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Barney's National Track Championships 2011

by Barney Storey
Barney Storey
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on Oct 06 in Race Blog

The National Track Championships in Manchester have just finished and I'm sure most people would agree it was a fantastic championships with some excellent racing, with some new faces coming through plus the more established riders again producing fast times.

The Nationals this year were my 14th consecutive National track champs (feeling old now!!), which I didn't realise until driving into the track for my first event on Day 1, the kilometre time trial. As the Paracycling events had all classes combined, the winner was determined by the closest to the world record, or whoever got closest or even beat the record. I was riding the championships for the second year running with Neil Fachie, who I raced against at the World Championships earlier this year. It was a chance for us to post a time and put into practice, since starting tandem training on the first week of August, the various different techniques to riding fast. Our ride went reasonably well, where we posted a time of 63.2 seconds for the Kilometre time trial, less than a second outside of our own world record. It was good enough for third place on the podium and was fractionally quicker than the time we had ridden at Nationals the previous year. A satisfying result and another time for the selectors to consider when the decision has to be made of who rides with who at the forthcoming World Championships in February. As a tandem group we also have Craig McLean and Anthony Kappes to throw into the mix, where hopefully we will have 2 tandems competing at the World Champs. The reason the selection is difficult is every time we seem to ride the tandems with the different combinations, the bikes are always within a fraction of a second of each other! That’s one decision I am very happy for somebody else to make!

The second event on Day 2 of the champs was the flying 200m time trial for the Paracycling programme. Again all categories would compete against their respective World Records and based on some of the times in training, I knew there would be some extremely fast times from the GB Squad. Myself and Neil produced a time of 10.332 seconds for the time trial. It was a Personal best on the equipment we were riding so we were both pleased! The World Record for the tandem men is 10.280 seconds, so very close to that mark! It put us on the third step of the podium after excellent rides by our girl’s tandem and Jon Butterworth, who all broke World Records to finish 2nd and 1st respectively.

My next event was on Day 4 of the champs which allowed me a day off competing and a very short amount of time to remember how to ride a solo bike, which is always tricky after being on the tandem for a while!! The event was the team pursuit where my team VC St. Raphael/Waite Contracts were defending champions. The ride didn't go exactly to plan and we ended up qualifying in 5th place. A bit of fatigue crept in for me and luckily my team mate was able to step in to take my place for the minor placings ride, whilst I had an early finish.  

When I think about my first National track championships back in 1998, I do have to pinch myself sometimes to realise how lucky I am still to be competing for medals on the boards of the National Cycling Centre, in Manchester. The first champs really were a baptism of fire, where I competed in the distance events, before going down the sprint route the following year. My first medal at the champs was in the Keirin in 2000, where I won silver behind my now fellow Tandem pilot Craig McLean. My brother Andy was pivotal in helping me at this point in my career, with all the help and assistance I could possibly need! The following year saw me become a member of the GB Paracycling squad in September 2001 and then, the Velodrome boards became my new home. The British Track Nationals certainly gave me the chance to race and win plenty of medals in subsequent years and it’s always on the Storey race calendar every year!

The National Track Championships this year were a success for me with some strong performances on the tandem. It’s certainly given me a lot to work on between now and our Paracycling World Championships at the Los Angeles Track in February. It does mean a few days break before getting back into training again and already my brain is working overdrive on training plans, with small tweaks for our last points qualifying event for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. I'll let you know how the preparation goes! :-)

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