Friday, November 28, 2014

Women on Bikes Series: Nikita Ducarroz

Photo Credit: Ryan Guettler (TV Interview)
Meet 17 year old Nikita Ducarroz who is an avid lover of riding BMX! She started when she was 14 and has grown with her sport. A young entrepreneur, she started a clothing company called FDV Clothing with the hope and desire to connect other BMX riders in the area. It was a treat to interview this inspiring young woman!

You can follow Nikita on Twitter and Instagram!

When did you first start riding a bike?
I pedaled my first bike at 3 years old, but only started riding BMX when I was 14.   

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
I guess I just wanted to try and push women’s riding further, and push myself more as well. I wasn’t content with just riding in the driveway anymore (although I still do that all the time and have a blast) and wanted to see where I could take riding.

Have you competed in events? If so, what were your reasons for competing?
I have! I entered my first contest (all boys) in 2012, about a year after I picked up my first BMX bike. I ended up with a 1st and 3rd place. I was really nervous about competing but the contest was organized by a friend and I really wanted to try it. I’m also a pretty competitive person, and had always wanted to try competing. After the contest I found out that riding under the pressure of a time limit got me to throw some things that I was usually scared to do, which made me want to do more!

What would be your favorite competitive biking event?
I like all the contests I’ve done for different reasons. The Recon Tour series is pretty fun, and I get to see a lot of friends from all over the country. The Little Big is also great, as it’s pretty much the one time a year I get to ride with all the ladies!

You attended The Little Big event this year, were there any differences from last year? What did you enjoy about it this year?
The main difference this year was that it got rained out :( Fortunately, we were able to do the clinic on Saturday with minimal rain, so we got to goof around on the pump track, but weren’t able to hit the big sets.  Even though the contest was rescheduled, I basically got to spend 4 days riding Woodward Tahoe with all the ladies, and it was definitely a really fun time.  

During the Little Big you were filmed for the documentary Sisterhood Of Shred, what was that experience like and how excited are you to be featured on this film?
Filming is always really fun for me, and this experience was no different.  Working with Meg, Joe, and Stephen was awesome, and I can’t wait to meet up with them all again soon.  I am beyond excited to be a part of this documentary.  I love the message that the film is sending, the story it is representing, and I couldn’t be more honored to get to be a part of that. Beyond that, I have made great new friends through it, who have been nothing but supportive.  

What kind of riding is your favorite?
I tend to ride more park…ramps and stuff, but I don’t mind a little dirt here and there, and have been trying to ride more street lately too! If you’ve got a good crew, you could be in a parking lot and still have a killer session!  

Do you remember how you felt on your BMX ride?
I definitely felt sketchy haha. And I still do, all the time. But it’s also just a feeling of freedom. Cliché, I know, but it’s true. And when you spend hours and hours trying to accomplish a trick, falling repeatedly, feeling like your body is going to fall apart, but you keep pushing, and finally land that trick, there’s really no feeling like it.    

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
Funny you ask- I actually have pretty bad anxiety. A lot of normal, daily things that people don’t even think twice about, make me panic pretty bad at times. BMX has sort of been an outlet for that. When I was around 14, I wouldn’t even leave the house. I started riding in the driveway, but soon I wanted to take it further, and little by little, that’s what motivated me to push myself and go places. Look back to 4 years ago, although my anxiety is still very present, it’s crazy how far I’ve been able to come, and I honestly don’t know if it would have happened if I didn’t find BMX. In terms of BMX tricks, when I have mental blocks, I try to just close my eyes, relax for a second, and visualize what I want to do.  

What inspired you to take up BMX?
I’ve just always loved jumping things on my bike ever since I can remember. One day I saw a video of some people doing BMX tricks, and I really wanted to try. It didn’t work so well on my MTB that I had, so I saved up for a BMX and it just continued from there.    

What do you love about riding BMX?
Man that’s a hard one. There are so many things to love about riding. I love the challenge, I love the community, I love the places it takes you, and the people you get to meet. I get to learn so much, see so much, experience so much, and do it all with really amazing people.   

What has been the hardest trick for you to accomplish?
It changes, but at this point, I’d go with my air bars. I used to do them every once in a while, when we would have a really good session and everyone was throwing down, but they were so inconsistent that 9 out of 10 times I would slam really hard, and that made it difficult for me to want to throw it. I haven’t done one in a while so I’d probably have to relearn them. I definitely want to, but I know it’s gonna be hard mentally to get over the fear of throwing them.   

Photo Credit: Dave Smith
Any tips or suggestions to those new to BMX?
A buddy of mine told me a while ago, don’t worry about the tricks, and learn the basics first. Unfortunately when I started riding I just went straight to tricks, and didn’t learn how to properly jump a box, or how to manual or any of the basic stuff. That’s definitely not a good idea, and I do regret it for sure. But, I’m trying to learn more flow now, so hopefully one day I’ll have tricks and style haha.

Have you had a bike biff? If so, how did you recover on a physical/mental/emotional level?
I fractured my foot back in December doing double bars. That was the first injury I had that put me off the bike for a bit, but I definitely got lucky, only two months to recover. During that time it was definitely hard, going from riding all the time to not being able to played with my mind a bit. I just made sure to get the guys together to ride and hang so I wasn’t just sitting on the couch doing nothing. Getting back, I was most anxious the week before I was going to be cleared to ride. I was mostly afraid that my foot would just snap as soon as it took any impact. I went to Woodward Tahoe the day I was cleared, and after about an hour or so I completely forgot I had even done anything to my foot, and everything pretty much went back to normal.      

You broke your foot during a session ('14 Little Big/Filming for Sisterhood Of Shred), what were you doing and how did it happen?
It was the last day of the 4 day trip up to Tahoe. The contest got rained out, so some of us headed to Woodward Tahoe to ride indoors. We got a pretty full day of riding in, and as we were starting to wind down Meg and I decided to try and film a double barspin. I had tried it quite a few times, unsuccessfully, BUT I could feel that I was getting very close, so I kept going.
On the last one, I dropped in, and as I was spinning the bars, I started rotating a little bit. As I came down, I landed at 90 degrees right at the knuckle, my hand slipped off the bars, and I fell off the back of my bike. I guess the force of the impact was a little too much, and my foot (which was halfway on the pedal) broke. I knew right away that it was broken (8 months ago I fractured my other foot also doing a double bar, but a different crash) and was pretty bummed, since I had a contest in San Diego two weeks later that I had been looking forward to all year. We drove home a few hours later, and then 2 days later got an X Ray to confirm the break. Thanks to everyone who helped me out!  

How has healing and recovery process been for you? What are some things that you do that helps you stay positive?
The healing process has been a little boring, but it could have been so much worse, so I just keep thinking that whenever I start feeling bad. The doc basically said 4 weeks on crutches, and then we would reassess to see if I could start putting weight on it.
At 6 weeks I should be allowed to ride lightly again. I have listened to that, and am not trying to rush anything at all, but the Doctor just said not to put weight on it, and riding a MTB up and down the street adheres to that rule, so I haven’t gotten off bikes completely LOL. I don’t think that would be possible for me. I also use a little 12inch bike to roll around the house because crutches take forever and wheels are fun. I’m not bed ridden or anything, so really I can still do anything I was doing before (other than riding) just a little bit slower.
It’s really just an inconvenience more than anything else, and I should be grateful that’s all it is. The first week I was in a really bad mood but I got that out of the way and now have been doing more stuff to heal quicker and more efficiently. Just gotta keep my head in the right place, focus, and heal up!    

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
Currently I have one bike that I use, and I am also building up a spare bike using a bunch of old parts I had sitting around. I ride more of a park set up, gyro, no pegs, but I like to change it up every so often. I wouldn’t say I am a weight weenie, but I do like to keep my bike on the lighter side, especially since I am not that big. I am lucky enough to have some great supporters, so most of my parts will come from them. Haro parts and Alienation Rims. The reason I chose these companies was because of the passion and dedication that is put into making the parts and the companies. Now a days there are so many bike companies out there, and choosing can be a challenge, but Alienation and Haro both have some amazing people behind them who put in so much work, and I was just drawn to them. You can tell when someone is passionate about their work, that’s for sure.

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
I definitely am a sucker for Vans shoes haha. Other bike accessories that are a must for me are my G-Form pads, my certified helmet, my Fight Dentist mouth guard, and my Novik Gloves. As you can now tell, I like to be protected, and I definitely recommend all those companies to keep you safe.  
     
Speaking of clothing, you have a company called FDV Clothing. How did you get started and what was your inspiration?
I started FDV when I was 14, really just out of boredom. I wanted to make a website for local BMXers to connect, and then it turned into making T-Shirts, and continued from there. I really enjoyed the design aspect, from graphics, to web design, filming edits, and taking photos. It was also a great way to connect people, especially since I’m a pretty shy person.   

What challenges have you had being a small business owner?
I think the biggest challenge is just keeping up with it. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been focusing a lot more on my own riding as well as school, so I’ve slowed down a bit with promotion and pushing new product. FDV is first and foremost a family, and the clothing part just comes along with it, so I’m not stressing about it or anything, when I’m ready to get back into it full force I’ll do that.   

What has been your greatest success so far?
I’d have to say my biggest success has been the steps I’ve taken to overcome my anxiety. I’ve had some great accomplishments riding BMX, like landing my first backflip, winning contests, getting in magazines, but nothing feels better than overcoming something that has been such a huge challenge for a large part of your life. I’ve stayed home from my family's biannual vacation to Europe since I was 11 because I won’t get on an airplane. This year, I finally decided to face my fear, and flew to Indiana for a contest. It definitely didn’t cure me, I’d still panic about doing it again, BUT, it was such a huge accomplishment for me, and really got me motivated to push myself more.   
    
What do you feel keeps young women (or women in general) from being more involved with the various cycling styles?
I hear a lot of reasons why, but I’m really not sure. I definitely feel like it’s probably not as much of an interest to a lot of women, but there are the few of us who did find this passion and stuck with it. I guess it might be hard for some people if there isn’t a lot of support, or places to get started and learn. Fortunately for me, I had a lot of support from all the guys, and never experienced any discrimination from them, but I guess it’s not always that way. Either way, I think it’s great to have events like The Little Big that are so inviting to women.

What would you like to see in the future for women’s cycling?
I’d love to see it evolve more and become a little more “official” I guess. In terms of being recognized as a “real thing". To have girls classes in major competitions like X Games or Dew Tour, I feel, would really make a huge impact on the sport. I definitely see it growing more and more every year though, so I think it’s going in the right direction!

Tell us something random about yourself!
I don’t know if it’s that random, but I plan on becoming a firefighter/paramedic. I got to be a Fire Explorer when I was 14 and have been hooked ever since. I don’t really know where it came from, but I have a strong passion for it and can’t see myself not following that path.  



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