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Spinning wheels at the World Cup

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Our bikes set up so they wouldnt be stolen in front of the bakery.

Our bikes set up so they wouldnt be stolen in front of the bakery. (Image credit: Christopher Jobb)
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My epic crash that put me in last due to dropped train. At least it didnt hurt.

My epic crash that put me in last due to dropped train. At least it didnt hurt. (Image credit: Christopher Jobb)

Yesterday’s World Cup was quite the experience. I wasn’t sure how I would end up and honestly still don’t know. The first lap was disaster. Some of it was my fault and some was just bad luck. I was pretty nervous at the line, being surrounded by giant foreign guys is a little scary.

The first lap was the killer of my entire race. I got into my pedal really fast and was mid-pack in the hole shot, but when we got off to run it was way too crowded. I was trying to pass guys in places that were way too crowded and sometimes slip and fall causing me to lose time instead of gain it.

When we actually got to ride it was hectic as everybody was trying to pass each other and the turns weren’t allowing them to. Finally I got a rhythm, but it was soon disrupted as I slid out on an icy turn and after hopping back on my bike I realized my chain was dropped and I couldn’t get it back.

I ran into the pits, luckily they were right there, but by then I was already in last place. So from then on my main goal was to catch as many people as I could and with only 4 laps of racing that only added up to about a dozen. I ended up 58th which is disappointing, but I'm not letting it affect my attitude.

To make things even better, I was one out of two random racers chosen to be drug tested. This involved me waiting with the winner of the race and another Swiss kid as they spoke in other languages and I stared at them. I didn’t want to be first, but I definitely wanted to get out of there. So after the winner did his thing, I volunteered even though I didn’t really have to go, but I figured I could get enough out. I peed in the cup as a Belgian guy watched me struggle to do so due to the super tight skin suit I was wearing. Then I had no clue what to do so the crazy Belgian UCI official with crooked teeth showed me what to do. It really helped and made me feel a lot less uncomfortable that he was really nice.

Today Bjorn and I went on a ride/adventure to one city over, Rosalaere. We went on a scavenger hunt for a bakery and just as we were on the verge of giving up we spotted one. We had a cheese sandwich of some kind, which for those who like cheese would probably be awesome, but I didn’t really like it. I did like the three desserts we got though. So overall the trip has been good so far and I just want to have fun in the next races and do better in the next World Cup and give it all no matter what.

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This year's Euro 'Cross Camp will feature a total of 20 riders including four elite, seven under 23 and nine junior cyclo-cross racers. Some of the riders are veterans of previous camps while others are new.

It is the eighth year that Camp Director Geoff Proctor is taking young (mostly) American cyclo-crossers over to Europe to gain more experience racing in and near Belgium. The opportunity gives them the chance to experience cyclo-cross at its highest level with races at two World Cups. They'll also get to compete in several national-level events.

"Domestic racing is great, but you still have to go to Europe for the highest levels. If you want to be the best in the world, you have to go race the best," said Proctor, who is a school teacher in Montana. He's also a member of the UCI's Cyclo-cross Commission.

Riders will arrive on Thursday or Friday, December 16 or 17 and depart just after the New Year. Expect daily blogs from the riders on their vacation adventures.

Euro Cross Camp VIII Roster

Elite men

Sean Babcock, 28, (Kona)
Ryan Knapp, 27, (BikeReg.com)
Ryan Iddings, 27, (Redline)
Mitchell Hoke, 23, (Cliff Bar Development Team)

U23 men

Danny Summerhill, 22, (Garmin-Holowesko)
Jerome Townsend, 22, (BikeReg.com/Joe’s Garage/Scott)
Steve Fisher, 21, (Rad Racing NW/Hagens-Berman)
Chris Hurst, 21, (Unattached)
Joe Schmalz, 21, (KCCX/Verge/Challenge)
Zach McDonald, 20, (Rapha/Focus Cyclocross Team)
Cody Kaiser, 19, (California Giant/Specialized)

Junior men

Yannick Eckmann, 18, (Hot Tubes Development Team)
Jeff Bahnson, 18, (Van Dessel Factory Team)
Gunnar Bergey, 18, (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes)
Bjorn Fox, 18, (Clif Bar Development Team)
Kolben Preble, 18, (Clif Bar Development Team)
Jeremiah Dyer, 18, (Champion Systems/Cannondale)
Zane Godby, 17, (Clif Bar Development Team)
Cypress Gorry, 17, (WEB-OP)
Andrew Dillman, 17, (Red Zone Cycling)

Euro Cross Camp VIII Race Program (subject to change)

Wednesday-Friday, December 15-17: Riders travel to camp
Saturday, December 18: Lichtervelde
Sunday, December 19: UCI World Cup-Kalmthout
Sunday, December 19: Maldegem
Wednesday, December 22: Team Training Race (Ardooieveld)
Saturday, December 25: Beernem
Sunday, December 26: UCI World Cup-Zolder
Sunday, December 26: Balagem
Monday, December 27: Super Prestige-Diegem
Wednesday, December 29: Azencross GVA-Loenhout
Thursday, December 30: Sylvester Cyclocross-Bredene
Saturday, January 1: GP Sven Nys GVA-Baal