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Sugar Coated Memories, Chocolate Coated Eggs

March 16th - 27th

I am writing to you all from 'St Moritz', but not the exclusive resort town in Switzerland! I am residing in the AIS Altitude house, where all five rooms are named after famous altitude locations. It is here, in Canberra, where the AIS Women's Road Squad have gathered for a 10-day training camp in an attempt to refine early form for the season ahead.

Those attending include AIS members Amanda Spratt, Bridie O'Donnell, Carla Ryan, Josie Loane, Vicki Whitelaw and myself. Additional athletes in Sara Carrigan, Carlee Taylor, Ruth Corset and Louise Kerr, have come in search of intense training and enjoyable company before their oversea adventures. Our physiologists, Dave Martin and Laura Garvican, have joined forces once again, to assist Donna Rae Szalinski, our coach for the week, with her duties.

The camp entailed everything required in preparation for the overseas departure. Wound management for those friendly with the pavement, massage and physiotherapy for any final niggles, and even bad weather to simulate the current conditions we've been hearing of overseas. It became a common sighting, the team at Debacle, Milk & Honey, or Baskins & Robbins, where pizza, coffee and gelati are on offer…I can't help but notice the striking similarity to an Italian diet!

Another location often visited, this time on campus, was the gym. Most muscles in my body were sore simply walking to these session's, and after a mere hour, there wasn't a single muscle in my body that I wasn't aware of! Our strength and conditioning coach, Ross, instructs 'an easy 20' of this and 'an easy 20' of that. Everything always 'easy', and everything always in 20's! Not!

After our media launch early in the week, the camp progressed and we found ourselves back on camera, this time thanks to small devices attached to Spratty's helmet and Bridie's seat, signalling the start of racing at the ACT Criterium Championships. It was a hotly contested race that saw Bridie, myself and Ruth Corset clean sweep the elite category podium, of which we were able to review later in the week.

Sleeping has been a problem for us after racing, and again for Spratty when our overnight monitor thrust a torch in her eye! That aside, after racing, many of the girls decided to trial different hot/cold recovery treatments. We'd been encouraged to finish on cold to reap maximal benefit, which gave the girls an opportunity to discuss how great their legs felt when, at 3am, they congregated in the kitchen for a midnight snack due to inability to sleep!

So what was the highlight of our week? Not the chocolate eggs, the awesome BBQ at Laura's, or even the wonderful brownie mixture baked by Donna (although there were all quite memorable). It was easily our Easter Egg Hunt! Laura and Dave organised a special expedition on Easter day that saw us at three different locations, facing multiple challenges, and finishing with an abundance of chocolate! After a track stand competition and stunt time on the trampoline, we attempted a human pyramid.

Through applying Ross' techniques we were able to hold it for 'an easy 20' before back's began to buckle. During our game of twister, it was balance that escaped us first, and me that escaped second to find the remaining hidden bunnies! I was poor at this game…always relying on others to source out my allocated eggs when nothing else remained. We ended with coffee and more chocolate, and it was then that I realised this would be our last day together.

Our final night was spent in the kitchen, and despite requests for more beloved brownie's, it was pizza we were preparing. Mexican? I think I've been scarred, and will never be able to eat a pizza in Mexico! Now to tasty cooking, and it would be a crime if I didn't share with you the recipe for 'Ice Boy's Brownies' (after Donna's ice-hockey son). Although chocolate eggs will always represent Easter, I can't help but envisage baking a batch of the following recipe for years to come!

Until next time, happy pedalling.

Peta =)

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The A.I.S. Women's Team is proudly sponsored by: Cyclingnews has been pleased to publish a diary contributed by the members of the Australian Institute of Sport's Women's team as they conduct their European campaign. For 2005, the team had a new lineup, including Amy Gillett, Katie Brown, Jenny Macpherson, Kate Nichols and Alexis Rhodes, who joined existing members Lorian Graham and Louise Yaxley to form a tight crew to take on the world. On Monday, July 18, 2005, everything changed. In the light of the tragic event that took the life of Amy Gillett and put her five team-mates in hospital, the AIS women's road cycling program has been suspended. We believe the fighting spirit these athletes have displayed on the road will extend to their recovery from their injuries and we hope one day to once again bring you their stories in their own words.