From ballet to the bike
Jasmijn fondly remembers her childhood self cycling to ballet lessons with her younger sister in Holland – awed by the freedom and sense of adventure that comes with swapping two feet for two wheels. But it wasn’t until later in life that Jasmijn’s affinity with endurance events started to bloom.
Yet bloom it most certainly did. Having never ridden as far as 50 miles in one sitting, Jasmijn’s first cycling event was a 12-hour time trial, in which she clocked 252.6 miles. Flash forward eight years and today Jasmijn is training for the NorthCape-Tarifa, a 7,400km single-stage, unsupported race across Europe.
Her list of endurance achievements to date unfurls like a Roman scroll. In 2017 she was the first woman (and third overall) in the UK National 24hr TT. She was the first female finisher in a 1,400km race from London to Edinburgh and back. And she became the world 24-hour TT champion at Borrego Springs in California.
On to 2019 and Jasmijn was the first woman in BikingMan Oman’s 1,040km event. She also cycled a 1,220km Paris-Brest-Paris route in 59 hours and 32 minutes. With a seemingly irrepressible ability to post such staggering numbers, you imagine Jasmijn is only half joking when she refers to herself as a Duracell bunny on a bike.
Yet such feats of endurance in the saddle come with physiological costs – and Jasmijn has battled complex labial medical complications. She is typically outspoken about her experience and is determined to raise awareness of women’s issues in endurance sport – such as managing PMS, the menopause and loss of libido. Her belief is that properly bespoke saddles, finetuned to the physiology and biomechanics of individual riders, are nearing fruition – and will transform endurance cycling.
It’s all a far cry from the battements and pliés of the ballet studio. Yet it’s remarkable to think that those carefree childhood rides to rehearsal were quietly sculpting a true legend of endurance cycling.