Sarah Storey’s pre Worlds blog

 

After a hectic few days following Manchester World Cup, it was time to head back to the airport for the final GB Mallorca camp of the winter season.  Having spent three weeks on the track, I felt ready to hit the road again and was looking forward to adding some more endurance to the tank, ready to push through to the final events of the track season.

 

Women's team pursuit at Manchester World Cup

Sarah Storey on the front during the gold medal ride for the Women's Team Pursuit at the Manchester World Cup 

Picture courtesy of www.trackcycling.me.uk the only website dedicated to track cycling - from local track leagues to top level international competition

 

 

We were based in Alcudia again so the roads and sessions were familiar as we further built on some of the same work we’d done out there in January...  Only this time there was a bigger step up in intensity and even more focus on maintaining the track cadence through the efforts.  The camp was also slightly shorter than the last one and with the Para-cycling track worlds starting just a week after the camp ended, I also had to balance the start of a mini-taper into the events I will have out in Montichiari.

 

Again we were lucky with the weather and managed to pick up some of the early signs of the cycling tan lines, as we trekked off for mountainous days and gut wrenching efforts up climbs like Sa Calobra and the Inca side of Lluc.  With many training markers from the previous camp, it was really motivating to try and beat your previous best and I was pleased to achieve a PB with both speed and power up from the Inca side of Lluc. 

 

Sa Calobra brought the hardest of the hill efforts; 20 second sprint followed by 40 second recovery, eight times, before a 10 minute steady climb and another set to finish. The problem with “steady climb” up Sa Calobra is that it’s virtually impossible to move on the hill without producing 250 watts.  So “steady” is rather a loose description!

 

The other gut wrenching efforts were the capacity efforts, 3 minute full gas efforts with as long a rest as you could manage without it looking like you’d lost interest and ridden home!  These efforts were really hard, trying to maintain or even build on the power right through to the very end of the effort.  Our second day with these efforts in was one of the windiest we’d had during our time there, but fortunately we were able to find a stretch of road with a tail wind which certainly made them more bearable!

 

Heading home I was in for a busy weekend, with my first track sessions doing individual stuff since the Commonwealth Games.  It was quite different to look at the track through an Individual Pursuiters eyes and know the line was different, remembering not to swing up in the bankings and perhaps most importantly, judge the efforts and pace to ensure I wasn’t hitting the same peak speeds as we do in team pursuit.  This makes the feel of the cadence quite a challenge and even after three sessions on my own, I still have to remember the cadence is never going to feel as quick because I’m going slower by myself.

 

So for now I’m resting up and putting the final touches to my individual preparations at the Team Hotel in Montichiari, Italy.  The track here looks good and whilst so far the conditions don’t seem to be the quickest - it’s not got warmer than 19 degrees in track centre and the air pressure is well over 1020mb - but it is the same for everyone and achieving fast times will be all the more impressive.

 

My events are on Saturday 12th March for the Individual Pursuit and Sunday 13th March for the 500m Time Trial.  As I am defending champion in both it’ll be a tough weekend and with the 500m world record holder Ju Fang Zhou back to competition after winning the Asian Games in December, it’ll be a tough ask to complete the double again.  I’m looking forward to the challenge and as the women I compete against get quicker and quicker it only spurs me on to push to ride as fast as I possibly can in all events.  My biggest rivals from the road, Greta Neimanas and Anna Harowska are both riding with road pro teams, with Greta also working with Kristin Armstrong, the Olympic Time Trial Champion.  Anna, who was close to riding pro as an under 23 before the accident that damaged her left leg, has completed events like Tour of Ardeche and other tough women’s stage races. The depth of talent really is extraordinary and so many of the young riders who come into the class know they have to achieve within the able-bodied peloton as a stepping stone to the podium at para-cycling events, that’s how good the class is!

 

It’s going to be exciting, so watch this space and I’ll update you on results soon.

 

 

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