I love sport. I love following athletes in their pursuit of excellence at whatever level that may be. I love stories of adversity, overcoming struggles and disappointments. People who when the world has given up on them, will lash out and make the impossible happen. I get inspired by those real stories, the truthful, honest and relatable ones. It is what has inspired me to challenge myself, to dig deep, to push my own limits, chase dreams in what ever way, shape or form they may come. To not, no matter what the circumstances, never give up.
Adversity is something I am very familiar with and to overcome them my true instinct has always been to fight against it, to push against pain. Wether that is physical or mental pain. It has resulted in multiple injuries including ignoring a broken back to the point I could barely walk and alienating a childhood which is just as much a part of me as my present. I have always felt that my ability to suffer in training and races is what enabled me to fast track through the amateur ranks to elite level after getting involved in sport late in life. Rather than having natural talent. And equally this ability to suffer put an end to my short lived pursuit of elitism when I nearly managed to destroy myself by ignoring all the signs of injury.
I have mentally really struggled in the last couple of months to redefine my dreams and goals as an athlete. Chronic injury and debilitating nerve pain prevented me to deal with the feeling of being stuck the only way I knew how to, by fighting through it. Not really sure how I was going to get to the start of the The Ride Dolomites let alone ride 6 big days in a row. Thanks to my coach James McCallum who took the time to sit down with me, helping me make plans with very short term goals I slowly but surely have started to move forward again. Thanks to friends like Laura Cunningham who pulled me out of my own isolation and included me into her cycling family, I have started to feel inspired again. And as the pain in my legs started to recede, my mind has become calmer, or vice versa I wonder?
Last weekend I raced a local race in Scotland on gravel roads called the Dukes Weekender. These type of races attracts some of the best and most inspiring athletes in the country. It was just what I needed to refresh and show myself I could still do it. It was a weekend filled with inspirational stories and athletes through which I seemed to have found my mojo!
I am still not entirely sure if my body will handle the 900kms of riding over massive mountains but I am more than ready to give it my best shot! I am very excited to meet all the other riders and live an incredible week of cycling, Italy here we come!!
About Nienke Oostra
Nienke Oostra is a fierce competitor with big dreams. She started cycling late in life as until her early thirties she let her veterinary career lead her all over the world until her dream of becoming an elite athlete took over. Her goal for upcoming season is to qualify for the UCI MTB Marathon MTB World championship’s again and better her ranking from last year. And after 2 bad triathlon seasons she wants to feel good again and have fun again.
Only 5 more days and then we are off to Levico – Italy. The Ride Dolomites is getting really close now. Many people are asking me i...Read more
In May of this year, myself and Naomi Freireich set off on an adventure to a remote part of Scotland's west coast. Having raced t...Read more