The unexpected song that fuels motorcycle racer Jamie Astudillo's 'million dreams'
The daughter of an Ecuadorian motorcyclist, with two older brothers who also ride, Jamie Astudillo was snuck by her parents into her first motocross race at just 3 years old -- despite the 4-year-old age minimum. Growing up in Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania, Jamie and her brothers were home-schooled during the winter to allow for more riding and racing.
In 2016, Astudillo switched from dirt to road racing. It was more than a shift of terrain: Racing on pavement meant faster speeds, more aggressive riding and competition against men who certainly didn't go easy on the teenage girl who had just joined their ranks.
But she rose to the challenge. Last year, at just 17 years old, Astudillo became the first woman to podium at a MotoAmerica championship, with a third-place finish at Road Atlanta.
Despite years of hard work and a supportive family, it didn't come easy. The winter before, Astudillo didn't even know if she'd be able to race the 2018 season. Because of sponsorship deals that fell through, she wasn't even on a team. During that time, the song "A Million Dreams" by Ziv Zaifman, Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams became her anthem.
"The song talks about not having much and starting from nothing. But they're willing to do whatever it takes to achieve all their dreams," she said. "That's what I had to do to go racing last year. I had to do whatever it took to get on a team. I felt like I was given up on, but I knew that I could give more than what people had seen."
From the movie "The Greatest Showman," it isn't exactly the type of song you'd imagine a motorcycle racer blasting to get herself amped up. But for Astudillo, it works. "I'm the type of rider that rides at their best when they're angry," she said. "And that's how this song makes me feel. It makes me dig deep. It motivates me to keep pushing to achieve my dreams, no matter who believes I can't. I remember listening to it before I podiumed the second race of the season, and the song definitely works for me because I did prove something that day."
She shared the rest of her playlist: