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A life-changing experience

Ten races in 16 days and I find myself lying in my bunk bed with my feet up watching Lady Gaga. Other than thinking about how crazy this music video is, I have to figure out how this camp has been for my growth as a cyclist. Simply put, this has completely changed my life.

There was not an instance of divine intervention but I have been fully influenced by this time in Belgium. I raced 10 races in Belgium, of course I was changed. I will admit that I felt like I completely had my ass handed to me in all of the races and it would be enough to have some racers quit because they feel like they will never be as fast as the likes of Sven Nys or Tom Meeusen. This may have hurt the spirits for some, but these races have simply been the kindling of the fire I need.

I have just finished my season and in the best way possible I am not relieved with the end but ready to prepare for the next one. Also, I decided that Ryan Weaver is the Sven Nys of Portland. Sorry, you don't get that if you are not from Portland.

Some great moments of my trip were Zach [McDonald] not washing his helmet and keeping his helmet as muddy as possible, Danny [Summerhill] taping an iPhone to his bars so he can watch Cross Tube, the treacherous descent in Zolder, the severe lack of ladies in Belgium, the juniors and their antics, the Bear and Fox's verbal arguments, Travis Livermon flipping over a barrier into a frozen lake, the countless hours of putting my legs up, the live TV coverage of 'cross racing and the 18 hours spent watching Gossip Girl.

The camp was anything but uneventful and I am glad I was chosen to be a part of this experience. Tim and Sue Butler, thanks for feeding me and riding with me on the coldest day. Cody, thanks for making me fast. River City and cycle path, thanks for keeping me well equipped for the 'cross season. Paul, none of this would be real without you. Thanks. Geoff, Ells, Noel, Fox, camp would not work without you. Thank you.

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Euro 'Cross Camp Director Geoff Proctor will lead the seventh annual cyclo-cross camp that will run through late December and early January. This year, seven juniors, eight under-23 and three elite racers will make the journey to Belgium to train and race over the Christmas and New Year's holidays in Europe. Of those, just seven are returning Euro 'Cross campers.

The riders will stay at the Under-23 House in Izegem, Belgium, and take advantage of all the infrastructure of the US Under-23 national road program run by USA Cycling's Noel Dejonckheere.

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.

Elite Roster

Troy Wells (Durango, Colorado, USA) Team Clif Bar
Brian Matter (Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA) Team Gear Grinder
Justin Lindine (Maplecrest, New York, USA) BikeReg.com/Joe's Garage/IF

Under 23 Roster

Danny Summerhill (Centennial, Colorado, USA) Felt-Holowesko Partners-Garmin
Zach McDonald (Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA) Stevens/Classic Cycle
Jerome Townsend (Princeton, Massachusetts, USA) BikeReg.com/Joe's Garage/IF
Steve Fisher (Bellingham, Washington, USA) Rad Racing NW/Hagens Berman
Travis Livermon (Winterville, North Carolina, USA) Champion System/Cannondale
Josh Berry (Portland, Oregon, USA) Unattached
Joe Dombrowski (Marshall, Virginia, USA) Haymarket Bicycles/HomeVisit
Joseph Schmalz (Lawrence, Kansas, USA) KCCX/Verge

Junior Roster

Chris Wallace (Shawnee, Kansas, USA) KCCX/Navigators Ins./Verge
Skyler Trujillo (Fort Collins, Colorado, USA) Black Sheep Jr. Cycling
Jeff Bahnson (Newark, Delaware, USA) Thule/Van Dessel
Matt Spinks (Layton, New Jersey, USA) Team Plan C CX/Stevens
Yannick Eckmann (Boulder, Colorado, USA/Ger) Clif Bar Development Team
David Kessler (Littleton, Colorado, USA) Clif Bar Development Team
Josh Lehmann (Weare, New Hampshire, USA) Sunapee/S&W/Continental Paving