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A tough, muddy affair at Loenhout

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.

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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