‘I am only Natalie , not Natalie the transgender cyclist’

At age 47, Natalie van Gogh has called it discontinues on her professional cycling profession. She was known for her vigorous racing style, arising in two professional earns, but too for supporting her crew presidents in the foulest of weather. She is also the only transgender cyclist in the current women’s road peloton, but that’s not what she wants to be remembered for.

“I have never been activistic, ” she says from her home in Nieuw-Vennep, 30 minutes south of Amsterdam. “I never felt the need to represent the transgender community or pave the way for transgender beings in athletics. I am just Natalie and I race because I desire racing.”

That racing career ended with the soggy, first edition of Binche-Chimay-Binche on October 5. Van Gogh came in 12 th after, true to her reputation, assaulting in the final sips.

“My contract ended with the Bingoal-Chevalmeire team ,” she shows.” This required I had to go look for a new unit. For three or four years it made me so much energy to sell myself to teams over and over. There is always the risk that you be brought to an end in a unit that doesn’t line up with your own ambitions.

“This is all down to age. Generally, they say that I am still good enough but they too say that I am too old. I can understand this line of reflecting. You don’t fit in the image of the team anymore. You are the odd one out. Too, “were not receiving” gigantic growing possible with me. I don’t get better anymore. I likewise don’t get worse at the moment which according to my tutor is quite an achievement.

” Truth tell people, I have known for a few years this moment would come and you have to accept it .”

Van Gogh( right) versus Marianne Vos( centre) and Kirsten Wild( left) in the points race at the 2012 National Track Championships in Apeldoorn.

Van Gogh picked up cycling when she went into transition to become her true soul 16 several years ago. The hormone medication made her to gain weight and she wanted to halt that upshot by exercising more.

“As a kid I did many boasts but I hadn’t done sports since I was about 21 ,” she says.” I gave up on it because I didn’t feel at ease with myself and my person anymore. Mentally I only couldn’t do it any longer. Body and sentiment are always one, you know.

“When the mental barrier in my top cleared, which was when I realise the decision to go into transition, the boast saved me as well. That decision cleared the opening in my thought to see the world as it certainly is. It likewise been instrumental in more force, in social intensity to go out there, match people, do new things.

” I started living again after that decision was drawn. It was like being born again in a way. People are always shocked I am 47 but I ever feel like I missed about 10 years of my life and that realizes me 10 year older mentally than my actual age.”

Van Gogh opened the door to a new being when she was 31 after a long and dark struggle with her own name. The bike started to play a prominent role in that new being. From trying to keep the hormonal force off she became a well-respected rider on the road with 2015 being her best year. She took two earns and a fourth region at the national road championships that season. She also triumphed national deeds on the racetrack and in beach hastening.

Van Gogh in the polka dot jersey after stage 3 of the Boels Ladies Tour 2017.

Respect in the peloton for Van Gogh didn’t develop overnight. It wasn’t the easiest road to take, but in the end, she’s proud she persevered.

“I am most proud of myself for merely pulling through, for going on, and not discontinuing my cycling profession, ” she says. “In the beginning I thoughts a few cases ages:’ do “youve been” miss this ?’ All the negativity I went! Physically I had no trouble following the pace but mentally there was a lot of stress. What kind of shit would I get the next time I got to a scoot? What would people say now? Despite all that, I didn’t quit and stubbornly went on.

” This is something that I wanted, this is what I liked, and I had a right to be there. Every time again during the first three years I told myself that and I am so proud I stood up for myself. I was lastly proud of who I was and I never had that feeling before.”

There is a lot of discussion about transgender jocks in boast. The online and offline discussions often result in very harsh words and personal attacks. Van Gogh wasn’t saved such abuse.

“Reactions about transgender beings in boasts feel personal since they are do attack you personally ,” she says.” It’s hard-boiled not to get touched by them but I shrug and think:’ yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion .’ Social media is anonymous and deficiencies subtlety. If someone talks shit about you and then you assemble the same person next week, they are two different people. It happened only a few cases durations to me that someone came up to me personally to tell me how they felt about me.

“In race places nasty mentions are down to rivalry, ” she continues, talking about those first years in the women’s peloton. “I could locate that conflict and was not vexed. Things have changed though. Nowadays there is so much more knowledge about transgender beings because of the increased media attention. I work with juniors for example and they don’t even blink anymore.”

Full suffer mode during the short-lived prologue of the Festival Elsy Jacobs in Luxembourg in 2021.

There are rules and regulations for transgender people in boasts. In short-lived, transgender females have to prove their testosterone rank is below a certain limit. After a full transition, the adrenal cortex is the only organ raise testosterone and an individual’s tiers are low. This means that all of the cis-women in the current pro peloton have a higher testosterone level than Van Gogh does.

“Maybe my mas is built differently with different muscle structure, bone concentration or metabolism but there is also a big disadvantage for me because I don’t have testosterone ,” she says.” I feel that below the line the potential advantages and detriments lead to zero in my case.”

Van Gogh has never been very vocal about her own life. She once told her story to Helden Magazine but never participated in talk depicts or online discussions. She focuses on her race. It’s a deliberate choice.

“I never play a part in the release process and I never demanded that either ,” she says.” I see that on my social media account for example. I don’t get a lot of hate on there but I likewise don’t get parties reaching out to me for assistance. It’s something I am really proud if. I am really Natalie, and not Natalie the transgender.”

Of course, she does follow the discussion around the sport and transgender competitors. This time transgender athletes were allowed to compete in the Olympic Games for the first time.

“There is a lot of talk now about the standard rules around transgender parties in sports ,” she says.” We have to go back to the drawing board and it won’t be did before Paris 2024. There are so many beliefs. It’s just so complex. We precisely don’t know what the rules should be.

” Also , no transgender person is the same and no modulation is the same. Everyone is different and you really can’t go around and request everyone what their status underneath their clothes is. They all have different backgrounds and do different plays. No contestant is the same but that starts for the cis-women in the peloton as well.”

Always attacking during Gent-Wevelgem 2021.

Reflecting on a period of 15 times in the women’s peloton, Van Gogh has identified women’s cycling grow from a series of criteriums as a approval planned for the men’s races, to a calendar where there are many big-hearted hastens. She compounds a full-time, 40 -hour-a-week job in software growth with a occupation in racing.

“My employer is very flexible ,” she shows.” He wants me to work 40 hours a few weeks but doesn’t care when I do that. That can be six hours one day and 10 hours the other day. This gives me the flexibility to train. My trainer likewise recognise I have experience on the weekends for long razzes and I do short-lived, intensive instruct during the week.”

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During her job Van Gogh has realized the peloton evolve from a group of amateur riders paying coin with primaries in crit hastens to the current hybrid peloton which includes first-year elite equestrians coming straight-shooting from the junior ranks, equestrians with a part-time or full-time job or studies, full-time professional equestrians who deserve a sustainable income on Women’s WorldTour units, and bigger , non-World Tour crews like Jumbo-Visma or Ceratizit-WNT.

“I do see that we are at the tipping moment now ,” she says.” It’s becoming absurd to combine a full-time job with scooting pro. The degree has gone up. There are women who have all the time during the week to drill and rest. When you too have a job, you see you are reaching the limit of how much day you have for the sport.

” You can see that in time trials for example where you check the increase in watts. There is more training involved in women’s cycling now but too more rest.

“As a use equestrian you don’t have more time to train and residual. Time is limited. In the Tour of Flanders, you precisely can’t follow anymore on these short, explosive ascents. That crack will simply get bigger now.

” We ever feel women’s figures have a limit but that is a limit we are educated socially. We are received information that brides can’t do it. Now the women train as the three men do. You encounter the watts approach the watts-per-kilo the men reach more and more. Women are expected to continue to astound and then the level goes up across the group.”

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After many years in the pro peloton Van Gogh is looking ahead to the future. She hopes to stay involved in the athletic and has already been as an aide plays chairman for WV Schijndel, a team with a thriving junior and U23 women’s team.

“Cycling is my social network too and without it I would fall in a black hole ,” she says.” I have been thinking long and hard about what I demand. The first thing I want to try is to become a plays superintendent. Many beings have told me this during my job. I want to do it my room and I certainly feel I need some know-how first. There is now a want for female sports conductors but there are not a lot with event just yet.

” I want to learn the ropes first with WV Schijndel. I want to share my passion, motivating, hasten lore and peloton learning. I have always been a giver as a cyclist, as a human being, and I will be just like that as a plays administrator. I always like to see someone else do well and am proud when they do well and sad when they don’t.

“I uttered a lot in the past 15 years but went so much in return. I would have been a different person if I never are caught up the motorcycle all those years ago. I got to travel and hasten various regions of the world. Cycling started the world so much bigger for me and I wishes to express its appreciation for it.”

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