Ending on a high, Baby B and my retirement from professional cycling.
Today I’m announcing my retirement from professional cycling.
Yesterday Matt and I shared with you the exciting news that we are expecting our first baby, due this November. We have always wanted a little family of our own, and we felt that this year was a perfect moment to start that journey.
With this journey beginning it’s also time to end a chapter of another.
Deciding to end my career at this time hasn’t been an easy decision. To begin with, I really wanted to take a year out and challenge myself to come back to race again. However, with a lot of thinking time and reflecting on my last 15 years I decided it was time for a new chapter.
For me, our first baby is something I want to fully enjoy and embrace, I don’t want to sacrifice that time, and I know to be one of the best cyclists in the world you need to fully commit and do it with your whole heart, it’s too hard not to.
Nothing lasts forever, and I can be truly happy and proud of all I have achieved in this wonderful sport. Not many people get to end their career as current National champion, fit, healthy and injury free, but that’s how I get to end mine and I feel extremely lucky.
I never imagined as 13-year-old Nikki that I could ever go on to accomplish what I have in cycling. I have never been the most naturally talented rider, but I found a love for this sport and a passion inside me. I wanted to learn how to be better and over time I’ve come to realise it’s not what you do, but how you do it and the attitude you have inside you to do make something happen.
My career and love for the sport began with racing bikes around fields with my mates, that feeling of being free, pushing myself and having fun has always stayed with me.
I’ve experienced some amazing highs during my career. I met my husband in this sport, I’ve won and competed in some races I could only have ever dreamed of riding. I’ve raced 18 x World championship in 4 different disciplines, cyclocross, road, mountain bike and track. It’s been a pleasure to be in some of the most incredible teams. I have so many wonderful memories from racing with Telenet-Fidea, not only because the men really were my cyclocross heroes and I could really learn from them, but also to then go on and be a part of the first ever women’s cyclocross team they set up. That’s something I will always be proud of and feel was a real game changer and helped kicked off women’s cyclocross to what it is today. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the road with Boels-Dolmans, I’ve met incredible athletes and coaches along the way and have been able to be part of a sport which continues to grow. I feel very lucky to have been able to earn a good living doing something which I love, and which has shaped me in to the person I am today.
With those highs have also come my fair share of lows, I’ve experienced some of the toughest moments in my life. From the usual injuries, to broken bones, concussions, I lost my team mate Amy Dombroski, witnessed my husband have two near death cycling accidents and faced setbacks. But in the end, those moments have been the ones which have propelled me into some of my most memorable achievements. Funnily enough it’s not always been the wins that have given me the most satisfaction, but the work and sacrifices I made to get to the level I did.
As for what’s next, it’s scary and I have to be honest and say I don’t really know. I would love to stay involved in the sport somehow. Coaching, mentoring and inspiring others is something I will continue and hope to do more of. I’m open to every, and any opportunity that might come my way. I will be forever grateful of this wonderful cycling life. It will always be a part of me, and I will continue to race and ride my bike, I want to share motherhood with you through a sport which has given me so much.
Some of my personal highlights are below,
Olympian Rio 2016 RR
4 x British elite cross champion
1 x British elite mountain bike champion
1 x World Cup win in Namur
87 UCI CX podiums
12 x CX World Cup podiums
4 x European championship podiums
4th @ Tábor world CX Championships
These countless memories will stay with me forever and are all down to an amazing group of people who have influenced my journey so far. I would like to thank Matt, for being there every step of the way. My family and my sponsors - especially those whom I’ve been with for a number of years. Scott Jackson, I couldn’t have asked for more from you and @iamspecialized. Thorsten, Jason & Carlo @SRAM you are a credit to the cycling world and you really do care about your athletes, working with you guys has been such a positive experience from day one. Daniele and @KASK for supporting me and my Mudiiita project the last year, and for the passion they put in to cycling. I’m beyond thrilled to carry on having their support through my pregnancy journey. Pascal and Kareena, you’ve been my Mechanics, my Soigneurs, my drivers, my postmen, my shoulders to cry on, but most of all my friends. I couldn’t have done any of this without you and I will be forever grateful. My psychologist Kristin Keim, thank you for being there for me and helping me love this sport even more than I ever did. My coaches and mentors that have been with me at some point through my career, Vin Cox, Mike Johnson, Marco Pinotti, Marc Lamberts you are all my heroes! My amazing competitors who have pushed me to my absolute limits. The Dave Rayner Fund for supporting me through my first years in Belgium and last but not least, to you guys, my fans and friends who have followed my career and supported me through thick and thin. You have meant the world to me and made this journey one I’ll never forget.
From the bottom of my heart - THANK YOU!