Breaking through to the professional level is one of the hardest things to do in sports. Years of hard training, travelling to competitions far and wide and sustaining injuries await all those who wish to pursue a career as a professional mountain bike athlete. For Vaea Verbeeck, years of hard work and dedication left her within inches of a podium spot. In order to break through to the next level she had to take a step back and remember why she began racing in the first place.
Enjoying time on the bike — while still remaining competitive — was key. In 2018, Verbeeck shifted her focus to the Crankworx World Tour, which over four stops around the world, featured a diverse line up of racing events including dual slalom, air downhill (racing down a jump/flow trail), a pump track challenge as well as a traditional downhill race. A year later, she walked away with the Queen of Crankworx title and her third Canadian National Downhill championship sleeve. Diversifying her skill set while reconnecting her passion of mountain biking has now resulted in a firm foothold in the world of professional mountain biking.
Now racing at the top of the sport and garnering invites to events such as Red Bull Formation (a female-only freeride competition in the spirit of Red Bull Rampage), Verbeeck is by no means resting on her laurels. The hard work persists both physically and mentally, as does her self examination of what’s important.