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2012 Track World Championships – Day One

by Sarah Storey
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on Feb 10 in Race Blog
Having flown into Los Angeles five days ago, the start of competition soon came round and after 3 track sessions to warm up the legs and work out strategies for each of the races, it was time to get the show on the road on Thursday 9th February.

Great Britain were contesting two gold medals on the first day and my 500m in the C5 category was the first of the golds, with Team Storey Sport’s Communications Manager, Helen Scott contesting the second along with her stoker Aileen McGlynn.

Starting the Championships off with a good performance is always top of any athlete’s list and for me there was added spice to this 500m Time Trial as I was aiming to defend the World Championship title I won in both 2009 and 2010. Ju Fang Zhou, the world record holder and world champion from 2006 and 2007 was on the start sheet and after beating her for the first time in my career in to the silver medal position in Montichiari last year, I was sure she would come back firing on all cylinders.

As I chalked my hands and got ready to walk to the gate, Ju Fang recorded only the third fastest time, which came as a surprise to everyone watching and meant that two American riders were now standing in my way of the rainbow jersey.

Starting has been an area of focus over the past year, firstly for the team pursuit and more recently for the team sprint. With added strength work in the programme and a focus towards increasing my usually laboured acceleration, I have been working hard on cadence and trying to spin the pedals up to a higher cadence more quickly than before.

The Los Angeles Velodrome was unfortunately far too well air conditioned, which kept the temperature at a disappointing 22 degrees and with the fantastic weather outside, and therefore high pressure, the conditions were somewhat different to the floaty conditions we so often experience at Manchester.

In the event I pulled out a personal best time and British Record to finish 1.8 seconds up on the silver medallist and was chuffed to bits to have been able to make another successive defence. The great part is, there is so much more to come and with the way some of the training times have been going heading towards the world record is definitely the aim for London. It would certainly be something if an old diesel like me could get into that ball park!

Within minutes of my medal ceremony, Helen Scott and Aileen McGlynn were on the start line facing Irish opposition of Fran Meehan and Catherine Walsh. Known more for their sprint and kilo ability, Helen and Aileen pulled out an impressive second ride, but it wasn’t enough to overhaul the Irish Pursuit specialists and they came home to a well deserved silver.

So it has been a good start to the Championships and with Barney Storey riding the Tandem Kilometre with Neil Fachie on Friday 10th February at around midnight UK time and Helen and Aileen riding the Tandem Kilometre around 11pm UK time, you might just catch either them or some of our team mates going for more medals in what is the final International track competition prior to the start of the London Paralympic Games on August 29th.

My next ride is on Saturday when I will be defending the 3000m Individual Pursuit title.

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