"As a little kid I always was, and still am, an energy bomb"
Gosse van der Meer
Home Town: Born in a tiny town in Friesland called Surhuizum, currently staying in Kranenburg somewhere between Nijmegen (Ned) and Kleve (Ger).
What got you into cycling: Watching big guys run and ride through the mud as a very small kid.
Year of birth: 1995
What’s your day job, and how do you balance that with riding: Full-time rider, long term student
What has been your favourite event / race and why (do you have any photo of it: Mongolian Bike Challenge (but actually a lot more when I start to think back)
I am born in a really small hidden village in the province of Friesland. We speak our own languge but this region has brought some good cyclist! Most Famous once from the last period are Pieter Weening and Lieuwe Westra. As a little kid I always was, and still am, an energy bomb. I could ride a bike already at a really young age and started racing around in the town not long after that. Since it was so small and quiet you could go wherever you wanted to.
I was always outside riding or doing other stuff, I never even owned a gaming console what so ever. As a kid I was always in to team sports and there weren't really any other possibilities around. But I was always the kid who had to cry when we lost. And I always wanted to be the best, so it was better for me to do a more individual sport.
There is one pro cx race a year in Friesland (in Surhuisterveen (the town next to Surhuizum where we lived)) that one has even been a Superprestige many years ago. My dad went there every year to watch despite not having anything to do with cycling. And I went along as soon as I was big enough to go. And I was so impressed by these guys, racing in the mud and getting really dirty! My mother never really liked it that much if I came back home completely dirty. Specially since my big brother and little sister where almost always inside reading books.
“The Mongolian Bike Challenge was a challenge, on the bike, and perhaps even more so off the bike. Every day we camped in a traditional Mongolian ger tent. All the racers stayed together in the same tents, and we would help pull each other through the toughest moments through the race. All the participants became friends, and for me that is a much more powerful memory than any of the stage wins during the race.”
"I was the only rider who got selected for the National Championships ... and there I was with a really old bike, Shimano Sora and shoes four sizes too big."
When I was 16 I joined the local cyclingclub but in the beginning I could not even ride my bike home after the training. So tired was I, but also the club was over an hour away to get there... but that same year I was the only rider of the club who got selected for the National Championships on the road for junior, and there I was with a really old bike, Shimano Sora and shoes four sizes too big.
But I really liked CX and wanted to do that, I had been working a lot as a paper boy and in the Supermarket so I could buy a second hand CX bike. In that same period I got picked up by my trainer. His old mechanic lived close to my school and he fixed my bike whenever there was something wrong. I told him that I really wanted to do CX racing so this old man told me to call the man who married his daughter. I'd never heared of him but he was a former CX worldchampion (juniors koksijde 1995) and was pro rider for a couple of years.
I called him waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to many times and he finally agreed to make a trainingplan for me, since I had no idea what I was doing. Also my parents had no idea, they could not even change a wheel in a bike... So he made me a simple plan to do every week and then try to attend one race a week.
"First race I ever did I messed up everything, didn't even know that you don't put 6 bars in CX tires haha."
Despite everything I got beaten on the line by a worldcup rider in my first cx race ever as a junior.... next weekend I was already on the podium. And my trainer got some calls from people who knew him from his pro days 10 years before. He turned away from the sport and hadn't been back since he quit. And nobody knew me at the races and I knew nobody but when you get to the front people start asking questions who you are. I mentioned my trainers name and then he got calls and went to a race to see me race. And was blown away hahaha. His old mechanic arranged a second bike and I did all the races on national level and some on international level. In that year I won a national CX race in the Nethterlands with one alu bike with very old Ultegra 10 speed and 15 year old zipp tubular wheels, and a steel 9 speed spare bike that was around 12kg.
The weekend after nationals is the worldcup in Hoogerheide and If I did well I would got on the national team... but that day there was a lot of ice and I had never been riding on ice. I crashed at nationals and broke my collerbone... and of my first ever season. But my CX career started as a second year junior.
I signed a contract with a pro mtb team in the North of the Netherlands. Biggest reason was that they where not really far away. The team thought maybe he can also preform well on a mtb so they gave me a mtb and took me on a trainingcamp. I did some races and got a spot.
Mountainbike is something I really like to do besides CX and I think at this moment I've won over 30 mtb events. But the proudest moment for me is that I took the mountain jersey in the Transalp when I was only a first year u23 rider. I thought even the youngest one of the pack!
But I stayed true to CX racing but had to start at the U23 straight away in my second season ever. It was hard but really nice, I've always been working hard and my level had been improving every year.
"The most important thing was always to have fun and race!"
Since I kept riding internationally I didn't win a lot of races but I got to a higher level. In the years I got my fulltime spot in the national team for all the worldcups and big championships.
My improvement was also mentioned by other times so two years ago I signed a contract with a Belgian Continental CX and Road team. Belgium is the country for CX and so I became the first ever Frisian guy who got contracted by a Belgian team. My mountainbiking days where also over then since I had to start roadracing. I started roadracing straight away at the pro's so the first couple of races where really hard. But I got used to it quite fast and I was able to deliver really good work for the team. In the two years before my trainer also started working more and more with me in how to become a good pro rider. He saw my capabilities and that it could be possible to make it in this sport. So I had to learn how to live like a pro, he always said not the best cyclists turn pro. But the guys who can live for their sports the best will make it.
My U23 period is over and I moved up to the elite ranks now. And a lot has changed! The races are much harder and also in the back they race really fast! Top 20 in a TV race is really not easy to pull off.
And that is one of the reasons that I am working hard already for a lot of years and train already every day for a long time. I believe that you get what you work for and that hard work will pay off!
Follow Gosse on Instagram at @gossinki