This is my third consecutive year attending Euro 'Cross Camp and probably the most fun one yet! Being a part of Euro 'Cross Camp XI has been another great opportunity for me as a cyclist. Over the past camps I have learned all about how to become a professional cyclist and becoming a better person off the bike.
Today we raced a very tough, muddy, and legendary course in Loenhout. I have done this race two times before and this was the mildest version of the course I have ever seen. They had re-routed the course in a way that it made it tougher and more fun at the same time. The race was less muddy than it has been in the past but still quite muddy in comparison to other courses.
A big key to the race was pitting almost every lap to keep the bikes fresh and light. However to be able to pit every lap it took some very hard working and dedicated mechanics to get the job done. Hunter, Dave, and Ricco were that and then some today having fresh bikes ready for all four U23s racing today.
The wind also played a large factor in the race causing larger groups to stick together on a rigorous course. This being said I ended up in "no man's land" for most of the race in between the first and second group, ultimately coming in for 13th, my first top 15 against the world's best U23s.
After the race we came back, showered, ate some food, and gathered around the television to watch the pros go to battle on this crazy hard course. Sven eventually got the better of Niels to take the win. Following the race everyone began to play pool or get their massages.
Adding the few extra riders to the camp has really brought everyone closer together to work as a "well-oiled machine" as Geoff would say. Working together to keep the house clean has been a key to keeping everyone on top of their game for the races. So far everyone has done their fair share of the work and it has made life much easier for everyone.
As the camp goes on it seems as if everyone begins to enjoy the racing even more than when we began. The camaraderie also continues to increase with each passing day. But with only seven days remaining in the camp, many new challenges await us.