What remains is…

Not surprisingly, my time management has failed me and we are at the end of the week and still have a range of questions for the most generous Anna Meares.

Let’s not waste time with the shoehorn of analogy, let’s wish Anna the very best for the last 300 days before London 2012 with a few last questions…

Up close and personal

Also Anna, can you recommend a good chamois cream or knicks? Generally speaking, there were a surprising number of questions about the clothes you wear for training, like “how many pairs of knicks does she have?”, but I kind of thought this was a bit creepy.

Aussie Butt cream is a good one as well as Hooha specially formulated for women… I use these in training but on competition day when you race 5 days double sessions things can get pretty painful down there so I use Elma… it is a pharmacy grade cream with a numbing agent… AHHHH!

(HRH: nuff said)

I have a lot of knicks but have about 5 or 6 on rotation. I use road knicks for road training and skinsuits for track training so not to wear out the chamois.


Quite a few of my readers were interested in knowing how you felt about Australian politics at the moment? Obviously, getting some heat last year might have been hard but some of my readers were really impressed that – unlike a lot of sports people – you’d felt brave enough to weigh into the mining tax debate. Any thoughts on running for Queensland Premier? We hear the gig may be available sooner rather than later.

No thoughts on running for QLD premier but I have had thoughts on the idea of a sports minister?

(HRH: I’ll talk to Anna and Campbell and we’ll see what they’re thinking. Mental note, enroll to vote in Queensland.)

I was involved in debating at school and in high school in Middlemount was a part of the group of students that lobbied the government for air conditioning in the schools, given it reach 45-50 degrees out home we thought it a valid point. The local member of parliament Jim Pearce at the time came to me and suggested I become a politician one day :)

(HRH: I was involved in debating at school, which was lucky, or they’d have made me play a sport.)

Politics is politics. Its a tough gig. I learnt through being involved in the mining debate that you can never please everyone despite your explanations.  I received some incredibly cruel hate mail and some incredibly kind mail also. I got involved because I come from a mining family and know that hard and dangerous work involved and the enormous part mining plays in the countries economy. I think it is good to have opinions and ideas but people need to be flexible in having them altered. Sometimes I wonder why with politicians on opposite sides never ever agree. Its always seems they are out to make one look worse or better then the other. Wouldn’t it be nice if both parties worked together  for one desired outcome instead of opposing each other all the time.

(HRH: No kidding. If I put my serious helmet on for a moment, Anna, I would even go so far as to say, no shit.)


Obviously, with your crash, you’re extremely serious about safety in sport. After you broke your neck, how long did it take to feel “right” on the bike again? Physically? Mentally? How grateful are you for your helmet?

My helmet saved my life in my accident back in 2008. The inside shell shattered but the exterior shell held it intake so I know it absorbed much of the impact. My glasses had no scratches or dents and saved my eyes from damage…. the burns reached but 1mm from my eye sockets. How grateful am I for my helmet, so much so it is on display in my home because it saved me.

After my accidents I had a lot of fears to face. I was allowed on the track solo after 6-8 weeks and not allowed on the road until 3 months due to safety concerns with traffic. Physically I started to feel on again about 10 weeks in after some solid rehab and gym work to feel strong again. Mentally…. That probably took about the same with a few special things needing addressing later through the recovery process.

Do you have a range of helmets? If so – what are you main considerations in a helmet?

My main considerations in a helmet are:

Comfort – Coverage of the head, both front/back and sides. Don’t want a helmet that sits too far back on the head leaving the face unprotected. I can picture so many school girls riding with their helmets way too far back because they dont want to mess up their hair or their ponytails. Shocking to see.

(HRH: Word.)


Support and tension on the head when helmet is on (I always come off the track with marks on my forhead from the tension I like to place through my helmet when riding)


Fit –  Fit is very important. a helmet too big will move and not do its job in a fall and one too small won’t cover the ears and exterior of the head and face in the event of a fall.

And, do you know if Uvex make a matte black helmet with a gold fan from the right temple on one side? Probably not, but I had a dream about this helmet once and I’m wondering if I’ll ever find it again. I am personally extremely interested in the process by which helmets are customised/designed to team colours etc, but I think I could probably follow this up with someone at Uvex too, if you preferred.

I haven’t seen one but you never know.

I had the privilege of having a tour through the helmet warehouse in Germany of U vex and I was gobsmacked at whatis involved in making a helmet. It really is very interesting!

Thanks for getting to the end of the questions, Anna, someone also asked me to ask you about the farting scene in Bridesmaids, but honestly – I’m too embarrassed. And I didn’t even really understand where that particular question was coming from.

Bridesmaids…. hilarious. Funniest movie I seen in a while…. As for the farting scene, sorry but it was no match for the farting scene from Blazing Saddles :)


That’s right Brendan, Anna Meares answered your farting question.

Folks. A week is a long time in cycling. Don’t we all know it.

Biggest thanks must go to Anna for her time, for those wondering – she was an absolute pleasure to connect with and, considering I am neither a very serious sports journalist, nor a very serious anything, she was extremely considerate and helpful.

Maybe you wanna come to the World Titles in Melbourne in April 2012?

Hopefully, I’ll see you there and we can cheer Anna on together!



By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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