‘Every small step counts.’ Raymon van der Biezen – Olympic athletes interviewed Episode 19

Double Olympian Raymon van der Biezen shares his difficult preparation for the London Olympics 2012 when his mother fell sick, and he was in doubt, whether he should go and compete, or stay back for his mum. How he won the time trial event at the Olympic Games, and what he has learned from 10+ years as a professional athlete.

In this interview we discuss

Christian: In this interview, I’m joined by Raymon van der Biezen. Raymon is a double Olympian for 2008 and 2012 and one of the greatest achievements in your career includes a win of the time trial at the 2012 Olympic Games. If it would have been a separate event, as in other sports, you would be Olympics champ and 4th in the main event at the London Olympics 2012, the European Champs 2010 and 2016 and from my records, you were also in the top 10 ranking overall in BMX for six consecutive years, right?

Raymon: Yes, that is true.

Christian: I was lucky enough to support Raymon in the last 7 years of his professional career as a Strength & Conditioning Coach. Raymon ended his career after the European Champs 2016 and is now the assistant coach of the Dutch National BMX team.

Welcome, Raymon.

Raymon: Thanks for the invite.

Raymon’s darkest moment

Christian: Raymon, in your life as an athlete, what was your darkest moment?

Raymon: Of course we athletes all had injuries and I had a few, but I think my darkest moment was getting 4th in London in 2012. That was a really dark time for me, especially when I came back from London, went back to training and I broke my collarbone at the first training. I was pretty much done, I wanted to hang up my bike and leave it there. For some reason, it was a really big disappointment to get 4th, especially because I had won the time trial in London and I had a really good chance to get a podium and I felt really good. For some reason, a fourth-place just didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like a win to me.

I had won the time trial in London 2012,  I felt really good and I had a really good chance to get onto the podium. For some reason a fourth-place just didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like a win to me.

So right now I can really say, it was a really good result but I think I was in the position to get a medal at the London 2012 Olympics and so I have mixed feelings about it. But of course, I have some happy feelings about it as well. Before the Olympics I, got a really bad injury in the wrist. So I had to recover from that as well. Also, my mum was in the hospital in a really bad situation. So overall, a 4th Place at the Olympics is something to be proud of and I really am proud now, but at that moment it was a really dark moment.

Christian: And I also remember you were the man to beat. You didn’t lose a race until the semi-finals. So you had first places in all the qualifications.

Raymon: Yes, only in the last semi-final, where I screwed up everything, basically. My last semi-final I got, I think, 4th or something, and because I had the slowest time of all that made it to the final, I had the last lane pick in the final. So I was all the way on the outside and we all know that’s not really an advantage. So yes, I was on the outside in the final and still managed to get 4th. Yes, it is what it is.

Christian: And then also I remember back then Hinkelien from the swimming, Hinkelien Schreuder, she told me she was very impressed with you because your mum really fell sick before that and it was not just sick, it had been a severe problem.

Raymon: Yes, she was really, really sick.

Christian: Yet you still managed to go and bring out the best performance.

Raymon: Yes, my mum was admitted to the hospital like two months before the Olympic Games and she had like a really bad syndrome. Nobody around us knew anything about this syndrome but it was a really bad situation at that moment and luckily she’s back and she’s feeling okay and she’s really healthy again. So that’s all good. But at that moment we didn’t know how my mum would end up. So it was really mentally tough going into the Olympics knowing your mum is really sick at home and I have to leave her and still perform. At some point, I also decided to get the best performance out of myself for my mum.

It was mentally really tough going into the Olympics knowing your mum is sick at home and I have to leave her and still perform. At some point I decided to get the best performance out of myself for my mum.

So that was some kind of switch for me to give it everything I got. My mom couldn’t talk at that moment because she had– She was on a long thing– So she couldn’t breathe on her own. So she couldn’t talk but for some reason, she could tell me, just with signals, “You have to go back to Papendal, train your ass off to be one of the fastest guys in the world.” So yes, I got those signals from her when I was in the hospital. Every day when I saw her she was like, “What are you doing here? You need to be at Papendal. Prepare yourself for the Olympics.”  So yes, that’s like a double feeling. Your mom is sick at home, I want to prepare myself but I also want to be there for her. It was a tough situation but I managed to also give everything I got for my mom.

My mom couldn’t talk at that moment and she couldn’t breathe on her own, but for some reason, she could tell me, just with signals, “You have to go back to Papendal, train your ass off to be one of the fastest guys in the world.”

Christian: And you mentioned it was your darkest moment and in retrospect, you also said you are okay with it, but what did you learn? How has that moment shaped your life?

Raymon: I taught me, what life can be like. You can’t always predict your life, of course, and I think the most important thing is to be healthy and to be happy. Of course, it was my darkest moment but from the inside, I still was having the same feeling – I really love riding my bike and I still do, so that’s the most important thing. If you do what you like you can always go back to that and start over and over again. That’s my opinion. I just really wanted to do what I really like and as long as I am enjoying it, there will some setbacks, and you just have to think back to where you’re coming from. From the beginning when I was a little kid, I started riding my bike because I really liked it and yes, for some reason I still like it.

You can’t always predict your life, there will some setbacks, but if you do what you like you can always go back to that and start over again.

Raymon’s best moment

Christian: What’s your best moment?

Raymon:  I think my best moment is my last race. Yes, I didn’t qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics, and that was also a really big setback at that moment, but for me, I couldn’t step down from the sport without ending my career with a good last result. So when I knew I didn’t qualify for Rio, I went back to Papendal and told myself I have two more races to go, the Dutch Championships and the European Championships, and I just want to give everything I’ve got.

I couldn’t step down from the sport without ending my career with a good last result.

I knew I was not qualified. So let’s bring everything I got for the last two races. And just going up to the last race, the European’s, I felt better and better every week because at the World Championships it was my last chance to qualify for Rio and I didn’t make the semi-final, which I needed to do to qualify. So that was close but I had only just come back on my bike at the World Championships after having broken my wrist in Argentina at the World Cup. So the World Champs was just a little bit too soon for me coming back from injury.

However, the week after the World’s I was back in training and I felt better and better every day and going into National Champs. I got 4th place, just next to the podium but two weeks later, we’re at the European Champs and I felt even better and for some reason, everything fell into the right place and I really liked the track in Verona. I really had good gates in the training sessions and in the racing; all my gates were almost perfect like you’d always hope them to be. You always hope to have those gates but for some reason, they almost never happen. In Verona, everything fell into place and I felt strong and I wanted to really end my career in a good way.

At my last race everything fell into place, I felt strong and I wanted to really end my career in a good way.

I also had the feeling that because everybody knew it was my last race, the crowd and all the people around me were standing behind me, also pushing me a little bit to make it a really nice last race for myself. So it just felt like everything came together and yes, somehow I managed to get a whole chance and had a really clean lap and finished first. So it was really nice to end of my career that way even though I didn’t go to the Olympics in Rio. Also, because I didn’t make Rio, it was also mentally tough the first few weeks to go back into training but I also thought it was not the way I wanted to end my career just like that. So I just focused on training like I’ve always done and it came together.

I just focused on training like I’ve always done and it came together.

Christian: And that good result at the Europeans also helped you to retire better?

Raymon: Yes, of course. I thought that if I had ended with a podium spot at my last race I would be happy. If I had a really bad result at my last race, it would be really hard to retire, I guess. So for some reason, winning the last race of my career was just a good feeling and when I finished I was like, “Yes, this is it.” And of course, a few weeks later I was still feeling like, “Do I really want to quit?” Because I just won the Europeans. I showed everybody I’m still one of the fastest racers in the world so why should I quit? I asked myself a couple of times.

I asked myself a couple of times, I just won the Europeans and I showed everybody I am still one of the fastest racers in the world so why should I quit?

But there is also the other side of racing – we have to take a lot of risks and I knew the last few years on that side it was really hard for me to take all the risks over and over again because I had gotten so many injuries and that was mentally a breaking point for me to say I’m done. I just had a lot of crashing and bad injuries. I still needed to live a few more years and I needed to work. So I still want to walk away from my sport as good a state as I can. I think it was a really good moment for me to say goodbye as a professional athlete.

Raymon’s advise to a younger Raymon van der Biezen

Christian: If you could go back in time 10, 15 years, what advice would you give your younger self?

Raymon:  I would say listen carefully to what your coach is saying and this is because I also thought I knew most of the things myself when I was an athlete. But I think if I had listened sooner to my coach in my professional career, I would probably have some better performances on racing days.

I was always training as hard as I can, I was always doing something extra, I wanted to win too badly.

I was always training as hard as I can, which we should do, but I was also doing some extra sets. So I was always doing some extra reps or whatever, because it gave me a really good feeling. But I think, I can say now, it was stupid because at some races I was just too tired to perform really well and the coach he told me a couple of times, “Raymon, you have to slow down and just take some rest.” I was listening but it didn’t feel right to me so I was just doing more and more. At the end of my career I really took it a little bit slower at some point but in my beginning years I was just, I think, I wanted to win too badly. That’s probably the right way to say it. So yes, it was kind of stupid at that point but I think right now I’ve learned from it. That’s how it works and I think most of the athletes are a bit stubborn. You are convinced to do more or to do less of what your coach is saying most of the time, especially in my beginning years, sometimes it was hard to just stick to the program, especially for me. So I was always doing more and more. It was stupid at that point.

Raymon’s success habits

Christian: What are the habits that make you a successful athlete and person?

Raymon: I would say if I really want something, I go for it 110%. Everything has to go my way and I don’t really care about the rest of the things. I care about people but I think I was pretty selfish in my sprint career. If I want to perform well I knew I couldn’t go to any parties or I had to stick to my diet and stick to my training program. I don’t go off anywhere and I am just like one way, one direction. That’s how we do it.

If I really want something, I go for it 110%, everything has to go my way and I don’t really care about the rest of the things.

Also, in life, if I am really convinced that I want to do something I just go for it 110% and yes, that’s just me. Then I’m just 100% focus on that and that’s how I see it and that’s how I feel it. If you want something you have to be dedicated and in sports, dedication means eat, sleep, train, repeat. Maybe I was a little bit too much, sometimes. I think that’s basically one of my habits that makes me successful.

If you want something you have to be dedicated and in sports, dedication means eat, sleep, train, repeat.

Christian: I also think, if I looked back at all the years we trained together, you believed a lot in preparation, right? You were always prepared. You always had everything with you. You never forgot your training program. I can’t recall a single day, where you ever forgot anything.

Raymon: Yes, I was always really prepared. Also with my equipment, my bike had to be perfect, my gear had to be perfect and really clean. That’s right.

The last 12-13 years of my career were full-time and it was just all about BMX. So training program, equipment, food, everything had to be perfect like how I had it in mind or how I discussed it with my coach or nutritionist. We made a plan together so I had to stick to the plan and be prepared for what’s coming. I was always prepared, that’s one thing for sure.

I was always really prepared, everything had to be perfect like how I had it in mind.

Christian: I’ve also written down a note about what I have always admired about you. I admire that you don’t seem to put limits on yourself. A few years ago they told you can’t use your wrist anymore and now you do handstand walks and snatches, whatever. How is that possible?

Raymon: Yes. The doctor told me it’s going to be hard to get back on my bike again and at that point, I was like,” Damn, I hope he’s not right.” So once the brace came off, I went 110% with the physio, putting the hand to work and it was painful, I can remember that one thing for sure. But I think because we’re riding our bike, and because I enjoy riding my bike so much, I just forgot about the little pains I had.

You need to find the limits and work with it and then every small step counts.

Also for example, with the broken wrist, I still needed to move on the bike. So if I’m jumping or whatever I’m doing on the bike, the wrist is moving. So without knowing it, I was doing the best physiotherapy I can do on the bike and because I was still enjoying it, of course, it was painful at sometimes, but most of the time I was really enjoying it and I’d forgotten all the pain. So I think riding the bike so much was the best physiotherapy, and I got so much movement back and also just trying new things, searching for limits every time and again until I had a feeling one or two days later like I did a little bit too much and I would have pain in my wrist for like a week. Then that’s how I knew that was really the limit. You need to find the limits and work with it and then every small step counts.

Raymon’s morning routine

Christian: Do you have a morning routine?

Raymon: Morning routine. I just have a really good breakfast. That’s with my oats and all the nuts and stuff I’m throwing in. So that’s the only routine I have basically every morning. I’m still doing it. So yes, just a good bowl with oats and I just take some time for my breakfast. That’s the only routine I have and I don’t have any other routines, I guess. My breakfast is really important. So if I don’t have my breakfast then the whole day is pretty much screwed up. But I really think I just like to enjoy my breakfast and I take time for it; to prepare it and just enjoy eating it.

If I don’t have my breakfast then the whole day is pretty much screwed up. I like to enjoy my breakfast and I take time for it.

How to prepare for important moments

Christian: How do you prepare for important moments?

Raymon: I just think, I’m doing what I really like to do and I try to enjoy it as much as I can. If I feel a little bit scared of something, then I think there are much more people that need to do something that they really don’t like and I really understand that they are afraid to do something but I’m here, I really like riding my bike, therefore I shouldn’t be afraid or scared or whatever. I just need to enjoy what I’m doing and it will be over before you know it. So just focus on yourself, not everybody else, just on yourself and just give it everything you’ve got. You prepared for this multiple thousand times on the gate or whatever and so you know what you’re doing. So just focus on yourself, enjoy it and give everything you got.

I really like riding my bike, therefore I shouldn’t be afraid or scared. I need to enjoy what I’m doing because it will be over before you know it. So focus on yourself, enjoy it and give everything you got.

Christian: Interesting. Cool. I remember at the training camp you told me that you had difficulty sleeping before the race at the London Olympics 2012. You had placed a lot of pressure on yourself. However, you still managed to be in peak shape. What did you do? How did you do that?

Raymon: I think at that point I was listening more carefully to my coach. So it was really hard for me in the preparations, especially in the last preparation, to take more rest but I listened and I think because I was recovered from all the injuries and all the hard training, I was just in a really good shape and because I was fully rested I could perform really well. But the thing was I was not sleeping really well the last couple of days and I could barely eat because I put so much pressure on myself. I just really want to do good for me and for my mum at home. So the pressure was really on but for some reason my body still felt really good.

I was not sleeping really well the last couple of days and I could barely eat because I put so much pressure on myself. I really wanted to do well for me and for my mum at home.

I felt the track was really, really good and I was 100% sure that I was able to do really well. For some reason, there were still some moments, especially in bed, that I couldn’t sleep because I was also thinking, “What if I screw up?”

So I felt really good in training and in all the prep’s before and I knew, I was in really good form. But then just a few days before, I was just lying in bed and because you don’t have anything else to do, just you and yourself, you start thinking “I’m feeling good but what if…?” So those two feelings were 50/50. But once the racing started and my first race went really well then most of the fears fell off and I was just focused on myself again. I just felt really good on the bike and I showed I had some good speed on the bike.

I felt really good in training and in all the preps before. I knew I was in really good form. But then just a few days before, you start thinking “I’m feeling good but what if…?”

Also, like my coach Bas [de Bever] was telling me, you’re showing you’re one of the fastest ones on the track, especially after the time trial, I was the fastest. So you’re showing everybody you’re the fastest, so why don’t trust yourself and your body that you’re in really good shape and focus on yourself and just enjoy it? So I did.

You are showing everybody, that you are the fastest, so why don’t trust yourself, focus on yourself and just enjoy it?

But just the last few days before London racing was tough. It was really tough mentally but I think most of the athletes will feel the same at that point, especially when it’s so important to be first. So that’s also a way of thinking – I’m feeling this but I’m pretty sure the other athletes were feeling the same. That also gives you a good feeling to know I’m not the only one who feels this. I’m pretty much a hundred percent sure the rest of the guys are also feeling the same because it’s just the most important race of your life. So if you don’t have this feeling that would be weird.

It’s the most important race of your life, so if you don’t have this feeling that would be weird.

 Christian: But then you said the first race was very good, right?

Raymon: Yes, I won the first race. So then the pressure fell off a little bit.

Christian: But then the question is, and I’m not sure whether it’s easy to answer, you used the nervousness to get out a good result. Did you do that deliberately or it just happened?

Raymon: At that moment it just happened. I had it a couple of times in my younger years where I felt so nervous and at that point, I didn’t know what to do with it.

At the Olympics, on the first night, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat and that kind of stuff. I was like, “Oh s***, this is not happening.” I felt like I would probably not be the only one who had this feeling and I’m in really good shape so snap out of it. It’s good to have some nerve. It’s normal so accept it and move forward, I think that’s a better way to say it. You have to accept the nerves, embrace them and just still try to enjoy what you’re doing as much as you can.

I think that’s really important and during my last few years, that’s basically how I mentally prepared myself for racing, even when I was scared to crash or whatever, to get injuries; because those feelings came at my mind the last few years a couple of times. It’s a fight with yourself, that’s one thing for sure. And it’s hard because we can all ride our bikes really fast and we are all training really hard but it’s all about when you’re on the gates with those seven other guys. Then you really need to show and give everything you’ve got and just focus on yourself. It’s really hard. That’s the one thing for sure.

It’s good to have some nerve, it’s a fight with yourself for sure, nut it’s normal to be nervous, so accept it and move forward.

How to overcome setbacks

Christian: How did you overcome setbacks?

Raymon: In the first few years of my career, if I had a setback, and then a setback for me is like getting injured, a bad result just means that next week I can try to perform better.

But with a real setback, like an injury where you have to sit back maybe a month or two months. In my beginning years it was really easy because when I was just injured, I was almost back on the bike with my injury because I couldn’t miss riding my bike. But later on in my career and getting older, I was really thinking about the risks we are taking every time that we are racing. So it got harder and harder every year I got further but still, I was telling myself that the moments I already had in getting good results are making me so happy and I’m really enjoying riding my bike. So is this is what you really like, then the other side is the risk of getting injured or whatever and it’s tough.

In my beginning years, when I was just injured, I was almost back on the bike with my injury, because I couldn’t miss riding my bike. But later on in my career, I started thinking about the risks we are taking every time that we are racing, so it got harder and harder every year.

Also at some point getting back from injuries was like, “Okay, I’m going to show the doctor or physio I will be back really soon.” For me, it was like a challenge as well. I also have setbacks from getting bad results for almost a year and that’s also pretty tough mentally because you’re training and preparing every week, every day basically, to get good results and then the results are not good. Yes, that’s hard, really hard. Sometimes you can’t explain it all and then your coach is telling you, “Trust me, Raymon. Someday you will be back. So just keep going and you will get back.”

For me, setbacks were like a challenge.

If you really like riding your bike just go back on it. And the thing for me is I guess, I was really enjoying every kind of training. So I was enjoying my gym sessions. I really like to do sprint training. The only thing I didn’t like was endurance on the road bike. That’s something I don’t really like but training with the whole group together, you are also with your team. We are also friends so basically you were doing what you love with good friends. Those were the things you have to do. That’s the way it was. When I was having a setback I was always thinking I can go back to school or I can go to work or I can do this. What do I like more? And then the answer was pretty easy. So I think that’s how it works basically, especially when you’re having setbacks. It’s not easy for everybody to go back to a training facility every day over and over again but for me, it was like I’m enjoying every kind of training, I’m with friends, the results will come.

When I had a setback, I was always thinking I can go back to school or I can go to work or I can do my sport. What do I like more? And then the answer was pretty easy.

Christian: I need to dig a bit deeper into that because you said like if results don’t come. I remember 2012, you came fourth at the Olympic Games, prior to that, you also were two years third in the overall ranking and then the next two years after the London 2012 Olympics were not good for you.

Two years without any good results.

Raymon: Yes. it was pretty much nothing. After the London Olympic Games, I had one of my darkest moments and  asked me “What do you want to do?” I thought I got 4th in London 2012 and I want to go to Rio 2016, for sure. So there was no question asked. I want to go to Rio and I want to make the podium. So that was my goal once I was back on the bike after London and the only goal I had was Rio. That’s where I wanted to go. So from there on it was just tunnel vision and going for Rio again. But those first two years, 2013 and 2014 were like s***.

I thought, I got 4th in London 2012 and I want to go to Rio 2016 and I want to go to Rio and I want to make the podium. So there was no question asked.

In some trainings, I felt pretty fast and I knew I was still able to perform well. I just need to have that feeling back in racing and that took me quite a while, but it also had to do a lot with being scared of getting injured again. So I was just a little bit scared during racing and I backed off a little bit. But if you back off in BMX then you will not win. So I had to get the feeling back of knowing how to win and to give myself a hundred percent and not be afraid of crashing and it just took a while.

I knew I was still able to perform, but I was scared of getting injured again and I backed off during racing. But if you back off in BMX then you will not win, so I had to get the feeling back of knowing how to win.

Christian: And then another question that I have that personal interest in. Normally, the life cycle of an athlete is, you know, you grow towards your peak and then at some point the peak ends. So when I joined the team you were always the fastest but over the years some guys who are younger were trying to catch you, but ultimately those young guys also caught up and also became faster at some point. How does it play on the mind of an athlete?

Raymon: At some point, you just have to accept that the younger guys are getting faster. But I could put it into place.

When we started back in 2006 there was no program so we had to make a fresh start from the beginning. There was nothing, so we had to begin somewhere and the younger guys who came in, they could start on a really high pace already.

            At some point, you just have to accept that the younger guys are getting faster.

For the first 4 or 5 years of my full-time career, we just tried different things. Some things worked, some things didn’t work. So the things that didn’t work, we don’t have to try them again. When the younger guys came in we pretty much knew what kind of training and what things worked and which things didn’t work. So they can adjust to it way sooner than we did. So the training level is way higher, than when we started. The trainers and the coaches are better schooled and the program just got better and better.

It’s pretty much sure that the new talents that come in will also perform better because the programs are way better than when we started. It was like trial and error when we started. Now the new guys are coming in and the program is pretty much perfect. So if they do what’s in the program they will get faster, stronger and a better, but they still need to do it themselves.

Christian: You can’t take that away from them.

Raymon: Exactly. Once we started back in 2006 we didn’t really know what was really good for us or what to do or what not to do. It was really trial and error, for example, we had like three and a half hours weight training and now its maximum of 2 hours. So that’s a big difference.

We have figured out so many things during the years. We figured the things out so that the new guys don’t have to figure out anything anymore. Everything is prepared for them. To me, it’s like it’s normal that the new guys are getting fast.

We figured the things out so that the new guys don’t have to figure out anything anymore. Everything is prepared for them. To me, it’s normal that the new guys are getting fast.

There’s also some point that they will be reaching the top and the talent is really important. For example, Niek [Kimmann]he has a special talent. He’s strong, he’s fast and he’s really technical on the bike. So that’s something that not everyone has, but he does. On those kinds of training levels, he’s basically pretty perfect to me, technically strong, fast and explosive. He’s a really good athlete.

Christian: I also think he really likes riding his bike.

Raymon: He really enjoys riding his bike, just like his brother. I think that is what made him so technical as well. He was just riding his bike when he was a kid. He’s riding his bike over and over again. I also did the same, just riding my bike every day, whenever I can. That’s what made me technical, that’s how it works in BMX.

Raymon’s role model 

Christian: Do you have a role model?

Raymon: Back in the day I had two role models. First one was Bas because when I was a kid he was one of the fastest guys in BMX in the world. I was watching Bas on TV, later he became my coach and that was some kind of a dream come true in my younger age.

But once Bas stepped out of the BMX racing, then Robert de Wilde was one of the fastest racers in the world. I looked up to him for a pretty long time until I beat him a couple of times. That’s what we just discussed about the life-cycle of an athlete.

I looked up to him for a pretty long time until I beat him a couple of times.

He was one of the first BMX racers that went to the US for his professional career and he was the man to beat,when we started here with a full-time training program with Bas. But at some point ,we caught up to Robert and we became a little bit faster.

With Bas coaching ,we could train together, which made us really strong back here in the Netherlands and Rob was training in the US by himself. It’s a little bit similar to the young guys who caught up me at some point. We also caught up to Robert back in the day. It’s coming back in every sport.

The best advice he has received

Christian: What’s the best advice you have received and who gave it to you?

Raymon: I think for me the best advice was when you have fears, or when you’re really scared of something, try to use those fears to perform better. At some point, I felt really scared just to do a good performance but I just made it up in my mind like “Ok, I’m feeling scared now but that’s a good feeling.” So instead of thinking, “I’m feeling scared, oh that’s really bad. Now I can’t perform really well.” I just switch it like, “Okay, now I’m scared. Now I’m ready.”

When you have fears, try to use those fears to perform better.

So I fool myself a little bit at some point but it helps me really well. And I think this one was told by Bas; he told me “I’m never scared.” He was never scared. He said to me “I don’t understand why you are afraid to get out there and to perform well.”

So I was like,” I really like to perform well. So it’s normal that I’m afraid because I’m not always thinking I will be the fastest.” So he was like, “Okay, just switch it and once you’re scared you just have to think that’s a really good feeling.” That’s something I really use a lot of times.

Christian:  What you just said triggered another question. You have received a lot of advices but not always good ones. How do you sort the advices yourself, whether they’re good or not advices?

Raymon: It depends on who gave me the advice. Like for some reason, if I know someone and I know he did really well in coaching or he performed really well in his own professional career, I can really accept something that he’s telling me but once somebody is telling me what to do but he didn’t perform anything by himself then I’m like,” You can talk whatever you want but I don’t trust you at all.” So I made some shifts.

I always, for example, fully trusted Bas because he had his own professional career. I always trust my weight trainers because I know they had a really good background.

I just have to know the background from the man or the woman who gave me any advice. I have to check the background of him or her. If they had a really good performance in the past, and I will say to myself, “Okay, so she had a good performance or she did really well in coaching or whatever, she will be right.’`

However, if someone gave me an advice and didn’t achieve anything himself/herself then I’d just skip it all the way. That’s how it works with me.

Christian: I can align with that one. That’s me also. If someone gives me an advice there needs to be evidence that that person has done it.

Raymon: Exactly. That’s maybe better said. There needs to be evidence to come back from it.

A typical training day in the life of a professional BMX Supercross rider

Christian: How does a typical training day look like or how did it look like?

Raymond:  I woke up every morning at 7. Then I went right into breakfast and my breakfast takes like almost 30- 45 minutes. And then 9:30 we start a gym session until 12. Then we have lunch and afterward we also have a training session – sprints or on the row bike or whatever, on the track until 5 and then training ends at that time. Then I would have dinner and later in the evening, I would eat something like a snack or something like yogurt, etc. I go to bed around 11. I always go to bed pretty late. I’m up really early and go back to bed really late. I’m an evening person but also a morning person.

Christian: So you can manage with fewer hours of sleep?

Raymon: Yes, especially when I was younger. Now I know why I really need to get 7-8 hours. Back in the day, I managed to have enough sleep with 6 hours sometimes. I was always busy doing all kinds of stuff during my career and I’m still the same way. I’m always busy with something. Now I have my own house and stuff with my wife. So I also enjoy watching a movie or something in the evenings.

Back in the day, I managed to have enough sleep with 6 hours, now I need to get 7-8 hours of sleep.

I know I need to have some time with my girl as well. That’s also really important. Back in the day, I was just always busy doing different kinds of stuff. I was never in front of the television watching any shows or anything much. I was always running around, cleaning my bike or doing emails or whatever, always busy.

Raymon’s interview nomination

Christian: Do you want to nominate someone to be interviewed?

Raymon: I think it’s good to nominate Bas [de Bever]. I am looking forward to seeing his interview.

Where can you find Raymon van der Biezen

Christian: Where can people find you?

Raymon: I’m still on social media on my Instagram basically every day. I’m still putting out some training videos every now and then and thinking about stupid stuff. I’m still trying to adjust my own training from the past back into training programs now. So I’m thinking how to get better and faster, just challenge myself and the other athletes.

Instagram

Facebook profile

Facebook page

Twitter

Christian: Cool. Thanks, Raymon.

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