Archive for January, 2009

Canada House in Holland Update

Posted in 'Cross, Racing on January 30, 2009 by Sarns

Hello Guys,

I am writing this email from Edmonton since I arrived last night after a long trip. Brian and Andrew dropped me off in the airport and they joined the National Team for the last few days leading up the Worlds.
Hopefully they will leave it all on the course and will use all the things that were learned during the past 2 months. I know it has been quite the experience the past 2 months and a first experience for them racing in Europe for that long.
It is NOT easy and quite stressful being away for such a long period of time, racing and training in a different culture and people talking differently but having a team backing you up has helped so much.
I do hope they will suffer like they never did before but also that they will ENJOY this experience, it has been a lifetime experience that’s for sure. Lots has been learned.
Thanks for all the people supporting us, it really does make a difference receiving a supportive email once a while and keeping touch with home!

Why I am home some people might wonder? Well first of all I finished 9th at the DUTCH Nationals and top 7 qualified for The Netherlands, and I had to come back before my current Visum expired on January 31st. The boys joined the National Team so there was nothing left for me to do up there.




Albertan’s in World Cup CX – Milan

Posted in 'Cross, Racing on January 27, 2009 by Sarns

Here are two Alberta riders at the start line of the World Cup Cyclocross race in Milan this past Sunday. They are Andre Sutton and Aaron Schooler, both of Edmonton, both spending time in Europe racing as often and as hard as they can.


Photo provided by Patricia Chalmers

Project Canada House in Holland

Posted in 'Cross, Racing on January 26, 2009 by Sarns

During the past 2 months Tim Heemskerk (Edmonton), Brian Robinson (Calgary) and Andrew Thomas (Regina) formed the first edition of Canada House in Holland. Aim of this project is having Canadian cyclo cross racers join a Dutch race team and gain race experience in Holland and Belgium towards the World championships cross in Hoogerheide. Both riders and their coach (and athlete) Tim Heemskerk joined Dutch team Jan Terpstra being fully supported with bikes, race and casual clothing, equipment, a team van, team mechanics, and a temporary new “home”, a bungalow in a vacation park in north of Holland. This kind of support takes away some stress you normally have to deal with while being overseas.
The level of cross racing in Europe is really high and it takes hard training, international race experience, and good support to be able to become more competitive at this level and a race like World Championships. We do hope this can become an annual project with hopefully support from Canadian sponsors as well. This year’s project was fully supported by Team Jan Terpstra and Tim’s Training Program (TTP).
Here’s how this year’s racers experienced the first edition of project Canada House in Holland.

“As a coach, racer and initiator of the project it was not always easy dealing with everything, but I am happy we did it and the support of the team in Holland and team manager Maarten Kemperman was tremendous. It is all about providing all 3 of us experience in racing cross in Europe, and especially Brian and Andrew learned a lot.
It is not easy being away from your family at this young age.

They will benefit from these experiences in their future racing career and in life in general. Hopefully this experience has put them at a higher level and it will pay off a bit at Worlds in Hoogerheide in 1 week from now. Off course they need more race experience and hard work to be able to race competitively against racers from Europe. I do hope the project will get more support from within Canada since it was fully supported by the team and myself this first time”.


“I have spent the past seven weeks living here in the heart of cyclocross country, so I could gain fitness and experience the European race style. The reasoning for this is to simply aid in my performance at World Championships in Hoogerheide on Zatterdag, Jan. 31. I have done ten races in preparation for Worlds and these ten races produced four flat tires, one huge crash resulting in a sprained shoulder, and one broken shifter, not to mention the Zolder World Cup where the inexperience played a huge factor. Although, that is an unbelievable streak of bad luck and frustration, that doesn’t erase the fitness and experience I have gained. So, with my biggest race yet to come, I have gained everything I set out to Holland too achieve. Although, the training and racing are up me, it is truly the people behind the scenes that make racing professional cyclocross possible. Maarten Kemperman, Jan Terpstra team manager and Tim Heemskerk, project manager and coach, have made this all possible. They have provided everything from equipment to technical support to accommodations and much more. Without their tireless efforts, I would have remained in the -30oc temperatures of Canada and come to World Championships a week prior to race day. You can imagine how unprepared I would have been”!

“The inaugural Canada House in Holland project will be coming to a finish next week, but the most important race is still to come.  The goal of this project was to gain as much European racing experience as possible and use that to excel at the World Championships in Hoogerheide on January 31st.  This project has taken a lot of hard work from everyone, and it has been a resounding success.  Racing in Europe is completely different from anything that can be experienced in Canada; the racers here are aggressive, fast, and very good technically.  The biggest learning experience for me has been the starts.  When the gun goes off it is an all-out sprint, you have to do everything possible to be ahead of the next guy when you hit the first corner.
We are now in the last week of hard training before tapering for the 31st.  Hopefully everything comes together next weekend and we will be able to show the World how much we have learned from our experiences these past weeks.
Big thanks to our coach, Tim Heemskerk, our manager Maarten Kemperman of the Noordelijk Mountain Bike Team, Ridley Bikes, our mechanics Rients and Lars, and every one else who made this project possible”.


Keep track of all team activities and team performances at

Canada House in Holland Update #7

Posted in 'Cross, Racing on January 19, 2009 by Sarns

Provided by Tim Heemskerk

Hello Guys,

time for a new update from Canada House in Holland…
Last Wednesday we all raced in our “home” race Surhuisterveen resulting in less travel time and some good start money to start with. At least we can eat properly now for the next week!
The race was MUDDY and all 3 of us are slowly becoming MUD specialists, it better not be muddy in Canada because we will tear things apart from now on!
My race was good, right after the start within top 15, mistake @ the bike change which cost me about 5 spots and finished 20th…wow..a good result for a Super Prestige race, and way closer to the front as well, so I was happy. Andrew was NOT happy, he flatted AGAIN and ran for half a lap to change bikes and to finish 39th. Brian started in the back and stayed in the back, BUT his legs are getting better and he did some good, technical work in the mud as well which will improve him as a racer in the future. Apparently he did kiss a wall on the race course, not sure where he found that wall but he did kiss it and lost some precious time and had some soreness during the past few days.
Yesterday we raced (in the MUD) again, and we chose a race close by with some decent racers, yes.. most cross racers over here are fast, it is a lifestyle. Andrew and me had a good start and rode in a lead group of 3 racers for about 1 lap. I managed to get away and build up a nice lead, and 1 lap later Andrew got away from the other guy finishing 2nd.
Brian was unfortunate at the start line and hit a steel pin (that holds the race tape) and he had to start from dead last and managed to work his way through the field, not sure where he finished. Finishing 1st and 2nd was good for the team, and it was a good training without too much race stress, which we already had lots of the past 6- 8 weeks. It was a good choice leading up to Worlds and hopefully things will come together there for the boys.
That’s pretty much it for the past week. We had some good training and some good relaxation and one more good week of training before their taper off towards Worlds will start.
I will add some new pictures this week, stay tuned!


2009 Alberta Racing Calendar – Draft

Posted in Racing on January 14, 2009 by Sarns

The 2009 Draft Racing Calendar can be viewed here:

2009 ABA Draft Calendar

ABA New Website Launch

Posted in Bike Clubs on January 14, 2009 by bikealberta

The Alberta Bicycle Association is excited to announce the launch of the next generation web site for The re-designed site features a design that is easier for members to find the information they are looking for and the Racing on Rails system for event the calendar and results. The ABA would like to thank Thomas Yip for developing the site.

Canada House in Holland Update #6

Posted in 'Cross, Racing on January 12, 2009 by Sarns

Provided by Tim Heemskerk

Hello Guys,

Another week went by and another week closer to Worlds for the boys here in the Canada House in Holland.
Last weekend was Nationals day in Europe, so the Canadian boys traveled to Egmond and rode their first Beach Classic with another 3500 (!!) felllow competitors. I have done Beach Classics before and the first time is always really impressive and something very unusual. First of all you race on a MTB with balloon tires, and the first question Brian asked me is which tires he had to mount?… those are the right tires..there’s no knobs on beach tires! Those balloon tires make you float over the beach! Brian and Andrew (who managed to get a flat on the beach) raced with the other MTB team members, and I got ready for Dutch Nationals in ELITE MEN with the help of my wife Dr. Debby Heemskerk- Koonen 🙂 who has been going to the races with me for the past 16 years or so.

I was getting over the flu bug towards the end of the week and the day before the d- day I actually started to feel normal again and strong. I was super focused and determined to finish within the top 10 of one of the strongest cyclo cross nations in the World. I tried to do everything RIGHT in my preparations, and stayed focused during the pre- ride the day before and the morning off. I prepared myself on the trainer in the morning, just before traveling to the race course and another session on the trainer as my pre- race warm up 1 hr before the start of the race. The start looked to be going well, but now a guy next to me unexpectedly bumped into me and I lost some momentum and about 5 spots in the first 2 meters (!). I did not panic and stayed in my zone ready to ride fast and started picking up people and finally reached the top 10, finishing 9th only 20 seconds off of number 8: FINALLY! This is where I feel I am at the moment and finally a good race which I am happy about and that feels good.

The team support was awesome and the course was awesome as well, I could have done another 5 laps like that! It was by far the nicest cross race I have done the past 2 months since I arrived in Europe for cross.

Lars Boom won the race (having 18 stitches in his arm) and a friend of mine: Thijs Al finished 2nd and has an awesome season this year.

We are getting ready for the Super Prestige race in Surhuisterveen this Wednesday, and hopefully we will be able to do well in front of all our sponsors who have been supporting us the past period. They make our lives much more easier.

My thoughts are also (already) with a new planning for next year taking all our new experiences into account to keep growing and narrow the gap to the front of the race! To really do well over here training and racing has to change quite a bit.

Stay tuned,