Nicole Duke - 2010 Aspen Lodge
Cyclocross season is in full swing in Colorado and one person is having a break out year: Nicole Duke, married and working mother of two. She has won a number of local ACA cyclocross events, took two 7ths at the USGP in Louisville KY and two 3rds at last weekend's Colorado Cross Classic and the Boulder Cup. We caught up with Nicole to ask her a few questions.
[303Cycling] Lets learn a little bit about Nicole Duke. Can you give us a little background and tell us when you started competing in cyclocross?
[Nicole] I grew up in Florida riding dirt bikes, surfing, and playing soccer. I went pro in downhill and dual slalom mountain biking in 1996 and raced until 2000, traveling the nation and the world. I was consistently top 5 in slalom and top 10 in downhill. I rode for factory teams like Giant, Mongoose, and Intense.
After that, I pursued a career as a hairstylist. Art and fashion are a passion of mine. In 2004, I met my husband Ben Duke we married and had two children, Ryder 5, Canin 2. It was 2007 when I tried my first cross race. I was on a mountain bike and got 3rd in the women’s open class. I continued the rest of the season on a cross bike and was hooked.
I wasn’t able to race the 2008 season after the birth of my daughter, Canin. 2009 was to be my follow up but I didn’t train thinking I wasn't actually going to race. I didn't have a bike, but my husband surprised me the week before the first race. That season earned me a third place at States and third in my age group at Nationals.
So, 2010 is my third season competing in cross.
[303Cycling] Is Nationals a goal again this year?
[Nicole] Nationals is a big goal for me this year. I am hoping for the champion spot for my age group and a top 10 in the elite. Last year I raced elite but didn’t have points so started on the back row and had to pass 60 some women just to end up 28th. This year I’m trying to get some points so that I have a better chance.
[303Cycling] You had a great weekend at the NACT races in Boulder with two 3rds. Is that what you expected?
[Nicole] I was really surprised about the Boulder Cup weekend. I had taken 5 days off the bike and didn't know what my body would do. I also hadn't really competed enough on that level to know where I would fit in amongst the girls.
[303Cycling] Any secrets to your success you want to share?
[Nicole] I don't know if these are secrets to success but my time is very limited with my job as a stylist and being Mom so I believe in quality not quantity on the bike. I have to believe that, I have no other way. I know I don't train as much as others but for my body type it seems to work. I've always needed more rest. I believe a lot of people are over trained. My weight training consists of picking up kids and housework. I also believe that age and experience plays a part in my success. I don't get worked up over the small stuff and for me, at this point in my life, it's all about just having fun. I love the camaraderie of the sport and race day tends to be my social hour since I don't get much of that anymore. Finally, I am also truly thankful for a very supportive and tight knit team, Hudz-Vista Subaru. My bike, the Ridley X-Night is the most amazing bike I've ever ridden and it gives me peace of mind on technical terrain.