Interview: Anneke Beerten on Changing Focus, Training & Vlogs

Feb 22, 2019
by Sarah Moore  
Photo credit: Sarah Viggers

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.


Anneke Beerten was pushing hard today for the third overall spot - she may have only managed fourth today but that was enough to give her third in the overall.
Anneke Beerten racing in Finale Ligure in 2015 on her way to third in the overall.


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.


Anneke Beerten kicked off the weekend on a high note by taking the win on stage 1. Eventually she would have to settle for 7th once the mud started flying.


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.


Anneke Beerten of The Netherlands races in the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro Crankworx Whistler 2015. Photo by Scott Robarts .
Anneke racing the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro at Crankworx Whistler in 2015.


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.


Anneke Beerten patched up and ready to rock after a big crash today on Crabapple Hits left her with some stitches in the arm. Not to mention prior stitches in her stomach and leg.
The King and Queen of Crankworx Bernard Kerr and Anneke Beerten. I have no idea what Bernard is going to do with his 25k check but Beerten plans on loading up on gourmet chocolate from a shop in the village.


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!


Photo credit: Sarah Viggers



MENTIONS: @iamspecialized



41 Comments

  • + 43
 Really strange that a top rider like her can’t find support for full EWS...
  • + 7
 @Doby: Last year wasn't a great year for her results-wise (Outside Top 20 women in the overall, I'm not sure about her individual results as the ews site is undergoing maintenance). The timing of Alchemy informing her they won't be continuing their partnership probably didn't help. Here's hoping her new program and motivation see her achieve more of what she's capable of in the future.
  • + 13
 So surprised that she couldn't find sponsorship as well. You don't need to be a champ to impact an audience. You need to be engaging, and Anneke is that times 100. This might be a blessing in disguise as she could carve herself out a nice niche like Matt Hunter. Speaking of which, they should her and Mattie out on an adventure somewhere. That would make a great vid!
  • + 6
 @Deuce-DeuceAndAHalf: I can't say that the Alchemy part of that surprised me much... Kinda had a feeling that picking up both her and Cody might have been a little too much money for them. Rumors say that she is owed money from Alchemy...
  • + 3
 I have yet to see an Alchemy bike on the trail. It is hard for these upstarts to gain traction with the speed of geometry evolution. They do not have the resources to create new carbon molds quickly and no user base to carry them through 2 or 3 years while they do update. GG got it right by carving a niche with aluminum produced locally so that they can update as quickly as they want early on. Their decision not to continue with aluminum is not the greatest choice IMO since many of their core base are anti carbon.
  • + 3
 @salespunk: I agree with you about GG and not continuing with aluminum frames... But, I have a feeling that part of the issue is space limitations... If you have ever been there, it's not a big building.. The 5 minute tour takes about 2 minutes...

Hopefully aluminum will find it's way back into the line up..
  • + 3
 @lumpy873:
That's definitely part of it, and with limited human resources , it'd be difficult to essentially have 2 very different production lines. Plus, unlike a really big company like say Santa Cruz, they can't really afford to have "competing" models, especially when there's not much price difference.

Lastly, the incredible overnight demand for GGs carbon bikes has them definitely pointed in the right direction , so perhaps they'll end up sponsoring Anneke at some point. Smile
  • - 4
flag Gautier-Grollemund (Feb 22, 2019 at 9:02) (Below Threshold)
 @lumpy873: Seems like a little bit complex when you don't have a dick in mountain bike... Frown
  • + 5
 It sounds like more fun for her to do what she's doing rather than killing herself on the EWS circuit. Good for her - racing isn't 100% everything, and she's carving out a nice niche while being herself. I'll be rooting for her at the Sea Otter soon.
  • + 2
 @jackalope: GG has been pretty adamant about not wanting to get into the sponsorship business. That $50k salary paying a pro could make 50 frames $1000 cheaper. If a racer wants to ride their product they'll certainly hook a rider up, but I think the only people they paying a salary are folks working a 9-5 at the shredquarters.

Could be wrong, though.
  • + 1
 @PHeller: Yeah, they've said that previously , but I am speculating that after they fully capitalize on the Frame Maker 3000 technology, they'll be rolling in private jets, enjoying only the finest scotch, and getting all manner of botox and implants. At this point, they'll find $50 K in their couch cushions Wink
  • + 1
 More exposure away from racing for brands.
  • + 12
 What a great ambassador for our sport. I wish you all the best anneke. I met you at sea otter last year and I was amazed at your humility and how easy it was to taln to you. Keep doing your thing!
  • + 5
 her message that you should be yourselves and not cater to likes and subs is also super refreshing, especially coming from a role model for the younger folks.
  • + 8
 Really good to read these types of articles. Exposes a lot of what it’s like to be a top tier athlete in the MTB world. These people work so hard above and beyond just concentrating on their riding. It’s almost like their elite privateers. They can get dropped by sponsors, (because they got sick) they do all the legwork negotiating contracts, deal with language barriers as it’s an international sport, aaaand need to make sure they’re in top physical/mental form. I’m not sure how this works at the elite level in traditional sports but it seems to me that members of the NBA, MLB etc. have an easier time once they reach even the top level of minor leagues. Time for all you top tier MTB athletes to think about a rider’s organization? Just a thought. You folks all work waaay too hard on peripheral stuff it seems.
  • + 7
 Best smile in the business Wink

And can relate to the ‘getting caught up in your English’ Anneke. Moved to Australia from the Netherlands two years ago. Frickin hard to have your brain and your speech out of sync!
  • + 0
 Were you born in The Netherlands? Over here you're typically being exposed to English from a young age and I think most kids don't really think in Dutch anymore when they're writing or speaking English. If you talk a different language, you think in that language. That said, my English is fine but my French is pretty horrible and my German is worse than I like to think it is. That is, in German speaking countries I like to give it my best shot at speaking German and we can have a decent conversation. The Germans/Austrians/Swiss seem to appreciate it but my girlfriend can't stop laughing and urges me to stop Wink . When talking French though, it takes me forever to put a sentence together. And then they obviously answer in fluid French and I don't understand a word Wink . But yeah as far as English goes, I don't think many adults would have their brain and speech out of sync. It definitely doesn't seem to be the case with Anneke and actually with the kind of international experience she has by now, it wouldn't be likely anyway.
  • + 7
 class act. i wish there was more financial support for women in this sport. maybe someday. i've noticed the ratio of men/women improve over the years. still isn't 50/50
  • + 8
 When I go for a ride, I also don’t see a 50/50 split. Maybe we just have to accept that more guys like mountainbiking?
  • + 4
 There are way more men involved in Enduro so obviously there's going to be more of them. In fact, I bet there are more men (who are fast as f*ck) paying for everything themselves than the entire women's field.

It's different in XCO where both sexes participate fairly evenly and sponsorship seems split to reflect that.
  • + 7
 annnnnd I'm changing my fantasy team again.
  • + 2
 I'm keeping her on my team for Rotorua.
  • + 3
 She's been on my team right from the start. I don't care about the results or standings, I'm just a fan Wink .
  • + 2
 It’s a shame these days that social media plays such a big part of a riders life.... it can be draining... I can see the benefits and I bet it’s hard to get a happy medium. Seems everyone is vloggin, connected gaining likes and recognition.
  • + 1
 Remember that ever since she left BeOne to compete as a privateer, she's been working real hard to do everything herself. She wrote race reports and smaller articles on her website (annekebeerten.com), negotiated deals at trade shows and especially in the beginning, worked in a record store in the off season to make ends meets to be able to compete in another year of racing. I really liked reading her race reports and those from Jill Kintner (jillkintner.com) to see their different personalities and their view on how a race went. Her website is still up there but for the recent news just links to her social media channels. But yeah, whether it is an article on her website or a post on her social media channel doesn't really matter that much (other than that I miss the longer reports). She always took matter in her own hands. If something needed to be told, she'd do it. If a sponsored product needed exposure, she'd do it. Now it is on social media, back then it was on her own website. It is basically the same thing. One end it may be draining. On the other end, she's always been very real and she gets to tell what and how she wants to tell it. Having to rely on external media and then only see what it turned out like when it is already being published (seeing your name being spelled "Annika Berten" and your fellow 4X champ "Joost Winchman") sure must be killing too!
  • + 1
 I see the wonderful Anneke is rocking a Alpinestars vector trail helmet thereSmile hoping this means there not far from being actually released!
Seeing as it was what, Sept last year? I first clapped eyes on it, that's getting kinda late in the day.
  • + 3
 From a 2007 PB interview:

'What do you find the biggest letdown in a man to be?

Uhmmm, I’d better keep that to myself.'
  • + 1
 Boy thats an odd question, why would someone ask her that? They trying to out her or something?
  • + 1
 @Arzeripper: Goes to show how messed up mainstream media like Pinkbike used to be back then. And also goes to show how professional she already was back then.
  • + 1
 @Arzeripper: Dunno. She handles it like a champ tho. Alternate answer--his gender. At least it was a big letdown.
  • + 3
 "That is difficult in a world where a lot seems to be about likes and being liked."

They are all on dopamine those days.
  • + 1
 I expect you will do well this year in everything you do. Things will work out even better through the year than at the beginning. Your strengths will shine on.
  • + 3
 Good luck Anneke, i sub your channel.
  • + 2
 I've always loved this piece:
youtu.be/KKyQ8BKpN8Q
Really looking forward to seeing more like it.
  • + 1
 Enjoyed it.
  • + 1
 Yeah Anneke, you rock. It sure is a hustle isn't it? Keep up the hard work and all the best this season my friend! Claire xo
  • + 1
 Join us for a Rad ride again soon, been a while!
  • + 1
 Ice Cream World Tour?
  • + 1
 Subbed !
  • + 0
 So she moved on from EWS, training and vlog?
  • + 3
 Yep, sloppy title

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