Whaiora Spirited Women Team

Balancing adventure racing, work, and family

Whaiora is proud to support Spirited Women. We’re so excited about the all women’s adventure race that again this year, we have our very own Whaiora team entered, made up of four amazing women from our home town of Taupo!

We chatted to Nikki, the chief navigator. She’s a hard worker, adventure racer, mum, wife, and keen gardener - she was weeding the vege garden while we chatted to her! She tells us about her about health, training schedule, smoothies, and family life.

Why did you get into adventure racing?

My friend Mel set up the team. She phoned me up one day, told me about Spirited Women, and asked if I wanted in. I thought it sounded fun but the race was soon and I was worried I wouldn’t have the fitness, so I crammed in a lot of training! I’ve always done a lot of biking but needed to work on my running.

We did the race, I absolutely loved it, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I really like the off-road aspect – the mountain biking and trail running. I’ve never owned a road bike and I’m not a fan of running on the road so adventure racing suits me more than something like a triathlon. I love that it’s so varied and you never know what you’re in for on the day.

Tell us about the comradery that comes with Spirited Women.

The nature of adventure racing is that you have to be together all day - it requires a lot of decision making so it’s important we work well together! The strategy is just as important as the physical part of racing. I like the fact that you’re in a team and chat along the way, if I’m not sure about something I’ll pull the girls aside and ask for their advice. It makes it SO much more fun being out there with mates.

I’m the chief navigator in the team which I enjoy, happy to see my high school geography being put to good use! But, we all have different strengths so we all contribute in different ways to make a really great team.

What’s your training schedule like?

I do my training around 9am after the school drop off. I’ve got three daughters aged 10, 8, and 5. The youngest is just about to start school so it will make things easier in the morning only having one drop off point! I also try and do one or two sessions on the weekend. I’m really lucky that I only work part time, so it doesn’t impact on my family life.

I try and ride twice a week, and go to gym classes for strength training – always good to have an indoor option for winter. I play squash too which is obviously completely different from adventure racing but good fitness. Running is something I only focus on when we’re coming up to a race as it’s probably my least favourite part.

Sounds full on! How do you find the time to stay healthy?

It’s full on, but it’s fun. I like to be busy, I’m definitely not someone who enjoys sitting around doing nothing. Unlike the other team members, I call myself a crammer and only start going hard with training in the weeks leading up to the race. But in general, we’re quite an active family. We snowboard and ski in the winter and do lots of water sports, like water skiing, in the summer. It all counts towards training, but we do this stuff cause we love it, not cause we “have to” to stay fit.

What about eating healthy?

We try and eat as healthy as we can using fresh wholesome food - making meals from scratch, and using lot of veges from the garden. But we’re realistic; we do have treats and the eldest Zoe loves baking - which isn’t always healthy! But it’s yum and fresh.

I really enjoy cooking and try make lots varied meals to keep it interesting. But it’s not always possible! Like on Thursday nights we’re out mountain biking so we just have something simple like a chicken wrap, but make sure it’s full of salad. Then I’ll try do something bit more elaborate the next night.

I like to add as much goodness as possible. One thing I do is for any mince dish, like spaghetti bolognaise, is halve the amount of mince and add brown lentils. The kids barely even know it’s there!

The most important question! What’s your favourite Whaiora smoothie flavour?

I like them all. I’d say the kids like Berry best. We have a lot of smoothies, they’re easy but healthy and good for the kids.

If we’re rushing out to an after-school activity, I’ll have a Whaiora smoothie ready for them when they get home from school. It’s an easy way to get a quick nutritious afternoon tea in. It’s good on its own but sometimes I’ll add a boost of flavour, something from the fruit bowl or some spinach from the garden.