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We love sport at EY! It’s energizing and inspiring and it brings people together. Vitality, passion and a good environment play a major role in fulfilling our goal of Building a Better Working World. We believe that a healthy body makes for a healthy mind. Marc Cosaert and Tristan Dhondt are the perfect examples of this motto. They share their views of sport with us and take us to South Africa!

Why is sport important to you?

Marc : Sport is important to me because it clears my mind. And because I firmly believe that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Sport makes me healthier, increases my attention span and improves my all-round performance. I’m a real outdoor type, I love the peace and quiet of nature. We spend too much time sat inside during the week, so I really need to get outside and do some sport.

Tristan : Sport keeps me more alert and more focused, too.

Marc : I consciously make time for it – about 4 hours at the weekend. But in the run-up to a sport event I subscribed for, I train during the week as well.

Tristan : I know that ideally you should do one or two hours of sport twice a week. And then I always plan a 4-hour training session at the weekend.

Marc : Another aspect of sports that I like is networking. Thanks to various sporting activities I’ve developed new relationships and contacts with clients. Every year I invite (potential) clients to go mountain-biking. It’s the perfect way to network and get moving at the same time!

Tristan : Yes, that’s an upward trend. And, of course, we work a lot with entrepreneurs, they all like a challenge. That’s what drives us, it’s a perfect way to clear our heads!

Marc : Basically, for me, sports is a combination of mental and physical health and nutrition. These three aspects are important to keep everything in balance.

Tristan : The nutrition aspect is important. You need to know your body. In the run-up to a competition, certainly, it’s important to watch what you eat: no alcohol, healthy food, more high-protein meals, like chicken, fish, yoghurt.

I heard that recently you both participated in an epic mountain bike event in South Africa. Can you tell us more?

Tristan : Last year, in the view of my 50th birthday this year, I challenged Marc to participate in a crazy adventure. It was the Cape Epic – an epic 8-day, 650 km mountain bike event, for teams of two people. It’s held in the Western Cape in South Africa, and it takes you up to altitudes of 14,000 meters. Another important factor we had to take into account was the heat. Riding in temperatures of 45°C is not something you can train for in our rainy country! This is the most challenging mountain bike race that exists. It is a race, but you have to stay with your teammate throughout. ­A lot of mountain bike professionals participate. It’s like the Tour de France for mountain bikers. And it’s definitely on every mountain biker’s bucket list.

Marc : ­­­­Since we came back – only a week ago – we’ve had a lot of positive reactions from colleagues, clients and friends. The event is very well known.

How did you train for this event?

Marc : Once we knew we were registered, we could start training! We had the same coach, but we each had our own individual training scheme. During the last three months, we trained about 10 hours a week, sometimes even 12 hours. I did a mixture of spinning, running and mountain biking.

Tristan : I trained on my bike, on the rollers as well as outside. We spent a lot of time training at the weekends.

Marc : And because the Cape Epic is for teams of two, we trained together in the Ardennes, as well. The team aspect is very important in this race, you’re dependent on each other. During the race the distance between you and your teammate must never be more than 2 minutes, otherwise you are disqualified. Our teamwork was great, we helped each other a lot.

Tristan : We even designed our own cycling outfits, with our team name on them – Amicitia Fortior, which means Stronger through Friendship.

Has sport always played an important role in your life?

Marc : Unfortunately not. I started to be more active and do more sport about 6 or 7 years ago. The reason was the Fit4The Job partner program at EY. It was a real wake-up call for me. And one of my friends challenged me to cycle up the Mont Ventoux, as well. So, I started training. From the start it really excited me, and I haven’t stopped cycling since.

Tristan : I started in 2002. I was much heavier then, and I didn’t do any sport at all. With work and the kids, I just didn’t have time. There was an old bike at our holiday home in the Pyrenees, so I got on it and started pedaling – a little bit further every day. And I set myself a goal. Gradually cycling became a passion. The great thing is that it not only benefits yourself but your family too, as you’re less stressed, you can clear your mind, get new ideas and fresh ideas. It helps you to keep the perfect work-life balance!

What do you like about cycling/mountain-biking?

Tristan : I became a fan of cycling accidentally, thanks to that old bike in the Pyrenees. I think you have to focus on just the one sport if you opt for cycling. Because you spend a lot of time in the saddle. I like cycling because you see a lot of the countryside.

Marc : Cycling’s accessible, and you can cycle longer without injuring your body. On top of that, I live in a cycling-friendly environment – the Flemish Ardennes. That really motivates me to get on my bike.

What was a race day like?

Marc : We woke up at 6:00 am and had breakfast at 6:30am. At 7:00am they would bring us to the starting line. We started cycling around 7:30 – 8:00. During the day we cycled 7-8 hours till the finish line where we got recovery drinks and food, and our bikes had a wash. Then we went to the Bed & Breakfast to rest, eat and go to bed around 21:00. And that’s how it went on, for 8 days – cycling, eating and sleeping. During the race, we ate high-calorie sports food every 45 minutes, and there was a food & drink supply station every 40 km. The whole organization and the food and drink supply was fantastic.

Tristan : The team aspect also played a big role in terms of food and drinks. Sometimes Marc checked to see if I had eaten enough and vice versa. We kept an eye on each other, too. What’s the other’s mood like? What has he eaten?

Marc : We cycled together, not against each other. We were extremely complementary. My weakness was Tristan’s strength and vice versa.

Tristan : It wasn’t always easy, of course. The race started on Sunday, but on Monday I had a technical breakdown. It was really important that Marc was close to me then. On Wednesday I fell and torned my ligaments at the shoulder. At the time I didn’t realize that it was serious, so I continued the race another 2 more days or 200km. Although it hurt a lot, I didn’t want to quit, so I kept going. But at a certain moment I needed to. It was a very intense experience.

Marc : Les extrêmes se touchent in that race!

And how do you look back on it?

Tristian : It’s something I’ll never forget. A very intense experience. I’m already looking forward to our next challenge, perhaps the Swiss Epic.  I need a new challenge every year.

Marc : This summer I want to take on a challenge with some friends and clients. We will do the longest single track in Colorado, a 750 km mountain bike trip in the Rocky Mountains.

And finally, what sporting advice would you give our readers?

Tristan : Motivation is important. Find a sport you really love. One that drives you.

Marc : Find your (sporting) challenge. A sport that gives your life balance, mentally, physically and nutritionally.

Thanks & RESPECT guys!

ViaVelo Magazine is all about cycling adventures. Not just your Tuesday evening ride, but that time you went a bit further, did something a bit extraordinary, rode so hard you nearly burst, rode with friends to a new location, lost yourself in the natural world.

An online cycling magazine with fantastic photography, captivating cycling stories from across the world and, as such, a valuable source of inspiration for all active cyclists who can’t get enough of landscape and our natural world.

You can buy digital copies for a few euros online in both English and Dutch. On the website, you can also read an interesting blog by the owner as well as news items and updates on cycling kit such as navigation equipment, clothing, tyres, etc. It’s well worth a look; why not give it a try!

On 18 February 2015, we heard the dreadful news that Claude Criquielion had died. The man who had been world champion in 1984 and repeated the feat a few years later in Ronse.

Most sporting enthusiasts have undoubtedly already seen the great documentaries by Belga Sport. These documentaries focus on the World Championship in 1998 in Ronse, where Claude (or ‘Crique’ to his friends) lost the rainbow jersey in a tumultuous sprint with Steve Bauer.

This interesting documentary covers a sprint that actually lasted five years and, if you consider the bitterness and anger, possibly even longer. Get comfy in your armchair and look back at ‘de vloek van Ronse’. Enjoy the sport!

The new cycling season is slowly approaching and one of the annual competitions is of course the Tour de France. We can’t avoid it; the major cycling festival that is the subject of many films and documentaries. ‘New Heroes’ is one of many, but is certainly worth taking an hour and a half out to watch.

‘New Heroes’ goes behind the scenes with a professional cycling team that wants to prove you can win without doping. In the hundredth edition of the Tour de France, the then young Dutch team from Argos-Shimano were seeking revenge on the old-guard that had put cycling in a very bad light due to drug use.

A fantastic hour and a half documentary focusing on a cycling team at the centre of the biggest cycling competition in the world.. It is now four years old but no matter. It’s still perfect for an evening in the armchair with a beer to hand. Do it!

Top photography

Despite the busy, volatile existence which forms our daily lives, if you are a cyclist you have to take time out for your sport. A genuine treat; quite phenomenal cycling photography! Unseen shots that will give you goosebumps. In short, the very best of images from distant cycling tours as well as their unique interpretation of our own unique cycling classics.

Jered & Ashley

They’re called Jered & Ashley Gruber. They have no address. If you ask where they live, they shrug their shoulders and say that their parents live in Louisiana and Colorado, and start a long story about how they don’t really have a home. They spend most of the year on the road in Europe, looking for photos, stories, roads, paths and their favourite places.

Perhaps you’ve already heard of it or it rings a vague bell from the programme ‘Vive le vélo’? Pro Cycling Trumps® is an outsider in the cycling environment. With headstrong, trendy styling and animations that are certainly worth following on Instagram. They use the medium to cleverly respond to the well-known cycling competitions and events.

But offline, Pro Cycling Trumps® also offers Christmas cards, posters, pins and even cycling top trumps with sets of 54 cards. Each card shows a competitor and a number of categories (leg wins in Grand Tours, time-trial capacity, strength in the classics, climbing capacity, sprinting capacity and ranking).

At Christelijke Mutualiteit®, they believe in the power and added value of sport and exercise. Cycling can lead to better physical health, helps combat stress and improves sleep.

Cycling is also popular because it’s up to you when, where and with whom you cycle. You can go out easily on your own but also with family or friends. It gives you another chance to make social contacts and is not particularly expensive. There are very few medical reasons not to cycle.

In the past few years, the sporting medical check-up has been increasing in popularity. There are even moves to make it mandatory for anyone who is affiliated to a sports club.

Currently, the sporting medical check-up is mandatory for all members of 10 of the 95 Belgian sporting federations. The idea behind the sporting medical check-up is to prevent heart-attacks among sports people. When you think that 1 in 20,000 young sports people are at risk, you quickly come to realise that this is certainly not an unnecessary luxury.

171 kilometres of puffing and sweating over trails through the Ardennes region. None of it is flat; just 2000 metres of altitude to be conquered. Respect. We present: Dirty Boar Gravel Ride!

Fancy something a bit different to the traditional weekend ride? Then follow the Dirty Boar team. After a tasty editions since 2017, they will be setting out another endurance gravel ride in 2020, which will exclusively cover gravel paths in the High Fens. What a challenge, but what a great feeling when you arrive!

Dirty Boar Gravel Ride 2019

Whichever way you turn it, there are a lot of things to think about when you decide to start cycling on a real road racing bike. This includes traffic rules and how you behave on your bike. Everyone has their own ideas about what you may or may not do on your bike. Here are a few things you shouldn’t do when you are just starting out.

Don’t change pace too frequently

If you are new to cycling, then start at a calm pace, with a low heart rate and gradually increase your pace, always making sure you can maintain that pace for longer than a few minutes.

Don’t buy expensive apparel.

Cyclists often say that what you wear is important, as well as having a good pair of legs. Your legs determine when you can/should consider upgrading your kit.

Don’t think you can ride 100 km the first time you venture out

Start with a shorter ride of 25 to 30 km. An hour really is enough the first time. Next time around ride 40 or 50 km and start by gradually increasing your average speed.

Music

In theory, you shouldn’t listen to any music as this may prevent you from concentrating on your breathing and on traffic when you are just starting out. So enjoy the nature, the landscape and the sounds around you instead.

Riding in a group

We recommend riding alone the first time. While riding with your friends may sound like more fun, we advise against it. The dynamics of riding in a group can be quite tricky and sport-specific terms such as drafting and relay-style riding are difficult to master if you are just starting out.

Don’t leave without food and drink

You will be astounded how exhausting an hour’s cycling can be the first time you venture out. So don’t underestimate the effort and take a sufficient amount of snacks and drinks with you because you may need them.