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  Lauren Perry Blog: AIS Selection Camp  
  April 29th 2015 By Lauren Perry  
  "It is common knowledge in the cycling community that the camp is not easy, and I guarantee it is not!" - The words of dual Junior World Champion on the tack, Lauren Perry.

Perry won the individual pursuit at the 2013 Junior Track World Championships, and added the team pursuit in 2014. Since moving to the senior ranks has claimed World Cup gold in the team pursuit in Cali, a second team pursuit national title as well as victory in the scratch race at the Australian Championships in January.

After participating in the women's development team selection camp Perry shares her thoughts on the camp.

Leaving home on the 18th April I had a million 'what ifs' running through my mind. What if they cut my cables? What if we have to change a wheel on a bus? What if we have to ride for 6 hours straight? These were all things I had been told about the AIS National Selection Camp that takes place annually in Canberra.

It is common knowledge in the cycling community that the camp is not easy, and I guarantee it is not! But it is definitely worth it! I left the camp not only mentally and physically drained, but with so much new knowledge, which I know will have a great positive effect on my cycling.

This year the camp was made successful thanks to the tireless work of Rochelle Gilmore and the AIS Sport Science Staff who made sure it would go ahead. Things weren't looking great early on due to lack of funds and the costs involved, but Rochelle secured HIGH5 as a sponsor to make sure all of the girls that attended got to take part in this valuable learning experience that has been a pathway for some of Australia's best female road cyclists; including the likes of Chloe Hosking and Katrin Garfoot. The sport science team brought in much needed funds through their scientific studies which also allowed this camp to proceed. For that I thank them greatly, as I'm sure the other girls do too!

During my time in Canberra I endured hours of testing and training in an environment which is created to simulate life racing in Europe- but maybe even mentally harder! The camp is designed to observe the behaviour of the athletes and how they would deal with tough situations. In Europe, life as a professional cyclist can be very challenging and in order to pick their development team to take away, the coaches need to be sure the athletes are ready for this.

The road rides were quite hilly and in one case there was a lot of gravel, both of these are weaknesses of mine, and something I found challenging. We did time trial efforts and also raced each other. Before all that fun stuff, however, we were in the lab doing a variety of different tests, which involved a lot of sprinting, time trialling and spewing (for some). Off the bike there was just enough time for eating, sleeping and meetings of course! Being so busy made for a tense environment and having no feedback from coaches didn't help either.

Although the camp tested my weaknesses it also helped me to improve my strengths, such as sprinting, by going through tactics and talking about the different ways things can be executed.

I believe there is always something new to learn and this camp strongly reinforced that for me! No matter what kind of cyclist you class yourself as, this camp puts you on the path to improving your weaknesses and perfecting your strengths and I would highly recommend it for the future generations of women's cycling.
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