Christmas in Belgium

Texan Nick Torraca figures out how to ride in Belgian mud

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: Cycling News

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