Barney’s Blog: Bikes, Equipment and Rainbow Jerseys!

Barney Storey writes … Watching Sarah compete in the World Championships in Denmark has been an extremely satisfying and proud occasion.

It certainly brings together the teamwork we have put together over the year of racing on the road. As many of you may have seen, I have been at most of Sarah’s races this year to offer my technical support and mechanical support wherever I can, so to see her standing on the podium twice with her rainbow jersey makes me very proud. I certainly can understand what nerves my parents go through watching me race, when I watch Sarah competing. I can assure you all, competing is far easier than watching your wife! My nerves are always very active at this point!

Many of you will be wondering what my mechanical skills and technical skills involve. Details are always very important when winning bike races, and both myself and Sarah are very keen on the finest of details which effect performance. At the start of the year, we certainly talked through all the equipment that Sarah is likely to use over the length of the season, ranging from tyres which we are very lucky to be helped by Schwalbe UK, and of course components which Madison UK help with Shimano products.

There is usually a list from the previous year of areas to improve in terms of equipment and Shimano Di2 components were certainly at the top of the list for the 2011 season. The obvious benefits for Sarah are the ability to be able to shift gear in different places on the handle bars, allowing her to control the bike whilst not changing her hand position too much. I was also surprised how easy the installation was of Di2 electronic gears. As a bike enthusiast, I also love the efficiency of the Di2, with an incredible battery life.

Sarah’s particular tyre favourite this year has been the Schwalbe Aqua tyres, which offer unbelievable grip when racing in the rain with the really soft rubber compound. Tyre pressures have been crucial this year too when racing in the rain running the pressures as low as 6.5-7 bar, which as a track rider is very low! As a general rule we always look at the predicted weather conditions before deciding the exact pressures for racing on the road, whether this is road racing or time trialling.

The time trial is an event which is very well suited to Sarah’s ability and power, and this is an area in which we always work on every aspect. Whilst I’m at time trial events with her I try and get plenty of photos of her riding so we can look at her body position after the event has finished. Details such as hand position and head position are pretty crucial for the time trial. Just small changes to your head position can make big gains and reduce your drag through the air.

The wheel choice for time trialling is always a hot topic of debate! Especially the front wheel choice! Wind conditions generally affect the front wheel choice more so than the rear wheel, as you have the majority of your weight on the rear. But the front wheel can vary from a deep section depth of 40mm up to 80mm. The tubular choice for the wheels are the Schwalbe Ultremo TT tubulars, which are easy to stick on, and a good quality product.

In terms of Sarah’s bikes, I build the majority of Sarah’s bikes for her, and make sure the cables are as tidy as possible. Sarah runs the trusty Shimano Di2 setup on the road race bike, for both her Great Britain team bike and her Horizon Fitness/Prendas/Dolan team bike and Shimano Dura-ace mechanical setup on the time trial bike for the moment.

Sarah also uses SRM cranks to measure all her training and work on the bike. The wireless cranks make it pretty easy to swap from bike to bike and provide a very accurate system for logging your training.

Having spent quite a few hours in the “Storey workshop” at home, whether it’s sticking tubs on, re-cabling bikes, cleaning and servicing all the Storey fleet of bikes, it is very satisfying to see Sarah successfully defend her World Titles in Denmark. As we approach Olympic/Paralympic year, the eye for detail will be as keen as ever, and together with all of our partners we will be making sure Sarah has the best possible run in to the Games.

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