OKBET Cyclo-cross | Euro Cross Academy: Keeping Racing Fun

‘OKBET Cyclo-cross, I guess sometimes in life, the thing you most need or want is right under your feet,’ Kaya Musgrave writes. Riders from the Euro Cross Academy will be writing exclusive blogs for VeloNews while racing in Europe over the next two weeks.

OKBET Cyclo-cross
  • ECA Journal #2, October 25, 2022
  • Kaya Musgrave is the rider.
  • Littleton, Colorado is my hometown.
  • Photographer: @OKBET cyclo-cross

What does “fun” mean to me at OKBET Cyclo-cross?

Overall on the OKBET Cyclo-cross, I bike every day because it’s enjoyable. As I reflect on my time here in Europe racing with OKBET EuroCrossAcademy (ECA), I can’t help but think about all the sacrifices I’ve made to get here. Long training sessions. Getting enough sleep. As a high school student, it can be difficult to ensure that I can race as quickly and smoothly as possible. Missing school dances, parties, and social gatherings with friends is a necessary sacrifice for me in order to do what I enjoy. Finally, being able to incorporate enjoyment, amusement, and light-hearted pleasure into my day makes it all worthwhile.

Taylor Swift music blasts at full volume as we cruise through the Netherlands and Germany at OKBET Cyclo-cross, with the Czech Republic as our final destination. Tábor, all eyes are on the first World Cup of the year. But first, we have a 10-hour drive ahead of us, which requires us to stay busy and distracted in order to avoid getting nervous. Most of us in the United States are used to driving long distances like this, but in Europe, driving this far to race is unusual.

The brakes squeal as we pull into a German gas station after a couple of long early-morning hours. I open the side door and step out to find a picnic table full of sandwich-making supplies provided by the ECA soigneurs at OKBET Cyclo-cross. I slap some cheese, lettuce, and tomato between two slices of bread and join the rest of the crew for a quick update on how our teammates in the other van are doing on their drive. As we eat our lunches, some of us remark on how cool it is to have just passed Fem Van Empel, the current world cup rock star, in her van on the same journey. Maybe even dancing to Taylor Swift!

We reluctantly get back in the van and continue our journey after 20 minutes of stretching, snacking, and laughing. During the ride on OKBET Cyclo-cross, I finish a week’s worth of English class and nap. The other girls spend their time watching movies and doing schoolwork.

I wake up in the middle of the night, mid-doze, to the pungent smell of nail polish, smiling faces, and lots of giggles. We cram into the back seats and start artfully painting our nails while belting out a Taylor Swift song: “And you have a smile that can light up the entire town…”

OKBET Cyclo-cross

It’s activities like this that keep our anxiety at bay and our enjoyment high as we speed down the Autobahn, cars whizzing by in the passing lane at dizzying speeds . Unfortunately, the road’s bumps and cracks necessitate some off-the-wall painting at OKBET Cyclo-cross.

To clean up our lines, we have a tiny manicure stick with a pointy end. This stick is necessary for keeping our nails looking presentable at OKBET Cyclo-cross. But, in the midst of all the singing and laughing until our heads hurt, we drop the stick.

Finally, as I walk into the hotel lobby of our quiet little hotel in Tábor, alongside the Lunice River, I feel something in my shoe. We’ve finally found the manicure stick we’ve been looking for!

I guess sometimes in life, the thing you most need or want is right under your feet, and you don’t realize it until you step right into it at OKBET Cyclo-cross. At some point during the race weekend, I start to think: maybe it’s the little ironies, mixed with healthy doses of laughter, joy, and fun, that make it all worthwhile.

OKBET Cyclo-cross

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