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Taking it easy today to make it harder tomorrow

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Herman gives Rider X a massage.

Herman gives Rider X a massage. (Image credit: Steve Fisher)
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Matthew J. Clark captures some video from the back of the car during today's training.

Matthew J. Clark captures some video from the back of the car during today's training. (Image credit: Steve Fisher)
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Mechanics hard at work in preparation for tomorrow's race.

Mechanics hard at work in preparation for tomorrow's race. (Image credit: Steve Fisher)
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Steve Fisher races in the Kalmthout World Cup.

Steve Fisher races in the Kalmthout World Cup. (Image credit: Christopher Jobb)
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Steve Fisher gets in some midweek training.

Steve Fisher gets in some midweek training. (Image credit: Willem Beerland)

Rider: "Life is relatively easy for us here at Euro 'Cross Camp VIII."
Reader: "I thought Belgium hosted the hardest cyclo-cross races in the world! How can this be?"
Rider: "Perhaps the bike racing in Belgium is about as hard as it gets, but, in all honesty, the rest of life here is made to be pretty easy for us."

Let me take you through a typical day of easiness here in Izegem. I woke up this morning and stumbled my way down the stairs knowing plenty of food was awaiting me for breakfast. The fridge is always well stocked with a variety of food choices.

After a leisurely breakfast it was time to head out for some training, although you could hardly call it that since we are right in the heart of the Christmas racing period here in Belgium. With multiple races over this past weekend for everyone and another one coming up tomorrow a restful day was on the agenda for most. Photographer Matt Clark accompanied us on our ride by car to capture some photos as well as some video footage.

After the nice easy spin I hung up my bike knowing that our excellent mechanical staff here at the house will prepare it for tomorrow's race in Loenhout. I quickly headed upstairs and into a hot shower to warm back up.

Next up on the rest day docket was a massage from Herman here at the house. Now we arrive at my present location, relaxing in bed and writing this entry. Soon will be a wonderfully prepared dinner from Els and Bridgette. While we are dining the mechanics will have loaded all of our freshly tuned bikes into the van for tomorrow's race. Really all that is left for the riders is getting to bed on time.

So if you look at things as a whole, life here in the house is easy thanks to all of our supporters. I suppose a vacation on the beach in Mexico might be easier, but where would the fun in that be? There certainly wouldn't be any guys in spandex yelling at each other in foreign languages while fighting for position in a bike race. I can't wait for that tomorrow!

The bottom line is that there are so many people pouring their energy into helping all of us here at EuroCrossCamp race to the best of our abilities, far too many people to name. There are those that are working with us here on a daily basis as well as those who have supported us throughout our racing careers. I think the best way to thank all of them is to race harder than we have ever raced before.

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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, (
Ryan Iddings, 27, (Redline)
Mitchell Hoke, 23, (Cliff Bar Development Team)

U23 men

Danny Summerhill, 22, (Garmin-Holowesko)
Jerome Townsend, 22, (’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