Friday, January 4, 2013

My Belgium adventure, a conclusion.

After two weeks in Belgium, I find myself looking at things differently. Something changed while I was battling the mud in Belgium. I see things differently now. Not in a dramatic way, but subtle change is apparent. I grew in Belgium, physically, mentally, and emotionally. A seed was planted, one that will grow with time in such a way that can not be averted. I learned a lot in Belgium, but what resonates with me the most is Geoff's quoting of Aristotle;

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit."

My trip to Belgium was a realization of our struggle for excellence. To me EuroCrossCamp embodied that struggle. What it takes to become a professional cyclist is really seen while over there. Adverse conditions and talented fields show how good you truly are through repeated and demoralizing defeat. If you are disciplined and tough, you see what your weaknesses are. You see who you really are. Geoff did an excellent job of making this camp a great learning experience. The riders are cared for through the camp, but not coddled. It becomes opportunity to see the connection between dedication and results.

Despite being a race camp full of very competitive people, friendship and team work was very prevalent through out the two weeks. Riders (for the most part) from different teams and parts of the country filled the roster but while in Belgium, we were team EuroCamp. Whether preparing for a race or just doing the dishes, we had each others backs from making sure things weren't misplaced, to taking the chore load if some one was sick, and helping each other work on bikes. In that way and others, EuroCamp was the most professional camp I have been to.

I have tried to sum up what this experience was like with pictures and posts on both Twitter and Blogger. What it was like to ride around in a different world with roads tight and twisty and neat hedges. How the food tasted. What it was like to hardly ever see the sun and hear an almost constant sound of rain drumming on the rooftops. What the people sounded like when they spoke such a guttural language. How tough the races were with deep mud, sketchy descents, and brutal hills. Most importantly, what I learned. Hopefully, I have succeeded -at least to a  degree- so that all the people who so generously helped me understand how grateful I am. Understand how much fun and learning a kid can have playing in the Belgium mud.

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