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Race day in Namur

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Legs up in preparation for Namur

Legs up in preparation for Namur (Image credit: Stephen Bassett)
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Several Euro 'Cross Campers after a rainy ride in Belgium

Several Euro 'Cross Campers after a rainy ride in Belgium (Image credit: Stephen Bassett)
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Drying out some shoes over the heater

Drying out some shoes over the heater (Image credit: Stephen Bassett)
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Relaxing over a pool game

Relaxing over a pool game (Image credit: Stephen Bassett)

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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Euro 'Cross Camp Director Geoff Proctor will lead the tenth annual cyclo-cross camp that will run through late December and early January. Nine juniors, six U23s and one elite rider will make the journey to Belgium to train and race over the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

What's new for this year is the location of the Euro 'Cross Camp, which will be in Vorselaar, Belgium. Racing for the campers will begin on December 23 at the Namur World Cup and run through the Baal Bpost Bank Trophee on January 1. A few of the Euro 'Cross Campers will stay a bit extra so that they can also compete in the Rome World Cup on January 6.

The camp has previously helped the careers of racers like current US National Champion Ryan Trebon, Jeremy Powers and Jamey Driscoll. Read these diaries for hints of who may emerge from this year's crop of three elite, eight U23 and eight junior racers as America's future 'cross stars? Coach Proctor and his riders will take turns contributing diary entries.

2012-2013 Euro 'Cross Camp X Roster

Justin Lindine (Redline Bicycles), 28, New Salem, MA

Under 23s
Manny Goguen (C.F. Racing P/B Trek Portsmouth), 21, Hopedale, MA
Danny Gerow (Wolverine Racing Elite CX, 21, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Josh Johnson (Bissell-ABG-Nuvo), 20, Fort Wayne, IN
Skyler Trujillo (Boo/Enve/Challenge), 20, Fort Collins, CO
Andrew Dillman (Bob’s Red Mill Cyclocross), 18, Fairdale, KY
Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant Berry Farms/Specialized), 18, Santa Cruz, CA

Logan Owen (Redline Bicycles), 17, Bremerton, WA
Curtis White (Hot Tubes Development Team), 17, Duanesburg, NY
Nate Morse (Hot Tubes Development Team), 17, Cohasset, MA
Stephen Bassett (Bob’s Red Mill Cyclocross), 17, Knoxville, TN
Nick Torraca (Mad Duck Cyclery), 17, Grapevine, TX
John Francisco (Red Zone Cycling) 17, Louisville, KY
Peter Goguen (C.F. Racing P/B Trek Portsmouth), 16, Hopedale, MA
David Lombardo (Verdigris-Village Cyclocross), 16, Crystal Lake, IL
Josey Weik (ISCorp), 16, Wrenshall, MN