Michigan native Emily Ehrlich developed her competitive spirit as a speed skater before ever jumping on a bike. Looking for a new challenge that could offer opportunities to race and nourish her competitive side, she took notice of a cycling group ride one day and purchased her first aluminum road bike at the age of 20. She soon fell in love with the sport and the cycling community. 

Ehrlich’s hobby quickly evolved into an obsession and a need for speed! Winning race after race, she landed on another pro team before joining Virginia’s Blue Ridge TWENTY24. She enjoys time trial races and is working toward advancing in stage racing and road races. 

“The harder the race, the better it is for me!” remarks Ehrlich, who also works as a custom wheel builder in Greenville, South Carolina. “I think it’s important to have that side of life involved in your passion.” 

At 21 years old, Ehrlich found out she was on the autism spectrum. As a neurodivergent athlete, Ehrlich finds some social situations more challenging than they might be for neurotypical people, but she lets her pedals do the talking for her. 

“To me, autism is not a disorder; it’s part of who I am and, in many ways, it’s my superpower,” says Ehrlich. “Being an athlete is a hard job, but with the right support it is manageable, rewarding, stimulating, and mentally stabilizing. I would highly recommend any neurodivergent folks who are interested to find a supportive outlet in athleticism!” 

In her spare time, when she’s not riding or working on bikes, Ehrlich enjoys playing video games and speaking Japanese, having learned how to read and speak the language as a child. 

Ehrlich often regards becoming a cyclist as the best decision she has ever made. The second best was joining VBR TWENTY24. 

“I’ve never been around such a diverse and supportive group of athletes that are so understanding and accepting,” says Ehrlich. “Everyone has their own goals, but they understand that everyone else on the team has their goals too, and we want to do whatever we can to help each other succeed.”