Ahead of Two Weeks in China, Nikita Ducarroz Discusses Olympic Journey

Leading up to FISE: Chengdu and the UCI Urban World Championships, we caught up with Mongoose pro Nikita Ducarroz to discuss her journey to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Nikita's situation is unique. She is the only rider competing on the circuit that represents Switzerland, so while other countries have multiple riders scoring qualification points, Nikita is on her own. Still, she manages to stay in the mix and also take part in all sorts of other BMX fun!

Here's what she had to say - 


You ride a lot of different events. Is it safe to say that getting into The Olympics is currently your main focus?

That is correct. I feel like it’s a pretty big opportunity, so why not go for it? I still made sure to keep things balanced this year with some other non-Olympic related events. 

Switzerland - which is basically just you - is currently fifth in Olympic standings. Fifth is the lowest place that earns a spot through qualifying with points. Is this a stressful situation to be in?

I would like to be up higher a bit in the ranking just to be safer. I missed the European Championships, so that didn’t help, but I just need to focus on these next big China events and do well there. 


Do you go into China with a certain strategy to hang on to that ranking or is your goal to go all-in and improve it?

I don’t think my strategy has changed because of where I’m ranked. I just want to go in and try my best to get podium. That’s just always a personal goal of mine that I would like to achieve. 

Every country ahead of Switzerland in the rankings has two women scoring points for them Switzerland is just you. What has this process been like?

That part is a little stressful because all the pressure is on me to qualify myself. I know there are a few other riders in the same position and that’s the way it is.

Nothing I can do except work my hardest! 

Two Olympic spots go to the highest-placing countries at the World Championships who weren't able to qualify with points. Is it important for you to perform well at this event or do you just approach it like you would any other event?

I think my approach to any event is the same in this case because I just aim for podium. At the end of the day, I just have to focus on doing the best I can do and hope it pans out with the judges and the circumstances. 


How has Mongoose been supporting your journey to The Olympics?

Having Mongoose supporting me has been amazing. They are one of few brands these days that really does a lot for their riders and their support has made it possible for me to go to all the events I need to travel to in order to qualify. I couldn’t do this without them. 

I may or may not have seen Mongoose TM Leigh Ramsdell in a Swiss Cycling jersey. What's up with that?

I guess now that things are all official, you have to be part of a federation to get inside the gates. Leigh has always been there to help out with my bike or coaching for runs, so in order to have him continue doing that, we got him some Swiss credentials. 

How was your recent trip to Tucson with the Mongoose team?

That was a really cool trip! Having it somewhat local was nice, too. Fun team outings and a great turnout of kids for the jam portion. At these events, it's always cool to see Mongoose giving back to the amateur riders.


Do you think events like Mongoose Am Jam relate to events like the UCI World Cup or are they completely night-and-day?

I don’t think the events themselves have anything in common, but I think the Mongoose Jam can scope out or encourage riders who are newer on the scene to see what they could possibly do in the future. 

Is it difficult for you to transition from a trip like that right into contest mode?

It’s not too bad because on the trip we were riding everyday, so I feel like it was good pre-contest preparation. Kept me moving. 

You recently took the win at the Swiss National Championships. What was that event like?

It was such a cool event. Just to have the first ever championships in Switzerland - being a part of that and seeing all the riders that turned out made me so proud. The vibe was so welcoming and I know all the riders were having so much fun.  


How are the other women in Switzerland riding? Do you see some potential there?

We actually had four women riders! One was a racer, but she wants to get a freestyle bike now. It’s definitely very small still, but it can only grow from here. 

This isn't your first trip to China. What sorts of things do you do to make this big trip easier on you?

I always tell people China is the most stressful trip of the year - but also the most fun.

I try to stay as close as possible to the venues to avoid trying to take taxis with my bike. It’s really hard to map things out on Google Maps for some reason. I bring non-perishable food items like canned chicken and peanut butter since I don’t eat the meat there. Being the third time around though, it’s not as tough and you sort of get the hang of what to do for food and such. 

Is there a Swiss Cycling team traveling with you? 

Swiss Cycling isn’t able to send anyone for now, so I’ve made up my own team of people who go with me to the different events. In China, I will have my mom who acts as the team manager, Leigh, and then my sports psychologist and chiropractor. Usually it’s just my mom, but I was able to bring a little more support for China. 


You've come a long way from hating to fly to being one of the most well-traveled riders in the BMX world. How did you manage to make so much progress?

I honestly think it was just time and experience doing it - and maturing. I still panic about it a lot, but it just depends on the day and I’ve learned coping mechanisms that sometimes work - haha. I guess it’s just like doing a trick over and over. Eventually it becomes more natural. A good ol' panic attack is always looming over me, though. 

What's your plan after China? Is there a much-deserved vacation in your future?

I’ll definitely take a little break after China - more to recover from the jet lag than anything else. That’s always the one country that gets me. I’ll go home to my parents' house for Christmas, but I have plans to go ride in North Carolina and Woodward West's Winter Camp as well in December. Past that, I have no idea! 


Any big plans or changes leading into 2020?

Just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing! And hopefully learn some new tricks. Haha!

Any advice for the next generation of BMX ladies out there?

Don’t be afraid to get out there! BMX is a family that you will not find anywhere else and it’s truly a blessing to be a part of. Just be you, have fun with it, and enjoy the ride!  

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