Dutch athlete Nienke Oostra competed in elite MTB and Xterra triathlon until she was forced to retire from racing in 2017 due to chronic nerve pain. After being devastated by the decision, she shifted her focus to longer adventure challenges whilst still living in pain.
Last year she embarked on a world-first mountain bike traverse of the Himalayan Trail high route in Nepal and became the first person to mountain bike the 1800km journey from west to east, completing it in 8 weeks. When her adventure partner quit early on in the ride, Nienke forged ahead solo, overcoming extreme hike-a-bike conditions, vertical landslides, 12-hour ride/hike-a-bike days and temperatures as low as -20C. In total, she climbed 85,000 vertical metres of ascent during the 8-week journey, which she shares more about in the interview below.