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Anna Meares recovery and Olympic Games lead-up diary
At just 24 years of age Australia's Anna Meares is one of the world's top track cyclists. In addition to being the reigning World Champion in the 500 metre Time Trial, Meares is also the defending 500 metre Time Trial Olympic Games champion, after taking gold at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004.
Meares suffered a setback in her Beijing Olympic Games bid in January after a horrifying accident at the Los Angeles Track World Cup came close to ending more than her Olympic ambitions. Now back in Australia and riding again, Meares has joined Cyclingnews' list of diarist and will share her road to recovery and, if all goes well for the Queenslander, Beijing Olympic bid with our readers.
July 7, 2008
Olympic journey begins in Germany
After my trial in Melbourne I had one week before I was heading overseas, where I will stay until the completion of the Olympic Games. It started off like any normal week but as people found out I was leaving my week got busier and busier and busier. I was amazed!
For three days I woke at 7 AM and was running from one training session to an appointment, meeting, media call or photo shoot until, in some cases, 10 PM. I knew it was only for one week, so I did my best to keep it under control and get it all done.
On Friday Mark and I finalised paperwork for our new house we have bought in Adelaide. Yep, we are now officially Adelaide residents. If I am going to keep riding for four more years then we decided it best to put our money into a home rather then rent so we could eventually hopefully get our money back on it. It has been very exciting and I look forward to moving into it after the Games.
Saturday came and we departed Australia for Germany. It was very hard and sad for me to leave Mark. I know, and he reminded me, that it was a good trip and good reason to be going away to which I totally agree but still found it hard to say goodbye and leave him for so long. Nine weeks in total.
The flight over was good. Long, but still good. We arrived in Frankfurt after almost 30 hours of travel. A truck and staff met us there to drive all our luggage and equipment to Cottbuss - save paying the excess luggage bill in Euros for a one hour flight to Berlin.
The riders then flew to Berlin and the staff drove. Little did we athletes think to take out a change of clothes to shower and change into once we arrived eventually in Cottbuss. So after another five hours we arrived in Cottbuss and waited in the same smelly sticky clothes for another eight, or so, hours for the truck to arrive.
Spending 40-plus hours in the same clothes was not pleasant. When we got to shower and change it was the best feeling.
I have been fighting a chest infection/cough since I landed, perhaps a combination of not travelling for so long and the temperature change. It is a lovely 38 degrees or there abouts here. Not bad coming from a cold, drizzly Adelaide winter. It has gotten a little worse but I think we got onto it early so I am hoping to still be in good nick for the race in two days time.
The men's field is enormous. 60 riders to qualify and all 60 go through to the next round. In the women's field there are 18 riders - four Olympic riders and the rest international representatives of their country, so it will be a good little race meet. I will be sure to send an update after the race to let you know how I go and what is coming up next for me.