The Elite racers Sjoukje Dufoer and Tom Vandenbussche are both ex-Pro Road Cyclists from Brugge in Belgium. They just recently go married and are racing the Crocodile Trophy 2018 and we had a chat to Tom a few weeks ago about their Croc-Honeymoon.
CROC: You will race this year’s Croc in the Adventure category with a very special team mate – your wife… please explain 🙂
Tom: My wife was just home from a MTB challenge in Spain when we met during a cycling training. We have the same road friends but somehow, we never met. Well it is to say: she already once got my attention, but she somehow didn’t notice me… This time it was different. I got myself into an orange outfit and was able to get the spot beside her. She started talking about her MTB adventures and I was totally lost. That evening I asked her out and that’s how the magic happened. One year later we are married and planning our honeymoon. The MTB adventure of all adventures: the crocodile Trophy…
CROC: How will your background as a former professional road cyclist influence your travel and race preparations – is your wife a cyclist too? – Have you raced together before?
Tom: My wife has been a professional road cyclist too. She got sick of sleeping in hotels and everything being organised, she wanted adventure. We both have that hunger for that as I am a big fan of the African races! Where the whole experience is an adventure, not knowing if you going to get some food, or a bed for the night… We both have a love for sleeping in a tent to. Our preparations is mountain bike / road cycling. We are two different types of riders. My wife is more the sprinting explosive type, while I’m more the long-distance type of rider. My wife doesn’t need a lot of training. She is very sensitive of over-training, so she needs a lot of rest, as I just need competition to get better. So she is now doing long distance training and I am doing competition on the road and on the mtb.
We have raced our first MTB race together as a mixed team in the ‘TransAlp’. It was an extreme beautiful experience. We only felt more in love and I proposed to her to marry me at the Garda Lake. This year we did the JoBerg2C in South Africa, together as an mixed team. Our different lever of physique was a big challenge. We figured out that cycling apart is not so frustrating…
CROC: You are a dietitian, what are the key elements of your nutritional race preparation and how do you plan to re-fuel and recover during the event?
Tom: I always use the same plan: before the race we get our bodies into an alkaline state whith beta alanine. We build up our digestive system with good bacteria to be strong. Especially for African races that is very important! (the food is not always very fresh there). During the race we hydrate a lot and try to eat specific easily digestible food. After the race we have a shake and some Amino acids and recovery shakes to help recover and start drinking again to refuel. And then the fest begins. We are both food lovers and we can eat a lot! So it is very important to refuel for the next day… we looooooove that part! Before we go to sleep we take some extra protein to help the body to recover during the night.
CROC: As this is your honeymoon, what are you travel plans around the Crocodile Trophy?
Tom: We are the most excited for the crocodile trophy itself! Afterwards we will visit a friend and his wife who live in Melbourne. He convinced us to come by promising us a lot of very healthy food and good beer. We can’t stay very long as I have a business on my own at home. My clients need me 😉
CROC: You have a few fellow cyclists and friends – also in Australia – who have done the event before… what are your expectations of the race? No doubt, you spoke to them about it?
Tom: We don’t know what to expect and we want it to be a surprise too! We are just a bit concerned about the bikes and that we bring the right ones for the conditions there.
CROC: Which three non-bike related items will you be taking with you to the race?
Tom: I hope my wife Is going to take her bikini whit her… We don’t have a lot of extra space for extra stuff. It’s going to be my computer and some books for me. We like reading as well. And for me all the nutritional related articles I have bulked up and still need to read. Perfect time on the plane for that.
Croc: Will you be camping or have you arranged an accommodation package?
Tom: Of course, we will be camping!!!!!!!!
CROC: What do you think will be your biggest challenge?
Tom: The 3200hm day! We live in a totally flat area in Belgium, so uphill / downhill is a challenge. Apart from that, staying under 30kg luggage on the airplane, mountain bike included, each than 😉
CROC: What do you look forward to the most?
Tom: 😎 Experiencing this amazing adventure together and creating memories for the rest of our lives.
We wish you eight amazing days together and all the best, congratulations again on a beautiful love story! We’re sure you will have many adventures together! xxx