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Christmas in Belgium

By:
Cycling News
Published:
December 25, 2012, 18:43 GMT,
Updated:
December 25, 2012, 18:49 GMT

Texan Nick Torraca figures out how to ride in Belgian mud

Christmas day 'cross ride at Euro 'Cross Camp

Christmas day 'cross ride at Euro 'Cross Camp

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This being my first year racing 'cross, I have been very fortunate in receiving the opportunity to race in Belgium. I am enjoying every moment of it.

A few days ago we got to test our skills on the very challenging course on the Citadel of Namur. The course, covered in thick and grassy mud, had lots of steep slippery run ups, fast downhills, and off-camber sections. These conditions called for a lot of bike changes throughout the race. We were all lucky to have Geoff and Dave doing this not so fun or rewarding job for us.

After the race, we cleaned up and drove back to the house. Once we unpacked a little, we watched the elite race on TV. It was so cool see the best riders in the entire world race on the same course we raced earlier in the day. They make each part of the course look so easy. I really underestimated the difficulty of this course from online videos and pictures, but I quickly realized how hard they actually where. After racing my first race in Belgium, I look forward to gaining more experience and hopefully progressively get better as the camp goes by.

Cyclo-cross in my home state of Texas is a lot different than it is here. It hardly ever rains, and the result of that is very dry 'cross courses. Here in Belgium it rains almost constantly, creating very muddy and slippery courses. Because I almost always race in dry conditions, mud riding is a weakness. However, being able to race here is allowing me to develop my mud riding skills each day.

As we spend Christmas away from family, it is hard to be across the world and feel at home. This year at Euro 'Cross Camp, we set up a tree and all got each other a gift to make it feel a little more like home. It was a fun way to pass some time and see some unusual gifts.

Belgium is such a great place, and I have met some great riders, friends, and coaches in this first week here. I look forward to racing our remaining four races especially the Superprestige in Diegem. I am thankful for this amazing experience and hope to get some good results in the upcoming races.

I would like to thank Mad Duck Cyclery, my parents, Geoff Proctor, and the staff at the camp for all their tremendous help and support. Stay tuned with updates from me on twitter and instagram @nicktorraca.

Thanks!

Author
Euro 'Cross Camp X

Euro 'Cross Camp Director Geoff Proctor will lead the tenth annual cyclo-cross camp that will run through late December and early January. Nine juniors, six U23s and one elite rider will make the journey to Belgium to train and race over the Christmas and New Year's holidays. What's new for this year is the location of the Euro 'Cross Camp, which will be in Vorselaar, Belgium. Racing for the campers will begin on December 23 at the Namur World Cup and run through the Baal Bpost Bank Trophee on January 1. A few of the Euro 'Cross Campers will stay a bit extra so that they can also compete in the Rome World Cup on January 6. The camp has previously helped the careers of racers like current US National Champion Ryan Trebon, Jeremy Powers and Jamey Driscoll. Read these diaries for hints of who may emerge from this year's crop of three elite, eight U23 and eight junior racers as America's future 'cross stars? Coach Proctor and his riders will take turns contributing diary entries. 2012-2013 Euro 'Cross Camp X Roster Elite Justin Lindine (Redline Bicycles), 28, New Salem, MA Under 23s Manny Goguen (C.F. Racing P/B Trek Portsmouth), 21, Hopedale, MA Danny Gerow (Wolverine Racing Elite CX, 21, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI Josh Johnson (Bissell-ABG-Nuvo), 20, Fort Wayne, IN Skyler Trujillo (Boo/Enve/Challenge), 20, Fort Collins, CO Andrew Dillman (Bob’s Red Mill Cyclocross), 18, Fairdale, KY Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant Berry Farms/Specialized), 18, Santa Cruz, CA Juniors Logan Owen (Redline Bicycles), 17, Bremerton, WA Curtis White (Hot Tubes Development Team), 17, Duanesburg, NY Nate Morse (Hot Tubes Development Team), 17, Cohasset, MA Stephen Bassett (Bob’s Red Mill Cyclocross), 17, Knoxville, TN Nick Torraca (Mad Duck Cyclery), 17, Grapevine, TX John Francisco (Red Zone Cycling) 17, Louisville, KY Peter Goguen (C.F. Racing P/B Trek Portsmouth), 16, Hopedale, MA David Lombardo (Verdigris-Village Cyclocross), 16, Crystal Lake, IL Josey Weik (ISCorp), 16, Wrenshall, MN

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