USAC CX Devo blog: Practice, practice, practice

Erica Zaveta gets into the swing of European 'cross life

Tuesday December 23, film crew and training race day.

Today the day started at 8 a.m. with everyone making breakfast and preparing to head out, as a group, to a well know training hill of Sven Nys. With 16 athletes here at the camp it may look like organized chaos as everyone finds the perfect combination of clothing to match the Belgium weather. Today was overcast skies but high temperature, somewhere in the mid 50’s Fahrenheit (that’s 10 degrees Celsius).

The thirty-minute spin on the bike path to the training trails helped to make sure everyone was warmed up for the 20-minute training race on “Sven Hill”. Lance set up the course and marked off the turns with some course tape, a short loop with great turns and roots, with the most notable feature being the sandy steep ride/run up. We pre-rode the course a few times and then lined up for a mass start race.

Drew Dillman was the victor of the training race and Gage and Brannan rode the hill! But most importantly I think everyone learned a great deal by racing the course at speed. Personally I was thankful for practicing how to properly shoulder the bike but also for realizing how important it is to set up 'cross-specific practices throughout the year, creating quality 'cross courses with good 'cross features.

We spun back to the house as a group, handed off the bikes to the mechanics, and grabbed showers and some lunch. The afternoon was mostly recovering and spending time together. A lot of Netflix, Facebook, VeloNews, updating training logs and coaches back home, catching up with family and friends, snacking, reading, napping, cleaning, and organizing odds and ends.

Curtis, Drew, and myself grabbed the house town bikes and headed to the local grocery store. I love bike commuting! It’s not something that I do very frequently where I live back home but it is such a fun way to see the cool little town of Voreselaar. Part of our town trip included shopping for our respective secret Santa gift exchange, it can be anything under €5. I would tell you what I bought for my pick but it’s a secret!

Each night dinner is prepared by Karin and it is quite a lot of food to make for 16 athletes, Geoff, and three mechanics, Dave, Jan, and Hunter, thanks Karin! Tonight was soup, salad, rice, potatoes, fish sticks, and mixed cooked vegetables. Yup it was good. Geoff speaks during dinner running through the day as we eat. He uses this time help each athlete grow in their knowledge of the sport, training, and good overall life skills. We then make a plan for the next day so that everyone knows what to expect and what time to meet.

Tonight myself, Drew, Spencer, and Cameron were on post-dinner clean up. Every athlete is assigned to clean up groups. Sweeping, picking up, putting away, and a whole lot of dishes. I would just like to say that we are the best of the clean up crews, just sayin'.

I am getting excited for Friday’s World Cup at Zolder. I have never ridden cross in Europe before so all of the courses and styles of racing are new to me but I loved Namur and am excited for more. I am very thankful for USA Cycling CX Development Camp, its been a great experience so far! Tomorrow will be a relaxed day with a number of easy rides and preparation for Thursday’s pre-ride.

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