Dated 17th may 2009

Hey Guys !,

Well its been a long month , so much has happened and its been very busy over here.

First off, I would like to wish Brodie Talbot a fast recovery , I was told that he had an accident in the canberra tour, thankfully he will be fine .  Since my last write up , I have done Power testing and Lactate testing , Bike Fit from Frans Vermacke , Raced against Garmin , Rocking Racing , Topsport , Usa National Team , Milram & Katusha & Lotto Feeders , Crashed at 55km / hr ,raced on cobbles, done a few 6hr rides , done some interviews. Belgians have been betting on me ( I have odds on betting boards), raced in races at 46.5km/hr AVG!! So a lot has happened.  The training now is going really well , one of the main focuses is cadence , if one rider can avg 80 rpms for a 100 watts and one rider can avg 100rpms for 100 watts the 100 cadence rider will have produce the same amount of watts with less resistance thus requires less effort , it takes a while to be able to avg 100 rpm for a ride but once you get to the point where you can its fairly easy to maintain.  The Racing is going really well, I am starting to understand how to race , the faster I get the faster the races are getting because we are getting further into the season now and riders are getting into form , and as I said above some races average 46km/hr for 180kms , the speeds are crazy compared to home!.  For the guys who have been asking me , i will be in Europe still for a while and have already signed for a full season here next year , but all is looking good ! I will be back before the Goulburn to Citi 2009.  I would like to once again thank David Macefield , Paul Hillbrick and all you guys at Macarthur Collegians for all the support you have given me , and I am very thankful for the emails everyone has been sending me . Again if anyone has any questions feel free to email me at davidhampton1989@gmail.com .


Dave Hampton





Dated March 20th 2009

Hey Guys,

My Name is David Hampton and i am a member of Macarthur Collegians , im the guy that wears the astana gear sometimes to local races:), About 5 months ago i got accepted into Johan Bruyneel cycling Academy which is a team in Belgium, David Macefield and Paul Hillbrick asked me to try and explain the life cycling in a european team , and i will gladly try my best to explain what its like!

It was a crazy few months leading up , doing long rides putting in a foundation that would last me the whole season , so from November i was logging roughly between 20 - 25 hrs a week on the bike, the max i did a week about 3 times was 780km for the week, so the aerobic endurance would be high, which wasn't easy!. Fast forward to late February, and although my anaerobic endurance was low, my legs started to feel strong.  On March 8th i had my farewell party with all the family and then on the 9th i was off on my 30 hour trip (including train travel and stopovers). I arrived in Belgium on the 10th of March and once i got off the plane it hit me how crazy this experience would be. Nobody spoke much english and everything was written in dutch, but i found my way to the train and off i went heading to Oostkamp (where i am living for the next 3 months) . When I arrived i was a little tired i met the guys and Bernard our director , we settled and Bernard said unpack my bike and suit up because we are all going for a ride. The first ride was good because we all just spun our legs out. When I went back to the Cycling Center I Met my roommate Mike , who is an American , 31 years old and a really cool guy. There is 3 other Australians here.


About the 3rd day , the JBCA crew went for our first ride with our Belgian team mates , they know how to ride bikes, i was talking to one of them and he was talking about his time in the Quickstep feeder team, so that explains the level of the riders. One thing i noticed is how close the Belgians ride to you, its not uncommon to bump maybe 15times in a 2hr ride and its a sign of disrespect and inexperience if you dont ride really close in Europe. On that day we lost a rider, he fell and broke his hand, i felt sorry for him because he has come so far to get here.


Now i know everyone wants to know about the tech we get from the team i.e bikes , helmets etc and if i see pros riding ( i get asked that alot ) so before i get to the highlight of the article ( RACING:)) Ill explain all of that.

So in regards to team gear everything is provided but doesnt arrive until next week so until now i have been riding races and some training rides with my Macarthur cycling gear , the rest of the time has been handmedowns .Over here our team sponsor for bikes is Fuji , although we are linked to Team Astana ,  my understanding is that Bernard has had a long relationship with Fuji so loyalty is a must, but the cool thing is we get alot of hand me downs from Astana , like race wheels ,We have literally 30 pairs of bontrager Xlites from last year , and the Paris - Nice leftover foodbars and all that stuff comes straight our way. Also, from  what ive been told im pretty sure we will ride with team astana before the tour of flanders , but that isnt for sure yet. And Yes i have seen a few pro's and teams riding around , like katusha , quickstep and lotto, and the first time was cool seeing them. Because the tour of flanders starts so close to us, we will be seeing almost every pro tour team riding around, and in previous years riders have actually stayed here , Paris Roubaix winner Margus Backstedt stayed here 2 years ago, so ill definately get some pictures for you guys.


Racing ----------


Racing over here , really is crazy, the pace is faster , the riders are very aggressive , its kill or be killed.


My first race was two Saturdayís ago and it was in a little Belgium town about 1hour away from the jbca center. Because im an international rider , every race i go to i have to produce my uci license ,letter stating that i am allowed to race worldwide ( from the Australian Cycling Federation ) and money :). We turned up and because we have a photographer following us everywhere talking pictures for Jbca everyone was starring at us , which was cool :) . Me, mick , dom ,Brendan , timmi , christophe and stijn were my teammates for the day, we went to sign on and there was a big hold up because we were signing up, and i am unsure why we had to wait so long but we arrived when number 7 was handed out and my number was 73, thats how long we had to wait. So then its mantadory to get dressed in the changerooms before a race, there is showers and all that in the changerooms, we got out onto the course about 5min before the start, no warm up , and we lined up, and there were 165 riders and the jbca guys were roughly 160- 165 position The race started , everyone was attacking , my legs were screaming at me , this race was 120km and was a 7.8 loop, so roughly it was 17 laps, lap one im following brendans wheel, we both get dropped, first LAP!!! bang lap 2 dom and mick are out ( off the main group) at this point me and brendan are timetrialing and brendan is gone so im chasing by myself , a race commisonare drove past , so i jumped on the back of the car, and got pretty close to the peleton, but my day was over by lap 2. Nobody from our team finished , and 40 riders from 165 starts finished, race one down as a disaster. We do 2hrs ride afterwards to spin the legs , we head home and bernard comes and has a chat to me , and he said to me ,basically David you have the power but preparation and warm up and positioning was all wrong. So we went for 2 rides that week were i spent 4 hrs on both days pacelining , getting bottles from the car , pacelining with the car and chasing down attacks and being aggressive. 


Friday i went for a day before pre race ride and when i was doing efforts my chain kept coming off , and one time i was surging the chain came off at 65km/hr and smack hit my knee ,and that hurt alot but i wasnt going to miss out on racing, so the team astana mechanic came over and looked at my bike and fixed it. So by friday night i was determined that my race on saturday was going to better, i packed my bag the night before, cleaned my bike went to bed ,I had breakfast, then we had a team meeting at 9am the team bus was leaving jbca at 1230. We arrived at the race, this race was an u23 rider race only, so the team was brendan ,James from south africa , stijn , timmi, chrisophe and myself.  I signed on straight away , allowed more time for it and as i was walking out belgians grabbed me reaching for my number and were writing it down, i asked simon our photographer to translate what was up , and the guys were betting on me for the win because i was an international rider with a photographer hahaha! (in europe ALOT of people bet on races, especially kermese races ). I got to warm up for 50min and i was ready, i went to the start line and we were at the back again !!!! This race there were 200 riders all u23 racers , i said to my jbca team mate im moving up , i jumped over the barrier road around the street, at this time my chain came off again but i fixed it. As you know normally when your chain comes off its an easy fix to do while your still riding but my chain was getting stuck, i fixed it and then i road around to where the favourites for the race today were standing. At this point i remembered what bernard said ' kill or be killed ' so i moved around, and i was on the front line!!!! Next to me were 2 lotto feeder team riders, one guy went to push me and i didnt move, (simon is sending me the pictures so you guys can see how good a position i had), in a race like this position is everything. Bang the gun goes and in europe the crowds are crazy like you see on tv. As this race was pretty big for u23 there was alot of people. We start riding and im about 4th wheel ,hit the first straight a guy goes and he attacks , and the macarthur collegian followed him ,next thing i know 4 of us are away. I canít express how awesome it is when you look back and see that your ahead of a 200 rider strong peleton, we keep racing, nobody was working we got caught. Fast foward about 1hr and 15 min and there was a massive crash , riders went down and i was stuck behind it ( it was my only mistake for the day, slipping back to 80th. At this stage the top teams attacked to break the field and once we (from behind the crash got going again) we were trying to catch back up but we never got close enough to make it back. Lesson learnt for the day, always stay at the front no matter what. On the recovery ride home , a rider cut my teammate off and i didnt even have time to touch the brakes, smashed up the rear and i went over the handlebars, and hit my head, i am A ok now , but its sunday night and i have swollen knee,swollen elbow and a sore neck from landing on my head.This week is a big week, im getting tested for power on friday and on tuesday im getting a bike fit from the guy who has fitted Eddy merckx , tom boonen , ballan and Devolder just to name a few.

Id just like to thank David Macefield for his support, Paul Hillbrick for fixing my wheels !! and the guys at Macarthur Collegians, for supporting me and for helping out with my UCI Licence for which i am very greatfull. I would also like to thank Steve Arenrz and Mick Chapman for coaching me , Paul Rowher for the support in cycling over the years from when I begun and my family . if it wasn't for anyone of these People i wouldnt be in Belgium today. I hope everyone is racing hard , If anyone has any questions at all regarding racing in europe, living in europe or getting set up in europe , jbca or anything cycling in general dont hesitate to email me at davidhampton1989@gmail.com


Til next time, 

David Hampton