JTEKT Sponsors Triathlon Almere-Amsterdam: An interview with triathlete Monique Berlips


The Almere Triathlon, today known as “Challenge Almere-Amsterdam” and previously also known as the Holland Triathlon, is the most famous triathlon in the Netherlands and has been held in Almere every year since 1983. The Holland Triathlon is the second oldest global triathlon competition (Long Distance Classic) after Hawaii. During the triathlon you have to swim 3.8 km, cycle 180 km and run 42.195 km (marathon distance). These distances correspond approximately to the full Ironman distances (ref. wikipedia). The Almere-Amsterdam triathlon was held this year on September 9, 2023.

Interview date: October 25, 2023

1. Dear Monique, you recently ran the famous classic triathlon (Ironman) of Amsterdam/Almere for the second time. How did you like that?

Monique: It was quite a challenge due to the extreme heat conditions (around 32 0C), but it was really cool to be able to participate in such an event.

2. Can you tell us a little more about your history, how did you come to choose for this type of racing?

Monique: In my youth I spent a lot of time on the sidelines during the entire Almere triathlon. It was always the event of the year for Almere. My mother also did the entire triathlon twice in 1987 and 1988. As a little girl I always thought when I grew up I would definitely participate.

3. Can you tell us more about the three disciplines: 3.8 km swimming, 180 km cycling and then a full marathon. Which one do you find most difficult?

Monique: The 3.8 kilometer swim is my easiest part and I never really dread it. That also went very well this year. The only disadvantage is the mass start, which is always a fight for your spot in the water, but once you have it, you can go. Cycling was difficult for me this year, the 180 km in this sweltering heat with little to no shade. It was therefore very heavy and you had to cool down well and keep drinking to keep it up. And then running the marathon is the least of my activities, which is why it is always difficult for me. Especially with these tropical conditions.

4. How do you see your future in these races, what are your ultimate goals?

Monique: I would like to finish under 12 hours someday. That will be my next goal.

5. Can you tell us more about the material and in particular the specific features of the bicycle you use?

Monique: I have a triathlon bike that is built in such a way that you sit on it very aerodynamically, in a kind of lying position. You can maintain this position for a long time and it will also make you go faster. I have a click system on my pedals so that my cycling shoes are attached to the pedals and you can cycle faster. And a hydration system on your handlebars, so that you can continue cycling in that position and still get your water and nutrition.

6. We understood that the wheel bearings used in these bikes are quite crucial to the success of the races. Can you tell us a little more about that?

Monique: Good wheel bearings are very important. Where you normally cycle as fast as your training buddies, you can now cycle faster with a pair of good wheel bearings.

7. We had JTEKT ONI wheel bearings installed on your bike, what were your expectations beforehand?

Monique: I went into it without expectations, but still noticed a clear benefit from the bearings.

8. Ultimately, you drove a net time (after deduction of break times) that was almost 2% lower than last year. How do you look back on this?

Monique: Yes, in the end I turned out to be about 2% faster than the year before. And then the weather conditions were much more favorable than this year. There are of course several factors that influence the times, but I still have the feeling that they have certainly contributed to these better times.

9. Finally, what advice would you give to other people considering taking up triathlon?

Monique: In addition to good preparation through disciplined training, having good equipment is very important. And of course we should not forget the wheel bearings.


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