The ROOST Questionnaire #8, Vaea Verbeeck

In a field dominated by men and boys, Vaea has shown that grace and femininity are not mutually exclusive to the fierce aggression required to race gravity cycling events at the highest level.

The ROOST Questionnaire #8, Vaea Verbeeck

Vaea Verbeeck, aged 27, is a shining example of a new breed of female extreme sports athletes. In a field dominated by men and boys, Vaea has shown that grace and femininity are not mutually exclusive to the fierce aggression required to race gravity cycling events at the highest level. She started riding downhill right off the bat at age 16, racing on a borrowed bike and coaching younger riders at DirtCamp.ca in Bromont, Québec. In a short time she went on to big wins worldwide, and factory support from some of the biggest brands in the industry. Always smiling and positive, even when plagued by off-season injuries, Vaea shows us all that the world needs more people like her. Here she spills on craving chocolate, laughing at bubbles, Andorran gnarliness, and frozen dropper posts.

-photos courtesy of Rocky Mountain

 

What is your second favorite sport or athletic endeavor?

Hmm, mountain biking is definitely my main go-to. If I'm not downhill riding, I'll be trail riding, and if not, I'll be on my hardtail at the pumptrack. So everything else I do stands quite equal in terms of favorites.

I'll go hiking, trail running, swimming, indoor bouldering, skiing and snowboarding all pretty equally. But I guess if it had to be one activity without the bike, I guess that leaves me to hiking mountains on my feet! Ha!

What is your favorite non-mtb bicycle or vehicle?

Well, I don't have a road bike yet :( so that can't be it. And my favorite vehicle/car would be a Subaru Impreza, which I also do not own yet, LOL! So I dream a lot still.

What is your preferred or ideal post-ride ritual?

Ice cream. Sure, beers are nice, but if I'm in pain climbing on the bike, you will always hear me say, "I WANT CHOCOLATE!" over, "I want a beer." My sweet tooth will always win in terms of motivation.

lil’ pan shot Friday over the pond for ya 🍳 #lovetheride 📷: @zachfaulkner

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Which mechanical glitch, imperfection, or problem will you tolerate on a ride? Which can you not tolerate?

I can tolerate: Gears not shifting precisely, she still goes. Except when you hear the constant clicking, that I can't tolerate and need to fix!

I cannot tolerate: A frozen dropper seat post. Stuck high after your climb, or even stuck low when you get to the parking lot about to start your climb - equally awkward. That was me last week. Pretty proud to have climbed the entire road standing on the pedals, but not something I want to do again.

What bicycle maintenance procedure do you most enjoy?

Changing tires when you have access to a compressor! They make my life a lot less sweaty and frustrating. I think everyone also loves seeing air bubbles come out when you bleed your brakes? Like, "Yes! YOU'RE gone! And you're gone! And you! and you! and you!" Hahaha!

Would you rather: turn your bike as much as you like, but never again have your tires leave the ground; or jump as much and as high as you like, but only ever ride in a straight line for the rest of time?

This is pure evil. But jumps, hands down. Jumps and rollers, create some combos, manuals, nose bonks, doubles, whips, scrubs, ugh!! I'd be dreaming of Velcro noises though, for sure.

Would you rather go for a three hour ride on: a bike with 15-year-old geometry and brand new suspension; or a bike with 15-year-old suspension and up-to-date geometry?

Soooo dangerous! I'm honestly debating so hard. I think I have to go with 15-year-old suspension and up-to-date geometry. That head angle scares me too much otherwise and I'd refuse to go fast.

What do you consider to be the greatest World Cup or World Championship race run of all time?

Danny Hart, Champery World Champs! (Just had to watch that again now, thank you for that :)

What do you consider to be the greatest injustice in mountain bike history?

That downhill World Cup races are so dependent on the hosting mountain / resort and big bucks. It's like we're "stuck" racing the same race courses because other riders' and fans' favorite mountains aren't the biggest providers to host a World Cup round. We're losing amazing racers one by one because the motivation to race that circuit just isn't that great anymore.

What do you consider to be the greatest bicycle paint job ever?

I might be forgetting the good old school ones, but last year's parched desert paint job on Tom van Steenbergen's Session was just a beauty.

If you could move one World Cup track to another World Cup venue, which would you move, and to where?

Andorra's World Cup track (the best) to Lenzerheide’s World Cup venue: my favorite chill venue that has an average track but a great lake and dock to recover and hang out with friends. Or I guess Cairns Australia’s venue; beaches, palm trees, flattest/shortest race track ever, haha!

Which is your favorite World Cup race track?

Vallnord, Andorra.

What is your favorite color for a bike frame?

Deep, dark green.

What is your favorite vintage downhill bike? (pre-2002 only)

Well I first hopped on a mountain bike in 2007. Soooooo, I have no clue and now I feel young again thanks! :D

What is your favorite story or legend in downhill history?

Little Stevie Smith from Cassidy BC getting tirelessly shuttled by his mom in the little Chevy Tracker. Then becoming World Cup Champion. #longlivechainsaw

What is your favorite story or legend in freeride history?

The Rampage canyon gap flip by Kelly McGarry in 2013.

What cycling industry job would you try that you haven't already?

Creating content rather than racing World Cups? Coming at you in 2018?!

If you could upload the skills and style of another rider to your brain and body, Matrix-style, whose skills and style would you choose?

Brook MacDonald's skills, Sam Blenkinsop's style.

Rehab is going fantastic 💪🏼💪🏼 📷: @zachfaulkner

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What is the biggest or best gift mountain biking has given you?

A healthy lifestyle, first and foremost. I am very proud of who I am and have become.

To push my boundaries, scare me a little, redefine new boundaries, and become a better/more passionate rider than I thought I could be.

Where is the best dirt in the world?

Sunshine Coast, BC.

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