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Team Storey Sport Blog
Blog entries categorized under Race Blog
As an athlete the period in the run up to and during the Games is the familiar part you operate in for so long. Living and breathing cycling, making sure that every base is covered, making sure that no stone is left unturned so that on race day there can be no doubts that all there is left to do is race to the very best you can.
Following on from my previous blog about how the build up to the Paralympic Games was, I am quite excited to now be able to write about the competition at the Games and share my account of what happened. Well the bits I can remember anyway!
It’s been quite a while since I managed to sit and write a blog and even now I am perched on the edge of a bed in my umpteenth hotel room since the Games ended! The journey has been incredible and so I thought I would wind the clock back a few weeks talk about the last bit of the build up, the Games themselves and then the post Games fun!
Two years ago the Tour of Limousin was my first stage race in women’s professional cycling and I lost 24 minutes in the first stage alone. It was a baptism of fire in the road stages, but I managed to salvage a decent result to finish 13th in the Individual Time Trial stage, but left the race thinking I would never have what it took to get through the challenging roads of the Limousin region.
Escentual For VioRed headed out for the Krasna Lipa tour in the north of Czech Republic with a slightly depleted squad due to illness and injury but with spirits high and legs ready to hit the roads of the race and see whether we could achieve a top ten overall and the odd podium spot on a couple of stages.
It may only have been a couple of weeks since my last blog but the racing has been packed in and the team announcement for London 2012 was finally made after what felt like an eternity of keeping it a secret! There was also time to fit in visits to 2 primary schools, a High School awards night as well as a visit to recce the Brands Hatch course being used for the Paralympic Road Races, see the London 2012 medals being handed over to The Tower of London for safe keeping and squeeze in two of my best performances in a road race!
As we fast approach the National Road Race Championships, there was time to put the training and racing from the first half of the season to the test with a double header of Time Trials on two local courses in Cheshire.
The second Saturday of June has, in the last two years anyway, been the traditional date for me to start the John O Groats to Lands End route alongside 600 or so participants sponsored by Deloitte. This year however I was doing an epic journey of a different kind and hoping that my powers of recovery would stand me in good stead for a double header of racing in two of the best UK women’s races of the year.
South Africa has always been on my list of places I wanted to visit, so when the chance to ride Tour of the Freestate came up with Escentual For VioRed, I jumped at the chance to be on the team. Heading out for our team were also Elle Hopkins, Gaby Shaw and Claire Galloway, with Lauren Creamer and Ciara Horne joining EFV for the race. It was a strong squad but all relatively new to stage racing, this being only my 3rd tour.
The National Tandem Sprint Championships is an event I really look forward to each year, and especially as it is a rare opportunity to compete with our Paralympic tandems. It was held at Newcastle-under-Lyne track, which is an outdoor track. The Championships have been held here for the last few years, and has been a place where I have had good success in the competition. I went into the competition as defending champion where I rode with Anthony Kappes last year. This year I was riding with Neil Fachie, whom I had ridden with at the Paracycling World Track Champs back in February. Our form had been good leading into the championships and I think both of us had expected a good showing at the event.
Heading to Bedford this year as the defending Champion for the past two editions of the event it was always going to be a tough ask to defend the race again but with a strong team willing to bury themselves for me for the weekend, I knew we would take the race to the rest of the peloton.
If there is one race that is on my calendar every year, it’s the Cheshire Classic, as you can always count on the fantastic Weaver Valley Cycling Club to put on a great event. In fact it was a member of the Weaver Valley Cycling Club that got me riding the track seven years ago, Paul West, and their road race was the first ever Road Race I entered outside of Para-cycling events.
So the story goes; March winds, April showers….. and with the weather this past week it has certainly made up for the unseasonably warm end to March! After an easier week following the big miles of Mallorca, this past week saw me back up to full gas and with a new introduction to training, the use of an altitude chamber courtesy of a brand new facility at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Cheshire Campus in Crewe.
Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th February saw the conclusion of the Paracycling Track Worlds and for me it was a mixture of defending my Individual Pursuit title for the 5th successive time and debuting in the Team Sprint event.
With no racing for me on the second day of competition it was time to turn myself into team cheerleader as all the other 13 riders on the team had either Individual Pursuit or Kilometre Time Trial titles to contest.
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.
After a brief visit to London, the Team Pursuit girls headed to the airport to fly via Madrid to Cali, Columbia for Round 2 of this Olympic season’s World Cup Classics.
Our flight had riders from France, USA and Ireland on it but the majority of the passengers were Columbian and you could have been mistaken for thinking that everyone on the plane knew each other! There was a great deal of singing going on at various times and then a huge round of applause as the pilot landed the plane on their home turf.
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.
Barney and Sarah Storey completed their 14th and 7th British Track Nationals respectively with more gold and more great performances after a superb week of racing in which the UK had been basking in some incredible temperatures for the start of autumn.
Just two and half weeks after returning from the World Road Championships we were back to racing again but this time on the track and contesting National titles in the biggest fields I have seen for women’s events at these Championships.