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During the holiday racing window, riders from the EuroCrossAcademy will be writing exclusive blog posts for VeloNews as they race the “kerstperiode” in Belgium.
ECA Journal #10
Rider: Finley Aspholm
Hometown: Haworth, NJ
This kerstperiode block of cyclocross racing is my second time being with EuroCrossAcademy (ECA) in Europe. I had the opportunity to dive into the deep end for the first time this past fall.
I have seen growth in myself as a rider and a person from those experiences in late October.
Being here for the second time, so many things have become easier for me. Even adjusting to jet lag felt easier this time around. I am not as stressed out about the smaller things like I was before.
Everything has become second nature to me. More importantly, I have learned to be more independent and low-maintenance, which is huge. It keeps things easier for not just myself but everyone around me.
I have gotten to know what foods work for me here to mimic what I would eat before any domestic race in the States.
The small, local Belgian grocery stores might not have everything you are looking for.
I’ve learned how to pre-ride the courses more efficiently and effectively. Riding with ECA coach Roger Aspholm is very helpful in seeing different lines and discussing what tire pressure to run.
Also going over the courses the night before helps me think about where I can “anticipate to accelerate.”
In the first block, I was overly nervous about being immersed in the aggressive nature of racing. Now, I try to stay in a calm and confident mindset. Before the races I have learned how to calm my nerves by keeping everything organized.
We often get reminded to be patient with the process, in order to absorb everything that we experience.
I also feel helpful to my other ECA teammates because I have already gone through everything at least once. For example, telling them not to leave the course right away after they finish, so the marshals can cut the transponder out of their back number.
Many things that I would not have known about if my peers did not tell me at my first European races in October.
I am so grateful to be able to experience racing across the pond with ECA. If you take a second to look around, you can grow from experiences in any part of life.