Belgium, January 5, 2007
When there are sixteen riders living together in close quarters, typically with four to a room, the most difficult thing to avoid at camp is the inevitable ill fate of a cold. For me it struck without warning despite my conscious efforts to boost my vitamin C and fluid intake.
Although the noticeable symptoms ran their course within a matter of days, it shows how necessary it is to take care of your body, especially with such a condensed and intense schedule of racing.
Despite illness the camp is drawing quickly to an end and soon guys will be packing up and shipping out either for a well deserved rest or for another block of training to prepare for the upcoming World Championships at the end of January.
Fellow U23 rider Chance Noble and myself have decided to stay put here in Izegem instead of flying all the way home for the time in between. Personally I'm looking forward to exploring the surrounding towns and visiting some of the historical cemeteries that became the final resting place for soldiers that lost their lives during World Wars I and II.
Epic battles were fought on these fields and in the trenches of the Flemish region of Belgium and to this day farmers still uncover the bones of fallen soldiers that have long been buried under a thick layer of mud.
I have been told that within riding distance, Tyne-Cot Cemetery pays tribute to some of the British and Australian divisions and contains approximately 12,000 graves along with a list of 36,000 names of those who were missing after the summer of 1917.
There is so much history, and the memories still lives on with the current generation who still seem to feel indebted to all of the foreign troops, particularly from the English speaking countries Britain, Australia, Canada, and the U.S.
The juniors just returned from their last race of the camp and will be departing early tomorrow morning for home. Their race was located in Sven Nys and Niels Albert's hometown of Baal, and looked really muddy from what we could see on the television.
Danny Summerhill had another impressive ride, making his second consecutive appearance on the podium finishing third. For the U23's and professionals, it was a day of training and relaxing in preparation for the back to back days of races starting tomorrow in St Niklaas, and then quickly followed the next morning with a four and a half hour drive to the northern town of Surhuisterveen in the Netherlands.
Happy new year and the best to you in 2007.