Horizon Fitness Team rider blog

 

Here's the first blog from Sarah Storey, double gold medallist rider at the Beijing Paralympic Games. She rides on the Horizon Fitness womens team, won the first Rudy Project Time Trial race and the Bedford Women's Stage Race.  Read on to find out what she's been up to.

 


I've been training in the south of France with Helen Wyman to get a final week of miles in, before my preparation for the National 10 mile Time Trial on Sunday 23rd May.

 

When I arrived, the Aude region was preparing for the arrival of 18 women’s pro teams for the biggest women’s stage race on the calendar, the Tour de L’Aude and for me, having aspirations to ride the race one day, it was fantastic to ride on the roads used by this race over the past 26 years. With the area known for its hills, it was great for me to work on my descending skills and I work out how, despite an awkward braking system, I could hold the wheel of the bike in front and maximise speed through the corners.

 

My braking system is different to most other people, because I'm without a left hand, so I have both brakes mounted through a cable splitter and then routed to my right lever.  Some riders have a system where they pull the brakes independently, with both levers mounted on the one side, but this system is usually favoured by people who have a hand big enough to pull one brake with the first few fingers and the other with the last few fingers.  My back brake is set up to come on a fraction of a second sooner than the front, so that an emergency stop won’t catapult me over the handlebars!

 

 

Sarah Storey with her fellow team mates at the Bedford 2 Day Stage race

 

 

On twisty descents, where bike speed needs adjusting to negotiate the corners, some of which are hairpins, effective braking can be the difference between staying with a group or dropping back and losing time.  Normally the front brake is used for killing speed quickly, whereas the back brake is used for feathering the speed and minor speed adjustments.  For a rider like me, with both brakes connected to one lever, I don't have the choice of pulling on the brakes independently and so when I touch the brakes, I will always kill speed, as the front brake has to come on as well as the back.

 

During my time in Limoux I worked on different ways to maintain my position on a wheel.  I got better at sitting close on descents and was able to carry more speed through corners, without hitting my brakes as often and even got to the point where I was actually enjoying going fast downhill! Normally my preference is to go up!

 

Being based in Limoux was perfect for getting out on some of the routes being used during this year’s Tour de L’Aude, the markings on the roads were easy to follow and it was great to spend time traversing the climbs and passing between the villages.  I managed to get carried away, with the awesome views of the Pyrenees in the background and always came back having done a little bit more than planned!  The weather was pretty good too and the fields of poppy flowers lining the routes very beautiful.

 

My week wasn’t solely about riding big miles.  Every third day I did a shorter session with higher intensity, using some short hill intervals to press on my top end form and work at elongating my ability to dip into high power sections.  The roads around our base were perfect for this type of training and I had two different shorter, hilly loops that allowed me to do repeat efforts on every lap, whilst riding to recover in between.  I like to do an active recovery on varying terrain and so recovering on a climb really adds to the session and the ability to recover at higher powers.

 

The week ended with a short extension to my trip, thanks to the wind moving the volcanic ash cloud over the UK and closing airports at home.  Initially I had been due to fly home in time to attend an evening at the velodrome with the Pennine Chapter of the Young Presidents Organisation, but my attendance was put in jeopardy thanks the flight cancellations.  Fortunately, at the last minute, I was able to get on a flight to London Stansted and was collected in a car and driven to Manchester in time to attend the formal part of the evening.

 

Next for me is the National “10” TT,  so I will get some massage and physio maintenance work done and then head down to the race.  I’ll be back soon with the race report. 

 

 Riding the Rudy Project TT Series

 

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