USAC CX Devo blog: Absorbing the culture and the racing

Petrov taking a clean bike in Namur world cup.

Petrov taking a clean bike in Namur world cup. (Image credit: Dan Seaton/ )

So far Europe has been a roller coaster for me. From being a little sick, to numerous crashes. With all this happening, I’ve tried to take my mind off of the racing and really take in the scene around me.

With all the stress I didn’t want to miss out on the amazing culture here. People say that the bike racing here is different and that we need it to be like that back home, but the thing is, everything they do here is completely different. From the way they bag their groceries to how they take corners on the course.

Living in a house with other riders, going to the grocery store for snacks, pedaling to the laundromat gives a sense of freedom and it helps you take in the culture better than just sitting in a hotel room all day. When you become fully immersed, you notice the small things you would miss by just looking out the window.

I like having the opportunity to go explore and just do normal day-to-day activities. At this age I would be super bored if I had every single thing handed to me and I would become extremely homesick from the boredom.

I feel like the lifestyle here in the small town of Vorselaar is very simplistic and things are done without stress. Everyone seems so much happier than the suburbia that I come from, even if it rains almost every day. No one ever seems rushed or doing fake actions to impress others that don’t matter.

For my future trips here I would love to learn more of the language so that I can communicate with the locals and hear their stories and learn more about the place I’m staying. I would also like to stay in a bigger town so I could see more things going on. Over the past two weeks I’ve had more than enough time to explore the few stores and surrounding woods and farms and I would really like the opportunity to see how things function in a more urban setting.

All in all I’ve really enjoyed the experience and I would love the opportunity to spend more time here so I could get more race experience and see other parts of Europe and learn how they like to live their lives. I was given an amazing opportunity that very few people get to experience by getting to come and live and race over here and I’m so glad I have had it. It will change how I think and view the world forever.

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In its 12th year, Geoff Proctor's EuroCrossCamp has now been made part of the official USA Cycling Cyclo-cross Development Program. Designed to develop the next generation of American cyclo-cross talent in the categories of under-26 women, under-23 men and junior me, its primary focus is on international competition including World Cups and the World Championships. The program now supports three blocks of racing overseas for the development riders. The third block is based in Vorselaar, Belgium and includes the Bpost Bank Trofee series event in Essa, the World Cups in Namur and Zolder, Superprestige Diegem, and Bpost Bank Trofee events in Loenhout and Baal.