For the seventh rider diary from USA Cycling’s Cyclocross Development Camp we hear from Grant Ellwood. Ellwood is another rider from the Boulder Cycle Sport/Boulder Junior Cycling program and another you may not be too familiar with.
Before heading to Europe this year for his third trip through, he picked up a win at SOCO-Littleton a couple of weeks backs. And this time last year, Ellwood took the win at Waremme in Belgium, showing is one to watch.
Today, Elwood tells us about team training and life in Sittard off the bike.
by Grant Ellwood
Two years ago was my first taste of the racing in Europe and to be back here representing my country is really amazing.
So far we have had an awesome trip. We arrived last Thursday and did an easy spin after getting bikes built, and did the same thing on Friday. Saturday we went to Namur for training, which was very helpful to check out lines in the technical sections of the course. The race at Namur was a really unbelievable experience even though my race was ended by some flat tires.
After World Cup Namur last Sunday we have all been recovering and relaxing.
Tuesday, after getting our training done, we had a group of us that went to Maastricht and a group that went to Sittard. I ended up joining the group that went to Sittard.
Christmas is very big over here, and in the town square of Sittard they had a huge structure that had an ice rink and live music inside. They also had a huge Coca-Cola truck that children could go in to meet Santa, along with about a hundred other people dressed up as Santa running around the square. It was cool to see all the Christmas spirit and how festive everyone was. We all ended up going ice skating for a little while and had live music playing right next to us, which was really fun.
Today (Wednesday) Geoff rallied everyone to do a group training together. It was one of the hardest training sessions that I have done in a while, trying to keep up with all of these fast riders.
We began with what Geoff called the “Devil’s Triangle.” This entailed a big triangle with cones at the corners. As we passed a cone we would have to change between pushing our bikes, shouldering our bikes then riding and racing each other for two minutes as hard as we could go.
Next we went and did a sort of Madison, involving teams of two riders and each of us would do a lap and then tag off and our teammate would do a lap. We each ended up doing two laps. Then we split into groups of four and had each rider lead one lap and the rest of the riders had to stay on the wheel. We the did a few starts and ended our training session with a twenty minute mock race. By far one of the most intense and fun training days that I have had this season.
Looking forward to the rest of this week, and I cannot wait for Zolder this weekend. Diegem and Loenhoutwill be soon after Zolder and then we head home.
Thank you USA Cycling for all the support they have given us while over here. It is greatly appreciated.