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A first class 'cross experience

The low hanging light streams threw the trees during a great training ride in Belgium.

The low hanging light streams threw the trees during a great training ride in Belgium. (Image credit: Lance Haidet)

First off, I would like to thank all of the people who have helped me in making it to EurocrossCamp. Stu Bone and Bear Development, and my coach Chris Burnham have gone above and beyond in supporting me this year. Also, the cycling community in Bend, Oregon who were stoke about this amazing opportunity and gracious enough to help me in funding my trip. But most importantly, my family, who have supported me throughout the past 16 years. Geoff Proctor, the camp director, helps to develop U.S. junior racers in the sport of cyclo-cross.

After my travels over here I am not sure if I'm ever going to be able to fly in economy again. Thanks to Sam Shultz, I was able to fly first class from Chicago to Brussels. Unlike many of my colleagues, I actually was able to get some sleep on the flight. Hopefully it will show at Namur World Cup Sunday. Thank to all their help and support I am able to have the experience of a lifetime here at EuroCrossCamp XI.

The first day at camp, we arrived at the house in Vorselaar and were able to get in a short ride to spin out the legs from our travels. I got to reconnect with the riders that I knew from previous races, and Geoff Proctor's summer cyclo-cross camp. Many new faces were also present, and I got to meet all of them. By the time we were eating dinner, we were all barely able to keep our eyes open. The directors had us all stay up until 8, which was personally extremely difficult. I slept for a full 12 hours, and woke up still tired.

Day 2, a group of six of us went on a sick ride through the countryside, led by three camp veterans Tobin Ortenblad, Cody Kaiser, and Andrew Dillman. We stopped at an awesome bakery, where we all got some tasty pastries. We were all able to check out a very old and unique castle that was surrounded by a moat.

Once we got back to the house, we all got our first taste of the communal shower. For the rest of the day we worked on our bikes, walked around the town and went to the store, as well as getting really good at playing pool. Later that night Geoff's family prepared an amazing meal, which made me realize just how much better the store bought food is here than in the U.S.

Today we all got out for our pre-race opener, and arrived back at the house to prepare our bikes and selves for the World Cup tomorrow. The mechanics, directors, and racers are focused and quickly running around the house getting ready. There are a lot of nerves going around, as we prepare for one of the biggest races of our seasons, and for some, one of the largest races of our lives.

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EuroCrossCamp Director Geoff Proctor will lead the eleventh annual cyclo-cross camp that will run through late December and early January. 10 juniors, four U23s and two elite women will make the journey to Belgium to train and race over the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

Racing for the campers will begin on December 22 at the Namur World Cup and run through the Baal Bpost Bank Trophee on January 1. A few of the EuroCrossCampers will stay a bit extra so that they can also compete in the Rome World Cup on January 5.

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 racers as America's future 'cross stars. Coach Proctor and his riders will take turns contributing diary entries.

2013-2014 EuroCrossCamp XI Roster

Elite Women
Elle Anderson, San Francisco, CA, Cal Giant Berry p/b Specialized
Courtenay McFadden, Bellingham, WA, Bicycle Bluebook/Rock Lobster

Andrew Dillman, Fairdale, KY, Sophisticated Living p/b Bob's Red Mill
Cody Kaiser, El Dorado Hills, CA, Cal Giant Berry p/b Specialized
Tobin Ortenblad, Santa Cruz, CA, Cal Giant Berry p/b Specialized
Logan Owen, Bremerton, WA, Cal Giant Berry p/b Specialized

Grant Ellwood, Boulder, CO, Boulder Cyclo Sport Devo p/b BJC
Peter Goguen, Hopedale, MA, RACE CF | @racecf
Lance Haidet, Bend, OR, Bear Development Team
Gavin Haley, Louisville, KY, Red Zone Cycling Elite
Chris Key, Boulder, CO, Boulder Cyclo Sport Devo p/b BJC
Ian McShane, Louisville, KY, Sophisticated Living p/b Bob's Red Mill
Ethan Reynolds, Boise, ID, Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team
Austin Vincent, Simsbury, CT, RACE CF | @racecf
Josey Weik, Wrenshall, MN, Red Zone Cycling Elite
Cooper Willsey, Hinesburg, VT,

EuroCrossCamp schedule:
Thursday, 19 December – Riders arrive in Belgium (fly in to Brussels)
Sunday, 22 December - Namur WC
Sunday, 22 December - Waremme (for racers not racing in Namur)
Thursday, 26 December - Zolder WC
Thursday, 26 December - Beernem (for racers not racing in Zolder)
Friday, 27 December - Loenhout bPost bank trofee
Sunday, 29 December - Diegem SuperPrestige
Wednesday, 1 January - Baal bPost GP Sven Nys
Thursday, 2 January – Riders depart for U.S. (fly out of Brussels)
Friday, 3 January – USAC Selected riders fly to Rome
Sunday, 5 January - Rome WC
Monday, 6 Jan – Riders depart for U.S. from Rome