Inside the Pro’s Bikes – Anneke Beerten
MEET THE RIDERS AND THEIR RIDES
GT’s Anneke Beerten
Photo by Jake Hamm, courtesy of GT
You would hardly expect to find one of the world’s top mountain bike riders coming from the Netherlands, much less a downhiller, such as Anneke Beerten. If you do a search on Wikipedia, you’ll find that her home country doesn’t even have any mountains. The tallest “hill,” Vaalserberg, reportedly doesn’t qualify as a mountain, standing only 1058.7 feet high.
The Netherlands is so low and flat that the first people who settled there centuries ago had to pile up mounds of dirt to under-gird their homes to keep them above the marshlands that cover a large part of the country. Sometime around 1000 years ago, the Dutch people began building extensive dikes around their growing towns to keep back the water when the low-lying countryside flooded. The nation’s famous windmills were reportedly used to pump excess water from the lands and back into the dike-lined canals whenever floods hit the towns.
Growing up in the Netherlands, Anneke Beerten took up riding bikes at 4 years old and grew to become one of the top BMXers in the world, culminating in her winning two World Championships by the age of 12. That was when her family gave her a mountain bike. She started racing mountain bikes at 16. Now she’s one of the top mountain bikers in the world: a downhill, dual-slalom, pump-track and enduro star. She’s been Queen of Crankworx, has three 4-Cross world championships to her name and has won the European enduro title. It’s a very impressive resume for anyone, much less a mountain biker who grew up in a country that doesn’t even have any mountains.
The MBA Q&A:
Anneke on Anneke
MBA: Where did you grow up?
Anneke: I grew up in the country fields, just outside of a small town called Marienvelde in the Netherlands. Life is pretty relaxed and not rushed there. We have a big vegetable garden and fresh eggs I pick up at my neighbor’s across the street. My dad wears clogs, we have donkeys, and there is no public transportation, so I used to ride my bike to school, and that was a 45-minute bike ride one way!
MBA: What kind of work do your parents do?
Anneke: My mom was a hairdresser and housewife. My dad owns a car garage and loves working in his vegetable garden. The garage is next to our house, so I grew up being around cars and tools all day.
MBA: When did you first learn to ride a bike, and who taught you?
Anneke: When I was 3 years old, and my mom and dad.
MBA: Can you tell us about any bike racing you did before you started mountain biking?
Anneke: I grew up racing BMX and did my first race at the age of 4. I switched to riding mountain bikes after I won the world champ title in BMX, and I found a new challenge in riding mountain bikes.
MBA: When did you get your first mountain bike?
Anneke: When I was 12.
MBA: When did you start competing on mountain bikes?
Anneke: At the age of 16.
MBA: How did you finish in your first race?
Anneke: Not so good. I remember I crashed but absolutely loved the racing!
MBA: What have been your best results as a pro?
Anneke: Three-time world champ in 4-Cross, Queen of Crankworx, European champion in enduro, third overall in 2015 Enduro World Series, and Downhill World Cup podium.
MBA: Did you attend college, and if so, what was your major?
Major skills: With three 4-Cross world championships to her name, along with a Queen of Crankworx title and a European enduro championship, Anneke Beerten has phenomenal bike-handling skills.
Anneke: I studied sales and marketing. We don’t have anything like a major. Our system works a bit different in Holland. I finished a home study for food and nutrition two years ago.
MBA: Did you win any awards in school?
Anneke: Awards for not paying attention.
MBA: What other sports have you done?
Anneke: A little bit of soccer. In general, I just like to be active and ride bikes, BMX, moto and mountain. As long as I’m cruising on wheels, I’m pretty happy.
MBA: Can you tell us something unusual about yourself or your family?
Anneke: I cannot really think of anything unusual. I’m just very blessed with the way I grew up and that I am able to do what I love for a living! When I was younger, I always dreamt of doing this. I rode my bike endlessly around the house, and my parents supported me but never pushed me. They made sure I did my tasks before they would take me to BMX training. I believe that if you have dreams and you work hard for them, you can make them come true.
MBA: Is there some other interesting fact or trivia that people might like to know about you?
Anneke: I always have to put my own number plate on my own race bike. I don’t like it when the number plate is all skewed on my bike. I’m dyslexic, but with the technologies we have these days, that has become a lot easier to deal with! I’m passionate about music and still play old-school vinyl regularly—love that old sound! I always get my race gear ready the night before the race. Doing that gets me excited and hyped for the next day already!
Check out the GT Sanction race machine here!
THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO GET MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun. Start a subscription by clicking here or calling (800) 767-0345.
Contact us via email at [email protected]