Here we are, almost a week into our trip to Belgium. A lot has happened already; two races, a trip to northern Holland, bikes broken, and bikes fixed, but not a lot happens today.
Today is a rest day. A working man's weekend to a cyclist. What happens on our days of rest you wonder? Well continue reading, and you shall hear.
The rest day quite simply is a day for the body to recuperate from the rigors of training and racing. However, it is much more then that. It's a day to reset mentally and to prepare for the races and struggles to come. It's a day when the bandwidth here at the house gets all used up. It's a day to power wash all your dirty clothes. It's a day for a trip to Delhaize (the local grocery store) for whatever it is you crave.
Most of all though it's a chance for us to have a laugh with or roommates, or watch some T.V. with the guys from the room next door. It may seem silly but in order to race well here in Belgium, you have to have a support group; someone who speaks your language, who understands your humor, and can help you with your homework.
Belgium in the winter to many of us Americans is a very inhospitable place. The weather is mostly wet and cold, the sky often gray. Everyone speaks a different language, and no one is particularly friendly towards you. Because of this, it can be very difficult for us Americans to handle large blocks of European racing. We break down mentally.
With the Euro Cross Camp it's different though. Each one of us has 19 other guys who all speak our language and for the most part, are friendly towards us. This web of camaraderie builds itself every rest day we have. The walls of the house seem to fall down as riders build new connections with each other just by watching that one YouTube video, or working together to create a new lunch recipe from the five ingredients in the fridge. This chance to socialize and have fun with our friends recharges our mental batteries for tomorrow's race.
We savor the last few hours of the day before it's time to once again prepare for battle, or as Mitch Hoke would call it - business time.
Happy holidays to everyone out there from all of us here at the USA team house. Also special thanks to all of our supporters and everyone who made this trip possible.