Wow. It's hard to believe that Euro 'Cross Camp X is a wrap. Even though this has been my second consecutive Christmas in Belgium, it seems as though I've soaked up as much, if not more, experience and knowledge as the first time. This year's camp had different effects on everyone. For me, I had my first taste of a podium in Europe.
Things started of with a bang in our first race of the Kerstperiode after placing second at Namur, quite possibly the hardest course on the European circuit. 300 meter uphill start, 100 meter drop, 100 pitch, 100 meter drop, again and again. All mud. Because of the extreme conditions, things broke apart quickly. After 40 minutes of suffering on the sides of the citadel, I crossed the line in second. Immediately after crossing the finish, I was guided along a completely fenced off path that led to the podium and a warm tent. Things were good.
My next taste of success was the bpost Bank Trophee in Loenhout. Slow, grinding, thick mud. Pure volk racing. After 40 minutes of slogging through cow manure ridden fields and over the infamous whoops, I sprinted to the third step on the podium. A podium out of a field 70+ deep... I was ecstatic. Again, I was escorted to a warm tent to be washed off for the podium. I received kisses from the podium girls, flowers, and a basket of treats.
Everything about this year's camp was incredible. Many thanks goes out to Jim Anderson for his fine cooking, to Dave Hartman and the rest of the mechanics for making sure everyone's bikes were in tip-top shape, the soigneurs for the help the house and race, to Bob De Cnodder for allowing us to stay at his team house.
Most of all, a huge thank you to Geoff Proctor for giving juniors, such as myself, and many others the opportunity to compete with the world's finest cyclo-crossers.
Thanks for reading.