Nikita Ducarroz, 27, is one of the top women in Freestyle BMX. In 2019, she took the Swiss National crown and scored a top-five finish in the UCI Urban World Championships. Then, she won the bronze medal at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. Nikita Ducarroz now has her sights set on the Summer Olympics. The games will be held in Paris, France this year from July 26 to August 11.

“It's just such a welcoming community,” Ducarroz said about her sport. “You meet so many people from all over the world. And you're just able to easily connect with them because we all just have this same passion.”

Aside from blazing the physical trail, Ducarroz is pioneering a BMX park for women and pushing for better pay and conditions. When she started competing there weren’t many events for women to participate in — it became a very tight-knit group of women riders who were always competing at the same events pushing for more events and opportunities.

“With our sport getting announced into the Olympics, that also helped a lot because there was then more funding for the athletes because most women didn't have any sponsors. So unless you could pay your own way, they couldn't get to these events,” she said. “So, once there was funding and all the women could get to the events, then it became more competitive and grew and grew.”

When it comes to training for BMX, the biggest part is obviously riding BMX. Ducarroz also does strength and conditioning, and yoga as well as mental health exercises that help with the pressures of being an athlete. 

“A lot of the stuff we do is scary and still scares me every day. So just kind of working through the different fears to be able to get the most out of my riding,” she said.

And while training, food is also involved. As someone who’s gluten-free (not by choice, she emphasized), Ducarroz doesn’t restrict herself and makes the most out of her meals. Spoon University had the opportunity to chat with Ducarroz at Red Bull’s New York office about all her favorite foods and snacks.

Spoon University: So, what’s your favorite food?

Nikita Ducarroz: I would say, sushi, definitely. It's kind of just like, the first thing that always comes to mind. But I love pizza, also. I feel like sushi and pizza I can eat all day — and açaí bowls.

Spoon: And then for pizza, what is your favorite pizza topping?

ND: Because I am gluten-free, next to my house is [a] Blaze. It's a make your own. I always do pesto, not red sauce, light cheese, and then I do chicken and bacon, and artichoke hearts, mushrooms, olives, and the ever-so-controversial, pineapple. I have to have pineapple, like a non-negotiable.

Spoon: You're about to work out. What's your pre-workout snack or meal?

ND: Because it's like in the morning, I just have like my breakfast which is either like a protein shake, but blended with ice, so it's kind of like a milkshake. Or right now, [my go-to] is Greek yogurt with granola, dried cranberries and blueberries. I've been eating it every single day for breakfast. I'm probably going to get tired of it soon because I just pick one thing and then I eat it until I'm tired of it.

Spoon: Do you have a meal that you have become obsessed with?

ND: Yes, that happens every time I find something new to cook. I mean, my at-home, just standard go-to when I don't feel like spending a lot of time cooking is steak, sweet potato, and some sort of veggie like asparagus or roasted broccoli. But then a couple of weeks ago, I made this spaghetti with butter, cream cheese, garlic sauce, and salmon or shrimp. And then, I put broccoli in it too, and I just made this huge pot and ate it for a lot of days. And then I just kept making that over and over again.

Spoon: It's 12 a.m. you’re starving. What fast food chain do you go to?

ND: Chick-fil-A is kind of like a go-to. Also, it's the one that delivers the quickest near my house. I get the grilled nuggets and the fries. Sometimes like the side kale salad. The Chick-fil-A sauce or the honey mustard.

Spoon: What is your favorite place to go-to back home in North Carolina?

ND: There's nothing where I live in the immediate area — actually, there's one place. It's like the only place, [and] it's called OSHA. It's a Thai and Japanese restaurant, so they have really good sushi.

Spoon: Is there any place that you've gone to that you still think about their food to this day?

ND: Definitely in Japan and actually, in Costa Rica, I really like the food as well. The breakfast is my favorite. It's rice cooked with beans, eggs, [and] avocado, and then plantains. Sometimes there's ham or bacon. But yeah, that's my favorite breakfast. You can also sometimes get it in burrito form. It's so good.