Who comprises the staff?
Most all the staff are Belgian with the exception of the Director, his family and USA two mechanics.
What can I expect?
Racing, sleeping, eating, resting with other top US cyclocross athletes. With the busy race schedule, most of the training is recovery-based. Terrain is very varied, the weather grim, and there’s plenty of getting up and returning from races in the dark. One highlight is that the juniors can often race and be home in time to watch the pros on television.
What is the weather like?
It can range from rainy and cold to snowy and super cold. Short days, long nights. Expect the Juniors to drive to the races in the dark and the Elites finishing their race just before the sun dips behind the horizon. You may be racing in snow, mud, sand, ice and race track tarmac. Be prepared for the ugliest weather.
What does it really take to be successful at the camp?
1. Ambition 2. Guts 3. The Willingness to Fight. The Camp is only interested in hungry, motivated riders. The Camp is absolutely not the place for a vacation or an unmotivated rider. Take a good hard look at yourself prior to committing. Am I fresh enough mentally to make it worth it? Can I be fresh enough physically and mentally to do both the Camp and worlds?
What do we eat?
Riders are responsible for getting/making/cooking their own breakfast and lunch. A hot evening meal will be prepared for the riders every night, usually served around 18:00.
Do I have to work on my own bike?
Yes and no. The Camp mechanics are legendary for their hard work. With races going every day, there are often two teams of mechanics: one at the races and the other waiting to start in on the bikes when they return from the races. If you have a particular issue, speak to one of the mechanics. But personal work on your bike is encouraged. Bikes get completely trashed over the course of two weeks of racing cross in Belgium. Bring extra chains, brake pads, tires, tubes, and anything else you feel you need to be prepared. Clearly mark your two bikes #1 and #2.
How many bikes should I bring?
Two. Two sets of most everything, including shoes and shoe covers! Also, be sure to bring a warm hat, warm casual footwear, and a winter coat! Check out the What To Pack page.
Do I wear my own kit?
Elites wear their own kit at all times. Same for juniors and U23’s EXCEPT at any World Cups where a national team skin suit is mandatory. Bring at least 3 skinsuits/3 sets of race kit, along with warm-up clothing. Laundry can be done nearby the House, which is a godsend. No excuses for not dressing warmly before and after races. Be prepared for cold, dank, dark weather.
Do I need to bring a few safety pins?
Yes. Race organizers do not provide pins for your race number. It’s always good to bring a few.
Do I have to eat waffles?
No. But the occasional recovery ride to Herentals for a waffle can work wonders.
Is Belgian mud worse than American mud?
Yes. Totally. The mud we see in Europe is more clay-based and is often slicker than hell. If there’s been a freeze, the thawing earth makes it even more tricky. A flat, grassy, meadowed riding section can become monumental to ride across after a few laps.
Will I get lost on a training ride?
Probably, but no worries, you’ll be able to figure out how to get home eventually. It is always good to go in groups and bring a few Euros with you just in case.
Will I get to meet Sven Nys?
It’s getting more and more difficult, but if you’re ambitious, yes. Maybe in Baal?
How do I get to the races?
We have a fleet of 3 Vans and 3 cars.
What should I pack?
Check out the What To Pack page.
Do I need a visa to visit Belgium or special papers to race in Belgium?
First you need your passport. If you don’t have one, get the paperwork going as soon as possible. US Passport authorities have been backlogged all year. Competition permission paperwork is taken care of by the Director.
How much money should I bring?
Bring approximately $300 spending money. For the rest of the time, the best system is to have a normal ATM card (with Cirrus compatibility—check the back of the card). Simply check with rider’s bank prior to departure to make sure rider’s ATM card is activated in the countries of Belgium. This is the easiest way to get cash in Belgium. Remember, many stores do not take credit cards like in the US. Traveler’s checks are to be avoided as they require trips to the bank during business hours.
Will I get start money?
Possibly. The Director begins in the summer working with a Belgian manager to negotiate “start money” with all of the race organizers. Consider this aspect to be one of the coolest perks of the Camp. However, make sure you are transparent with your sponsors/clubs/parents who have helped you make the Camp financially possible. As races go, the World Cup tends to pay the most start money for the younger guys.
Will you boot me out if I don’t perform well?
No, we won’t boot you out for poor performance. EuroCrossCamp is a developmental opportunity. That said, the level of the Camp riders keeps going up each year. Also, see rules. Any infraction of the stated rules will result in immediate exclusion from the Camp and you will be sent home.
What paperwork do I need to fill out once I’m selected?
Check under the forms and releases page of the site or on the USA Cycling site. You will need the following:
- Passport plus 1 color copy of your passport photo page
- All of the forms signed and dated by the rider, and if under 18, by a parent or guardian.
- International License 2013 and 2014. You must have both so reapply ASAP. Juniors must have an international license as well.
- Payment: US bank check made payable to “GP Velo Mondial”