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Chris Benchetler getting it good. photo - Peter Morning
Team Clif Bar Blog
Jan 21, 2010
Troy Wells’ Well of Knowledge—New Year in Belgium

While Eric & I have been working to usher in the New Year here in Berkeley at the Team Clif Bar lair, TCB Cyclocrosser Troy Wells has been hanging out in Belgium, likely eating most of that country's food. Considering that Troy's probably chowing down on all the tasty grub to be had there, it's really a wonder that he's racing at all. Here's a list (courtesy of of what Troy's up against when he sits down at the meal counter:

  • Smoutebollen: A fried pastry served hot on street stalls especially at fairs and festivals
  • Boudin Blanc & Boudin Noir: Blood sausages (French influenced) made by artisans
  • Waterzooi: This is a soup with added chicken or fish to make it into a meal. A delicacy from Ghent
  • Belgian fries: Famous worldwide as French Fries although they originate in Belgium. Sold from mobile stands known as fry shacks (frietkot)
  • Vlaamse Stovery or La Carbonade Flamande: Beef stew cooked in beer. A traditional dish with every family having their own unique variation and recipe handed down through the generations. Usually cooked with a rich dark beer. Served with fries or boiled potatoes and more beer
  • Endives: These delicious white vegetables were discovered in Belgium in 1830 and the Belgians call them White Gold. The country produces tons every year and they are used in many dishes
  • Gauffres (Waffles): A true Belgian waffle is baked using special waffle irons. There are two types: the Brussels and the Liège waffle. The Brussels waffle is rectangular in shape, golden brown on the outside and eaten with a knife and fork. It is often served with sugar, whipped cream, ice-cream, strawberries and chocolate. The Liège waffle is denser in texture, has a burnt sugar coating on the outside and is served by street vendors throughout the country
  • Paling in't groen: (eels with vegetables and herbs). This is a traditional Flemish dish
  • Choesels: Another traditional Flemish dish of offal cooked in Lambic beer
  • Moules frites: Mussels and chips, as popular in Belgium as it is in France
  • Potatoes: These are eaten in many forms including stuffed baked potatoes and potato croquettes, as well as fries. Mashed potatoes flavored with caramelized onions or spinach are popular
  • Cheese: This relatively small country boasts 165 different types of cheese

Good luck with all that Troy—go easy on the cheese. And when Troy's not eating, he's been doing all this: "After nationals, I headed over to Belgium for Geoff Proctor's eurocross camp. This was my forth time attending the camp, which is always two to three weeks long and packed full with extremely tough cross races. I arrived home after nationals on Monday and flew to Belgium Thursday. It's always a quick two days of unpacking, washing, and packing everything back up. This was the first time I've landed in Brussels to a snow covered airport and I have to admit, I was excited for the upcoming world cup in two days time. Kalmthout was a world cup in Belgium on the 20th of December. The snow was coming down hard and the course was super technical. I didn't have a great day; I ended up 50th, but it was a cool race all in all. After my first race, I decided to skip the next race in order to have a couple days to sync with the time zone and get into a routine. On the 26th of December, there was a world cup in Zolder on the G.P. race track. This is close to the biggest world cup of the year. There had to be close to 30,000 crazy fans out to watch their favorite riders. I had an awesome day and ended up 32nd after a terrible first lap caught up in traffic. I would have to say, this was my best result in Europe. The next day it was off to Diegem for a Superprestige. This is my favorite cross race I've done hands down. It's set in a town right outside of Brussels on a hill. You climb up a street, do a loop on top and then descend down and do a loop around a soccer stadium below. Also, the race is under the lights at 5:30pm. I ended up 33rd; it wasn't the best day, but I was still excited about my ride the day before. Leaving the race, everyone was remarking that it was like trying to get out of a NFL game, with a bunch of drunken people not moving for the van. One of these guys even ended up inside the van at a point. I had one day off and I was back at it in Loenhout. I had another solid day, finishing up in 30th. Loenhout is a GVA series race with a lot of cash behind it. They even got the Merida mountain bike team on the start line. The course had an awesome whoop sections that I'm sure numerous people wrecked themselves on throughout the day. After that, I had two days off and then it was off to the town of the king and the prince. Sven Nys and Niels Albert both live in Baal. The GVA in Baal didn't go great and I ended up pulling the plug hoping to save my legs for Sint-Niklaas. It worked out, since on the last race of camp I ended up 19th. I felt solid, but was hoping for a top 15 finish without all the fast crossers on the start line. I was planning on ending my season after camp, but since I feel like I'm riding well, I decided to continue on. With my sickness I suffered in November and the resulting time I took off, I should get a little faster after this big block of racing. I got on a plane to Mallorca for ten days of training before I head back to Belgium for the next two rounds of world cups. Thanks to Ken at for setting me up in Mallorca." -Troy Wells

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