Well, the story of our January camp has almost reached its conclusion, only for another exciting chapter to be written in Penrith next week. Training has eased slightly and we are counting the sessions down into single figures. This last week, we’ve been quiet due to our training – whatever spare time we’ve had has been devoted to sleeping or getting a massage! Former Auslightychick Shaz was up here, indulging us when we needed it most. Also up here repairing our bodies last week was Susan Everitt – the Australian Rowing Team physiotherapist for the past two years. We’ve had a lot of people visiting us up the mountain this year – SASI doctor Peter Barnes, as previously mentioned SASI Biomechanist Alec, SASI Head Sports Scientist Pete Bourden and soon to join us for the winding up of the camp will be SASI psychologist Steve Bannon. The visits have been great to help us feel less isolated up here, and come to think of it, to give Adrian someone other than us to hang out with!
Our topics of conversation and language in general have degenerated, as quite oft the case on rowing camps, so much so that we make Adrian blush! We do however try to expand our knowledge over breakfast each morning when we all combine to complete the quizzes in the mountains of newspapers that we accumulate each day. Bet you didn’t know that the F-111 aircraft is referred to as a ‘pig.’ Or that the two most common plastic surgery procedures for men are liposuction and rhinoplasty. Or that Martina Natratilova has won 340 career titles in her life!
We have been doing the occasional training session with the boys from the SASI squad on the water, and the occasional cross-training session with the rest of the SASI squad. The other day we did an undulating bike ride with the SASI kids – they could be quick on the downhill but uphill proved to be another kettle of fish. The most hilarious sight of the day was not tiny lightweight Jess on Adrian’s coaching bike (still set for Adrian’s height), but was the sight of 105kg Greg Taylor drafting behind the gazelle like Sal C for about 60minutes during the ride! I wonder just how much benefit he was actually getting? The Auslightychicks also enjoyed a pub dinner with the whole SASI squad, which was just lovely and just a bit of a contrast from the argy bargy of previous years. Shaz would remember the ‘Lolly incident’ in 2001 when the boys of SASI stole her ‘swear jar’ full of lollies, ate some then sprinkled the rest around the girls’ bus to attract the ants! But this year it’s all good.
Just as we are about to leave this place, we realise we have not told you much about Falls Creek and surrounds at all (besides the giant nipple). We row, not on a creek as you may be picturing, but on Rocky Valley Lake at an elevation of 1600m above sea level– just short of the Silvaplanasee where we train in Switzerland. Mount McKay or Mick McKay as we call it, is another 200m or so above sea level and, as some of girls have found out, it takes a long time to scale to the heights of Mick. Mt Bogong or to us “Mt Bogan” is the biggest peak around here, just short of 2000m, but we have thus far avoided this particular Bogan. The rest is mostly just bush of the Alpine National Park, meaning that we are somewhat of a captive audience when we are training at Falls Creek.
We’ll try to keep you in touch with the racing as it happens next week (23rd-25th January) but this will be the basic format; Day 1 AM – Heats in 1x, PM – Semis in 1x. Day 2 AM – Finals in 1x, PM – Heats in 2x. Day 3 AM – Finals in 2x. If we cannot manage to get results online before Monday, the rowing Australia website may do (www.rowingaustralia.com.au).
It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees. DOLORES IBÁRRURI