Those that raced cyclocross this past season in the Mid-Atlantic already know Joe Dombrowski. The eighteen year old Haymarket Bicycle/HomeVisit rider could be found in the front group of most MABRA races he entered this year. He usually finished on the podium and captured some impressive victories along the way.
While most of us have hung up the ‘cross bikes for the season, Joe is spending his second consecutive Christmas in Belgium racing bikes against the best cyclocross competition that the world has to offer. As an invitee to Geoff Proctor’s Euro Cross Camp, Dombrowski is living in the Team USA House—along with a group of U-23 and junior racers, as well as a handful of elite riders—and competing in up to nine races in 14 days.
We caught up with Joe to see how his second season is progressing, learn a little more about racing in Belgium and get some insights into life at the Team USA house.
How was your travel to Belgium? I saw where Jeff Bahnson’s bikes didn’t make it on the same flight as him. Any similar issues for you?
The travel was rough. Belgium was getting snow that they haven’t seen in years. I spent 14 hours in the London airport, which made for a total travel time of 37 hours without sleep. Jeff and several others were missing bikes, wheels, and various other pieces of luggage.
Take us through a typical day in which you are not racing. When do you wake up, train, eat, etc. How do you spend the downtime?
Geoff comes by each room and wakes us up in waves. Juniors first, U-23s next, and Elites last. He wants us to be on the same schedule on non-race days as we are on race days. I usually get up at 8:30.
Training starts after breakfast. It doesn’t get light here until 9:00, and we usually are on the bikes around 11:00. After training, I just try to keep the legs up and get a nap in if possible. Els [Delaere (House Directress and Head Chef)] cooks a delicious hot dinner each night.
With another year of racing under your belt, is there anything about Euro Cross Camp that is easier than it was in 2008?
I came into this year’s camp with a better perspective on the level of racing. It’s a bit of a shock when you first start doing big races here; this is definitely not a forgiving place.
Guys at the camp are racing juniors and U-23, right? Do you all travel to the race together? What’s the pre-race routine like?
The camp is mostly juniors and U-23s, but we do have three Elites as well though. Each group travels to the race together, and comes back together. If it is a late race, usually we are on the rollers in the morning keeping the legs loose. If the race is earlier in the day, we will grab breakfast and jump in the van and go to the race.
Usually we can get back from our race in time to watch the Elites race on TV. Continue reading “Euro Cross Camp: Joe Dombrowski Interview”