As the Euro 'Cross Camp comes to an end, I am able to look back and see all of the good memories and experiences. As an alumnus of the camp I could go into it and know what was going on. Also from last year I knew where everything was, like the grocery store, registration, and I also knew the routine of the house. But I don’t think you can go to Europe and not experience anything new. I knew I still had some learning experiences to come.
One of those things I learned was that the kids over in Belgium don’t go home and play video games, after school they go to the bowling alley or the movies. I learned that because some of the riders after their ride went to the bowling alley, and there were a lot of kids that went there straight from school. And for the movies, some other riders went to the movie theater in the next town over and the line to get a ticket was out the door. And I might add that it was only a Thursday.
As for the riding in Europe, it is exactly how you would imagine it: narrow roads, cars buzzing close to you, and how you just ride through these little towns with farmland in between them. I didn’t really experience the riding outside last year because it was really snowy and cold, and I rode on the rollers a lot. So riding outside was interesting for me this year. Sometimes it is very hard to find your way back to the USA Cycling house. Therefore an hour ride consists of riding out of Izegem for 30 minutes and then another 45 to 60 minutes trying to find the house again.
The racing was a lot different, too, this year. That is because I knew most of the race courses, and for me whenever I have seen a course before it usually keeps me calm. Also I had a front row start in most of the races because I had UCI points this year. The start is not make or break in our race, but it sure helps to have that little bit of edge on the other racers.
So as all of the riders start to leave for the US and Nationals in a week, the camp is coming to its last days. Geoff Proctor is amazing! He works with all the riders one-on-one, coordinates all the schedules, and makes the camp possible. Also, I would like to thank everybody in my life that made it possible for me to race over in Europe and bring back all the experiences I had.