My name is Margriet Kloppenburg, 29-year-old Danish cyclocross racer. Some of you might have seen me showing off some great wet weather gear in the past and current Castelli catalogues. If you follow bike racing, you might also have seen my name in some road and cross results over the years or even seen me pop up on your TV screen on the occasions where our races have been streamed or televised.
I met the amazing people of Castelli about 2 years ago while I was still living in Belgium (I moved to the UK in November 2016 with by British partner, James Spragg). Through some friends they contacted me to see if I wanted to help them out with a photo shoot near Oudenaarde, where I lived at the time. I had time, so I jumped in the project. It was a fun day out and we stayed in touch. I was over the moon when Castelli decided to become the clothing partner of Inthemud.cx (the cyclocross team we were, me and my boyfriend, until the end of 2016) for the 2016–2017 season.
Our main sponsor very unexpectedly pulled out and we were left with no money to run the season. Devastated, I had to tell them that we had to pull the plug on the team in July 2016, right before the season started and before they could even supply us with any clothing. On top of that I had been dealing with a serious back injury since January, which I could not get rid of. When the sponsor pulled out, I felt mentally and physically exhausted and wasn’t so sure if I still wanted to race. All the sponsor pulling out and the injury stressful period had taken away all the fun out of riding and racing.
The answer I received from Castelli was heart-warming: “Don’t worry about it, make sure you get healthy and get back to what it is all about. Enjoy riding your bike! We will send you some kits, don’t worry about racing or riding it right now, get back on your bike when the time is right.”
Getting support like that when you’re feeling down is amazing and I was and am still very grateful for the help I got. A lot of things happened last fall and winter, I worked with the amazing people of Callewaert & Wemel in Waregem, Belgium, to finally get on top of my back injury. I spent about eight hours a week in their gym and worked my butt off to recover. In the meantime, I also moved to the United Kingdom, away from Belgium, the heart of cyclocross. After the move, I dusted off my bike and started exploring what my new home had to offer. Then I slowly found back the love for my bike. Devon is a beautiful area for cycling and with national parks like Dartmoor and Exmoor on my doorstep I am happy we made the move.
In January, I was on my bike almost every day but wasn’t missing racing and was slowly getting used to the idea of retirement and enjoying other aspects of life. But still, something in me was not ready just yet and I kept training and riding… I think I needed something that would reignite the flame and something to be excited about. When they announced, last January, that Denmark was going to host a world cup in November and the world championships in February 2019, my heart skipped a beat and the fire was back on! Who does not want to ride on a world championship in their home country!?
When I decided to continue at least until the world championships in Denmark, I also decided that I was going to do things differently this time. Before we were running our own two riders team, including team name, van, tent, kit, etc. We looked like a pro team. This time, it is just going to be me and my car along with few personal sponsors. I’ll be working a little more, we own a house now and I am done with having to worry about being able to buy food at the end of the month. I hope I can take a little pressure away and enjoy racing to its fullest!
One of the sponsors is Castelli. When I reach to them, and told them about my plans and the aim of making it to the world championships in Bogense, Denmark, they were on board right away and were just as excited as me. I am extremely happy and excited to get the support from a company like Castelli towards the world championships in Denmark in 2019.
While the first world cups are on in the US as we speak, I will be starting my season a little later and will be doing a mix of UK and European racing this winter. Mostly world cups and races in Belgium, and maybe a little trip to Spain in December. I will be wearing the collection you can also find in the shops and I will be sharing my thoughts on racing, my favourite kit, training and everything else under the sun on the Castelli Blog. I hope you will enjoy following me in the dirt towards #bogense2019. Feel free to send any questions or subjects that you find interesting and want to hear about via social media or in the comments! If you want to know where I am racing next, check out my calendar.