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This interview is part of VitalMTB's Ultimate Guide to the 2013 Enduro World Series

With 2 wins out of 2 Enduro events this year already (in the SRAM Specialized Enduro Series), Anneke is showing early season form. With her incredible bike skills and XC-level fitness, she’ll be a solid threat throughout the series – don’t count on her not learning this new-to-her discipline fast enough to challenge for the title! Anneke rides for the Specialized Factory Enduro Team.

Anneke Beerten at the 2013 Sea Otter Classic by Cade VanHeel

Vital: You have already left a huge mark on the sport of cycling - what drew you to Enduro after dominating 4x?

AB: The biggest reason for me to start racing Enduro was that I was looking for a new challenge. After winning the 4X World Title the last 2 years I had reached my goals in 4X. It took me a while to get that title, and now I need some new goals for myself. And with my back ground in BMX, DH, 4cross and a bit of XC I felt that Enduro would be a good fit.

Anneke Beerten racing Protour 4X at Val di Sole 2012 - photo by Vanja Kodermac

Vital: How will you prepare? DH, trails, fitness, describe your training regime a bit (without giving away any secrets of course)?

AB: I changed my training quite a bit this winter. I took out most of my sprints in favor of doing more endurance and trail riding. Especially on the technical side I have work to do, it's been a couple of years since I rode proper DH and I knew that's one of the things that I had to work on again. Apart from that I like to have a lot of variety in my training, so I hit the gym to work on those massive legs of mine, road bike for endurance, BMX and 4-cross for skills, dirtbike for fun!

Anneke Beerten at VitalMTB's MX Day - shot by Gordo

Vital: Do you think Enduro is a valid goal for a young rider today as a specialty? Or is it still something a rider will get into after building their career in another discipline?

AB: That's hard question to answer...I think it could be both. When young riders get into it from the beginning they will be able to become amazingly skilled trail riders. And now with Enduro becoming big and sponsors stepping it up it could be interesting for young riders to start racing Enduro. For us older riders we need to approach it with the skills that we’ve built up trough out the years. For women specifically I think it is a great way to start racing mountain bikes. The trails are technical but not as scary/intimidating as some World Cup Downhill tracks.

Vital: Specialized has built a strong team and is obviously providing great support for its Enduro team (as are many others) – do you feel it is at the level you were used to in the World Cups? Is that how serious it is for the big teams now?

AB: Specialized definitely takes Enduro seriously this year and we will have great support from the team at the races. We will have a setup with a team mechanic at every World Series so Curtis [Keene] and I can focus a 100% on the racing.

Vital: You had a go at racing World Cup XC last year – tell us a bit about that experience. Was it what you expected, or something a bit different?

AB: I found out that my lungs could make some weird noises, I found out what it’s like to feel sick on a bike (and during the hours after riding), I discovered what it’s like to go into a downhill when you cannot see straight anymore from the uphill you just did...etc. But looking back on it I am happy that I did it, it made me harder, stronger and I had a good laugh at some of those events (even though I was suffering).

Vital: Your technical skills combined with serious fitness training should prepare you well for the EWS – but where to you feel ultimately these races are won or lost – is it mainly fitness or bike skills?

AB: A lot of it will be lost or won on flow, knowing where to go hard and where to save your energy. Skills are also very important, without proper bike handling skills it would be hard to compete with the top athletes at the Enduro races.

Anneke Beerten at Southridge Winter Series DH race #4 - photo by Dan Severson

Vital: Uplift or pedal up – what should Enduro be in your opinion?

AB: A good mix of both!! Make sure to make it fun for everyone, also for the people who are not pro!!

Vital: How will the recent announcements by the UCI regarding non-sanctioned events affect your racing plans? Any difficult choices to make?

AB: It will not affect my racing schedule this season because the UCI decided to push the rule out to 2014. But I really hope the UCI is looking into this rule and will see that it is absolutely nonsense! I race bikes because I love it and I have a passion for it, but with all the political rules the UCI is making it seems that it is taking the "fun" part out of cycling for many people!

Vital: Objectives for the EWS?

AB: This first year will be a big learning year for me, but I like to set my goals high and will aim for top 3 results.

Anneke rides for the Specialized Factory Enduro Team.

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