My Biggest Cycling Challenge so Far, Pregnancy

Follow competitive cyclist Nikky Alberts as she pushes her mind to the limits during pregnancy. Nikky is proud of her cycling journey but is also aware of her physical limitations and striving for improvement during her pregnancy. Moving from peak athlete to mother first isn’t easy; she must become comfortable with her body’s changes. These are her words to other mothers in a similar situation.  

Nikky Alberts’s Perspective on Cycling and Pregnancy 

Pro cyclist Nikky Alberts riding a downhill turn on a training ride during her pregnancy.

I know I’m not the only one who has struggled with this, and there will be many women that can find strength in seeing this. 

Pregnancy is something I have been blessed with, I don’t want to be misunderstood. But cycling is a massive part of my life and, in some way, a priority. 

Throughout this journey, I had to adapt to everything and find a way to balance the physical changes with my need to ride. It was a struggle with ups and downs, and wasn’t easy. I had to change my mentality and let go of the athlete I had always been. 

Outsiders have been telling me I have to be thankful for what I still can do, and I am, but it was a process with many tears and not only laughter. The tears and doubts are hidden from others, but it doesn’t make them less true. 

Now at the end of the journey, I can say I became a better cyclist because of it, still riding at the end of my pregnancy and enjoying every pedal stroke. If I want to, I will return to being an even stronger and more confident athlete.

Challenges of Cycling During Pregnancy 

Nikky makes her most significant challenge during pregnancy clear. Her performance expectations while pregnant were unrealistic with her body’s limitations. As she adjusted her mind to her temporary situation, she experienced acceptance and then joy.

Everyone’s experiences are unique. Therefore, it is essential for athletes who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant to consult their doctors and medical teams before engaging in any strenuous cycling activity, including training or racing. 

You can make general points based on the available research and the experiences of elite athletes who have competed while pregnant or returned to the sport after giving birth.

Pro cyclist Nikky Alberts on a training ride during her pregnancy with three other cyclists.

Some potential challenges of being a pro-cyclist During Pregnancy are:

  • Pressure from their coaches, sponsors, teammates, or fans to continue or stop competing
  • Difficulty finding accurate and reliable information on how to train and compete while pregnant safely
  • Higher risk of falling and the associated trauma

Pregnancy is challenging for all women. Competitive athletes experience unique physical and mental changes that can affect their peak level of performance, though.

Pregnant athletes must be informed, supported, and empowered to make the best decisions for themselves and their babies. They must also adapt their training according to their changing needs and goals and prioritize their long-term health and performance over short-term gains. 

True to Nikky’s journey, pregnancy wasn’t a time to stop cycling, but it was time to adjust the intensity, volume, frequency, and type of riding.

Of course, pregnant cyclists should consult with their healthcare providers and fitness professionals specializing in prenatal and postnatal exercise to get individualized guidance and recommendations. Listen to your body and respect your limits while celebrating achievements.

Cycling and Pregnancy Sources:

Sources: Female Athletes Talk About Competing While Pregnant | Time. Accessed 5/28/2023.

(2) ‘It doesn’t need to be a setback’: how elite athletes return from pregnancy. Accessed 5/28/2023.

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