Saturday, 22 March 2008


Back to where I last left you all. Our media launch… in preparation for the predicted photos at our shoot, I decided to moisturise my unshaven legs. In the process I managed to rip the wrinkled skin from the surface of my burn, leaving it sensitive, splotchy, and very noticeable! How would this show up on camera?! I went to the nurse to have it treated and covered, and now I have a bandage from my knee to my ankle!…very noticeable to say the least! Then, looking like a cripple, I once again enjoyed the pain involved in time trials, and the hurt that our strength and conditioning coach, Ross, likes to put us through. Not far from that thought, are those that passed on Tuesday when I was treated to one of the hardest sessions of my life. To celebrate our successful completion of such training, as a team, after skinfolds had been taken of course, we indulged in Pizza, followed by Baskins and Robbins for dessert =)

To work off all of that food before Easter was upon us, we spent some more time out on the slopes of the famous Mount Stromlo, before venturing to the criterium circuit in Stromlo Park itself on Wednesday evening. It was the ACT Criterium Championships and the 10 of us had been separated into teams of five. ‘Team Donna’ (and Laura) were to coach Amanda Spratt, Josie Loane, Vicki Whitelaw, Sara Carrigan and Ruth Corset to victory. While Bridie O‘Donnell, Carla Ryan, Carlee Taylor, Louise Kerr and I, were to be guided by ‘Team Benny’ (and Dr. Dave). We were secretly worried about the opposition and their tactical approach, but decided that our team would be aggressive, and I would unfortunately claim the title of the designated sprinter…pressure! I was also team leader on the road…communication would be our winning ingredient. My roomy Sara (pictured above) gave away nothing, so if anything dangerous was to go up the road, I needed to be there!

I crossed to an early break of Bird, Vicki and Ruth with two Canberrian’s (I just made that word up) early in the race. The odds saw me second in a sprint finish, so after Bird - AKA - Wonder Woman, regained her composure from a puncture, she laid down the gauntlet with 10 minutes remaining and rode solo to her first criterium win! ACT Crit Champ! In the closing lap Carla and Josie made contact and a final bid for the podium, but with fresh legs I was able to take out second in the elite (smashed in the sprint by local youngster Chloe Hosking), followed by Ruth in third. With medallions around the neck (pictured) and video cameras still plastered to some of our bikes, we headed home in high spirits. Before our departure, an almost unnecessary apology was made of behalf of the CCC to the AIS Women’s squad in regards to our previous appearance. We were quite chuffed to find that they love to have us at racing just as much as we love to race! We’ll be back next year guys!

There are many different beliefs on hot/cold recovery treatments. The short of it is…everybody loves the spa, and we are encouraged to finish in the freezing depths of the plunge pool to reap the benefits. Now the problem? Some girls didn’t sleep until 1am, and there was a congregation of athletes in the kitchen between 3-4am for a midnight snack! So despite the evidence that cold therapy makes you sleepy…I can’t help but think it may be slightly anecdotal. Now another of the not-so-fun aspects at the AIS…the 30 minute time trial test! I played with my pacing, put ‘Numb/Encore’ on repeat, and took on the challenge. New PB’s are never unwelcome, nor is a first-rate Aussie BBQ at Laura and Shaun’s =) Just quietly, sausages are heaven to me, and they only tasted better as I worked my way to five! With Donna Ray-Szalinski on board as coach for the week, she decided to show us why she’s highly respected in the cycling community. It MAY be because of her coaching skills, but I would attribute it to her brownie baking ability (pictured)!