Nicola Kirkham is a recent addition to the Niner ambassador family in NZ, but no newbie to Niner. A loyal rider of the brand for many years on her AIR 9 Carbon, Nicola now also speeds about on the RKT 9 RDO - Niner's full suspension short travel race bike. Nicola is humble, dedicated, super sweet and much more! We are excited to follow her journey this year with the all girl's adventure racing team "Quadzilla" taking on their very first Godzone, along with her bid to defend her World Solo 24hr Mountain Bike Champion title- this year in Italy.
"A few weeks ago in preparation for Godzone 2017, Team Quadzilla went on a wee training mission. After meeting in Rotorua on Thursday and packing the car full of gear, snacks, bikes and people we then drove to New Plymouth arriving around 11pm. About an hour out the rain started and in good old Taranaki fashion, it absolutely poured! After a quick unpack and pack and 4.5 hours of sleep it was 4:30am and time to get up and going. Amazingly the rain had stopped and Mt Egmont was visible in the moonlight. A quick drive and we were at the start in Urenui and off for the first leg, a 40km mountain bike through the backcountry roads and tunnels and to the start of the Moki track. A quick transition and off on foot for 18km before another 60km bike along the Forgotten Highway to Ohinepane. Our paddle craft for the 33km kayak leg consisted of a large inflatable kayak and a small orange pack raft (aka the Bathtub). Despite a few hiccups (mainly the inflatable kayak deflating) 4 hours later we arrived at Whakahoro our days destination and a lovely dinner at the Blue Duck Lodge. Day two started with a 65km bike uphill (mostly) up to Whakapapa and then transition on foot to run the 23km Tama Lakes track and then onto the Desert Road. Another swift transition and we were off on the bikes again for 90km (with a 25km/hr tailwind!) through to Waiouru (where a stop for ice creams and pies was needed) and then onto River Valley Lodge, our nights accommodation. A swim in the Rangitikei river and another delicious dinner ended day 2. Day 3 stared at 2:20am when the people camping beside us decided it was a great time to sing (very loudly and out of key), up again and ready for the 6am start. 55km on the bike and climbing over 1000m before 8am! We then joined the Napier-Taihape Road and some amazing climbs and descents took us through to Kuripapango, where we then took off on foot for another 23km trek, this time choosing the more difficult route (almost to the top of Bonny Mary) before bush bashing down to the main road again at Blowhard Bush. Onto the bikes for the last leg, a 65km bike through to Clive and the coast to complete an awesome weekend!