Thursday, 28 February 2008


It’s a “jolly good evening” in New Zealand, as the Kiwi reporter on the local news would say. It was a long journey here on Tuesday, and as a result we missed a day of training. There wasn’t much conversation on the way to the airport, until a driver tried to merge into us. Nicko held his ground and as the driver came past…swearing and despondent…he TRIED to propel spit at us over his passenger seat, the 1-metre gap between cars and through our window! Unsuccessfully as you can imagine. We met with Carla and Bird at the airport, Carla with some exciting news…and a very special Georg Jensen ring to go with it!! For those of you that don’t follow, she is now engaged =) My mood quickly changed as I tried to smuggle some toothpaste, juice, jam and hummus through customs…slightly illegal. After Wazza paid up for our time trial bet I had money and time on my hands for tax free shopping. So $320 and a new camera later, I finally boarded my flight to Wellington.

We joined roughly 100 girls to be welcomed to racing by a local group performing the haka dance for us. To say the least, it was scary…in an exciting way! On the way to the hour criterium, Tiff, who we’ve nicknamed “Tom Tom” (a version of GPS) due to her uncanny sense of direction, finally got lost! But only by one street, so I think her reputation remains intact. She ran into more problems when on the second lap she went head first over her handlebars after colliding with a large cone! Some slight scarring and a bike change later she was fighting fierce. It took me 10 minutes to ride into the race, and after I did the legs felt good. The team rode well, covering every move before Spratty got herself into the winning break. While Bird was sitting roadside trying to remove a plastic bag that had swallowed her rear cluster in the final lap…Spratty was atop the podium as the leader of the young rider classification. And with fame comes fans…while Spratty and I were contemplating directions on the way home, we were stopped by an enthusiastic driver asking for signatures…very flattering!

Last year I thought the view was magnificent. This year I just felt extremely carsick while driving the hour over windy, undulating terrain to and from Masterton. To make it worse, we have to endure it four times in two days! Our hire van seems to struggle over the climbs and if it makes it through the week I will be extremely impressed. Stage 2, covering just shy of 100kms, was a relatively cruisy one…hills aside of course. On reflection; my positioning was poor, confidence was low, and having the Chinese run me into a roadside ditch up a mid-race climb probably didn’t help either! It was a good day for the team, with Carla making the split over the QOM accompanied by all the big name riders. Oenone Wood took the stage, with Carla riding herself into top 10 GC and the young rider jersey. Tiff, Spratt and Josie finished in the main bunch; I rolled in with the big-name sprinters, while Bird was wishing for some company on the long lonely roads.

Results: NZCT Women's Tour, Stage 1, Hutt City, Criterium, 1hr + 3laps
Results: NZCT Women's Tour, Stage 2, Martinborough - Masterton, 99.6kms

Sunday, 24 February 2008


I slept for over 9hours last night, and although it was restless, I told myself it was a good sign that I wasn’t nervous. That was a lie! There was expectation and pressure placed on me…by me…and I didn’t want to let the team down. Starting today was our full team with me, Bird, Josie, Spratt, Tiff (pictured from L-R) and Carla. We rolled down to sign-on with oiled legs and race radios at the ready, prepared for 8 laps of a 15km circuit. The course could be made difficult by the one climb, gusty wind, or any of the 90 girls wanting to steal a victory. If the first lap was any indication of how the race would unfold, it was going to be a very hard day! Cervelo-Lifeforce (RLT) were aggressive and it took all of our man power to cover their girls. The opening lap had many eager as they went to cut the right-hand roundabout into the finish. Unfortunately for Karin Thurig (RLT), she missed the sight of a white post. I’m pretty sure, as her bike and body spun 360 degrees, that we had all learnt our lesson!

The first break went clear with Spratt making her presence, and despite every team being represented with more than 10 girls, team High Road decided to bring it back. As the half-way mark neared we were all caught off guard by an attack through the feed that saw Emma Rickards (RLT) and Christine Thorburn (WBC) form the winning break. As the time gap increased, the pressure was mounting on the shoulders of team High Road to chase back the stage win. By the time they made a decision, it was too late, and it became obvious they had spent some of their cookies too early. Just for a change it was Josie who punctured today, with Bird being an early domestique before retiring. The remaining girls finished safely in the lead bunch. Personally, I had a bad day in the saddle. My legs felt heavy, I suffered over the climb, a Chinese rider threw a banana peel at me, and I obtained a blood blister on my lower lip after smacking it on the handlebars! However, I still managed 12th, before treating myself again to that 600g steak! =)

Results: Geelong World Cup, Geelong - Road Race, 118kms

Saturday, 23 February 2008


It just so happens that the first race of my International season was a time trial...not my favourite event as most would know. The course ran along the esplanade for 8kms, into a block head wind before a fast return. I travelled in the race car behind Spratty, and then filmed Bird off the start line on her way to what would have been a podium had it not been for a rear wheel puncture! I had no real expectations and could only gauge my performance on time trials from the week prior. I felt good, but my lungs seem to have given up when there was still a lot left in the legs. Maybe I’m re-adjusting from altitude? When the results came I was 30th, third in the U24 category. I was eager about the afternoon road race, 3 laps, and 75.9kms, with the only climb a poor excuse for a hill. A negative race meant the most exciting thing to happen came when Carla punctured and Rochelle crashed. Everybody remounted and all hell broke loose on the run into the finish. I was a long way back and finished 10th, slightly disappointed.

Day 2 was a chance to learn and improve on yesterday’s mistakes, aside from Carla who punctured again! On the way to Barwon Heads we came across a small car accident that friends of ours had been involved in. Half of the Landlink team had collided head first with a local Ute and although nobody was injured, Jenny Macpherson, Vicki Whitelaw and Josie Tomic were taken to hospital for observation and failed to make the start line. We were to complete 6 laps of a 15.2km circuit, totalling 91.2kms, and with strong cross winds for such short periods, it was evident the race would come down to a bunch kick. I was positioned well in the final kilometre, as one by one the team High Road girls pulled their turn. As the sprint approached Rochelle dropped the wheel of the three in front and after some slight hesitation I finally went around her. I managed to hold off the girls behind for 4th but was disappointed with my lack of attentiveness. A few more seconds on the stage moved me up to 18th on GC, with Spratt finishing 13th and Tiff 20th.

That night, as a small celebration, we went for dinner at a nice Thai restaurant before venturing to the chocolate room. I was game and went with the Chocolate sundae, while the others opted for a traditional Italian hot chocolate, of which none of them finished before leaving in disgust. The whole crew has arrived. Our team now includes Anne-Marie (masseur), Dr. Dave Martin (physiology), Rosie Stanimirovic (psychologist) and Michel Vermande (coach). As the cloud cover came over this morning, our scheduled team photo shoot began to look grim. We tried to angle to our best side and with three layers on it was hard to look lean! Our team managed a lap of the World Cup course, before brew, which came before massage. This afternoon I’ve had two servings of ice-cream. The first with my Mum and Dad in the form of a chocolate milkshake as they have arrived in Geelong to watch the racing. The second, a final dessert before the big day, let’s hope it doesn’t weigh me down!

Results: Geelong Women's Tour, Stage 1, Portarlington - Time Trial, 8 kms
Results: Geelong Women's Tour, Stage 2, Portarlington - Road Race, 75.9 kms
Results: Geelong Women's Tour, Stage 3, Barwon Heads - Road Race, 115 kms

Tuesday, 19 February 2008


Our fingers are numb and scarred from lactates and bloods, the milk in our fridge is coated in thickets of cream, and for lasting impressions, after a few dining hall visits, we were finally endowed with pancakes for breakfast! We had a busy final day, so it was a shame that the intensity came late in the afternoon. Our final test was another time trial effort and I really couldn’t wait for it to be over. Nobody ever wants to start first and today was no exception. So when I fronted on the line to roll off, Wazza gave me an incentive. Bird was to start second, and if I could hold her off, I would win myself $50! Mission accomplished and a brew stop to be shouted! Obviously Nikki won’t be joining us at coffee. But not only did her first University exam run smoothly on Monday, so did her surgery yesterday. Although there was a delay in courier services, I’m hoping that she awoke to a bunch of pleasant flowers beside her bed! =)

Our road trip began at 7:20am with 6 athletes, 3 staff, 2 vans and a trailer. I managed to sleep for the first hour after which we had the first of our 5 toilet stops…after all, we are females. Sandwiches provided by the AIS food hall only assisted in suppressing our appetite, so we pulled into a picturesque country café hoping for some good food. I started off with a chocolate milkshake and brownie…but I didn’t regret it after receiving my main meal order of ceaser salad. Three words: tasteless, expensive and a pitiful serving size. After 9.5hours of travel, 35 degree temperatures, and continuously dwelling upon passing up the steak sandwich at lunch, I wasn’t prepared to make the same mistake again. Rib-eye or porterhouse? I chose via sizing and was presented with a 600g rib-eye steak, cascaded in mushroom sauce, surrounded by chips and vegetables…my new version of heaven! Josie and I didn’t hold back, almost self-cleaning our own dishes =)

We are staying at the Riverglen Holiday Park along the river in Geelong. I am rooming with Josie and Tiff in a self-contained apartment where internet is extremely expensive, so forgive me if my blog’s are delayed. We woke to rain and turned on the television to observe the sunshine in Canberra. Training was delayed; we rode the course in wind and rain, and then tried to motor pace unsuccessfully on the way home. I was then in a hurry to prepare for a photo shoot in promotion of the Geelong World Cup with two Geelong football club players. Transportation was a slight problem. Wazza had this great idea that I could drive the 12-seater van there myself until he discovered that I was only on my ‘L’ plates! Josie has suddenly fallen sick through the day after what we suspect was the consumption of bad food. The day is almost over and she has been taken to the hospital after a bout of vomiting, no dinner, and not much hope of starting the tour tomorrow =(

Sunday, 17 February 2008


The developments in the land of altitude are coming along well. As we close in on our final days in the house, there is nothing but content for our departure. But prior to this, I celebrate my birthday...3 weeks early! To add to my collection of new materials on camp, I can now include my Shimano women’s mouldable shoes, Bell Sweep helmet, and a ridiculous amount of AIS and National team kit. More exciting than that would be our new trolley bags for travel, a gift from heaven and very lightweight to allow for additional excess! But even that has not come close to the highlight of my week that I’ll mention later. In the house: Nikki has clogged the toilet with paper towel and I accidentally spilt washing powder all over her bedroom floor. I find myself spending time in here between 5-7pm despite the health risks because...where am I supposed to go?! Out on the road: We had a pathetic low-life maniac throw a glass bottled cruiser out his car window! It sliced Spratty’s shoulder, and smashed Nikki’s knee before glass and alcohol covered us all.

That is me, pictured, seated on a kangaroo down by the lake. How patriotic hey? But to a more interesting topic...people...listen up...this is special. Compliments of Rochelle Gilmore and her kind hearted will to please; I attended the Crusty Demons show at Canberra Stadium last night!! And then, compliments of Nikki Egyed, I even had a hot outfit to accompany the date =) I tried to film as much as I could, and in fact filled my 1GB memory card. But after a while I said ‘screw you guys!’ as watching it through a lens isn’t very authentic nor anywhere near as exciting! The back flip and freestyle combos, the pancakes, and without doubt the attempted DOUBLE back flip made for some scary moments. The music, the fire, the crusty-babes and of course the junk food I purchased to pass the time between acts, made for a real night out. Remember people, I’m from Victoria and I’ve never even been to an AFL match! So this was big! I regret not purchasing any memorabilia, but at least I have about an hour of footage and 100 photos...obsessed!

We are almost back to a full house. Bird has returned home from a wedding she was attending in Tasmania, while Tiffany is still celebrating her time away from altitude in Adelaide. Carla’s boyfriend has made his final visit and our team mechanic Nicko has graced us with his presence. Also a new addition to the team come time for Europe will be Michel Vermande, assisting Wazza with coaching duties for the season. On a sadder note, Nikki has made two return flights to Melbourne in the last three days and is looking ahead to her third on Tuesday morning. She has been diagnosed with external iliac artery endofibrosis and unbeknown to most, this condition has mildly inhibited her performance over the past 12 months causing right leg numbness. In brief, it is a thickening of the major artery in her hip that restricts blood flow to her right leg and foot by about 50%. We wish Nikki the best recovery after her surgery on Tuesday, 11:30am, at John Falkner Hospital. Feel free to send through expensive flowers!! =)

Friday, 15 February 2008


It is inspirational to reflect upon the lives of those who sacrificed it all for our country, to scan the names of over 102,000 Australian servicemen and women who have died in war. The hero’s that have courageously passed are commemorated at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, and today, we were presented with the opportunity to honour every single one of them. The heart of the memorial comprises the Cloisters, containing the ‘Roll of Honour’ (pictured) where inscribed on bronze plaques are the names of those who have passed while at war. The ‘Hall of Memory’ contains the six million mosaic tiles and stained glass windows designed by Napier Waller, a serviceman wounded in action, resulting in the amputation of his right arm prior to the designs. The courtyard consists of the ‘Pool of Reflection’, crowned by the Eternal Flame with rosemary and poppy flooding the garden, signifying remembrance of Australians in war that suffered and died. But that is just the beginning...

From extensive material paintings to complete aircrafts we were overwhelmed by the realism of it all. With the help of personal memorabilia, diary extracts, and devastating stories of innocent deaths, we were able to reflect upon the lives of the amazing women who were seated by the injured to cure the pain. All nurses, wives and mothers with courageous accounts of their own. One woman writes of her poignant grief over the loss of a son... “Out in the dust he lies; flies in his mouth, ants in his eyes. I stood at the door where he went out, full-grown man, ruddy and stout. I heard the march of the trampling feet, slow and steady, come down the street... And just for a moment as he went by, I had sight of his face and the flash of his eye. He died a hero’s death they said; when they came to tell me my boy was dead. But out in the street a dead dog lies; flies in his mouth, ants in his eyes.”

Standing in the commemorative area overlooking Parliament House (pictured: with Laura Garvican (Physiology), Amanda Spratt, Warren McDonald, Me, Josie Loane and Carla Ryan) was not only a gorgeous view on a perfect day, but also a significant way to enter the weekend. I began to contemplate a few things. We are said to be athletes, AIS representatives, inspiring and leading the younger generation…role-models if you will. But after experiencing the War Memorial, it’s quite unclear as to how I could possibly compare to the selflessness of those that leave their families and often opportune futures to fight and protect the country in which I live. So while the ‘Roll of Honour’ is being extended to include the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, I leave for my gym session. And while there may be no mud, guns or good looking men in uniform, there may be a brief sighting of blood, sweat and tears! Maybe I can beat my all time record of one chin-up??

Thursday, 14 February 2008


Light motor pace around the lake in the morning was a half-hearted attempt at saving our legs for the evening session. Our only wish was that the rain would hold off for the Canberra Cycling Club Criterium Championships! I righted some muscular problems through the day in Physio and finally determined what was wrong with my SRM before racing. We participated in Women‘s A grade but let the moves go and rolled in at the finish (all bar Nikki who opted for a decent warm-up claiming fourth). Next up was Men’s B Grade. We had a mission, and it was simple…win. If we weren’t going to win, we were going to podium. And if we didn’t podium, we were at least going to go out there and give the men a hard time. Mission successful? Well Rochelle finished third, and there were some serious complaints lodged against us, so I would say VERY successful =) (pictured: Tiff, Nikki, Rochelle, Spratty, Josie, Carla, Bird and I).

Spratty was in an early break with two men about twice her size, and as Dave would say ‘she looked like a little kid on Daddy’s wheel’. So they complained that we didn’t work when we made the breaks. Bridie had a dig not long after and I was able to counter half way through the race (which happened to be at 10mins as the race lasts a mere 20mins!) There was a slight chop in the process…so we were accused of being dangerous. As most attacks last up to 10 seconds, I put the head down for a full 30 and turned to find 3 guys in close company before a decent gap to the bunch. We were bought back with 2 laps remaining as Rochelle prepared for the finish. Unfortunately, in a downhill, headwind sprint, she found herself on the wheel of a massive guy who had a whole of 6 pedal strokes in his legs. She fought the wind and finished in third. We were deemed lazy and dangerous and I’m pretty sure we won’t be invited back! But thanks go to the few locals who did acknowledge us after the race with their approval.

Then it was Valentine’s Day! To those that sent messages, you’re sweet, but I don’t really believe in celebrating such a day past the casual ‘Good morning, happy V day.’ Heartless I know! On the opposite end of the scale, Rochelle received flowers and Carla had a visit from her boyfriend Andrew, love was in the air. So while some had commitments with their special partners, the remainder of us joined Louise for another cooking class where we perfected the famous AIS recipe ‘Rainbow Lasagne’ (pictured: Spratty and I). No Men were allowed in the kitchen and had it not been for the onset of stomach cramps I know I would have enjoyed it more. When it came time to view the pencil camera footage from last night’s criterium I was both eager and excited, especially about identifying the guy who had abused me from behind. Comments such as “I’ll put you down” and “you put me in the ******* gutter” had me wishing I HAD really put some of them into the gutter! But what happens on the bike stays on the bike.

Sunday, 10 February 2008


It seems ridiculous to look outside to sunshine, and know that I’m sitting on the top bunk at 3051mtrs altitude. As I’m writing this we are currently the winning room…you can tell we are athletes when we get competitive over metres in altitude! Not only is the house becoming a head crack, but so is the sight of Canberra. So it was decided upon, for our 3hrs recovery on Sunday, that we would head across the border to New South Wales. There are not even subtle differences to be noticed when crossing the border for a mere 15 minutes, but mentally, we needed an escape. We passed over identical terrain in identical weather before crossing back into ACT on our way to brew. After hot chocolate and a kip I decided it was time to hit the town. I had spent so long locked up (by choice) in this house and I began to wonder if I could even survive in the real world anymore! So it was off to the movies to admire Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey in their new adventure comedy ‘Fool’s Gold’…rating 3 stars...

It seems that testing is quite the trend when you hold an AIS scholarship. After gym, while my muscles were politely asking for recovery, I treated them to yet another, much-loved 10minute Time Trial. This time I almost rode like I knew what I was doing, and with SRM data (on which I just had a a learner, soon to be expert!) on board I was secretly impressed with my average watts. But like I said, secretly, so I won’t be divulging any information until I crack this PB, hopefully in Geelong! To back it up, this morning we had Over 1’s testing as the second half of our power profile. I’m not sure weather it was the downpours of rain outside, or the house music I had provided for the session, but something motivated Spratty and I to wear half the rubber off our rear tyres on the trainer. Maybe next time we shouldn’t use the race wheels?? One PB that I will share with you is of my lactate, measured at 17.1 (up from 14.9)…maybe I’ve never truly worked hard before!

Saturday, 9 February 2008


It was finally time for a recovery day. Some of the girls chose to leave early on Thursday and spend more time at the coffee shop then on their bike, while Bird and I opted for a sleep in and some time alone with the Ipod. As it turned out, Canberra isn’t all that big and I ran into Tiff and Nicki on the lake before heading for a brew. The $53 prize money we had won the night before allowed for $6.50 each, just enough for a hot drink and Twix chocolate bar =) After getting wet on the way home a quick transition saw us go from lycra to apron for our nutrition cooking class. I was way past excited and after sampling what we had mastered for lunch I really had to use self-control to keep my portions low. I walked away with three new cookbooks that will now take priority place top-shelf in the kitchen! By the time we had sat through our group psychology session and a 90minute drug and alcohol lecture it no longer felt like a recovery day. Sleep was once again in high demand.

Yesterday was a test of my mental toughness. To make sure that I was in good health for testing I headed to medicine for a general check over. If I was being pessimistic I would tell you that I have a 1cm leg length discrepancy and struggled to identify the bottom line of letters in the common eye test! If I was being optimistic I would tell you that I was sent in for an echocardiogram and urine test and neither turned up anything worthy of worry. When I was given the pee-cup I didn’t really need to ‘go’, but it’s unbelievable how much easier it is to give a sample when nobody is watching! Lunch made me sick, and with less than an hour before my 30minute time trial test it wasn’t quite the way I was hoping to feel. Luckily I came good and was quite impressed with my resistance to lactate!..15mins at 13 lactate woo! I skipped on sweating it up in the gym, where I was guaranteed to leave in pain, so that I could sit and analyse the bodies of the males athletes entering and exiting the recovery centre =) Some pencil cam footage from racing on Wednesday night was viewed, where we compared the size of our behinds, before I headed to my massage. What can I’s a tough life!

Weekend training is supposed to be hard and today was no exception thanks to head coach Warren McDonald (pictured above, don’t be fooled by my smile!) The re-occurring sight of Black Mountain, Mount Stromlo and every other climb that makes up the domestically famous Canberra Tour, had us all in desperate need of firstly, the food hall, and secondly, the recovery centre (Nicki and Spratty pictured above). A short description of the picture and the temperature of the water is required! The centre includes three spa baths, a plunge pool, a cold water walk through, and a river for active recovery. Now when I say cold, I mean freezing!!...So we HAVE to hug ourselves to keep from going numb! Through the weekend the house is continuously at altitude, so although we were wanting to keep our hours up we had planned an afternoon escape to the city, what we now call the 'real world'. That quickly changed and became time to chill out and sleep, and despite being at 3000mtrs altitude some of us managed up to 2 hours!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008


The first morning that we wake to sunshine proves to be our first scheduled indoor session. To add to the sunshine was my new ‘Teschner Diva’ frame decked out with a ‘Shimano Dura-ace’ group-set and SRM, ready to be ridden! I was quite excited as you can imagine but couldn’t quite part with the Bianchi, trading saddles so that I still feel at home. It was time to do some power profile testing in what we call an ‘Under 1’s’ session. This hour included sprints in the form of; 14 x 6secs, 5 x 15secs and 3 x 30secs as we all lined up side-by-side on the trainers. With a mere 14secs recovery between our 6secs sprints, it was no surprise that they were the hardest for the non-sprinters in the group! SRM data was taken and Carla and I became lactate buddies, chasing each others scores that ranged anywhere between 4-15. What was interesting was how Tiff and Bird’s lactate dropped through the session as mine continued to sky rocket to a PB of 14.9 =) Not a PB that I’ll be attempting to top anytime soon...maybe in the 30min TT test this week...

It was then off to the gym and to say I was nervous would be an understatement. We were required to mention our weaknesses, and I thought...where do I start? Out came the video camera as we went through a series of simple tests including lunges, squats and push-ups. The bulk of our session was spent using medicine balls with a considerable focus on our core. I made good use of my towel to wipe away the sweat and am currently stooped over to relieve the pain in my abs. Our gym instructor Ross Smith informed me that I won’t look like a man after this session =) In accordance with increasing my massiveness (believe it or not that is really a word!) I have been discussing nutrition practices with Louise Burke our sports nutritionist, and now have a guide that illustrates typical ways in which I can meet, but not over-compensate, my needs for protein, carbs, vitamins and minerals. THIS IS NOT A DIET! And with additional snack choices including wine, chocolate and ice-cream I’m hoping I can master this plan!

Rochelle has bought along her video camera so as in years to come; we can all look back and laugh at ourselves. She has now been upgraded to a pencil camera worn on the top of her helmet (pictured above). It may seem quite ridiculous (and it is!) but it was for a special temporary purpose at the racing tonight. Surprise, surprise it was Stromlo Park that we headed to, to compete in Canberra’s local Wednesday evening criterium. With women’s A grade racing on offer we fronted on the line with our numbers and decorative yellow arm-bands (pictured above) in tow. Wazza had split the 8 of us and placed us in teams on two. Rochelle and Tiffy, Spratty and Carla, Josie and Bird, and finally Nicki and I were to compete against one another on the open and windy circuit. To cut a long story short, there was a break including Tiff, Bird, Gracie Elvin (local), Rochelle, myself and Spratty, with the latter three rounding out the podium in that order. Tired? Yes I am.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008


When I envisioned our AIS Altitude camp, I must admit I thought we would be sleeping in tents on the floor. Instead, I find myself living in a house with 5 bedrooms, 6 televisions and a kitchen and bathroom to share between twelve. This is called the altitude house where altitude is simulated by pumping nitrogen gas into all rooms via fans. I won’t go into the specifics as there would be a lot to repeat, but simplistically, there are two rules to the house. The first, all fans must remain on at all times to deliver the nitrogen gas to our rooms. The second, all doors must be closed at all times! (Alarms will sound if any door is left open for longer than 10seconds) For the past 4 nights we have been sleeping at 2500mtrs altitude, and expect to hit 3000mtrs by the end of the week. I’m yet to suffer from the ‘altitude sickness’ experienced by some athletes and am fortunate enough that I’m not pregnant, or else I’d be unable to stay in the house! Puncture...Spratty and Jos change a tube roadside (pictured).

The AIS is athlete heaven, if only it were in a different state! There’s a huge dining hall where buffet breakfast, lunch and dinners are provided and a large gymnasium where I pump iron to make my biceps grow =) I have booked in to use the water recovery facilities and hope to utilise the library this weekend, where file footage from every World Cup is on record. It sounds like the life, but with appointments ranging from medicine, physiology, nutrition, gym, physio, psych, tutorials and washing...I really don’t have time to scratch myself! I’ve been rooming with both the youngest and eldest on the team in Tiffy and Bird (pictured below). For the first two nights we were required to wear pulse oximeter’s that are clipped to a selected finger and taped to the arm, used to measure oxygen saturation and heart rate. The house is monitored 24/7 so when my oximeter stopped registering and I woke to the sound of our overnight monitor demolishing our bedroom door, it was because she thought I was dead! Instead, I had accidentally pulled the clip off my now bruised finger.

In Canberra style we have been waking to steady rain and trying to hit the roads between the showers. We spent Monday morning on the trainers with Bird attempting rollers for the first time...being a doctor doesn’t automatically give you every talent! That afternoon in motivated fashion we ventured to the local time trial racing out at Stromlo Park, and with the weather way past miserable it wasn’t a surprise that the only 7 people to show were all members of our squad! So a 10 minute time trial with food loaded pockets, 4kg water weighted socks and an assisted tailwind was all we managed before the ride home...still in the rain. Today was hard on the bike with efforts up Black Mountain followed by motor pacing up Mount Stromlo. With the common denominator there being ‘mountain’ it’s no surprise that we suffered through the session. With Laura and Dave on board we were able to take lactate tests throughout and compare some interesting data. Just for the record, bloods taken in the morning had my skinfolds at 76. I think we should add an 8th site, maybe my arse...

Sunday, 3 February 2008


The plan heading into AIS camp was to prepare with a few recovery days. I’m pretty sure that didn’t mean four punctures, retrieval of a spare wheel and a taxi ride home all within an hour of riding!...None of which were me! I caught up on some sleep, 11 hours on the one night, and devoured the hedgehog that Mum had baked knowing that she wouldn’t allow me to take it on my journey. My final memories before leaving for Canberra are of my local Saturday morning bunch. Being on outback country roads we were forced to stop for cows flooding the roadside, and before packing my bike into a cardboard box once again, I was obligated to wash the cow shit off. My final café stop had me in high spirits, until I hit the deck in my own driveway while retrieving the junk mail from out letter box! I quickly jumped to my feet and skimmed the surroundings...nobody had seen and only the pride had been scarred. Finally, before saying my goodbyes, we managed to get Leila drunk on cordial...I’ll miss the little one!

The flight to Canberra is on average an hour and just as you’ve stopped climbing you begin to descend. I flew Virgin and decided to re-allocate my seat to the front of the plane, along the aisle, 12C in fact. At first I thought I was blessed, seated beside two VERY good looking young males who were returning home from the cricket. His name escapes me, and I’d prefer not to remember it, but seated in 12B was one of the most annoying people I have ever met. He talked to me while I attempted to read my book, while I was watching the TV, and even over the top of what I had to say. For such a short flight you wouldn’t expect to feel ill, but with a VB in hand, the smell of beer on his breath had me close to being sick! I was hoping my following experiences at altitude would be a lot more radiant. On arrival at the airport Laura Garvican and David Martin (AIS Sports Scientists) were there to assist us with our bags. ‘Us’ being the AIS women’s squad in Tiffany Cromwell (19), Amanda Spratt (20), Carla Ryan (22) and Josie Loane (26). Bridie O’Donnell (33) was to arrive later that afternoon. Also joining us on camp would be two professional cyclists in Nicki Egyed and Rochelle Gilmore. Wish me luck! =)