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Belgian campaign comes to a close

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Thumbs up from Andrew Dillman on the start line.

Thumbs up from Andrew Dillman on the start line. (Image credit: Tom Robertson)
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Andrew Dillman in action in Diegem.

Andrew Dillman in action in Diegem. (Image credit: Tom Robertson)
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Andrew Dillman plows through the mud in Zolder.

Andrew Dillman plows through the mud in Zolder. (Image credit: Tom Robertson)
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Andrew Dillman on a snowy parcours in Namur.

Andrew Dillman on a snowy parcours in Namur. (Image credit: Tom Robertson)
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Andrew Dillman awaits the start in Namur.

Andrew Dillman awaits the start in Namur. (Image credit: Tom Robertson)
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Andrew Dillman had his best result of the Euro 'Cross Camp in Zolder.

Andrew Dillman had his best result of the Euro 'Cross Camp in Zolder. (Image credit: Tom Robertson)

Since last year, a lot of things have changed at the USA Cycling house in Izegem, Belgium. This year there are 14 juniors instead of only 8 and only 4 U23 instead of 8. I'm staying in a room I've never stayed in and the camp seems like it meshes a lot better this year with most of us being the same age. Some things have also remained the same: Els' FANTASTIC cooking every night, JIM music videos on every tv in the house and the awesome racing we get to experience while here.

The racing has been pretty good for me. I'm done racing now after four races, but they were big races so it was completely worth it. My favorite race was Diegem. It wasn't my best result of the camp but the course and the atmosphere is pretty awesome and doesn't compare to anything else I've done so far.

My best race was at Zolder where I fought my way up to 3rd place and about 15 seconds after I caught and passed 3rd place I flipped on a downhill section and had to pit twice. I chased the whole race and caught a group on the last lap but just died in the last few moments of the race, but I felt really good and was proud of the effort I gave.

One of the things that really changed on a personal level for me has been my spiritual life. I was a Christian last year as well, but I feel so much deeper in my faith this year due to the fact that I've found a church that I love (First Baptist Church Fairdale) and I was baptized there this summer. I've grown closer and closer to the pastor and youth pastor there. Nate, the youth pastor, is like a mentor and best friend to me and helps me fight the battles this life on earth has to offer for me which has also helped me on the bike.

I've realized that I wouldn't be racing if God hadn't blessed me with the ability and strength to do so and for that purpose I've changed my racing perspective so now I am not racing for the glory of Drew Dillman, but for the glory of God. Before every race I like to pray with my best friend Luke Haley who just so happens to be at the Euro 'Cross Camp with me.

Earlier this week we were riding and I was complaining about a result but he really helped by reminding me that I wouldn't be here if it weren't for God and that I should be praising God and being joyful for even having this opportunity. Before almost all the races we have prayed together and it really helps me to focus on God and not me.

I've been introduced to the movie "Chariots of Fire" and it's my favorite movie due the great message it has to offer. Eric Liddell doesn't even want to do his Olympic race because he won't race on Sunday because the Lord has commanded us not to. He is so in love with God that he won't even make an exception for the Olympic Games to take precedence over the Him. I want to be like Eric Liddell and race for God because "He made me fast and I feel His pleasure in me."

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Euro 'Cross Camp is about to enter its 9th year and continues to go from strength to strength. Its vision is to offer European race experience to young, developing American cyclo-cross riders and to prepare them for the world championships in late January. Founded in 2003, it utilises the same infrastructure as the USA U23 road programme. This year there will be 20 riders involved and a staff of 12 will be on hand to cater for their every need at the base in Izegem, Belgium.

Throughout the Camp riders will be updating Cyclingnews users on a daily basis, offering them a fly-on-the-wall perspective on the ins and outs of life in a residential training camp and the progress that they are making. The riders will do between 6-10 races over the two-week camp under the watchful eye of Euro 'Cross Camp founder and director Geoff Proctor, who also serves as National U23/Junior Team Coach for the USA at the world championships and is a member of the UCI Cyclo-cross Commission.

Euro 'Cross Camp IX Roster 2011-2012

Juniors
Andrew Dillman (Bob’s Red Mill Cyclocross Team)
Zane Godby (Clif Bar Cyclocross Development Team)
Curtis White (Clif Bar Cyclocross Development Team)
Tobin Ortenblad (California Giant-Specialized)
Logan Owen (Redline Bicycles)
Jordan Cullen (Clif Bar Cyclocross Development Team)
Cypress Gorry (Whole Athlete-Specialized)
Lionel Rocheleau (Team Geargrinder)
Luke Haley (Red Zone Cycling Team)
John Francisco (Red Zone Cycling Team)
Sam O’Keefe (C3/Athletes Serving Athletes)
Nate Morse (cyclocrossworld.com)
Stephen Bassett (Bob’s Red Mill Cyclocross Team)
Spencer Downing (Clif Bar Cyclocross Development Team)

U23
Yannick Eckmann (Pearl Izumi/Shimano)
Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus)
Dan Gerow (Wolverine/ACFSTORES.COM)
Kolben Preble (Clif Bar Cyclocross Development Team)

Elite
Ryan Trebon (LTS/Felt)
Jake Wells (Stan’s No Tubes Elite Cyclocross Team)