Fast Talk Femmes Podcast: Technical Skills Development with Coach Anneke Beerten

MTB Skills Development Coach Anneke Beerten shares tips on how to improve bike handling skills and overcome psychological hurdles in risk taking.

FTF 129 Anneke Beerten

Anneke Beerten is a former cyclist and current Mountain Bike Skills Development Coach for USA Cycling. She is instrumental in helping the current generation of USAC MTB athletes hone their skills and rise to the top of the sport, and shares her bike handling and psychological management tips with Fast Talk Femmes.  

Anneke was a formidable pro rider, becoming a three-time World Champion in BMX and four-cross. However, her athletic career came to a sudden stop when she was involved in a car accident that resulted in a traumatic brain injury. This event did not deter her from pursuing her passion; instead, it became a segue into a successful coaching career. 

In this episode, Anneke discusses the process of skill building: how to approach the technical sections of mountain bike courses, how to utilize video analysis to find the right lines, and how to overcome confidence barriers. She also shares insights into the differences between men and women when it comes to approaching obstacles, developing bike handling skills, and building confidence.  

Episode Transcript

Dede Barry  00:05

Hi and welcome to Fast Talk Femme with Dede Barry and Julie Young. Our guests on today’s episode is USA cycling’s Mountain Bike technical skills coach Anneke Beerten. Anneke is one of the most passionate mountain bikers and former BMX racers out there she lives and breathes riding and is not scared of a challenge.

Dede Barry  00:22

Ever since she was a little girl. She has been hooked on riding and she has become an inspiration to many people in the cycling community. A young girl’s dream came true when she became a professional cyclist and won the world championships and BMX and and for cross. Annika grew up in a small town in the Netherlands and moved to California a few years ago to continue her journey as a professional athlete in the US and UK has experienced both between and outside the race tape provide an amazing platform for her to share her experience in cycling with a racing pedigree, rock solid bike handling skills and excellent ability to communicate and fans all over the world. We’re pleased to have Anneke Beerten join us on Fast Talk Femme.

Julie Young  01:06

Hey, Annika. Hi. How are ya?

Anneke Beerten  01:08

I’m doing well. Thank you.

Julie Young  01:10

Good. Welcome to Fast talk them podcast.

Anneke Beerten  01:13

Yeah. Thank you for having me excited.

Julie Young  01:15

Yeah. Where are you right now?

Anneke Beerten  01:16

I’m in Bentonville, Arkansas. All right.

Julie Young  01:20

Kind of the center of the universe for cycling these days. Yes, it

Anneke Beerten  01:24

  1. It is. It’s such an amazing place to be at. Yeah.

Julie Young  01:27

How’s your winter been going?

Anneke Beerten  01:29

Ah, the winter has been pretty good. So far. You never know here in Arkansas with the weather. What’s it going to do up till last week? It was pretty good. But we’re getting a lot more colder weather right now. So I think this weekend, we’re gonna go down to zero. So that’s gonna be pretty cool. Ouch. Yes,

Julie Young  01:48

yeah. I was chatting with one of the kids. I coach her father. And he’s like, Yeah, I don’t mind the cold and the snow as long as you can do something with it. But back there. It’s hard to do anything with the snow, I would imagine.

Anneke Beerten  02:00

Yeah, I mean, it normally lasts just for a couple of days, like depending on the temperatures, we had some snow like yesterday. But today, the trails were in prime condition, it was perfect. But when the temperatures go that low, the snow doesn’t really clear that fast. So then it’s hard, you know, to get riding in, you know, there’s only so many layers you could put up on before, like, you can’t feel your fingers anymore. So I always try to be mindful with that when we go out riding. Yeah, you got to stay warm. Totally.

Julie Young  02:28

In our introduction for you. We provided some highlights for your career. But can you tell us a little bit more detail about your journey as an athlete and you know how you arrived at this point in your life? Yeah, sure. Well, I’ll

Anneke Beerten  02:43

start at the beginning, beginning beginning I grew up in the Netherlands, and I started writing a little BMX bike, and my parents took me to the local BMX track, and that’s where I got hooked on riding bikes. My parents weren’t really into bicycles or anything my dad like motorcycles, but yeah, so I got into BMX just raced nationally until I was about 15. That’s when I did my first World Championships race, and I won that. And then I was like, okay, seems like I’m doing pretty good International. And then another year of BMX, won the world championships again in Canada. And then I started picking up mountain bikes, I got onto a mountain bike team locally, like in the Netherlands, and I started racing downhill races, so in from the little bike to like a really big bike. Never seen a mountain in my life before but they kind of threw me off it for the first time and I absolutely loved it. So I really got into all the downhill stuff. And then with my background of BMX racing, I also started doing Dual Slalom races like back in the day we had World Cups Dual Slalom, started doing that. And then for cross came along, they started doing for cross and really love that because with my background of BMX that was like the perfect combo won the world championships three times in that. And after that I decided to get into more enduro racing because we had the Enduro World Series that was starting up and I was looking for like a new challenge that hooks on that love that also did a little little bit of cross country racing in between, even at some of those eliminator races back in the day, some sprint races. And yeah, that’s basically everything kind of in a nutshell, and now moved to Arkansas and a full time coaching,

Julie Young  04:24

where and how did you find mountains in Holland to do some downhill racing?

Anneke Beerten  04:29

Yeah, there was not any. So when I got introduced to the downhill side, the gravity side of mountain biking, I’m not gonna lie, I had no clue what I was doing. Like I come from a BMX bike that only has one break, and that’s a back break. It only has one gear. It’s a Fixie, and then you go to a bicycle with multiple gears, brakes suspension, and then you just go downhill so it took me a while to get the hang of that but I think I was so hooked on it from the beginning, and I fell in love with the sport and adrenaline was like the challenge of something new. You know, I had done BMX racing for so long and now like had a fresh start at something new. So but yeah, not fun in Hollywood flat as a pancake. So I had to go to Germany and France.

Dede Barry  05:12

Annika, it sounds like your career had a lot of twists and turns throughout some real highlights. But I know you at one point dealt with a traumatic brain injury from a crash. And I was wondering if you could tell us about this and how you mentally and physically overcame the adversity? Yeah, so

Anneke Beerten  05:29

the brain injury was actually happened in a car accident. That was in the summer of 2020. We were kinda in the middle of COVID. And I was at home driving home from riding my bike in the back of the pickup, and I was hit by somebody that ran a red light, I was hitting the driver’s side of my vehicle, and sustained a whiplash and a brain injury or concussion in that accident. And the combination of those two, like brain injury and or concussion and whiplash can make a brain injury pretty severe. And I really started struggling right after the accident, with a lot of headaches, a balance problems, my speech was off. And you know, I immediately started seeing specialists, my own doctor, and then I got forwarded to a brain injury doctors that specifically, you know, deal with a lot of people, athletes that have concussions. And yeah, that was a long road for me to recover and trying to get back to riding and deal with that injury. But it was definitely a pretty tough injury. Yeah,

Dede Barry  06:29

were you able to come back to racing after that? Unfortunately, not.

Anneke Beerten  06:33

So a year after the accident, I had to make the decision with the doctors to medically retire from racing, I was so far off of like the athlete, I was before the accident, especially with riding and training and the risks were too high. You know, the second impact syndrome that we often talk about with brain injuries, that’s very dangerous, and the risks for that were just too high. So we needed to make a call to retire from racing and also for myself, so I could move forward and put that behind me because it was a year of like everyday waking up and trying to get back to racing. You know, that was that was the motivation, you wake up and it’s like, Okay, hopefully today will be better. Because next month, I got a race coming up, or like, you know, maybe in half a year, I can get back to racing and could be back at the World Cups. And I just needed to put that at ease that that was just not going to happen anymore. Yeah,

Dede Barry  07:28

that had to be really tough. Yeah,

Anneke Beerten  07:30

it was very tough. But I think I was at that point, like a year in, I was starting to see it. And I was really tired of doctor’s appointment and therapy, and on and on and on. Like every week, almost every day of the week, you know, your whole life is like about that, you know, trying to recover from that injury and getting back to racing. You know, and then when you can’t even ride for an hour on the road bike, you just know, you can’t get back to doing hours of riding in a day. Yeah,

Dede Barry  07:58

it’s crazy to go from being like a superhuman athlete to that state and hard to pull yourself out of it too. I’m

Anneke Beerten  08:05

sure. Yeah, for sure. I feel like, you know, like, you go like 100 miles an hour with whatever you do traveling racing, going to the events, to nothing, hardly being able to get out of bed because you have or I had really severe symptoms with the headaches, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, hard time with screens, and just like going to facilities where a lot of people are being treated for strokes, you know, like you’re surrounded by people that are 7080 years old, and you’re walking in there frustrated because you can’t balance or you can’t do the simplest exercises that would been so easy before the accident, you know? So the reality check of that and feeling like you’re so far away from the person I was before the accident was really hard to accept for sure.

Dede Barry  08:55

Is that when you began to transition and segue into coaching, yeah,

Anneke Beerten  08:59

a little bit. I mean, I was coaching a little bit before already in California, just a few athletes to help out with some skills coaching. And I did a few events like Bentonville Bike Festival, women’s shred. So I was doing a little bit and when I moved to Bentonville that was in the back of my mind, you know, I was like, Well, I hope I can really start focusing on that, because that’s something I can do. You know, I can still pass on the knowledge that I have from riding, racing and help people get better at mountain biking.

Dede Barry  09:27

That’s amazing.

Julie Young  09:28

Annika, it seems to me you’re writing at a really high level now have most of the symptoms subsided, then? Not

Anneke Beerten  09:35

yet. They’re a lot better. Like it’s going a lot better than you know, it’s been already three and a half years, but I always kind of compare it to the writing I’m doing now it’s fairly easy. Unless I’m going with USA Cycling Team to some of the World Cup racing then yes, and um, you know, writing pretty technical courses, but everything that I write here is fairly easy. And I’m standing a lot more on the side that I’m actually You’re writing at a high pace or high heart rate. So for me, a lot of the symptoms come when my heart rate goes up for a longer time, and I get a lot of pressure in my head. And the same with like really long technical rides. Technical, bumpy trails is what kinda like costs my symptoms to flare up. And a lot of the stuff that I coach now I always say, like, I can compare it to like blue trails, I can almost do it with my eyes closed, compared to all the stuff that I used to do, which like downhill World Cup racing, or like double black diamonds, you know. So I feel like that way, I don’t feel too worried when I’m writing and coaching with what I’m doing now. And the same with the cross country stuff. So, yeah,

Dede Barry  10:42

I want to circle back to your career, specifically to the for cross mountain bike, I know you competed in that event and won the world championships. And that event, this is not as well known of a mountain bike discipline as some of the others. Can you paint us a picture of what the event looks like, and its unique demands? Yeah,

Anneke Beerten  11:01

so I used to, like try to tell people compare it to like boardercross, snowboarding or skiing. And it’s a concept of four people lining up in the Start gig. The choruses are fairly short, like over a minute, normally a minute and a half. And it’s like a BMX track down a hill. So you have jumps, rock gardens drops, and you go head to head. So it’s head to head racing. And every round two people advance the next round until you’re in the final, and the top four will battle it out for who gets on the podium. Yeah, so it’s really thrilling to watch. And yeah, it was for a long time. It was just UCI World Championships, UCI World Cups. Sounds

Dede Barry  11:43

like a lot of fun.

Anneke Beerten  11:44

Yeah, it was,

Dede Barry  11:45

is it still a competitive event at the world championship level?

Anneke Beerten  11:48

Unfortunately, not anymore. I think last year was the last or the year before they had an official UCI World Championships still, but it kept changing like the UCI was kind of having it on board. And then it wasn’t. And I think they tried to do some stuff on their own, especially in Europe, because in Europe, it’s still going with some European races, but not on a world level anymore. Unfortunately, at the time, you see, I was trying to focus on I remember it because you see I was trying to focus more on the sprint racing Olympic disciplines. So they started putting up those town sprint races, like in town eliminators. And that was the same concept before people it was just a sprint race. So it wasn’t a downhill event anymore. But that also they change that that’s not happening anymore. Now they have to short track. Yeah.

Dede Barry  12:34

And in terms of your athletic career, what was your favorite discipline or event? Oh,

Anneke Beerten  12:39

that’s always a hard one for me, because I think I enjoyed all of it. I really did. So I think for me, it was like the diversity in doing all these things was what I really enjoyed. But man, if I had to pick one, it will still probably be like for cross or downhill. Yeah,

Dede Barry  12:55

yeah. Is there an achievement that you’re most proud of? Yeah. For

Anneke Beerten  12:59

me that was winning two world championships in Switzerland, my first one that was in 2011. Because all the years before I got so close, I was like, second third, or I crashed once I was disqualified. And, you know, like, every year, it felt like it got harder and harder. And people go like, Well, are you gonna win it this year? And I’m like, Well, I’m trying. It’s not like I’m not trying. And then that year I am everything just fell into place. I had such a good final run. And it was really awesome. Because my mom and dad were there and they were at the finish line. It wasn’t Switzerland. So they came out and just everything fell into place in the right moment. So yeah, that was definitely one of the ones I am most proud of.

Julie Young  13:42

On again, in doing some research for this this episode i i looked at some of the videos of for cross and it just looks like roller derby on mountain bikes. Maybe I should tell people that next time they ask me. Gosh, I mean, what a spectator sport.

Anneke Beerten  14:00

Yeah, the crowd that lined up on those races, it was bananas. You know, it’s almost like you feel like a gladiator going down to hill with like, people just lined up with chainsaws and whatever, you know, sounds they can make. And it was always such a rush.

Julie Young  14:15

It’s so not so it’s interesting. Why like sports come in and out of like the UCI, you know what it? Is that the kind of threshold they have to meet to maintain that status.

Anneke Beerten  14:24

Yeah, I wish I had an answer for that, too. You know, sometimes I think it’s the people inside the company that change or it has to do with how much it costs to build the courses. And yeah, I’m sure there’s a lot behind the scenes that we don’t know why they make those decisions, you know?

Julie Young  14:41

Yeah, sure. So can you give us a snapshot of what you’re doing now? Yeah.

Anneke Beerten  14:45

So now here in Bentonville, I coach full time and extra coaching. I’m trying to help out Bentonville as well with some drill designs and building and then I work with USA Cycling with the development of summer The younger riders and helping them out at World Cups world championships as well, encore. So I coach them on course really help them out with getting them comfortable when they’re out at World Cups or bigger races. And yeah, that’s the main thing I’m doing right now.

Julie Young  15:15

That’s awesome. So what’s the range of athletes you work with

Anneke Beerten  15:19

very wide. You know, skills coaching can be beneficial not only for like a cross country rider I’m working with Paige on Well, right now she is a gravel racer, and we’ll start doing some more press country racing this year. So I’m working with her. And then, you know, I’m working with beginners as well that come to visit Bentonville want to learn how to improve their skills on jumping, for example, I help them out with that. Or if people are new to E biking, I help them out, get comfortable and teach them how to ride an E bike safe. That’s the part that I really enjoy too. Because you have these athletes, that brief writing, you know, all they care about is like getting better getting faster. And then you have your normal average rider that just gets super pumped and stoked when their wheels leave the ground for a couple of inches. You know, so I really enjoyed doing both of that. You have such

Julie Young  16:13

incredible resources in Bentonville? I would think as a coach, like the progressions that are available.

Anneke Beerten  16:19

Yeah, there’s plenty. You know, there’s, there’s so much available here. And I think that’s the cool thing about being here as well. There’s a lot of progression in the trails, so you can start really easy and really built your way up to more technical stuff. Yeah.

Julie Young  16:34

And the features are like, magnificent. I’ve never seen such a well built features.

Anneke Beerten  16:39

Yes. Yeah,

Julie Young  16:40

they do a good job with all that. Yeah. If individuals are interested to work with you, like, is it? Can they do it, like on a private basis? Or do you host camps, clinics, um, yeah, I’m

Anneke Beerten  16:50

pretty flexible with everything I like to, you know, help everybody out what works best for them. I do one on one. So just private sessions. And then I do clinics, normally, in the spring in the fall, because that’s when it works best within my own schedule. And I’m here in Bentonville and the weather is normally the best as well. So I do clinics, and they’re normally like how to jump how to prefer jump in or like drops advanced jump in, because that’s seems what people really want to learn most is like, you know, getting that air time and looking cool. And then yeah, just like I said, very flexible to if there’s a group come into town, or teams come into town, I set something up with them. I’ll talk to them and see what they want to work on what the level is of riders, and also difference between, you know, working with younger girls versus like younger guys or older guys. So like, just, there’s so much priority at all. And I think it’s important to make sure that you work with whatever they are kind of looking for to improve. That’s important.

Julie Young  17:51

Yes, speaking of that, I wanted to ask if you find you have different teaching styles, whether you’re working with a man or a woman, or a boy or girl, or it’s just very unique each and every time. Yeah,

Anneke Beerten  18:02

it’s so unique. And that’s what makes this job really cool too. Because nobody’s the same, you know, I always try to keep my groups fairly small, because I want to get make sure I give everybody the attention that they deserve. And so that they walk away from a session and that they either learn something or build confidence, because there’s such a big difference in riders and we probably all know that from you know, our own paths as well. There’s certain things you struggle with and certain thing that you excel in. So making sure that everybody you know, gets the most out of the session, I really, you know, try to focus on that. Do

Julie Young  18:39

you find you you have different styles, whether it’s a man or a woman? Or is it just unique every time? It’s

Anneke Beerten  18:45

unique every time, but there’s definitely differences between men and women. Yeah, for the women, I noticed that it’s a lot more mentally, you know, like, it’s a lot more talking, convincing and slowly, building up with things with guys. It’s often like you show them you talk to them, and they want to ride it and know how to do it, they don’t really overthink it. They’re really fast with picking things up. On the women’s side. Like we often take a little bit more time. We like to analyze it a little bit more. And and that’s fine. You know?

Julie Young  19:16

Yeah, based on my experience, that seems very similar. It just seems like the guys are very willing to just learn by trial and error. And the women just want that more analytical explanation. Yeah,

Anneke Beerten  19:26

that and then just like, I think to a lot of repetitions, helps with women and build that confidence slowly versus like, you know, immediately throwing them off of something super big. That just doesn’t work that well with women. You just slowly want to build that up. And that’s a safe way to do it as well. I think that’s super important, too. You know, you want to progress forward and not backward.

Julie Young  19:48

Yeah, makes sense. I’d love to hear more about your work with USA Cycling.

Anneke Beerten  19:52

Yeah, that’s been super fun. It’s been amazing. It was it was an honor when they reached out you know, and asked if I wanted to work with them. Um, that was last year in the spring. And I said, you know, I was a little a little nervous in the beginning to you know, having a Kate Courtney come over and some of those badass elite riders coming to Bentonville to do a skill session with me, like, I know, they can ride a bike, you know, there’s like, no doubt. So I had a little program in mind what I was going to do with them, and I started working with them. And their feedback was amazing. And we actually were able to work on a lot. And I think, after that we really started seeing like, okay, there’s a lot we can work on, especially we look at under 23 engineers. So yeah, they came to town a few more times. And I really started working with them. And then I traveled to Europe to a couple of the World Cups. And that was really helpful, especially again, for the females, because those courses in Europe are no joke, you know, they’re on their 100 millimeter bike, they have to do some pretty technical and gnarly stuff. So being there, helping them out, talking them through it, sessioning videoing just helps them so much with getting to know the course faster, more energy efficient, as well. And you just build the confidence so fast, you know, the first day normally, we dial in a lot, and the second day, should be almost dialed in. And after that they’re, you know, ready to really ride the course faster at race speed, versus like being nervous and not knowing how to do those futures and just ride the lines, you know,

Julie Young  21:28

yeah, I was actually at the bear team training camp this past week, and I was riding with Bailey Chiapa, who I hope I pronounced her name correctly. Who works with you on the national team. She’s a u 23. Rider. So I figured it was a great opportunity to do a little research on on this episode. So I just was chatting with her about her experience working with you. And you know, she she just said how valuable it was for her when you are on those World Cup trips with them. And that, you know, she was explaining to me that you typically will go out, you’ll do a lap of the course then grab the team and y’all go out and do a lap in session those certain sections, but I’d asked her like, what was different about working with you, you know, as compared to other skills coaches she had worked with? And she said, It’s your confidence in her that really gives her confidence? Yeah,

Anneke Beerten  22:24

well, that’s awesome to hear, you know, because I feel like what I try to do, and that maybe not all coaches are able to do is like, I’ve been there, I’ve been in the exact same spot that Bailey was in, you know, and I know, the morning, she wakes up and it’s raining, I know she’s gonna be extra nervous, you know, and I know when she sees the Corps, and there’s like a super steep, gnarly rock section. I know how she feels. And I’m not going to pressure her into something. But I’m going to like slowly talk her through it and help her out. Because like you say, like, I know she has the ability to do it, no doubt. But when you’re so young, and you come you go to Europe and go to these courses, that’s very overwhelming, you know. So I’m hoping that I can help her with that, you know, and get her that confidence faster, believe in herself again, that she can do it. And then often they pick it up pretty fast. But I think sometimes we forget that part that there’s so much more going on, in an athlete’s mind than just good luck. Go down that you got this, you know, just send it. No, there’s just so much more to it. Yeah,

Julie Young  23:30

I mean, I believe that adds so much value to your coaching the fact that you were an athlete, you’re very in tune with the emotional side of what it takes to be an athlete, as opposed to just being a really technical coach, you know, I think you need the blend of both those things. Yeah,

Anneke Beerten  23:48

I think that’s very important, too. I think the understanding of those little things, as you know, when you were racing and lining up, that helps. And I think the athletes feel very comfortable with that, to knowing that I kind of know what they feel, you know, and they can speak up about it to me, because it’s not new to me. But yeah, just kind of talking to them about that and helping them out with that. I think that’s a hopefully, it has been a huge help to them. Yeah, she

Julie Young  24:16

also mentioned she really appreciated that you don’t back away from challenging situations, and you remain really steady and firm. And there’s like no sense of uncertainty in your coaching. You just kind of take that challenge head on. Yeah,

Anneke Beerten  24:30

I think that’s important too, because you don’t want to, you know, don’t want to show that to the athletes. I’m always very clear that there’s no pressure. There’s never any pressure if they don’t feel like doing it. And I always say if you have that feeling in your stomach where you got a knot in your stomach or you start feeling sick before you know doing like a gap jump or something. I always tell them, it’s here tomorrow, you know, let’s focus on the rest of the course because you’re worrying now about something that is two seconds out of a whole course. I’ll come back tomorrow, we’ll focus on the rest of the course. And I think that’s important too, that they don’t feel pressured right away. But we slowly build up to stuff. Especially when we were at World Champs, for example, this year in Scotland, with the under 23. And juniors, we went on course, the first day of practice, and everybody was on course. And Lea can vouch for this, too, the stress level was so high with just everybody on course, it was bananas, because everybody was checking out all these like sections that were really technical. And everybody was looking at each other you so you can just feel it. So I just kept telling them, we’re just gonna ride, you’re just gonna ride the course like, well, let’s get two laps in, we’re not going to stop, we’re gonna ride the lines, let’s just like get a feel of the land and the dirt. You know, and it’s so important not to get caught up with what everybody else is doing. And after that, we’ll I always try to have a plan after that, we’ll pick it up, and we’ll tackle all the sessions.

Julie Young  25:58

Yeah. And I think it’s just as a coach, you know, helping the writers maintain that perspective of like, as you said, Don’t fixate on that two second section, you know, the gap horses however long and just the nuance to coaching, you know, like, I think there is such a nuance and art to it.

Anneke Beerten  26:17

Yeah, yeah. And I’m still learning to, you know, I love seeing how other coaches work and handle things and ways to improve. And I think that’s important, too, to be really open minded, as a coach

Julie Young  26:29

is curious, like, when you are sectioning a really technical part of a course or a section, do you like kind of give it like three tries? And if it’s not kind of happening, after three tries, you’re like, Okay, let’s move on, or what’s your thought there?

Anneke Beerten  26:43

Yeah, depending on like the future, I will make sure I do video playback. So I’ll be on the side, grabbing a couple of shots, and then I’ll show that to them. And explain it or I’ll video somebody that is doing it well and show them so they can visualize themselves doing it. But if they roll up to it like four or five more times, and they’re like breaking before stopping or taking a beeline, then I’ll wrap it up, and I’ll move on to something else. Because I always say like, you can come back to it the day after and you’re normally have a different look on it. You know, you have time to process it at night, and look back at the videos. And you know, I think that often helps do it’s not going to help putting pressure on somebody. If they just you know, don’t it doesn’t feel right for them.

Julie Young  27:28

Do you find out a certain point just because I think we can get a little paralyzed by being too analytical like, like, if you have run through it, you’ve sessioned it like sometimes it’s better for them, like a writer just to follow you through a section. So that kind of takes that thinking out of it. And they’re just following and watching you. Yeah,

Anneke Beerten  27:45

I do that a lot. I did a lot of writing. I call it copy paste. I try to tell them copy paste. So they follow and it’s like you said it takes the thinking away. It takes thinking away. They don’t have to think about like it’s my speed ride my line ride. Just follow and try to keep it fun. It’s so so important with that stuff, too. But yeah, towing them into stuff is a big help for many riders.

Julie Young  28:10

I love that cut and paste. Yeah, yeah. Hey, I have just one more question. It’s a little bit off subject of teaching. But I’d love to get your opinion on bike setup, because I think there’s a lot of opinion, especially when it comes to the front end of a cross country bike. So and let’s say this is for a World Cup rider where they’re doing really steep climbs, and then obviously really steep technical dissents. And assuming they have good range of motion and flexibility to get low on the front end if they needed to. What’s your opinion in terms of that front end setup? Should it be really low? Should it be higher?

Anneke Beerten  28:44

Personally, I think with the course is changing so much and getting steeper and more technical on a downhill. I feel like some people are pushing it a little bit too low. And the reason why is I see that the courses are more punchier. When it comes to climbing nowadays, let’s use the World Championships course again, I think it was pulley in Provo that was hammering the climb, she was almost like standing up constantly. She was hardly in the seat with climbing. But now she was writing some of the V lines in the downhill. So I think it’s important to find a balance with that and we don’t need to be as low as back in the day where the climbs really long we were sitting down, we were in a deeper position, and the Donald’s were pretty flowy. Now when you think of the Rock Roll we had at World Championships, you guys might have seen it, it was a super steep rock roll. And the hardest part for the athletes that were really deep into bars to get that front end up or to get the weight back over the bike because they’re hunched over so far. So it’s a personal preference as well. But I feel like what the course is changing, we could be up a little higher nowadays and it will help it will just benefit a lot more on the steeper stuff in the downhills because it’s easier for you to plop your front end up if you’re not as deep on the bike versus like being super deep on the bike

Julie Young  30:05

and when you say deep you mean like for example stem down? Yes, like kind of thing slammed on the way low like all brings? Yeah,

Dede Barry  30:13

do you find now more riders are customizing the bike for the courses for the bigger races? Yes, a little bit are all of them more technical in terms of the descending? Well,

Anneke Beerten  30:23

when I say that I’m kind of aiming more towards like the World Cup courses. And that’s what makes it sometimes difficult. If we look at the American races and American courses, it’s not you know, it’s a lot more flowy flatter, and not as technical. So there’s a difference in that. But we used to when I was racing enduro, we would adjust the headset angle at every event like depending on the event, depending on the downhills, I would either like put a couple of rings under my stem to get the front end up a little bit. If it was like really steep, I would put a couple of rings under my stem. So we’ll put the front end up and it was easier for me, you know, to get the front wheel off the ground. And if it was not, I would slam the stem back down into like a faster race position. So it’s so personal when it comes to like where we’re racing, the athlete itself. But when I think about World Cups, and technical terrain, we could be up a little bit more.

Julie Young  31:19

I do bike fitting, so it’s tough. You know, when these kids see Nino, Sherpa, and his like, so far down. And so then of course everybody wants to look like him.

Anneke Beerten  31:31

Yeah, so I actually I have one of the younger riders I work with as well, Emma, she’s amazing. She’s only 13 years old. And we talked a little bit about that too. And she sees other riders, I was like, first find a comfortable position. Don’t go too deep yet, and work on your skills. Let’s like mail all these drops here first before we change anything. And like when you get to that level of like juniors or like even like elite, then really start working on like getting yourself as deep as like a Nino shooter. But Nino has amazing and the same as Christopher Blevins. They have such amazing skills. It’s phenomenal, you know, and they can definitely handle riding a bike like that, or a setup like that. Yeah,

Julie Young  32:13

it’s all relative and all individual. Yes, Annika, I

Dede Barry  32:17

wanted to circle back, I really liked that discussion about helping riders overcome the fear and the technical sections of the trials, I think you have a really systematic approach that could be hugely beneficial. But I know like, you know, during my career, and I raced obviously on the road, but did a lot of mountain biking. For me, there was always like a big psychological hurdle post crash, and particularly mountain biking, because I found it always felt like there was more risk taking there. So how do you help athletes overcome that?

Anneke Beerten  32:47

Yeah, that’s a good one, it’s very individual as well. But it’s a slow process, or I like to take the slow way. Because kind of what we talked about earlier, I think the mental side of overcoming that is difficult, you know, don’t take the person back to where they crash right away, I would say like, rewind a little bit, find something easier, and then slowly start building that confidence up from there. And also, don’t push them too much, you know, understand their fear, and that they just need to build their confidence and find ways to progress again, that’s super important to you know, and get back to the point and build. I always felt like I knew when I was ready again. And I think a lot of athletes have that too. They get to the point and they’re like, Okay, now I’m back. I feel good. I have my confidence back. And I got this, you know, but it always takes a little bit of time. And I think pressure is not going to help with that or trying to push the rider with that. It’s just like slowly built back up to that point where to know like, oh, yeah, I got this. I know how to do this.

Dede Barry  33:50

Do you ever refer your athletes to psychologists? Or do you work in tandem with the psychologists in this process?

Anneke Beerten  33:57

Yeah, I definitely refer them to look into talking to somebody or psychologist. I always worked with one when I was an athlete, especially in the Netherlands, it’s like to me, it makes sense. Because if you want to line up and start gait, and you trained your you know your ass off all winter long, but that mentally you’re not ready, or why line up? You know, it’s like all your hard work has been for nothing. So I think your brain and mental health is so important for racer and wanting to become better debt. I definitely you know, talk about that. Yeah, it’s like train your brain, you know. And one of the athletes like we just said, I worked with Paige on Weller. She’s doing amazing with that. So she has a really good program right now where she’s talking to the psychologist, and then sessioning with me and she’ll let me know what you would like to work on or how we’re actually approaching stuff because it’s not always let’s say the word you got to commit you got to commit because what is omit you know, for a person, it’s more about being in a moment you want your tires to grip, you want to feel the power on the pedals, you want to think two steps ahead, you want to know how you’re going to execute this section. So really trying to like, think about the how tos, you know, versus like just saying, like, go send this, you got this, you know, in for a person like face is very important because she is very new to mountain biking. So there’s still a lot of fear involved and like building on that is also the mental side of it, and sessioning over and over and over again, and coming back to the same spot and then doing it again. And then a week later, you fly through that section. And it’s like, Ah, okay, now it starts clicking. But I think it’s always a big puzzle, you need to put all the pieces together.

Julie Young  35:47

I totally agree with that in terms of when athletes are coming back from injury and just not forcing it, not pushing it. And I really believe that, you know, you do know, as an athlete when you’re ready. Yeah,

Anneke Beerten  35:59

I definitely had that myself. And so again, that’s how I try to think about how they would feel. And often it happens once they’re ready. They’re ready. And I’ll ask them, like, you think you’re ready today to like, do this job. And then they’re like, yeah, and then you know, you know, and if they look very pale white, and they’re kind of shaking, they’re not ready yet.

Julie Young  36:21

Hey, I was gonna ask you, I know, you talked about like, everybody wants to like jump and get air time. But it seems like no matter where you’re in the sport, it’s always good to revisit fundamentals. What’s your thought on that? Yeah,

Anneke Beerten  36:34

that’s very important. So when I start with a new athlete or new rider, I always start with the basics, you know, the fundamentals. And that’s where I get a baseline. And I’ll start from there, because it never hurts to start with fundamentals, because we often forget that and it’s really little things with like, pedal position, you know, body position on the bike, how to ride lines on a trail. And yeah, I think that’s very important. Yeah, I

Julie Young  37:02

coach Amy Morrison. I don’t know if you ever came across Amy. She’s the current enduro champ. Yeah. And that’s one thing she says it’s always she’s always going back to cone work, or, you know, she’s never above doing fundamentals. No,

Anneke Beerten  37:17

that’s so important.

Dede Barry  37:18

Annika to wrap up today, I wanted to ask you, if you were to give an aspiring female mountain biker who’s motivated to improve their skills, three pieces of advice, what would it be,

Anneke Beerten  37:28

I would say, Be you keep doing you and have fun with it in a playful way, ride your bike, and do different things, different disciplines don’t just get stuck on one thing, because I think it’s very important to do these different disciplines or crossovers for your own skills level, but also to stay hungry, and to keep it fun.

Dede Barry  37:52

That’s really good advice.

Julie Young  37:53

Thank you really good. onic if people want to find you, what’s the best way for them to find you or contact you? Yeah,

Anneke Beerten  38:01

they can reach out either through social media. You know, we got Instagram, obviously. But then my own website on a or my business website for coaching is crank it up MTB, they can just shoot me a message or an email. And that’s yeah, how we connect. That’s

Julie Young  38:16

awesome. And we’ll include all of that in our show notes. Yes. Sweet. Yeah. I was gonna ask you just one more thing. Do you ever do remote clinics or camps? Like do you ever go to other locations other than Bentonville? Yeah, I

Anneke Beerten  38:28

do a little bit. I mean, I’ve done a few in the Netherlands before when I go home, you know, and there’s some more in the pipeline. But right now, I’ve just been fairly busy already with the things going on here. And then with USA Cycling, and I’m still doing some other events for like, specialized as well. So like car classic, you know, I’ll be at Sierra classic for that. And we have the Bike Festival here in Bentonville. So need to find a little bit more time to travel out the state and do some more coaching.

Julie Young  38:58

Yeah, sounds like plenty on your plate.

Anneke Beerten  39:00

Yeah. All good, though. All fun stuff and super stoked with it. Good. Well, it’s

Julie Young  39:05

so good to see you again.

Dede Barry  39:06

It’s good to see you.

Anneke Beerten  39:07

Thanks, thank you guys.

Dede Barry  39:09

Thank you.

Dede Barry  39:11

That was another episode of Fast Talk Femme. Subscribe to Fast Talk Femme wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcasts. Be sure to leave us a rating and review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk Femme are those of the individual. As always, we’d love your feedback, and any thoughts you have on topics or guests that may be of interest for you get in touch via social. You can find us @fasttalklabs on Twitter and Instagram @fasttalklabs where you’ll also find all of our episodes. You can also check them out on the web at For Anneke Beerten, and Julie Young, I’m Dede Barry. Thank you for listening!