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Drapac Training Camp

28th December 2015

While most people celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December, my Christmas started on the 8th of Decmber with the Drapac training camp. It’s the only time of year when the entire team will be together, new equipment is distributed, and lot’s of training is done in preparation for summer racing.

Many of you may have been following my rides on strava and instagram photos, but here’s a little bit more insight behind the scenes.


Sam Spokes was keen to see the new Star Wars in Bright. Photographer: See Jens Mouris taking Photo.

Blood Tests & Whereabouts
Drapac training camp marks my first blood test. I wouldn’t say it was an extremely exciting experience, but I was intrigued about the process. I liken it to getting an alcohol breath test for drink driving …You know how some people just want to be tested to see what it’s like? I’ve also signed up for the whereabouts system that allows the UCI to know where all riders are at all times for random drug testing. The UCI probably know my whereabouts better than my parents! I don’t need to include things such as going to see Star Wars Episode VII, but they need to know overnight accomodation, and a 1 hour potential testing window everyday.

Electrocardiogram (ECG) Heart check
We made a visit to the Alfred hospital to have an ECG, which is a compulsory heart check under UCI regulations to ensure all athletes competing at the professional level don’t have any heart anomolies, which may be caused by the nature of high intensity endurance activity (such as bike racing). It’s good that there are these type of regulations which are protecting riders safety and wellbeing, but I wonder what would happen if you were declined as a result of the ECG. I imagine that would be a fairly traumatic experience for someone who’s dedicated their life to this profession. The good news is that my heart is functioning normally.


The ultrasound machine for the ECG test

All riders received an Antler suitcase full of new gear for 2016. In case you missed it, I posted a photo showing the contents on Instagram.


It included:

3x Bont Vaypor S shoes
2x Kask Protone Helmets
1x Kask Infinity Helmet
1x Garmin 520
1x Tickr Heartrate monitor
1x ON casual shoes
xx Patagonia casual clothes
xx WD40 Bike maintenance products
2x Wet bags
xx Skins compressions
xx Aussie Butt cream

Our team kit for 2016 was also distributed, but I’m saving that kit grid photo for the new year!


Our new suitcases for 2016. And Lachy Norris’ man bun.

Team Bonding
Many of us on the team in 2016 had never met before, so naturally team bonding was an important aspect from the camp. Developing good friendships with your teammates helps to cultivate that extra willingness to work just that little bit harder for your mates out on the road, which can ultimately mean the difference between winning or losing a race! It also makes staying with the team that much more enjoyable! Most evenings we played cricket out on the tennis court, constructed a dam, and played a PS3 knockout tournament. Yes, someone on the team always travels with their PS3!! (I believe it’s been upgraded to a PS4 over christmas)


Dam building. Looks a little bit like a beavers nest

Speaking of cricket, it’s apparent that professional cyclists are not very good. Our American Gavin Mannion was pitching the ball rather than bowling, and I’m not too sure what game the dutch were playing! I wasn’t too impressed with our Aussies who had to ask the rules either!! Most of us pulled up with sore shoulders too, but it was all good fun! Overall I think the staff won, followed closely by the climbers. And the sprinters… well let’s just say they won the award for being the most vocal.


Graeme Brown batting agressively outside his crease!

Ultimatately the focus of the camp was to put in a solid block of training to help with preparation for the upcoming races, including Bay Crits, Nationals, TDU, HST, San Luis, Qatar and Oman. I clocked up just under 27 hours for the week in Bright and burned 16,000 calories according to Training Peaks!! The groups were usually split up with specific training (ie climbers and sprinters) and had the Jaguar cars following. This really is invaluable when temperatures hit the 40’s. They say nothing beats an ice cold beer, but I’d say an ice cold electrolyte mix on a 40 degree day during a 6 hour endurance ride comes close. I don’t even like beer that much.


One of the jaguar support vehicles with spare wheels, wet bags and cold drinks. Stopped up Hotham during a 6 hour endurance ride

And whats a blog post without some kind of quick mention of the food? We were staying at the Bright Chalet who did a fantastic job of looking after 17 hungry cyclists with breakfast and dinner buffets! The cauliflower tempura was a big hit, and the desert winner was the chocolate and cream log. Things are very close to kicking off in 2016 however, so maybe we should stay away from the desert menu?!


Yoga session

I hadn’t done any yoga for a very long time, and was quickly reminded how difficult it really is! There was one rider on the team who seemed a cut above the rest, and I later found out he has done some yoga in the past. Any guesses who this is?

Other various activities during the week included buying $11.5 milkshakes from a local health food store called what you eat, discovering local coffee roaster ‘sixpence coffee’ in the industrial estate, and watching pirates of the caribbean. I have no idea why Pirates of the Caribbean.



William Turner. Fashion police would later pick me up on the skins and shorts combination.

Merry Christmas, and a happy new year

Thanks for reading!




  1. Brilliant article Brendan! Thank you for this insight to the happenings at your training camp. Good luck to the team for 2016 !! See some of you at TDU.

    1. Thanks for reading Wendy. I probably won’t be at TDU, hope you enjoy!

  2. Best of luck for 2016 my friend!

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