I'm currently sitting in the Salt Lake City airport in the midst of a 4 hour layover. I should find my way back to Bloomington by 11pm or so tonight, giving me a whopping 36 hours before I'll be leaving for Belgium. I feel like I've got most of my ducks in a row, but still a few major things to take care of before then.
Portland and Bend have been really great times these last few weekends and have had great atmospheres at both of the venues. My results haven't really been anything to write home about, but I'm starting to feel better every day, as some freshness returns to my legs. It's definitely a weird feeling not focusing solely on the national championships, but I'm hoping that will pay off in the next few weeks.
We had our first Euro Cross Camp gathering on Saturday night in Bend to talk about logistics and race schedules and what to expect as a first timer. I'm excited to get to know the group of guys, because apart from a few of them, I haven't really spent much time around the group. Geoff Proctor seems to be a really nice and welcoming guy. He seems to be really focusing on not just the results side of the camp, but that the riders can grow as people as well as bike racers through the experience. During our time at the house we're going to have a Sports Psychologist come by and chat with us, which should be really cool to see what he has to say. I'm down with Sports Psychology. As far as racing goes, it looks like my first race will probably be on Saturday in Lichtervelde, and then there is a World Cup in Kalmthout the next day, but we haven't decided if I'll be doing that one yet. If not there are some other options for racing on Sunday. I literally can't tell you how excited I am to get over there and mix it up.
It was nice to finally get some nasty mud to race in on Sunday at Nationals, because I was really hoping that I wouldn't get to Belgium and have that be the first mud I'd seen all year. Bend was good practice, but I'm hoping that at least some of the courses in Europe will have a little less "heavy" mud than we saw in parts of the course yesterday. Either way, I guess everyone has to ride through the same stuff, so come on wit' it!
I really want to thank all the people who have been taking care of me of over the last few weeks. First, the KCCX crew. Bill Marshall and Tom Price have been working the pits for me, transporting bikes, gluing tires, washing bikes and just generally take care of all my needs. It's hard to roll it solo at some of these races and these guys have gone out of their way to make my life easier, so thanks guys!
David and Kate have taken care of me off the bike for basically the last two weeks. Taking me to and from the airport, feeding me, laundering my clothes, letting me use their car and just generally being hilarious. I really enjoyed getting to hang out with them so much.
The guys at Zipp have been a huge part of making this trip to Nationals happen, as well as the entire cross season. From product, to transportation, to meals, to hotels, these guys have taken such good care of me and gone out of their way to help. I'm really lucky that these guys will still give me the time of day considering the other cross racers that they take care of.
And the last shout out goes to Corey Greene and the Cincinnati cyclocross crew for driving my bikes the 46 or so hour journey back to Indy from Bend, effectively saving me 400 bucks in airline fees! And also Spencer Petrov for washing and polishing up my bikes after the mudfest on Sunday. You guys are awesome!
EDIT: Since I started writing this blog entry on the way back from Bend, I've been too preoccupied with prep for Belgium that I hadn't had a chance to finish it until now. I'm back in the airport again, this time I'm taking THE trip. After some flight issues, I'm about to board for Belgium. Earlier in the post I said I wasn't sure if I'd be doing the Kalmthout World Cup this Sunday, well now it's a go. Thrown in at the deep end... I'll be kickin' my legs.