Exclusive Marianne Vos interview!

Cross 1

This story is lovely.

About 3 weeks ago, Evelyn (my daughter) came home from school and announced that she had a piece of homework to do; some research into a topic that inspired her. The conversation went something like this.

Daddy, I’ve got to do a piece of research into something I really, really like.

That’s nice love. What are you going to do it on? <I was expecting gerbils, monster high or visiting her cousins in Yorkshire>.

Marianne Vos and cyclo-cross.

Wow…….Ok……..What do you know about Marianne Vos?

She’s the best cyclist in the world.

Ok. Yes she is. Anything else?

She’s really, really good at cyclo-cross.

Anything else?

Hmmm……….Not sure. She’s great though!

So, we chatted about it. It was time to do some web based research I said. Surf the cycling sites. Glean information. Then I had another idea. Why not email her?

So after contacting her via twitter, Marianne kindly agreed to answer an 8 year old’s questions. We sat at the keyboard the same evening Evelyn typed up her email. Within an hour – and whilst I was putting Evelyn to bed – Marianne had responded. Over the course of the next week, Evelyn built her first PowerPoint presentation, adding animations that interest an 8 year old and infuriate a world weary 44 year old. She gave her presentation in class and faced a barrage of questions about Marianne Vos and the sport of cyclo-cross in particular. Cycling has found a new audience.

Below I’ve cut and pasted the main body of Marianne’s responses and also included a read only version of Evelyn’s presentation. If the details serve to inspire further UK youngsters, one day we may see a GB jersey standing on top of that World champs podium; a prospect I relish. But perhaps even more importantly, if children – and in particular girls – have visible, positive and strong role models, cycling is likely to continue to grow in all its forms.

1. What is your favourite type of cycling?
For me it’s difficult to choose one discipline, because I like to make the combination. In this way it never get’s boring and the different trainings help me to get a more complete rider. I started with road and cyclocross when I was 6 years old; when I was 14 I started on the mountainbike and at age 19 I was on the track for the first time.
2. How many bikes do you have?
Due to all the different disciplines I do, I have a lot of different bikes. My team RaboLiv takes care of most of them, so I have only my training bikes at home. Total I have about 12 bikes: 3 road, 3 cyclocross, 2 mountainbikes, 1 time trial, 1 track and 2 townie bikes.
3. What do you like about racing?
For me it’s mostly about the play of the game and the ‘battle’ with the onther competitors. I make goals for myself and work to that with a good preparation, get mentally ready and than give everything I have. When everything you’ve done comes together and you get into the flow in the race, that’s a great feeling. The thrill and excitement is even a sort of an addiction to me; racing motivates me to get the best out of myself.
4. What is your favourite race?
It’s not easy to pick one race, because I’ve done a lot of great races. World Championships always have a special vibe, but when I have to pick one race it would be the World Cup of Heusden-Zolder. The circuit has everything in it; it’s fast, technical, but has also some hard climbing.
5. How much food do you eat every day and what is your favourite food?
Nutrition is very important for me as an athlete, so I always think about eating healthy food. With the training and racing I do, I have to eat and drink enough to fuel up my energy again.
It’s not that I never have a ‘sweet treat’ or something, but I take care on my intake to feel fresh and fit. My favourite food is Italian; I love a good lasagne!

All the best with your presentation and I wish you good luck and a lot of fun on the bike.

The powerpoint presentation is here: Presentation – The best cyclist in the world read only

A huge thank you to Marianne for taking the time to respond and inspire at least one youngster (and this not so youngster). Keep pedallin’ kids…..

10 replies »

    • Thanks! Marianne was an absolute star by responding (and so quickly), whilst Evelyn was chuffed to bits. We’ve had to watch that video every evening before bedtime ever since 🙂

    • She was on cloud 9 (and still is!). It was so good that Marianne took the time to do it – it’s always nice when the superstars show their softer side 🙂

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