I would like to introduce you to Ashley Nikole’ Weaver. Ashley’s story is one of heart break and success. Ashley has always been very competitive. As a senior in high school, she was a track star and was the favorite to win her event at every track meet she competed in. On the day of her event, she was excited and nervous, as is to be expected, but unfortunately, her anxiousness proved to be her downfall. While preparing herself for the race to begin, Ashley overstepped the start line and was disqualified. This mistake proved to be devastating for her. Her father David felt helpless in the days that followed as he watched his daughter beat herself up over her mistake. He wanted to find a solution and did. Having grown up in Wichita Falls, he and Ashley were both aware of the Hotter’N Hell Hundred, especially its competitive spirit and rich history. So David approached Ashley about his idea of competitive bicycling. She was intrigued by the thought of competing in another sport. Since she was already set to attend Midwestern State University the following fall, David set up a meeting with MSU’s cycling coach. After the meeting, Ashley became excited to try riding. She received her first professional road bike as a high school graduation gift. She started out riding on her own before riding with different groups. As her love of riding grew, she began to ask her father more equipment to help her continue to advance in the sport. Five weeks before the 2011 HHH 100 and still a novice rider, Ashley decided that she wanted to try the 100 mile ride. She trained non-stop for those five weeks, and with the sheer determination of a skilled athlete, she rode in her first HHH. Not only did she attempt the 100-mile distance, she completed that entire distance. Not bad for a teenage girl who had only been riding for a very short time. Her first HHH experience proved to be a pivotal point in Ashley’s life, solidifying her love of bicycle racing and taking her life into a new direction.
In just over 6 months after riding in her first HHH, Ashley won her first road race at the collegiate level as a Category C rider. This maybe the lowest level in collegiate riding but still a huge accomplishment. Her collegiate success led to a change in her goals for future HHH races. She was no longer a novice rider. Instead, she had quickly become a skilled competitor in the HHH’s pro race division. Ashley has competed in a total of 11 Collegiate National Championships (Road/Track/Cyclocross) and three HHHs at the professional level since the beginning.
After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology at Midwestern State University, she has continued her racing career at Lindenwood University where she is currently ranked #3 in collegiate D1 cycling. In addition to working toward her master’s degree in exercise physiology, she works at a local bike shop, is a fitness instructor at a local fitness club and has just been named Strength and Fitness coach for her team. Despite her hectic schedule, she still manages to ride 6-7 days a week. When asked what her goals for the future are she replied “In a few weeks I will be heading to Road Nationals where hopefully I can win a National Title. As far as my long-term future, I am hoping to eventually sign with a Professional Cycling Team and start competing in larger races all over the world.”
I asked Ashley if the HHH100 lead her to where she is now in riding. Her reply was one of pride “It has definitely played a major role in my cycling career. Since I am from Wichita Falls, HHH100 has always been near and dear to my heart, so every year I always try to train hard all throughout the summer specifically for that race weekend.” Ashley discovered a new path in life when she began riding a bike. Originally meant to offer her an outlet to get over a major disappointment and fulfill her need to be competitive, it has turned out to be life-changing. Ashley has a very bright future ahead as a competitive bike rider, and the HHH100 played a major role in leading her to that success.