Some mornings when the alarm goes off, I am keenly aware of the length of nine minutes. I feel time acutely. And sometimes I feel a little sorry for myself. Then I press snooze.
I’m pretty sure, however, that this next cyclist feels time much more acutely. And I don’t believe there’s much time for snoozing.
For it’s 306 days until the London 2012 Olympics and Anna Meares is right in the thick of things.
For those with short memories (and that’s pretty much all of us, isn’t it?), some time ago, I sent a short letter to Anna following a public appearance she had made in Melbourne that I regrettably missed out on attending. With kindly courtesy, Anna came back to me and agreed to answer your questions. Which is pretty special, considering that she’s generally pretty busy (um, Olympics anyone?) and basically my readership is so small (but quality) that you could hardly justify it as a PR exercise.
But here we are folks – these are the collected questions of the Humble Helmets are Hot readership. And here’s what Anna had to say… (I’ll give you a few days to digest, because there was a few questions!) Let’s start like a mullet, business at the front…
Naturally, everyone wants to know how preparations are going for London – your race record is just phenomenal and expectations naturally high for 2012. My readers peppered me with several questions about how things are shaping up for next year – everyone’s keen to know how you are feeling.
I am feeling very good at the moment and feel motivated and focused as ever. Preparations are going well and I am training very hard putting in a solid foundation as the coming season will be a very long one. Planning for the upcoming games began over 12 months ago and I have hit all my targets and then some thus far. Now the hard work has to rise so as to keep seeing this level of performance continue.
What’s in store for you in the countdown?
Lots of training and racing. First up is the Kazakhstan world cup in November, then Nationals in January 2012 in Adelaide, London trial event in February 2012, World Titles in Melbourne in April 2012 and then ultimately the Olympics.
(HRH: So, shall I see you folks at Hisense?)
How is your training structured?
Hard to go into detail on this one but we have a big gym base to build strength and power which is then transferred to specific training exercises on the track, some tough ergo sessions and road riding to recovery from these heavy sessions.
(HRH: This is plenty enough detail for me, though I’m sure Brendon would be more interested in this. Sounds hard to me.)
What are you squatting these days?
135 kg x 3
Does knowing what to expect (and having expectations on you) at the Olympics, make things easier or harder in your preparation?
Knowing what to expect definitely helps. You can use experiences good and bad to work out new strategies and plans for both the physical and mental aspects of the pressures of the sport and the Olympic Games. You can not have one without the other. In terms of expectations, I don’t know, in my third line up for an Olympic games it is the first time I have any expectation of performance. In 2004 I was young, only 20 and although I went in as world champ, people felt the favourites were saving themselves for the Olympics and in 2008 I had my fall and no one expected a medal. 2012 is very different and so I am working with my coach and team and sport psychologist to implement strategies and plans to help deal with this and the world titles in Melbourne will be a perfect pressure cooking competition to try things out and then I have plenty of time to re adjust if needed for London.
What are you feelings about the one rider per event per country for London 2012 and is this going to be a big disadvantage for the Aussie track cycling team?
I understand why they brought in this rule but I am not sure if it is best for our sport. It makes it very cut throat within each team and limits opportunity not only for current riders but up and coming riders. How would you feel if you were a junior stepping into senior and knew if you wanted an Olympic berth you had to beat Anna Meares…… or Victoria Pendleton etc. Have limited starters per country does allow more countries to participate and should limit the big power house countries from dominating as they have at the past few games with Britain winning 8 of 10 golds in Beijing and Australia winning 5 of 10 in Athens.
Okay folks, off you go, make the seconds count! More tomorrow… and the next day, and the next day.