Anneke Beerten has raced everything from BMX to DH. Her numerous accolades include multiple World Championship titles in both BMX and 4X, third place overall in the 2015 Enduro World Series, and the 2015 Queen of Crankworx title. After 3 years on GT Bicycles and one year on Alchemy, Anneke Beerten announced last week that she's back on Specialized
. We asked the Dutch rider about her new program, how she feels to be moving on from doing the full Enduro World Series circuit, and what she's most excited about this coming year.
How did your program come together for 2019?
It all came together a bit last minute. After receiving the news that Alchemy was unable to continue, I had to make a new plan. I started talking to my close sponsors and friends and asked them their opinions on some ideas that I had in mind. All of them responded super positively and that gave me the motivation to take up a new challenge to shift focus and put together my own program. When I presented my plans to new and current sponsors they were willing to give my program and projects the support it needs.
Have you fully recovered from the virus and shoulder injury that you got in 2016/2017? How do you feel about your health and fitness coming into 2019?
Yes, I am fully recovered from that. I have learned to listen to my body and I know that as you age it is not all about doing long hours anymore. I focus a lot more on the quality of my training. I'm feeling great at the moment, training is going well even though I'm doing fewer hours. It was hard to find a balance in the last couple of weeks - putting together my own program and staying focused on my training.
What does a typical training week look like at this time of the year and how is that similar or different from previous years?
The biggest difference from previous years is the hours I am doing on the bike. Because I'm taking a step back from racing the full EWS series, I do not have to do those crazy long hours in the saddle. A typical week is: gym training twice, endurance on the road bike twice - normally around 2-3 hours on a ride. I have been trying to go to the pump track / BMX track twice a week, but because of the bad weather that was not always possible, so I would do sprints instead. I’ll go out on the MTB twice a week and normally a day of moto on the weekend.
Photo credit: Sarah Viggers
When did you move to California and why? What has the experience been like?
I moved to California 3 years ago. Before that I would come here in the winter time to escape the bad weather in the Netherlands. I’ve always known, even as a little girl, that I wanted to go to America. Even though I had never been there I told my parents that’s where I wanted to go. It has been a great but challenging experience. There is a lot more to it than just packing up your bags and moving, it is scary!! I remember the first time I stood in my empty apartment all by myself and thought… What the hell have I done?! I miss my family, but they know this is the life that suits me and that I love. The visa process is a whole different story. It has given me a few grey hairs and some sleepless nights. Currently I have a visa for the upcoming 4 years. I love it here! I have amazing friends that share the same passion as me and they all have been so supportive with helping me out to overcome some challenges that you run into when you move to the other side of the globe.
Who do you train with most of the time?
During the week mostly by myself. Lately, I’ve been riding once a week with Dorian van Rijselberghe, Olympic gold medal windsurfer from the Netherlands that lives in Laguna Beach. In the gym I work closely with my PT, Doc. Joe. On the weekends, I always with friends. I like to put in the specific and hard work during the week so I can do the fun stuff on the weekends with my friends.
What are you most excited about for the coming year?
There is a lot of exciting stuff happening this year, but I mostly look forward to the first Kids' Pumptrack Clinic in Rotorua, New Zealand next month. I will be hosting it together with Martin Soederstroem.
I saw that you’re planning to race Crankworx and Sea Otter, but stepping back from doing the full EWS circuit. How did you come to make that decision?
The biggest factor was not being able to find the financial support to do all the EWS races.
You said last year that you really wanted to win an Enduro World Series race before you quit racing them. Have you made peace with stepping away from racing the full EWS circuit without that win?
Yes, I can look back on a successful career in general and in the EWS. Ending up 3rd overall in 2015, winning multiple stages and winning the Urban Stage in Colombia last year was an amazing satisfying result. There is a lot more to life that just winning racing.
What is the hardest thing about being a professional athlete?
The mental challenge and working with your body day in day out.
What are your favorite things to do outside of mountain biking?
Camping, eating, spending time with friends and riding moto… preferably all together!
How have the Enduro World Series races changed since you first started racing them?
They have changed a lot. I remember the first three years I would sometimes ride my Specialized Stumpjumper bike because it had less travel and it was more suitable for the courses we raced on. The past two years I sometimes wish I had a downhill bike. The EWS races got more extreme and harder every year. The hours of riding, hiking, and technical trails were no joke and we as athletes sometimes had the feeling that every organization was trying to outdo the other one by making it harder. And then this year we were limited to just one practice run. Racing EWS is definitely the hardest discipline I've ever done.
How has women's racing evolved in general?
Good! I'm so stoked to see the next generation of girls that are coming up and all the women that are racing nowadays. The level is really high and all the women have mad skills and are not scared to send it! It's also great to see race organizers like Crankworx stepping it up and treating the women's racing the same as the men's.
Do you have ambitions of being the Queen of Crankworx again?
I always have ambitions! But my goal this year is top 3 in the CWX series overall.
You've started vlogging. What will you be sharing in your blogs? What are your goals with your YouTube channel?
Hahaha… Yup! My goal is to share my passion with the rest of the world and hopefully inspire people to go out and ride, inspire the younger generation and show that it is important to be who you are. Don’t let social media fool you that you have to be perfect, or tell you that what you do is only for boys. And other than that, share the knowledge I have with training, injuries, traveling, food etc.
How has your relationship with social media evolved as a professional athlete?
Social media is part of my job now and it takes up a lot of time. Most of my contracts have a social media paragraph in there and it is not only about race results anymore. The most important thing I keep telling myself is that I need to stay me, and not care about likes and followers. That is difficult in a world where a lot seems to be about likes and being liked. I want people to follow me because of who I am.
The awesome part about social media is that we can connect with everyone around the world and share our own passion and life! I love seeing that I have people following me from all across the globe… That is pretty freaking awesome!
What do you hope the future holds for Anneke Beerten?
I hope to keep on riding, inspire people and grow old!
What advice do you have for young up and coming riders?
Be you, you are rad! Keep working hard, dream big and never give up. Things will get tough and challenging, you will get injured, lose races, lose sponsors, but in those moments it is important to stay positive and keep working hard. And don’t forget to cherish the moment when you do win!