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...