Cyclocross Magazine - Digital Edition

Cyclocross Magazine Issue 9 - Digital Version

Cyclocross Magazine - The Digital and Print Magazine Dedicated to Cyclo-cross and Veldrijden

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Page 65 of 104

IT'S NOT ABOUT CYCLOCROSS ... suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand.… I have been bent and broken, but—I hope—into a better shape. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations Lining Up Before the Start Each rider packed two bikes, six wheels and a few loose ends, with hopes of improve- ment, success, and the occasional brush with greatness. Some knew what path they wished to pursue in life, others hoped this trip would be their means of clarification. Three large vans, two team cars, 36 bikes, five mechanics, one soigneur, a head chef, a director and 18 riders were stowed away into the traditional Belgian home of Noel Dejon- ckheere, U23 development program director, current European operations director for team BMC and a former pro himself. Notwithstand- ing the heavily-badged sponsor vehicles outside and the large windows into the kitchen rich with activity, this brick home blends perfectly into the suburbs of Izegem, Belgium, which sits 60 miles west of Brussels. The house, which boasts 24 beds, offers a simple, dormitory-style living, with all the amenities a rider requires, and noth- ing he doesn’t. Beds, desks, shelves, Internet and the occasional television provide the rider with a home away from home during his stay abroad. I took a year abroad in Germany during my junior year of college to better my German language skills, but also to spend two weeks in Belgium during peak ’cross season. For me, the pilgrimage to Belgium meant taking six trains, overnighting in a youth hostel and a long dis- orienting walk from the Zolder train station to the poorly named Zolder World Cup eight kilo- CYCLOCROSS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 9 The boys open up at Euro Cross Camp. (Phillips) WORDS & PHOTOS: Nathan Phillips meters away before I found my spot at the Euro Cross Camp. My year abroad, as well as my skills of persuasion with both the Euro Cross Camp and Cyclocross Magazine, allowed me to live my dream of attending Euro Cross Camp – al- though my experience would be vicarious, as a reporter. My goals were to absorb as much as possible, live by the same schedule as the riders and learn as much as I could about what makes them so fast. The camp’s daily functions revealed the wealth of the staff ’s experience. Returning for its seventh year, Euro Cross Camp provides a level of professionalism usually unknown in the States. The staff, excluding American camp di- rector Geoff Proctor, was born in West-Flanders. They know the races, and they know the country. The camp’s history shows six previous years of marked success, with names such as Ryan Tre- bon, Jeremy Powers, Barry Wicks, Jamey Driscoll, Bjorn Selander and Danny Summerhill all mov- ing through the ranks. Whether they found their success in cyclocross or another discipline, they would certainly credit their time at the camp as an experience that helped build their careers. Racing at the highest level in Europe to gain international experience and prepare for the 6 5

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