For the second consecutive year, EuroCrossCamp will be in the small town of Vorselaar. Vorselaar is the hometown of Bart Wellens and Erwin Vervecken lives in nearby Herentals. Vorselaar is situated in the Antwerp province and is very central to all of EuroCrossCamp’s races. It’s really in the heartland of Belgian cyclocross. The new facility will house 16 riders, 2 mechanics and one director with all riders living on the upper floor. The training around Vorselaar is optimal, varied, and rural with several nearby forests for cyclocross/off-road work. Occasionally, there are opportunities to go on a spin with local pros and ex-pros.
Daily living in the House depends dramatically on whether it’s race day or not. If it’s a race day, one of the soigneurs or mechanics will have a pot of coffee on in the wee hours. A quick meeting between Director-Soigneurs-Mechanics follows to go over final details and then the day sets into motion. Riders are up fixing their own breakfast and the first group (juniors) is out the door and off to the races. Each separate category of riders travels together, races together and then comes home together. For example, often the juniors will arrive home in time to watch the pros race on the circuit they just raced on that morning. During race-a-day phases, one team of mechanics works the race while another group comes in to the House to do the bike work in the evenings. Each day is planned down to the minute so that everything goes like clock-work and everyone has the opportunity to do what they’re there to do: race bikes fast.
Recovery/Non Race Days
Non-race days are more relaxed. Riders have time to visit with the mechanics about their bike issues; there’s time to take a cruiser bike to the grocery store or the downtown; there’s the chance to catch up on some reading (bring a book!), watch DVD’s on cycling or regular films in the common area, and there’s the opportunity for training. Rest and recovery are paramount on the off-days to maximize the rider’s chances for success on subsequent race days. All riders are required to spend part of their free time either reading or doing homework. On non-race evenings, there are regular “chalk talk” meetings after dinner. Attendance required. If team clothing is supplied, all riders need to wear team clothing at all meals and meetings.
Each room is equipped with beds, full Internet wiring, and a small area to keep one’s clothing. Laundromat is 500 meters distance–absolutely crucial for daily muddy ‘cross racing!
All riders are required to fix their own breakfast and lunch. Every evening, the Camp chef fixes a delicious hot meal and the team eats together. The evening meal also serves as the evening meeting where the Directors offer their analysis and impressions of the day’s events and go over the next day’s plan.
Daily chores are a part of the House life as well and all riders share the responsibility of keeping the House and kitchen clean and operable. In addition, all riders are required to write camp entries for sponsoring websites.
Racing the World’s Best
In essence, we are a team of American cyclocross riders who have chosen to set the bar at the highest height, forgoing the traditional home for the holidays and tender-loving mid-US ‘cross season relaxation to prepare for the US nationals and world cyclocross championships and/or learn how to race cyclocross against the world’s best. We go forward together, we demand the most of ourselves, and we help each other out. No other national team functions with this kind of connection and performance level. In final analysis, this brotherhood and camaraderie makes an indelible impact and resonates throughout a rider’s cycling career.