I was born on January 10, 1977 in Aalst and since then living in Erembodegen what’s a borough of Aalst. To my 18th year of life I did’nt do any sports outside the mandatory physical education classes.
But from then it all turned, 18 years ago we went over for the first time to the Namur Ardennes for 3 weeks ( Region Couvin ) and the bike was with me it anyway, it was a mountain bike which was made in order for school travel with a luggage rack and etc .
At that time there was on television at Eurosport a broadcasting report about the Grundig UCI World Cup that was held somewhere in Austria.
All disciplines like Cross Country, Downhill, Trial, Four Cross came to bid but it was the Cross Country that took my final interest, the Italian Paola Pezzo was topper then at the women’s race wit the Spanish Marga Fullana. With great enthusiasm, I watched the stage reports every day / night. This was the sport that I wanted to do !
The same period also was there a Tour de France de VTT with the two French Mans Miguel Martinez and Christophe Dupouey on head. Also the Australian Cadel Evans made he’s entrée at the World Cup races with the Team Volvo Canondale.
Also the always smiling Spaniard Jose Antonio Hermida struck me immediately in the peloton, a very social biker with a heart for the sport and makes always time for his fans. He is partly be the reason I’m driving a Merida. Sounds weird but I feel connected through him. I’m probably a Hermida Wannabe now ?
So, Every day I sat glued in my seat in front of the television for a daily report of this Mountainbike Race. Okay, I agree my bike was not immediately equipped for the tough jobs but I got lucky that there hung in the garage some real MTB’s who were well good equipped for the job.
Naturaly I took a look in own country as there are the Cup of Belgium, several local competitions and of course the World Cup in our own bike paradise Houffalize. Here met for the first time our own Belgian top with Roel Paulissen and Filip Meirhaeghe. I have to admit that Filip was and still is my most favorite Belgian biker. Although he’s not biking anymore but now he brings all his skills to the youth. Also Roel Paulissen started again with Competition biking after a turbulent period with the Italian Torpado racing team.
From that day the MTB discipline stole my heart and now 18 years later I’m still driving arround and having lots of fun at the best MTB rides, Tours and marathons. Meanwhile, I ride now on my 6th bike in all that years because we also have to go along with the mechanic developments. As the years also shows the condition to be getting better and better.
I also thank my best friend and companion Koen because it is with him that I’ve ridden so far in our Flanders and Ardennes. The Ardennes ( Province of Luxembourg ) and the Moselle valley in Germany are at present my favorites and the most beautiful bike places that I have discovered.