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Across the pond: Euro 'cross camp IV diary
Fresh from US Cyclocross Nationals, sixteen American riders were selected for the Euro 'Cross Camp IV from December 23, 2006, to January 3, 2007, in Belgium. US national 'cross coach Geoff Proctor started the program in 2003 and runs the camps during his winter vacation from his job teaching high school in Montana. This is the fourth year that top US riders will be given this opportunity to gain valuable 'cross racing experience in Europe and to prepare for the world championships in late January.
Riders were selected for this year's camp based on their performances in the 2006 USGP of cyclo-cross and US nationals. Coach Proctor and his riders will take turns contributing diary entries.
Belgium, December 26, 2006
Lost in Transition
By Morgan Schmitt
This is my second trip to Euro Cross Camp. Flying from the East Coast instead of my home in Seattle has helped with adjusting to different the time zones. Big thanks to the King family for letting me stay with them after nationals.
There still has been a lot of transitioning for the US riders the last couple of days. I would still say most of us are still not adjusted to the European time zone. For instance, Saturday night, it turns out that my other roommates - Bjorn, Dan, Troy - and myself slowly discovered that we were all fake sleeping at 2am. After a few laughs, someone turned on a boring movie that eventually put us all to sleep.
Training out of Izegem can sometimes be an adventure. Whenever you point your bike in a new direction you should allow for an extra 20 minutes per hour of training for getting lost. I was reminded of this the second day of the trip when Dan Neyens and I rode to one of the Tour of Flanders' climbs. When we finally got there, it was that time of day where you get that uneasy feeling about riding without a set of lights. I must say it was cool riding the famous climb, but asking for better directions home just before dark wasn't so fun. Dan and I spent the next two hours riding by brail along the canal back into Izegem. Because of our rookie move, the camp staff thought we might have been ridding to Brussels, but we jokingly told them Paris.
I was able to spend Christmas with my family in the famous medieval town of Brugge. Here, I finally had the opportunity to eat some frites and sample the finest beer in the world. At night, the city lights and the fog transformed Brugge into an almost mystical place. Brugge was definitely the coolest city I've ever been to. Our bed and breakfast even had some town bikes, so I was able to see the beautiful city while still pushing on the pedals.
Our next race is the World Cup in the Hofstade. Since we race on the shores of a lake about a quarter of the race is on sand. I think Hofstade translates to "sandy mess" because of bag loads of sand racers track into their homes after the race. In any case, it should be a great day at the beach.
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Images by Joseph Sales