With the fun news of new riders and teams on the scene, also comes news that is a little more sad. As with the retirement by Mo Bruno Roy months ago, Nicole Duke has formally announced her retirement from pro racing, although she will continue on in the world of cyclocross in the single-speed categories. The announcement in her words:
It’s a certain kind of death, retirement, no matter what your profession. Ending something that has consumed you day in and day out for years, sometimes decades, can be difficult.
It’s been coming for a while. I’ve been pushing the edge, asking my body to do what i know it doesn’t want to do. It’s been screaming at me, revolting but my mind says “Yes, of course you can do this, you’ve been doing it your whole life, it’s what you know”.
I’ve had a beautiful career and the bike has given me more than i could ever imagine. Traveling the world starting in my early 20’s, something a small town girl from Florida had never dreamed of when she bought her first mountain bike at age 19.
As you can imagine it’s hard to even write this. What do I say to encompass the last 20 years? All those experiences that make up who I am now. The training, triumphs, failures, injuries, relationships, knowledge, travel, and ultimately learning how to push myself to maximums on and off the bike and ride the wave.
There is so much I could say, I could go on and on, so out of that overwhelming feeling I’m going to keep this short. I will continue to participate in events, teach clinics and hopefully be involved in the industry in one way or another. My next challenge to change it up a bit, will be racing a Focus Mares in the single speed class. The experience is what I’m looking for, training has dwindled, my body is recovering from years of abuse and i am finally sleeping like a baby.
The bike, is obviously very near and dear to my heart, so from this I will never retire. It has given me the life I know now.
I’d like to thank all my sponsors that have supported me throughout the years, a lot of these are lasting and bonded relationships. One in particular that I could almost say, made my career, was my relationship with SRAM. The ongoing and consistent support meant everything to me, something that can be very hard to find as an athlete sometimes. So, thank you SRAM for always having my back through wins and loses. I’d also like to thank my fans and the people who gave me support along the way by cheering, and sending sweet words of encouragement.
So….as an “ex-pro” I will continue with carefully selected sponsors and represent through my coaching, and events that I participate in. This year I will “participate” on FOCUS frames,(i saved the best for last). I will continue also with SRAM, Zipp, SPY, WD40 Bike, Champion Systems, Lake shoes, RAD food, Giro, & Mad Alchemy. Hope to see you out there, as always I will be spreading the beauty and gospel of the bike!
Follow her further adventures at dirtduchess.com