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Settled in at Izegem

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Noel, Geoff and Fox planning out a race.

Noel, Geoff and Fox planning out a race. (Image credit: Troy Wells)
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Santa Claus visits the Euro 'Cross Camp house.

Santa Claus visits the Euro 'Cross Camp house. (Image credit: Troy Wells)
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Troy Wells (Clif Bar) runs the stairs at the US cyclo-cross championships in Bend, Oregon.

Troy Wells (Clif Bar) runs the stairs at the US cyclo-cross championships in Bend, Oregon. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/

So this is my fourth Euro 'Cross Camp. I think it is coming together well this year. Between dealing with the travel, time zone change and being in a different culture it can be a lot to deal with. I personally believe each time you come over to Europe for 'cross it gets a little easier. You know what to expect and bring confidence to the races and just the camp in general.

When you come to Belgium for the first time it is a culture shock. Most kids don't know what to expect in the Izegem house. For me it is like coming to see a couple of Belgium friends for about two and a half weeks. Fox, Els, Noel and their entire staff make the time here in Belgium that much easier. It is a fun dynamic in the house between all the riders and the staff. Fox and I continue to mess with each other consistently. I feel like I always have to be watching my back when that guy is around.

Each year the faces change with new juniors, U-23, and elites showing up. It's always a challenge to put the faces with the names in the beginning of camp. There are the usual suspects such as Summerhill, McDonald, Fisher, and Matter but besides from that a lot of new faces.

The first couple of days it was an anti-social vibe around the house. Everyone is jet-lagged and suffering to get on some type of normal routine. Every day it seems as if the camp becomes more of a unit and everyone is finally laughing and getting along. For me, I was actually able to get on my Euroland routine in about three days which I was excited about. It's a major improvement over my first couple times to Izegem. Also, my first two nights weren't as off as they use to be.

Yesterday, as I'm sure you have read, everyone took part in the UCI race in Middelkerke. I decided to take the day off since we have a major block of racing starting Saturday. Last year we actually had time to settle in and I believe that it showed with better results in the camp. So I will be looking to put it together in as many of the next five races coming up in eight days.

My trip is almost over here in Euroland. Once you start racing a lot time flies, especially if you are putting together some good days in the Belgium mud.

Finally, I have to say thanks to Geoff Proctor and all my sponsors that make this possible for me. Geoff has put together a great camp with a great opportunity for all of us to gain experience at the highest level. Team Clif Bar has made it possible for me personally to attend the camp and I'm very thankful for their support over the years.

Tonight we get a little feeling of Christmas as Els cooks a very nice dinner with a more formal setting than we are use to. On that note Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.