Photographed by Colin Meagher
Nikki races in the pro category for Enduro racing. Though she does not race full time, she gets to experience racing and riding with some of the fastest and most talented women racers in this country.
She started racing only four years ago after both her kids were old enough to afford her time to get back in shape and train. She found support and motivation through a local all women's racing team called the Dirty Harlots. Her first year racing she went all out and signed up for a bunch of races and even did the iconic Downieville Classic All Mountain race.
Currently she is racing about six enduro's a year, typically April through September. Last year she also started cross-racing in the fall and participated in an eighty mile gravel race in northern California. She tries to pick races that take her to new places so that not only does she get to race, but she gets to explore a new area on two wheels.
This summer she raced a 6-day race across southern France called the Trans Provence. They were on our bikes for 7-10 hours a day as they traversed the maritime alps and raced some of the hardest trails she had ever ridden.
What do you do for a living?
I am a Health Inspector for Klickitat/Skamania County. I inspect small public water systems, site development for septic systems, schools and food establishments.
How has life changed for you since becoming a mother?
In order to accomplish things, I have to have to be very organized, and have a good routine. If I don't plan for the week ahead, food, schedule, activities, etc... it can be stressful on the entire family and we end up eating poorly and watching too many movies. Winging it just doesn't work when you are working full time, raising kids and trying to train to race bikes. It is amazing how after you have kids you realize how precious time is and how much freedom you had before you took the plunge to motherhood.
Describe your parenting style.
Laid back. I am not into over-scheduling my kids. I think childhood is a time for them to be bored and to spend time doing the things they want to do, not the things I want them to be good at. I try not to read too many parenting advice columns or blogs and just focus on being present when I am around them and emotionally supportive. They do drive me crazy often, and during those times I am thankful we live in a community where there is lots of great beer.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax with your family in the gorge?
We love to ride our bikes in Post Canyon and up on the 44 Road trails, to play in the river in the summer, and to go on mushroom hunting and berry picking adventures in the forest. We also like to get donuts at Kickstand on a lazy weekend morning.
What’s the best advice about motherhood that you have received?
I know this is controversial because everything motherhood is nowadays, but the best advice I received was teach your kids to sleep. I' m not saying CIO or any particular method, just plain and simple sleep routines. Havingkids that will sleep anywhere has allowed us to travel, sleep just about anywhere and the kids and I maintain a healthy lifestyle that involves getting up early and including exercise in our daily routine.
Do you have sponsors?
Racing bikes is expensive and I am thankful that I have support from the industry. I am an ambassador for Pivot Cycles and Thomson Bike Products. I also have a bunch of other sponsorship deals I get as a member of the Dirty Harlots race team. Lastly, my partnerworks in the industry as a photographer so we spend a lot of time doing photo work in exchange for products.
What’s your experience raising a family in the gorge been like?
Fantastic! I couldn't ask for a better community. There is nowhere else I would rather be.
When you are low on time what are some of your go-to family dinner options?
BBQ chicken, rice and veggies, chili and cornbread, tacos at the Taqueria, or breakfast for dinner.