Nienke, an equine veterinarian, found the love for adventures a bit later in life after having followed her career around the world.
After racing triathlon, adventure races and MTB events for a few years injury forced her to step away from high-level racing and move towards adventurous expeditions.
Her love for the mountains drew her to the Himalayas and the dream to ride the length of it.
Nienke in her own words…
I dreamt of becoming a professional athlete on the mountain bike and as an adventure/multi-sport racer and with the belief of my coaches I starting racing elite in 2013. I was however still working full time as a veterinarian and I ended up overtrained with a serious back injury which put a halt to my sporting aspirations in 2016.
I couldn’t really let go of what I was so passionate about and although running was not an option with the persistent pain I was feeling in my legs, I started to focus on mountain bike adventures.
This led to the dream of traversing the Great Himalaya Trail by mountain bike through Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bhutan.
The first leg was Nepal which I completed in December 2019 achieving a world first by mountain biking the Great Himalaya trail from Hilsa in the West to Phaplu in the east covering 1700kms, 85000m ascend and around 15 passes between 3500m-5000m with two passes over 5000m high.
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Who is Nienke
Getting into mountain biking and adventure racing
Being sporty as a child and growing up around Europe
Getting into running while at university
Moving over to New Zealand
Being very shy
Wanting to improve in the sport
Meeting a guy…
Qualifying for the World Championships
Making huge improvements
Having the right people around
Working full time while competing at an elite level
Paying the price with over training
Breaking her back
Needing to slow down
6 weeks to recover
Not understating what was going on
Pushing though pain…
Chronic Pain or Chronic Injury
How she coped
Not being able to be the athlete she once was
Learning to love her body
The dream of mountain biking in Nepal
Being goal driven
The first step in making the dream a reality
What Nepal is like
Going solo for the first time
The plans for Stage 2
Doing the research
The learning’s from this experience
Needing to have a positive mind
Being grateful for everything she’s been through
The adventure blues…
Making some changes in her life
Feeling really positive
Advice for other women who want to make changes in their life
Challenge Website - https://saikalako.com
Personal Blog - https://nienkeventures.blogspot.com
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