After a few days of riding trails and roads around the Belgian town of Vosselaar, the base of this year's Euro 'Cross Camp, race day finally began at 5:15 am this Sunday for the juniors. We loaded riders and staff into a variety of vehicles, including the old, faithful van "Big Blue" and drove about 1:45 to the famous venue of Namur.
Recently, I've heard a lot of discussion about courses being American, European, and everything in between. Namur is the epitome of a true Euro 'cross course, with slippery mud, off cambers, and precipitous chutes that dive down into corners. The course is also littered with rocks, one of which claimed my rear tire during course recon. Fortunately, my teammate Drew Dillman generously offered to let me borrow his rear wheel before his U23 race.
I could definitely feel a level of confidence that I gained last year at the camp, especially on the drops and technical sections of the course.
I got off to a great start on the long uphill start, slotting in behind the USA's Logan Owen and Nate Morse. The course had several long, muddy run-ups that quickly sapped energy from everyone's legs, and also caused some serious blisters on my heels from my feet slipping inside my shoes. I had a great time racing with the Belgian competitors and also my friends from the States.
We Americans had a great showing with Logan Owen and Curtis White finishing one-two and a total of four USA racers in the top 10.
I want to thank all the people that make this camp possible, from our director Geoff Proctor, to our fantastic cook Jim Anderson, to our incredibly hard-working mechanic Dave Hartman. Also a huge thank you to all of our Belgian support staff that help with everything from driving to massage. I want to additionally thank all the people who have supported my personal journey to this camp: Bob's Red Mill, the Knoxville, Tennessee cycling community, and my family.
For the most recent news about my adventures, follow me on Twitter at @StephenBassett1.
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