Today marks the 12th day of my USA Cycling Cyclocross Development Program experience. I have had many great experiences and with four days left there will be many more to come.
Today was a very valuable rest day in between the legendary races of Diegem and Loenhout. For me, today's rest day consisted of sleeping in to the late hour of 8:30 while going to bed the previous night at 9:30. The valuable 11 hours sleep is vital for your body to recover from racing the best in the world. After having a hardy breakfast of oatmeal mixed with dates and banana, I went out with two other US teammates on what turned out to be an adventurous and cold ride in the Belgium countryside. The ride was an easy hour to get the muscles relaxed and the blood flowing once again.
Along with training and recovering from racing often during a cyclo-cross race camp, everyday activities and duties are also required. These duties include mandatory chores, laundry and cooking. In the small town of Vorselaar, there is a well-visited grocery store where my Team USA comrades and I buy anything we would need for our two-week stay, including peanut butter, rice cakes, yogurt, race food, etc. After purchasing and carting the food back to the team house, it is stored until ready to be eaten.
After the races, lots of laundry has to be done. Most of the times, racing kits are required to be power washed and then put in the washing machine because of the layers upon layers of mud. It is also required to do chores; each person is placed in a group with three other teammates and they are assigned alternating schedules between breakfast lunch and dinner.
Being invited to this racing camp has given me lots of new opportunities to gain valuable race experience and compete with the world's best. The only previous racing I have done in Belgium is the sandy course of Koksijde. But during the winter months Belgium is a completely different animal. With only four more days and two races left I am excited to see what new obstacles and features the Belgium race organizers will throw at us. What ever it is we will be ready to face the toughest course and the fastest competition the World of cyclo-cross has to offer.