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Third time's a charm

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Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant) races in Loenhout

Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant) races in Loenhout (Image credit: Dennis Crane/
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Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant) in Loenhout

Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant) in Loenhout (Image credit: Dennis Crane/
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Tobin Ortenblad in the mud of Namur

Tobin Ortenblad in the mud of Namur (Image credit: Dennis Crane/
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Tobin Ortenblad races in Namur

Tobin Ortenblad races in Namur (Image credit: Dennis Crane/

This is the third EuroCrossCamp I've attended and has easily been the best. Third times a charm, my packing was dialed, my bikes were dialed, and my coaching was dialed. Everything fell into place right in time to make it to camp. In early December I was still on the fence trying to decide whether to attend camp or take it easy at home and get to nationals nice and early to be acclimated. In reality it didn't take much to sway my decision towards camp. A quick call with my coach and a two liner e-mail from Geoff did the trick and my plane ticket was booked.

It was dawn and the sun was starting to rise over Brussels when I arrived. All my bags made it, although it appeared as if the geniuses that handle the luggage had dropped my bike case out of the airplane as I received it with a crack across the top and the bottom wheels caved in. I quickly moved on, met up with the guys and we headed to the house. Much to my surprise the sun was actually shining when we got to the house, so we built the bikes and headed out for a spin.

We were in the same house as last year but there were some changes to the group dynamic this year, the biggest being the two elite women that would be attending the camp for the first time. I thought it would be a nice change of pace and might even make some of the juniors mature up for the twelve day span we would be spending together. It didn't take long to realize I was dead wrong on that front. They still pranced around the upstairs of the house in their tighty whities without a care. On a more serious note the group has meshed together seamlessly, unlike any other year I'd attended. The spirit and morale were high, and the first races were closing in on us with Namur World Cup as our first.

Namur is always a brutal race, always a good first race to kick down your ego and let you know you've got some work to do. I had a rough race as well as some of the others but we carried on and throughout the next week results and improvement started show amongst all. Guys and gals were getting their starts perfected, mud riding technique down, and Elle even learned how to stand on a European podium!

As camp is winding down we near the last race of camp and the first race of the new year, Baal. With four races preceding Baal keep an eye out for a results amongst racers from the USA. This is the eleventh year of EuroCrossCamp and in my opinion has had the most stand out performances. It showed the rising level of talent, dedication, and fitness that is on the come up from younger racers from the USA. The efforts of Geoff Proctor and this camp are really starting to show. I'm always happy to be a part of it.

Over and out.

Tobin Ortenblad