Friday, October 10, 2014

Cyclocross Season off to a stinging start...

literally, as i almost died at the opening race of the season in China.
Necklace i got from
the China Race
Click HERE on PelotonPost to read all about it, as well as the rest of my bizarre exciting adventures there. The article includes LOTS of colorful photos so you'll feel like you were right there with me!

The day after we returned from China, it was directly back to work with a Derny race in Edegem, Belgium organized by fellow racer Katrien Thijs. Before the race, all the gals were treated to body jewelry tattoos made of gold so we'd have that girly touch while kicking each other's asses.  It definitely was a shock to the system to get back into cycling after taking a few days off the bike to recover from the China incident, especially considering it took me a lap to find my derny.  Luckily Loes Sels offered me her wheel until i found him.  Afterwards, Jonas and I got to catch up with our friends Ellen van Loy and Tom - always nice when you can combine your passion with a bit of socializing!

Two days later, it was time to re-test the cyclocross legs at Hofstade-Zemst
by Leske Staes
where they held a separate women's race, thanks to organizer Jean Schoovaerts.  Otherwise we'd be having to duke it out with the juniors which is typical here in Belgium.  Once the gun sounded, it took me no time to get myself into 2nd position, on the heels of Ellen van Loy.  My first thought was that my legs were indeed as good as i thought they were in China where i didnt get to really test them. My second thought, though, was SHIT, my difficulty breathing from China hasnt gone away yet. I knew i was taking a gamble to race so soon after having such a close brush with death, but still wanted to give it a shot.  Eventually i faded to spot 5/6, crosssing the line in 6th in a sprint. 

The next weeks were occupied by my job as spokesperson for In Defense of Animals, The Vegan Society (whose logo is on my ass of my cycling clothing), and PCRM.  It took me to Luxembourg mid-september where i spoke at International Animal Rights Conference, then again to London for Vegfest UK at the end of September.  At both events, i spoke over my own experiences on a plant-based diet as well as tips and trips i've learned along the way to get the most out of my body through the use of nutrition.  Her is LINK to my talk at Luxembourg.
Talk at IARC Luxembourg

Once back from London, it was all focus again on cross.  I kicked off my return with a win at the 6de Grote Prijs Cyclocross Viersel in Belgium. Although it was a small event, it felt GREAT to lift my hands in the air across the finish line.  After the podium ceremony, i was interviewed in Flemish where i got to talk all about my job as spokesperson - was a very cool experience!

Next up is my first big back-to-back racing weekend.  Saturday (tomorrow) is Grote Prijs van Brabant  s-Hertogenbosch NED (they even put photos of the gals next to their names!) and Sunday is BPost Bank Trofee Ronse, BEL.   I know my legs are much stronger than the last years thanks to hard work with my new kinesist to resolve my lingering hip pain, but not sure how the nerves will be - or even how I will handle the constant intervals.  What I do have going for me is lots of excitement to be at both these races! No matter the outcome, I expect I'll have lots of fun!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cyclocross is just around the corner...

OK, well in my case it's on the other side of the WORLD as my first race is next weekend in CHINA!

Ninove crit by Yves Schollaert
Yes, you read that correctly.  I'm heading over to China with my good friend Ellen van Loy and Jonas is coming as our support guy! We are also partnering up with Thijs Al, his girlfriend and their 7-month old baby when we're there.  It is to race the first UCI cyclocross race of the season - a Category 1 event.  I expect it will be the strangest experience ever!

We leave Wednesday, arrive Thursday, race Saturday and then check out China, in particular The Great Wall and Beijing for the few days after. Ellen, though, heads directly back the day after the race. I'll be sure to take a lot of photos and do my best to send updates along the way.

Over the summer, i did a few races to keep in touch with race pace. Every time i do this, i am always

Lille Derny by Tom Debruyn
surprised by how fast women can propel their bikes!! Super cool to see - and of course to experience!  I did a couple post-tour criteriums including Ninove and the derny race in Lille as well as the Beneladies Tour on my birthday in July. 

My last hard effort was yesterday where i took the start at the Feesten Beert Kermiscross against the "elite" men.  I was 17th out of 48th at the end. That number doesnt really say anything but i can tell you i was thrilled to even get the opportunity to race! I went to the event with my friend Christophe. And without the usual Peanut van, i packed lightly. Apparently i was too light as i showed up without racing shoes!! By some miracle, a kind man lent me his spare pair of shoes so i could race. I am now hoping i didnt beat him to the finish. ;-) But it was a very good practice where i could work on my mud skills, climbing, descending, staircase descending, curb-hopping, log-springing and even

Flemish interview in Lille by Bianca Nyen
ramp jumping. Was a very interesting yet extremely fun experience! The announcer loved that there was a woman in the race so much that during the podium ceremony they were looking for me to award me with my very own prize - 2 oversized bottles of Kriek Boon - 1 oude (old) and 1 new. I kept the old but gave the new to Christophe as a thank-you for helping me put it all together before the race when i was busy trying to get the shoes to work. Was very thankful for that!

After i returned home with the racing high, i immediately hit rock bottom when i heard the news of Annefleur Kalvenhaar.  Dead. WTF. She hit a bridge wrong in the World Cup MTB Eliminator last weekend and the rest is history. Breaks your heart. This is someone i saw most weekends during the winter, a real up-and-comer at only 20 yrs old and always sweet to me. I didnt know her well aside from the races and as facebook "friends" but it hurts nonetheless to lose one of our own. pfff. I wish strength and loving vibes for the close friends and family of Annefleur.

On a more positive note - as life for the rest of us must go on - i have some GREAT news to announce soon enough so stay tuned....

As for my upcoming events, I'm speaking at International Animal Rights Conference again in
Luxembourg 12 September so stop on by if you can!!!

Next up is my talk at VegFest UK London 28 September.  They expect a crowd of 10,000 at this
event!!  I'm a guest speaker for The Vegan Society - they are being honored at this event for their 70th birthday. What an honor it will be to speak on their behalf. To find out more about it, click here!

As for my next races, I'm racing the day after i get back from China at Derny Edegem on 5 September (organized by Katrien Thijs), then after that i'm not yet sure regarding my cross schedule so stay tuned for that as well!!

Thanks for reading! x

Monday, June 2, 2014

Everything you wanted to know about my unique team and bike!

Ever wondered how...or new team came to be? 

Koksijde World Cup 2013
Photo: Kevin Remmerie
Ever wondered what I ride and how i dress it up for big occasions?

Read ALL ABOUT IT on a team/bike profile on me published on CYCLOCROSS Magazine!

From Canada to Belgium - with lots of love

In the last weeks I've raced the infamous Paris to Ancaster race in Ontario, Canada held on April
photo courtesy of
27th   followed by the Lotto Cycling Cup Houthalen – a UCI International race in Belgium. 

As for my experiences in Paris to Ancaster, it was simply unreal - an amazing adventure!  Not only did Ellen van Loy and I stay in a gorgeous house located right on the legendary Bruce Trail that’s 930km long, but we got to experience so many other local attractions such as Niagara Falls. By the time it was race day, we were so psyched up and ready to go! 
The competition was incredibly stiff but we held our own. Ellen placed 2ndand I was 3rd. Podium baby!  We were beaten by a pro mtb racer with the international LUNA MTB team. Even so, it felt fun to be on the podium again.
To read all about it, you can visit my personal diary on CYCLOCROSS Magazine.  I also got some nice
foto: Jeremy Allen
media coverage from it as well - some in Dutch and some in English.


Next came the Lotto Cycling Cup Houthalen.  As it was an international race i could not ride it as an
individual so I guest rode for Team Isorex - a wonderful team to represent! Against many of the best road cyclists in the world, I thankfully held my own.  I was happy to finish the race considering I’d picked a tough one to begin my road racing season with.  By the end of the 2hr45minute race, we had an average 40kph with 520 altitude meters.
(Photo courtesy of Tom Prenen)

Here are a couple of press/media spots on my race experiences there:

I am now back to more hard training for my upcoming racing block on the road – the exact race schedule is yet to be determined.  I am also putting more time into my writing these days. I just recently took on another freelance writing gig for a new cycling magazine and wrote my first article (all about myself ;-) ) for Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine.

I’m also busy working on my presentations for two upcoming events – International Animal Rights Conference in mid-September located in Luxembourg, and VegFest UK London end of September.
Thanks for reading!


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Off to Canada to race the infamous Paris 2 Ancaster!!

After a long hard trying cyclocross season with an excellent wrap-up cookie party (see party video

Foto: Lydia van de Meerssche
 - courtesy of, I took some much needed time off of the bike.  Usually my rest would last 5 days before i'd have to start training again for my yearly pilgrimage to the Tour of Cyprus. 

But with the race canceled for this year, I went a whole 3 weeks without the bike to fully decompresss, recover, regroup and re-humanize.  It felt great!  I would have taken even more time off if i hadnt received a fantastic invitation to the infamous Paris-Ancaster bicycle race in Ontario, Canada to be held on April 27th.  It is an offseason point-to-point cyclocross, a kind of Canada equivalent of Paris-Roubaix.

I'm traveling there with rockstar Ellen van Loy from April 23rd through 28th.  To make the trip even more exciting, we're holding a women's only cyclocross clinic the day before the race.
Here is the press release of the event on CYCLOCROSS Magazine.
And for those who read Dutch, did a nice piece on Ellen's trip to Canada.

As for other aspects of what i've been up to, I am now an official supporter of The Vegan Society.
They just changed their logo to celebrate their 70th anniversary as you can see in this photo! You can check out their site here.

Their old logo can be seen on the butt and collar of my skinsuit as shown in the photo here.

GP Sven Nys by Tom Prenen

Oh, and I've been interviewed by none other than THE cyclocross superstar Sanne van Paassen! What an honor!

Click HERE to read the interview on her website.

I finally got my new trading cards! The focus was on "nature" to reflect my earth-friendly sponsors such as T. Strong Transportation, a green transportation company based in Texas, and HempAge clothing company out of Germany.

Hope you like it!

I'm sure there are lots of adventures/happenings that i am forgetting to mention but if i remember any that are particularly interesting, I'll be sure to post it here!
Thanks for reading!!