Since stepping on a bike at the age of 7 Mark has covered hundreds of thousands of kilometers. What started as a fun pastime has blossomed into a necessity. In his teens he competed as a Junior and he now rides for the Continental team Xspeed United. However, Mark does not like to sit still, because he has to combine his cycling with his Sports Marketing training at the JCA. The JCA is a school set up by Johan Cruijf that combines top level sport with education.
On a cold, early morning in Italy a team training session had been planned. A perfectly normal training for Mark with a few hours of hard work to get some kilometers in for the coming season. However, the weather conditions were unfavourable. The slippery roads caused the entire team to crash in the first corner. Two team members suffered a fractured collarbones and Mark a broken leg. This meant two and a half months out of the running. A bad start, but luckily Mark was able to turn the recover quickly.
Intensive guidance from the physiotherapists, a lot of recuperation and mental preparation for his first steps. This is what the weeks looked like for Mark. The long absence caused an imbalance in muscle mass in his legs. This made the recovery a challenge and Mark had to miss a lot of races. However, thanks to the long season Mark did not have to sit it out. His motivation remained high and recovery was faster than expected. The disappointment turned into a drive to continue. He drove into the spotlight of Xpeed United Continental and was still able to make the step to the continental circuit.
A season for Mark looks fairly structured. Cycling takes place six days a week, five of which are training sessions and one a competition. This equates to about 20 hours a week. In addition, Mark does strength training twice a week outside the cycling season and once during the season. It's not obligatory but Mark thinks it's necessary to keep up the rest of his muscles in shape.
Training in the morning, working on school in the afternoon and recovering in the evening. This is what an average day looks like for Mark. The recovery process mainly comes down to making as little effort as possible and eating enough. After training he is provided with a 'recovery shake', which provides nutrients to help compensate for the tissue damage of the training. At home and at school, he makes sure he gets enough calories so that he can train hard again the next day.
Xspeed United Continental
Although many training sessions are done individually, Mark is part of a team. The best 'promises' (cyclists who may be able to compete at a professional level) are scouted and start races together. The team consists of cyclists from all over the world. Mark's team includes cyclists from all over the world such as Granada, Norway and Canada. They are good friends despite the fact that they often only see each other on race days and training camps. They participate in training camps together in order to improve cooperation. Although only one person can win, the performance must be achieved as a team. Cycling is a very difficult in this sport to win on your own without teammates.
Despite the poor start to his introduction to professional cycling Mark still sees a bright future. He still has more than two and a half years to prove himself. The aim is to be scouted for prof. at the end of next year. Mark says that it is a case of now or never. Within this sport it is extremely difficult to make the transition to the top as a person over 25. He therefore now sees that the coming years will be critical for him. But Mark is confident and we may see him at the top in the coming years.
Kalkman will support him in this. Mark has been using our products for a while because Kalkman's products are very easy to digest, he said. He uses the products during training and competitions and is very satisfied with the quality. Mark will be a new Kalkman ambassador, and together we will strive to reach the top.