Camp has been really fun so far, and I've learned a whole lot since I made the trip over here. Everyone at the camp has been very supportive and helpful. The flight from Chicago went pretty quickly for the nine-hour flight that it was, probably for the fact that I had my buddy Josey Weik on the plane with me. Once we made it to the house, it was time to build up the bikes. My Ridley bikes with SRAM built up perfectly.
The first ride was very relaxing. Josey, John, Curtis, and I went out and wandered around for about an hour. I did not feel too tired on the ride, which I was very happy about. The next day we went to this local course and had some fun out there. On Saturday, I just did some openers on the trainer and relaxed. That night, I was able to fall asleep very quickly which I was very surprised with because normally night before races it's hard for me to fall asleep.
Sunday started off with Mr. Proctor waking us up at 5:15 am so we could leave for Namur by 6:00 am. We made the trip up the little mountain with the course on it. Once we finally made it to the course, all the juniors went and picked up our numbers, luckily everything went smoothly there.
After everyone had there numbers pinned up, it was time pre-ride the course. I got on the course and another Belgium rider was closely following me, everything was going just fine until we came about the first drop. I hit the brakes and he followed. The Belgium kid quickly said, "No way I'm doing that!" in broken English. I laughed and we stood there for a little bit longer, until he was courageous enough to go down over the drop. After seeing him make it, I drew up enough courage to go. After I made it down, I started to get going again until the next drop came. I went down first the time and made it down clean.
After I was finished pre-riding, I went over to the car and asked one of the mechanics to make the pressure in my A bike the same as it was in the bike I was pre-riding. The mechanic nailed it perfectly! After putting on my Verdigris-Village CX skinsuit, I was ready to hit the trainer. During my efforts on the trainer, I was feeling good and ready for the start. When there was about 15 minutes until the start, I headed over to the where we were going to be starting.
Normally before the start of a race, I like to practice my start where we are actually going to be starting, but on the first one, I made a horrible shift and something happen to my shifting and it wouldn't shift anymore. So for the minutes before the race, I had to go over to the pit and pick up my B bike. After doing this, I got to the start line right before call ups. I had about the third call up in the second row, so I had a pretty good starting spot.
During the start, I got pinched right off the line, so I was near the end of the pack. Luckily the start was long, and I was able to move about half way through the pack after the first technical turn. I settled in and started to move up and my Psimet wheels with Clement PDX'S were hooking up perfectly in the technical mud.
By the end of the first lap, I was in ninth place with Stephen Bassett (another US rider - see yesterday's Euro 'Cross Camp blog) a few seconds in front of me. Nothing changed much until going into the last lap. Stephen had about a five to eight-second gap on me until we hit the off-camber technical section. I nailed the high line and flew through it and by the end of the off camber section, I caught and passed Stephen. On the next run up, we caught another Belgium kid, and I moved up into seventh place. I was able to hold off Stephen and the other kid, and I took seventh place. I am very happy with this result with this being my first ever race in Belgium. I can not believe how much different 'cross is here compared to the US.
On Monday, Josey, Peter, Manny, Curtis, Nate and I did a nice recovery ride into the next town over. It was a very relaxing ride/day. Thank you so much everyone that has helped me make the trip over here, and especially thank you to my team Versigris-Village CX for being amazing! If you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on twitter @davidlombardo2.
Here are some awesome photos from the race by Tom Robertson.