Girls Who Kick Butt
“They’re young, they’re amazing and they’re the top in their field. Meet five girls who’ve got the sport thing sussed.”
In her helmet, goggles, thick black gloves and all-over body padding, mountain biker Niki Gudex is one fearsome-looking chick.
She looks even more frightening careening downhill at break-neck speed - dodging trees, rocks and anything else in her path. “One or two people have said I shouldn’t be doing it, and that downhill racing is dangerous,” Niki says. “But it’s only as dangerous as you make it.”
When all the bulky body armour comes off, it’s hard to believe that the petite girl underneath is the same person. Where does she get the strength? “Look,” she says, proudly showing off a bulging bicep. “I ride 300km a week. Plus I do three hours’ weight training every week.
Niki’s at her best when the adrenaline is pumping. She’s been a skateboarder and a competitive snowboarder, and took up mountain biking on a whim two years ago. Her first cross-country ride ended in disaster - but it didn’t stop her! “I turned up in cargo shorts, a T-shirt and skate shoes,” Niki says, “and I didn’t bring any water.” The hot sun and gruelling race forced her to pull out before she reached the finish - shaking, nauseous and hallucinating.
The next race she entered she won - and she’s been winning ever since. Niki’s best result was in December, when she won her division of the 2000 Australian National Downhill Series - one of 10 awards she’s won in downhill and cross-country events.
As if the training and competitions aren’t enough, Niki also studies graphic design and models occasionally. In fact, her slight build has led to a few raised eyebrows when she tells people what she does. “I don’t care what anyone thinks,” she says. “It’s like anything. You just have to be active and say: “I want to do this!’ - then do it!”
Profile: Jessica Parry. Photographer: Michael Omm. "Girls Who Kick Butt" - Dolly Magazine, May 2001 Issue.