Saturday, 29 March 2008


Firstly, happy Easter! Although not my first Easter away from home, it almost felt like it. Usually I'm surrounded by a group of testosterone driven males, who, have no appreciation for family ties over Easter, and are simply satisfied with substantial amounts of chocolate. This year, I spent my 'chocolate day' as I like to call it, with the AIS girls, who, would have traded all the eggs in the world to see their loved ones, four days before overseas departure. So, as if to feel part of the group, I dwelled on the absence of my family for a while...that was until our Easter egg hunt began, when 'chocolate day' started to call on me! Now let’s talk statistics. I consumed eight mini eggs of 2.5cm in diameter; 2 of which were caramel, 2 white, and 1 nutella tasting. Following that, 2 medium eggs 5cm in width, made up of quite a thin layer of chocolate though, saving my 15cm bunny until last. Three eggs in and I was suffering a toothache, followed by a stomach ache, which began to plague my progress. But a good athlete never quits, and I downed the whole batch easily, in under an hour. Better yet? I didn't feel guilty, because it was 'chocolate day' =)

Gone are the days of discovering our eggs so 'cleverly' hidden in the dryer. I'm 20 now, so it was time to step up to the vigorous demands of Laura and Dave's (our sports physiologists) expedition. It all started at 9am, compared to my 12-yr old days where chocolate consumption began before 5am, and it didn't take long for me to find my first egg. Actually, it fell out of my helmet, and I looked at it for a good five seconds before realising what it was! From here on, I emptied the contents of my drink bottle and used it as a storage device for any chocolate I was to earn that day. I couldn't eat it just yet...I'd just brushed my teeth! A series of letters and directions guided us through the day, which meant that our supposed 35km trek was extended to over 40kms...poor navigation! We started with a prologue of 5kms, our first destination seeing us in search of a mini egg each (of which I was last to find), before a 'how slow can you go' track stand competition. Seeing as Spratt is the only one capable of performing an actual track stand, the remainder of us simply riding slowly, it was no surprise that she earnt herself an extra egg.

From here, Carla took over the role of navigator, and I was her assistant. Immediately we missed a turn, which saw us trying to convince the other girls that a u-turn was actually part of the directions...extremely unsuccessfully. We arrived at Dave's not long after, intruding on his family Easter to hi-jack his trampoline. This time I was like an egg detector, which shamed me when it was voiced that his two young sons has so 'discretely' hidden our shells (in clear view), that opened to three more miniature eggs. Another envelope, another challenge...stunt-time on the trampoline! There was a mixture of emotions for the task ahead. I was nervous; it had been a long time since I'd jumped, even on solid ground. I was excited; what creative jumps could we invent? And what surprise was to come? (more eggs I assumed). But those feelings were quickly over-shadowed by pure fear; of injury, as I was attempting a flip, still alive to tell the story =) Then our greatest challenge of the WEEK (pictured above with Dave giving directions). Bird announced that those over 60kgs were to brace the bottom row, and after my five sausages the night prior, I'm pretty sure I was tipping the scales! The picture tells all, aside from the screams of pain during the building process of the pyramid. Folks, those aren't smiles!

We farewelled the Martin's (pictured above) and ditched the maps en route to Laura's. Once again, a photo helps to explain what I struggle to (pictured below with Laura guiding). We dismounted our Teschner's and stacked them alongside the van, the whole time fixated on the Twister board spread across the lawn, which saw more 12-yr old memories flooding back. After going through the egg hunting process (I was last again), Laura spun the wheel, eventually making up colours and body part distributions to make the game more interesting for Donna and herself as they looked on! Our final instructions before brew were to savour the chocolate bunny's in Laura's backyard (pictured top). I was determined to prove that my Mum's occupation as a Cadbury rep hadn't made me immune to the presence of chocolate, and was first to start searching, yet still I required a hint to discover one of the last prizes =( It was the best Easter ever, according to my short term memory! For more photos and a shorter report on camp (now that you've all read this) view the AIS Women’s Road Diary on cycling news. The two days to follow were plagued by rain, a terrible Mexican pizza, and the unwanted sight of Ross in the gym. Departure day however, was more than welcome!

It was cold, but luckily void of rain for my final day in Canberra. I could only pray that I was puncture free today, as a week along bike paths had used up my four reserved tubes. I was eager to see home again, I think, or I may have just been eager to prowl the DFO's at the other end...3 hours of shopping can certainly be considered a workout! With heavy rain impeding the roads, traffic was slow, and it's a sad statement, but I was grateful that Mum had broken down in the old Ford a few days prior and that we were safely in the comfort of the heated Elantra. As the AIS girls organise their belongings after arriving in Varese, Italy, I've returned to Melbourne for some scenic training around Kinglake. My first adventure to this relatively hilly terrain North East of Melbourne was a good one, consisting of four girls; not including Anna Wilson, who I had dragged out of the house at 6am to endure the first hour of what I had to, a motorbike; ridden by the skilful and experienced Stuart McKenzie, black skies; although no rain, and a tailwind home; all downhill! Motor pacing, 5 degree mornings, combined with what I hope to by a dry Glenvale tomorrow, are true reminders that I'm finally back home!