A Warrior Of The New Age
She is a pro mountain biker, model and graphic designer; so strong and in the same time so fragile, so young looking and so mature, innocent as a child but with scars of a warrior – she is a phenomenal mixture of opposites, so opposite that meet together in one name – Niki!
We have published some facts about her last year (Issue 4, 2005) but at that time we had just limited information available from her web site. Since then I had that feeling telling me there’s more to it and the natural continuation came by itself. Our paths crossed at the Eurobike show in Germany.
I met Niki Gudex at the exhibition stand of the clothing company Castelli, where she was meeting fans and visitors, giving out autographs along with presenting her own design line of cycling apparel for women of the same brand. During the short breaks of signing posters and talking to visitors I got the chance to do a short interview with her and I was dazed by her immense energy.
At first sight I would have defined it as an ordinary meeting for an interview but it turned into an unforgettable moment that left permanent traces in my mind. It would be very difficult for me to explain the nature of my perception about her intricate and unmatched personality but at least I could give it a try.
What I will try to tell you is not her story but rather what’s behind it.
The personal story is an outcome, end result, traces of what we do in our lives, and it’s rarely associated with the actual character of the one who created it. My meeting with the embodiment of the power, literally and metaphorically, is the most inspiring thing that have happened to me recently and that’s why I feel necessity to “pass forward”.
All serious bike fans who browse discussion forums, web sites and follow competitions know the name of the Australian girl. She is an easy find – very beautiful, very successful and resides at the pages of all popular medias in Australia and US. Many have read her numerous interviews in dozens of magazines and newspapers around the globe, and of course they know her story.
To be completely honest most of what I’ve seen and read about Niki was making me doubt whether everything she does is completely true. But if I haven’t been that suspicious back then I couldn’t be so convinced right now in everything that I am telling you about her.
For most people who have realized the meaning and the role of their existence, it happens after some critical moment when their life was in danger, when they understand their own transience and how fragile life is or how much dependent we are on ourselves.
For her this should have happened back in 1997, when she broke her back, while training for a snowboarder in Sweden. She says “Everything was somehow surreal”. So surreal that it was the reality itself - on the hospital bed, with broken back things look much different than when you are showing how good you are (not) in making a back flip. It makes you think and realize things that are often obscured by the every day life. Soon after getting back on her feet she was again in search of commitment. And this time she found it in mountain biking.
“While I’m riding my bike I feel like I’m doing something… that feels right!” – she says. Her irresistible striving to do the things the right way have lead to success in all areas where she expresses herself. Overall, the fields where she finds her vocation are so diverse and she is so successful that it is possible for one to think that all this must be a creation of PR agents or a team of professionals. Thanks to our meeting, the mystery is revealed – all this is done by Niki herself. As unbelievable her story sounds, so unbelievable her results are and times more astonishing person she is.
Her awareness, to take decisions uncompromisingly and to follow them, as well as her incredible power helps her move forward. Her desire to do always the best she can, to expand her limits while staying on the safe side propel her carrier forward simultaneously in all directions. She is a true professional by all means of this term. Diverse and fascinating, she achieves everything with very hard work, persistence, determination and total commitment. In our conversation she clearly stated her strong will and desire to achieve her most daring dreams. Niki lives in the moment but her sight is focused far ahead because her achievements until now she easily defines as “it is past”, but I would add “and a good motivation to continue”.
All difficulties and obstacles on her way, which we all inevitably face in our lives, she overcomes by concentrating on the possibilities in the spaces which are countless compared to that single obstacle that blocks our way. “I’m trying to focus on the spaces, not on the trees.” – she simply explains to me.
This is an advice that can be applied in everyone’s everyday life – on the track in the mountain or at work in the office or why not even in the hospital bed - there are so many possibilities, except that “tree” on the way; if you are looking further ahead, then the possibilities become unlimited. She demonstrates control on the course and in her life - control over herself. This radiating modesty and infinite devotion can’t be seen through a web site, nor can be read in the magazines; this is something that can be experienced only in face to face conversation with this incredibly brave and sensitive girl.
During many interruptions followed by honest excuses that she had also to share her attention with visitors and fans, something that made a great impression to me was that she was writing to everyone “Have fun!”, “Ride your bike” – things existing only in a free mind of a person who is not dependent on her victories or losses. Everything is enjoyment; it is all emotion and fun.
Once you turn success into a fix idea or you put it into “at all cost” circumstances it becomes a torture and it will be hardly ever achieved. Even if you get to it eventually you will miss all the other opportunities you’ve had along your way. Does one victory deserves all that? Victory over what or over who? The real competitions are inside of us, with ourselves. To overcome yourself is by far more challenging task than to overcome others. To set new limits for yourself, for your body and mind is much greater achievement than to win in a competition, where one fell, another was sick, third had no motivation to win or forth was not familiar enough with the course.
Victory over yourself and over your own abilities is the key to your success. Only then one victory leads to another. This is what Niki does and we are all witnesses to her achievements – in cycling, in modeling, in her designs.
We have all had failures and mistakes, which are not a reason to despair; on the contrary they are a great motivation to continue. To win and to lose (to accept you’re beaten and to continue) requires equally much power and energy. Although she constantly made it to the podium over the last few years she missed her chance on qualifying for the Commonwealth Games and she does not regret it. Chances and opportunities constantly appear if you are moving forward. What you have to do is - create them for yourselves, be prepared and take advantage of them. The reason to write all this is my desire for you to understand the essence of what Niki Gudex does – how she acts and how she manages to achieve everything in her life.
Not to praise her or to bow before her talent, but to find and follow your own path, a path with a heart, the one that will take you to the top – not the one on the ranking list but the one inside you. If you choose mountain biking, let it be mountain biking, if you choose something else, let it be it – it doesn’t really matter. Go and look around her web site. See her pictures, read her diary. You will see how versatile she is, in many pictures you’ll see her distant and unreachable but in fact she is so down to earth and it is so easy to touch her if you look her in the eyes that it is surreal, so surreal that it is the reality itself.
She is definitely a star! Not that kind of star we are used to see on TV, but a star that shines bright in all directions and is willing to give a sparkle of her fire to everyone who is ready to accept it; and if you are able to keep it and inflame, or even better – to continue it and pass forward to someone else is what gives meaning to our lives. And do what she tells you – go ride your bike, have fun!
Profile: Ventzislav Kutinkov. "A Warrior Of The New Age!" BG Bike Magazine (Bulgaria), Sept/Oct 2006 Issue.