchased it, and also just whether you purchased it initially with the intention of running a bike business out of it? Yeah, so

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  51:15

my husband, Carl, and I moved to the jeroni area in 2012. So when we initially moved over to Europe, we went to Italy, because Cole has Italian heritage. So we actually both have Italian passports now, I got the passport through marriage, but him through heritage. And so when we first made the move over to Europe, it was a natural sort of tendency to, for him to want to explore his Italian roots. So that’s where we landed. But we only really lasted two years. In Italy, it was North of Italy, really beautiful. I mean, Lago Majori Varese area, very, very beautiful. But we never really managed to integrate ourselves into the community in in Italy, because the Italians are quite patriotic, if you don’t speak the language fluently, or if you don’t eat exactly how they eat, then you just weird. So, yeah, it just wasn’t a very healthy lifestyle, we were basically full time tourists in Italy, and you know, that that’s great for a certain period of time, but at some point, you need to kind of feel like you’re a normal person and integrate into the community. So we started looking elsewhere. And we came across jeroni through social media, I suppose through obviously hearing about the pros that were living in jeroni The city itself, and it seemed like a good option, but the way that I sold it actually to Cole, because he a lot of people have this, this kind of vision of Spain as being super dry, like big open spaces, you know, unattractive white buildings. And that was called sort of vision of Spain. So when I say that, how about we move to Spain, he was very much against it. But luckily I managed to come across the annulus with the lake and I came across a Mercia similar to ours called Drona cycling and I got in touch with them and that’s how I managed to kind of convince Cole to give it a try to come over for a couple of months and to give it a go. And so we moved to Los Angeles from the onset through through this you know, cycling tourism business in the area that we’ve connected with, we they helped us to find an apartment. And so from the onset we we moved to Vangelis and we’ve never actually lived in Jerome town, but because our initial experience here was actually through a cycling tourism business and a country estate from the onset that that was quite attractive, you know, I grew up actually on on a farm in South Africa. So that kind of lifestyle you know, both Carl and I are not super big city people we quite like um, you know, the outdoors a little bit, you know, nature, and not necessarily the hustle and bustle of the city. So from the onset that intrigued us, you know, the whole business aspect of, of cycling tourism. But at first, you know, the focus was very much on on pro cycling, and I certainly didn’t have the means to buy a Mircea or a Catalan estate, in the early parts of my career. But as we, as we were living in the area, we saw all these beautiful countries states, and we started thinking a little bit about what is life after pro cycling, because it started to become less and less feasible for us to go back to South Africa and that both of us had not practices engineers. So to go back, and to try and reignite our engineering degree. Yeah, our engineering degrees would, you know, we’d be starting at the bottom. It wouldn’t necessarily it would possibly mean wasted time, you know, in the pro cycling world. So we started thinking, how can we use the experience and the context and the networks that we’ve built through through pro cycling to create something for ourselves, for the future, and that’s When we started to entertain the idea of cycling tourism and, and purchasing a property in the area, and then my big thinking blue sky vision mindset was also at play here because I thought, well, cycling is such a disconnected industry, in that, you know, the pro sports and cycling tourism and the industry brands, you know, that they that they operate quite independently, and that there isn’t always a way that brings it all quite nicely together. And so that’s where, you know, my, my engineering mindset came in again and said, Well, you know, if I’m a pro cyclist, and we’re running a cycling tourism business, well, that’s a way of creating the connection, because at the time 2018, when we when we bought the property, a woman said, cycling was making good steps and exposure, but we still didn’t have the continuity of exposure that we have today. So there was also there thinking that, you know, to engage a female fan base, you know, it’s more likely that if a woman meets me as a pro, and gets to kind of know who I am, that then make more effort to follow my career or to become a fan of the sport. So that was the one thing and then the other thing was that by me as a pro, being actively part of cycling tourism business, it also enabled the opportunity to give the brands that I’m associated with access to the consumer. So our rental bike fleet is a specialized rented, rented bike fleet, for example. And so it was all those things, you know, that led us down the path of exploring a business. But yeah, I mean, to be totally honest, as a female Pro, I don’t have the financial means to buy an estate like this all myself. So you know, it meant attracting investors having a proper business plan, we were very lucky to come across this property, the first property literally, that we looked at. So we got in touch with an estate agent when we started entertaining the idea. And we actually suggested a couple of other properties that we’ve seen online. And when we met her, she said, Well, there’s a property that’s just come on the market, which is maybe a little bit bigger than what you what you had in mind, but I have to take you through it because I think it suits your vision really well. And she brought us here to can Cambodia which is the historical name of the property. And I walked into the archway because there’s a there’s like a wall that surrounds and connects to buildings and you walk under an archway into a central courtyard, a central stone courtyard and with a pond in it, and it didn’t look anything like it does today, because it was very overgrown. The pond had no water in it was filled with reeds. Even the stones in the courtyard were overgrown with grass, but I walked under that archway, and there was just, I just knew it. Like there was there was just a feeling here. That made me realize that this is the place we have to make it happen. And so yeah, we put the business plan together, we attracted the investors we bought the property in in 2018. And yeah, it’s something that we decided to, to grow sort of more sustainably. So they actually three villas on site, two of which were like bonds or workers cottages that had been renovated 10 years prior, so they were closer to being, you know, suitable to to hosting guests. So they were the ones that we focused on first. And then we have a big manor house or big farmhouse, which we’ve only just recently converted the ground floor to have five ensuite guest rooms. So yeah, it’s still it’s a work in progress. It changes every year, we add something new, the next thing is a proper restaurant space. So yeah, it’s an exciting project. And yeah, we’re very, very grateful to have it.

Dede Barry  58:47

Actually, how has it been for you owning and operating the business with your professional cycling career? Like, is it harder for you to fit in your training now? And I mean, you must be traveling quite a bit as well. So I’d be curious to know how you’re balancing all that.

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  59:01

So that’s an interesting point is that early in my career, I had a lot of criticism from director sportifs, or coaches that I really needed to switch off my mind and just focus on cycling, and that I was too distracted. But in 2018, actually, oh no, hang on. 2015 is when I joined the team sorry. But the severe bigla team, led by Thomas campanis also quite a controversial character in the cycling world, but I actually work pretty well with him. Because he kind of sees outside the box. You know, he he really makes the effort to understand his athletes and what makes them tick. And so when I started on the team with Thomas campaigner, he very quickly realized that I’m not just a normal athlete that can, you know, just ride and focus on my training, and the sort of mental or the, you know, my brain and my problem solving mindset. It is part of who I am. And so he was the first, you know, cycling character, you know, in terms of a director sportif. They’ve encouraged me to keep, you know, talking. So he would, we would have long conversations in the car, you know, between Giro stages about how to solve the problems of woman cycling. And he was really the first one who, who made me feel that it was okay to, to, you know, have both to be the pro athletes that’s looking at performing at their best but also entertaining My, my, my mind and what I was thinking about. And so yeah, I found we started the business record recycling in 2018. While I was still a racing for Thomas campagna. And so I think it definitely helped that he understood me and that he encouraged me. And, you know, he knew how to help me, also to know when I was doing too much or when I needed to, to rein it in. And so yeah, I, that was, you know, the first year being on his team, and him really understanding me is what allowed me to do it. But there has even been times in the recent years. So part of the reason why I was thinking of retiring in last year is that I thought, well, if I really want to immerse myself in the rocker pole recycling business, I need to give up my pro career because I can’t do both at the same time. But through the years and through operating the business, obviously, I have a great team around me over cycling, and that the business operates absolutely perfectly well without me being Yeah. So we’ve employed great staff, my husband is very much involved in the business. So I can really rely that things run really well while I’m not here. But I bring sort of like that problem solving sort of bigger mindset to the business. So I’m more involved on like a strategic level, or maybe I come back after a period of time of being away. And then I have a more critical eye and I notice some small problems, and I’ll raise them and say, Okay, we need to fix these problems. And then I can go away again and feel totally happy that the business is operating perfectly well without me. So I’ve managed to find a way of sort of compartmentalizing, I suppose that’s the only way to describe it really is that, you know, I have to have boxes, and sometimes I need to put something in the box and close it while I go away to racing and then only open up the box again, when I come back, so I’m learning to really be in the moment. So when I’m away with the Team Racing, then I’m aware of the Team Racing, and that’s all I’m thinking about. But when I’m at home, then maybe I’m juggling a couple of different things. And hence, you know, like I said, you I’ve been running from one thing to the next all day. So you don’t have a schedule, and I try to stick to it as closely as I can. But it means finishing a training ride, going straight into a meeting, then going straight to the massage finishing a massage, going through another meeting then going on to a podcast. So sometimes my days are quite full. But I never neglect training, massage, eating well. And then sometimes going away for racing is almost like a holiday for me. So it’s a little bit weird. You know, most people think, Okay, I’m going away to work now. Whereas I’m like, Oh, I’m going on holiday. And that, obviously is also quite good for the for me in terms of taking off the pressure with the racing because it’s more like I’m going on holiday, I’m going to go and enjoy myself, I’m going to go ride my bike and, you know, push myself obviously, as far as I can. But it’s not that I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to win the race every second of the day for for the last three weeks, you know, I perform better by sort of just being in the moment in the racing rather than thinking about too much, if that makes sense.

Dede Barry  1:03:38

So it sounds like you’ve organized yourself really well. I know it’s not easy, I run a small business as well. And you know, it feels like you’re constantly juggling. So you really have to have the right mindset for it and be able to multitask when you need to multitask and compartmentalize when you need to compartmentalize and it sounds like you have some strong skills in that regard. Yeah,

Julie Young  1:04:01

and I know everyone thinks about this differently or has different opinions. Like you had said the other directors that have that you’ve worked with have felt like you needed more to be more singularly focused. But I personally, I think DD feels the same like having, I don’t know, who can argue against balance. Like I think we’re all striving to have balance in our life. And as you said, then you know, you’re not obsessing. You’re like, you know, you’re focusing on it when it matters and, and I also feel that in my opinion, it’s great to know you have other options in life and when cycling is not going great, you know, that bike tour company is going great, you know, just to have these other things that you don’t get drawn down by just one thing.

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  1:04:44

Exactly. That’s how I feel and I feel sometimes, you know, Pro Cycling is a little bit of a contradiction really because we are encouraged to be very, very structured, you know, to to run according to To, you know, routine, training the same time every day, it’s the same things, you know, all of this is encouraged in our preparation to racing. But yet, in the racing, we have to be super flexible, because nothing ever goes according to plan. So, to me, it’s quite a contradiction. And I’ve seen it firsthand now, you know, in terms of being part of, obviously part of pro cycling and the teams, but being, you’re a minority in that, you know, I’m doing more than one thing at the same time. And then we’ll have, let’s say, we have the spring classics, and all the races are starting at around 11 o’clock in the morning, and everyone gets into that habit of okay, we starting at 11. So we eat breakfast at nine, and we only eat one meal before we race. And then suddenly you go from Spring classics to, to racing in Spain, for example, because usually, we raced a lot in Spain in May. And suddenly the races are starting at three or four in the afternoon. And I’ve just, you know, sitting around a breakfast table and hearing my teammates go, I don’t know how to handle this. What should I eat? Like, Chuck eat breakfast and lunch? What am I going to eat for lunch? You know, like, they just don’t know how to handle all these changes. And I think, Oh, come on, you know, like, you know, just make a plan. And, you know, eat your normal lunch or eat just eat rice rather than rice with with chicken, I don’t know. But they don’t seem to always be very flexible, you know, in in, in that context, and I think to myself that that’s quite a contradiction. So I feel like my best performances, and it has my best performances have come since I’ve been encouraged to be more balanced. And so I definitely believe that there’s, there’s a lot of positives in in being balanced. And it also it takes the pressure off. And it gives you the opportunity to feel like there is something beyond cycling, because when you just immerse yourself in pro cycling, and it’s all you do. And that’s actually the thing is not to allow your pro sport to define you. Because if it defines you, then that can become a huge, really big problem later on, and especially when you’re not performing.

Julie Young  1:07:04

That’s such a great point about the contrast of training to racing. And, you know, just being flexible, and yeah, not not making something more than it is. And I would imagine to that you’ve really developed that ability to kind of go with the flow through your experience and all that you’ve, you know, learned about yourself as an athlete. But I also think when I hear you talk, it’s also important that no matter what we’re talking about, whether it’s training, nutrition, lifestyle, like you figure out what works best for you, as opposed to someone telling you an absolute, like, this is what you should be doing. And I think, you know, finding that thing that or that way of living that really makes you tick and thrive. And it sounds like you figured that out.

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  1:07:51

Yeah. Well, yeah, I think that’s nice that no one size fits all. And I think sometimes that’s yeah, it can be a problem with, you know, social media and just society nowadays is that we’re almost, you know, led to believe through what we see or consume on a day to day basis that you need to be more like this or more like that. or so and so is perfect, and what is perfect, and if each person is very different. And so yeah, I’m definitely a believer that you need to figure out what works best for you. And that, that applies to all parts of life. For me, even within like a pro cycling context. What works for me in terms of nutrition is not necessarily going to work for my teammates. So yeah, it’s just figuring we’re all individual, and we’re all unique. So it’s figuring out what makes us tick. Hey, I

Julie Young  1:08:40

just want to go one more question about your business. Because I’m, I bet our listeners would love to, you know, potentially partake in your tours? And can you let us know, like, what does a tour look like?

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  1:08:52

Yeah, so I mean, we have quite an interesting model in that, you know, we’re not just a cycling tourism business, we also, you know, we own that accommodation. So we’re, you know, a hotel as such as well. So we can kind of be quite flexible, and that we organize, you know, tours on set dates, and will usually, you know, have more than one offering. So it could be a tour that focuses more on climbing or, you know, the best of Girona. So, you know, doing a bit of the coast plus climbing maybe two days in Drona and three days with us, you know, we have a couple of different offers, but then we also do bespoke. So, for example, other touring companies or groups or clubs, who want to come out and just use our accommodation and do all the other stuff themselves, we accommodate for that. Or we can do some kind of hybrid offering, where you use accommodation and our rental bikes, but you do your own guiding or you’re using GPX files or we can provide guides so we actually really, really flexible We can adapt to to everybody’s needs. Whether that’s you know, joining one of our tours on set dates or whether we come up with the best solution to meet to meet our customers needs, whether it’s an individual a couple or a group. Love it.

Dede Barry  1:10:16

Ashley, what are your plans for the rest of the season?

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  1:10:19

So yeah, tomorrow I head off to do a race, a three day stage race in the peronists in the perfect location to do root recon for the to the farm of X Zwift. So we’ll stay on afterwards to recon the Tourmalet stage and the timezone in town, and also stage four in the road desert region. And then I come home for another week, and then I hit up to altitude, which I do also in the ponies. So follow primo flows to Andorra. And then the third, if I’m a big Swift is the next really big goal. And shortly after that is also the World Championships, which is a little bit new this year. The World Champs is in August, in in Glasgow. So that’s kind of as far as I can see. Right now. I’m not 100% sure exactly what I’m racing after that. Because all the focus is on the the tutor fun.

Dede Barry  1:11:15

Yeah, that makes sense. As leader to wrap up today, I’d like to ask you, for an endurance athlete who’s trying to balance work with an intense training schedule. If you were to give them three pieces of advice, what would it be?

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  1:11:30

Well, not to underestimate your work sheduled and the toll that it takes on your body. So I would always advise to, to try to do you know, more intense or quality work in the weekend to do the longer rides on the weekend. And to allow for a little bit more recovery in in the week time. I would say yeah, it’s also really important to listen to your body. Because I think that’s often a mistake we make is that the day, the moment you take a rest day you think it’s the end of the world. But rest is what makes us stronger in inevitably training is only the potential for fitness. Resting is what makes us fit. So not to underestimate rest. And then yeah, I would say I suppose planning ahead, you know, is also really useful if you if you’re busy, but you’re trying to fit in a lot of training and especially planning ahead around food, actually to be honest, because don’t underestimate the importance of of nutrition and supporting your body to fuel for the ride and then to recover after the ride. So if you don’t have a lot of time, then maybe you know to pick one day of the week where you can maybe prepare some food so that you know when you get back from work and you’ve just done you know, late afternoon session you don’t have to worry too much about spending time on on cooking dinner or you know just ordering in you know fast food because you don’t have time so maybe to think a little bit in advance and plan food in advance.

Dede Barry  1:13:11

Those are great nuggets of advice. Thanks.

Julie Young  1:13:14

Great quotes Ashley and I loved your quote about rest that is yeah, I want I’m gonna I’m gonna quote that on my Motivation Monday. Oh,

Dede Barry  1:13:23

Ashley, it’s really been a pleasure speaking with you today and we wish you luck the rest of this season we’ll be cheering you on during the Tour de France femme of exit with and, and the World Championships. So I hope your season continues to go well. And yeah, like I said, I hope to be able to visit you in Spain one day.

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio  1:13:42

Yeah. Thanks. Thanks, TV. Thanks, Julie.

Julie Young  1:13:45

That was another episode of Fast Talk Femme. Subscribe to Fast Talk Femme. Wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcasts. Be sure to leave us a rating and a review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk Femme are those of the individual. As always, we’d love your feedback and any thoughts you have on topics and guests that may be of interest for you get in touch via social. You can find Fast Talk Labs on Twitter and Instagram @fasttalklabs where you’ll also find all of our episodes. You can also check them out on the web at For Ashleigh Moolman and Dede Barry. I’m Julie Young. Thanks for listening!