EuroCrossAcademy: When racing dreams come true

Riders head back home to the United States after an intense and rewarding racing block in Belgium.

Photo: @toelen_wouter

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The riders from the EuroCrossAcademy have been writing exclusive blog posts for VeloNews as they raced the “kerstperiode” in Belgium.

ECA VeloNews Rider Journal 12
Rider: Haydn Hludzinski
Hometown: Boulder, CO

It was always my dream to race in Europe ever since I was a little kid. I remember my mom and I watching a race and her telling me, “one day you are going to be like them.”

I was not sure if I was going to make it on the trip this year, but when I got the email that I was going, I was so excited.

I made so many memories I never wish to forget.

I want to remember the first time I met my EuroCrossAcademy (ECA) teammates. We were sitting on the airport floor eating lunch that we had bought at the store.

We walked through the tunnel out of the airport and I caught a face full of cigarette smoke. My European experience had really started.

I want to remember Diegem. It was the day after we got there and it was a night race. We pre-rode the course as the sun was setting and tried to get a sense of what a European cyclocross course was like.

As we got to the start line, it clicked that I was racing with the best women in the world. I noticed that everyone was overlapping wheels and pushed my way up into the field. The lights turned green and we were off.

I loved how the first lap was so hectic and there were so many people around you to battle with.

I want to remember our walks to the grocery store in Vorselaar. On our first time there, we walked by such an endearing little bakery.

The whole time we all chatted and laughed and slowly got to know each other. When we made it to the grocery store, we loaded up on Belgian waffles, almost certainly coming back for more.

I want to remember watching movies, all crammed on a small couch. We all were arguing about if we should watch Knives Out or The Glass Onion, and The Glass Onion won.

I want to remember playing spoons with everyone. It would always get more and more competitive.

I want to remember heading to Lichtaart Forest on our training days. In this forest there are all these trails that are perfect for the ‘cross bike.

We rode little laps of the loops there and then we came to an opening where it was just hills of sand to practice on. We started making ruts and just trying to make it up and down the hills of sand.

We headed back to our house and stopped at the castle near the forest and were joking about swimming in the moat around the castle.

I want to remember our walk to the beach the morning before racing Koksijde. It took us a bit to navigate to the beach and it was still dark when we made it there, but the moon was shining on the water.

Riders from the EuroCrossAcademy having a good time in between races. (Photo: @toelen_wouter )

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