Interview with Flanderienne Grace Verbeke
June 30th, 2010 by Ashleigh Moolman Pasio
What brought you to the world of competitive cycling?
My parents were doing sport. My dad did triathlon (iron man) and my mother started cycling. I followed in their footsteps.
As a little kid I did competitive swimming, then I did running, and I was thinking of starting triathlon, so I started to ride a bike. From that moment, I decided to focus on cycling because it was very fun to do.
I was riding with a local cycling club and they suggested I give racing a go…. I was thinking that I had to race with the boys, I didn’t know competitive women’s cycling existed. But I realised it did exist, so I gave it a try. I liked it, so I keep doing it.
I recently watched a youtube video of an interview with you, where it appears that you do a lot of work with the old people in your community. Can you tell us a bit more about this?
I’ve only been cycling professionally for 1,5 years. Before I studied for 3 years and started to work after I had graduated.
My job was in a home for old people. These people are old, and have physicall and mental problems, so living on there own at home is not possible anymore. This is a difficult period in their lives, as they have to give up their homes andthey also don’t feel as fit as a young person anymore. My job there was to help them in that period. I was a listening person for them and I gave them new opportunities in there free time.
How would you describe yourself as a cyclist?
I am a cyclist who likes to do races on a hard course i.e. Ronde van Vlaandere, Fleche Wallone, Tour d’Ardeche, Ploauy……I am a bit of an all rounder, but just don’t have a good sprint, so I need a finish with not too many girls anymore.
What excites you most about competitive women’s cycling?
For me cycling is fun. I like to race and train with a goal. Planning training and racing to be good in a few races that I like.
From the moment that I started cycling professionally, I realised cycling is more than just riding your bike and doing races. I learnt that cycling is so much more than just that. Being a member of a team, we have lots of fun together. We also get to sea so much of the world by doing cycling. Every race is a new experience, each with its own emotional moments.
Can you describe your favourite moment on the bike?
The most favourite moment is the feeling of a win….Very exciting and emotional. To know you were the best. And to reap the rewards of hard work and training. Then you know, good training is worth it.
Another favourite moment, is the shower moment after you step off the bike after a good training session or race. In the winter you look forward to a good warm shower and in the summer a good cold shower. After the shower you feel al new person, nice moment!