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The Build up to Track World Championships

by Sarah Storey
Sarah Storey
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on Mar 28 in General Blog
Since writing to you from my first Club La Santa training camp of the year the build up to the 2014 Track Worlds has been in full flow and there’s been plenty of activity to cram in, on and off the bike!

Louisa is 9 months old now and at the end of January I was announced as one of Kiddicare’s Inspirational Parent Ambassadors, which meant Louisa and I did a photoshoot as part of the launch which was great fun. As the weeks have been flying by it has been amazing to watch Louisa grow and enjoy her new skills everyday. Her bottom shuffling has now reached professional levels and she can pull herself to standing and even let go for a second or two. When we hold her hands she will walk to wherever she wants to go but is so speedy on her bottom that inevitably she gets more done without being stood up!

As Louisa grows more independent during the day my training has been going from strength to strength and the second Club La Santa camp in February saw me do between 3 and 5 hours a day with lots of quality work and some very encouraging figures coming out of the power cranks. Endurance athletes have reported an improvement in stamina post child birth, saying this has come to them within the first year. Although I am still breastfeeding Louisa in between her meals and at night, my body seems to coping well with these demands and several of my physiological markers have moved on in my training, so it will be interesting to see if this upward curve continues. Being able to produce power PB’s on certain road based efforts came as something of a shock and it was great to be able to put that into practice last weekend when I competed in my first Road Time Trial since the London Games.

Getting back into the low pro position on my new Ridley Time Trial bike was fantastic and made even better because I was using some newly adapted handlebars that Pace Rehabilitation had modified. The modification basically provides me with a safety hoop into which I wedge my left hand when handling the bike and the overall package was much lighter than we expected too, so an added bonus. Using new equipment is always an exciting time and with a new Lazer aero helmet and Pro-Lite race wheels, as well as new race kit because it was my first appearance for the Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International Cycling Team, I was very much dressed from head to foot and wheel to wheel in new stuff! Everything worked like a dream and I recorded my first win of the season, with team mates Hayley Jones and Nikki Juniper flanking me on the podium.

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Racing for the new team for the first time was a proud moment, especially because Barney and I had co-ordinated everything and liaised with all the sponsors to get everything off the ground. We had all enjoyed our Team Launch earlier in March when the whole team was together for the first time. In order to get everyone’s training done and all the official parts of the launch done too, we spaced everything out over three days. Starting with a nutrition seminar at CNP’s head office in Hyde, the girls spent 3 hours getting the low down on everything they needed to know about maximising their nutrition for training and racing. Most athletes know about nutrition and what they should be eating, but the science behind why and how nutrients are used by the body is more in depth and so it was an eye opening session for everyone. We followed the seminar with photos and interviews as well as a tour of the factory and the lowdown on how everything is made. Day 2 of the launch started with a ride and we were joined by some of the team and charity supporters who all rode out with us for at least the first half hour before the team rolled through the countryside at a faster pace.

Team Launch Ball

The evening of day 2 saw everyone get glammed up for the Boot Out Breast Cancer ball and over £125K was raised on the night! Our final day started with a team ride which then finished at the Bike and Tri Show in Manchester. The team was presented onto the main stage by our second title sponsor, Sports Tours International and we all took questions from the audience which was great as the number of women at the event was very high. Each rider did a great job being ambassadors for the sport and answering questions on everything from grassroots and school cycling to London legacy. When we set up the team the plan was to try and build on the London 2012 legacy for women’s sport and use the team as a means to encourage other women to have a go at whatever level they feel comfortable at. Being able to take questions from women in an audience at an event like the Bike and Tri Show meant we could reach out to the heart of the sports participation population and directly encourage them.

Apart from the Boot Out Breast Cancer Ball, there have been two other events to get glammed up for, with the first being the Manchester Sporting Legends Awards. Nominated for a legends award, I finished in the top 10 and was amazed to be seated alongside Ron Hill at the dinner, as well as in the company of the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs who were also nominated. The legend of all legends was, of course, Sir Alex Ferguson, and then to my surprise I was announced as the Outstanding Achievement Award for everything I have done in sport in the last 22 years. I was overwhelmed to be presented in front of a room full of such talent and it was definitely a night I won’t forget in a hurry!

My second award in as many weeks was equally as humbling as just a couple of hours after winning my first Road Time Trial, I was receiving the Tesco Celebrity Mum of the Year Award at the Savoy Hotel in Central London. Having walked the red carpet in my team kit and tracksuit trousers, I got the chance to get dressed and have my hair and make-up done for me. Standing on stage alongside the other winners was so inspiring because each one of them had done more than I could ever have imagined was possible for one human being. Their stories of bravery, perseverance and single-mindedness in helping others brought tears to the eyes of everyone in the room and can be relived in a programme on Channel 5 at 6.10pm on Mothers Day.

So it has been a busy time and all the while the training for Track Worlds has been bubbling away nicely as I started back on the track and also doing some altitude training in the Environment Chamber at Manchester Metropolitan University. We depart for Aguascalientes in Mexico, which is 1800m above sea level, in a few days time and it will be great to try and defend the titles I have in the 500m Time Trial and 3k Individual Pursuit. I also have two other events in the Team Sprint and Scratch Race which are being held about 10 minutes apart at the end of competition, so my powers of recovery will be tested! Taking Louisa on her first long haul flight will be an adventure especially as she seems to have the appetite of an athlete, so planning the food we need for the journey is quite a challenge! I will report back as soon as I can!

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