Sarah Storey: Final Planning for 2012

Sarah Storey writes … It has been quiet few weeks for me on the blog front, but that is not because there has been a lack action or cycling!

National Track Championships provided some exciting results, a couple of PB’s and also a successful defence of the Team Pursuit title. It was a good finish in my last race for the Horizon Fitness Prendas team, and since then I have been looking at the final build up to the London Games next year and looking at the various options I have in preparing for what will be a double road and track summer in 2012.

After heading out to Apeldoorn to support the girls as “man four” in the team’s successful defence of the European Team Pursuit Championships, I got home to a solid block of work on the road and the continuation of the strength and power. We have been blessed with some amazing weather for this time of year and I am very surprised that I haven’t yet needed my full on winter jacket on any training rides yet.

Sarah racing the Track Nationals

Living on the edge of the Peak District and a short ride from the Cheshire lanes, I am lucky to have a whole host of great roads for training and a real mix of training routes I can do. Barney and I also managed to get out on a Tandem we borrowed from Terry Dolan and that will soon be a feature appearing in Cycling Weekly I believe!

For me, the training has been a real success, gaining strength in the lab and working with a whole range of gears on the track for two specific sessions aimed at harnessing more speed and transferring my lab strength into a better start. Having so many events to think about is great especially when sessions like these will have relevance for all of them. Training out on the road has developed into a real love of mine and I am well known for loving the long hilly rides the Peak District has to offer! Since earlier in the summer of this year, I have had a new adaptation to my road handlebars which gives me greater control out of the saddle and allows me to work on some dynamic core strength whilst climbing on some of the steeper roads we have in the Goyt Valley.

All of this training has led me back into the fold of the Team Pursuit group and a short block of work together on the velodrome which is what we have been doing this week.  Following on from our final session, we’ll be heading straight to the airport for the long flight over to Cali, Columbia and the second round of this season’s World Cup Classics.

Busy off the bike too …

Off the bike, the past few weeks have been great fun too and I have been lucky to be able to do a few exciting events with some of the Olympic and Paralympic sponsors.

Links of London have got their “Genuine Belief” campaign in full swing with one of the first pieces of merchandise that is uniquely for Team GB at the Olympic Games. The “Team GB Band” is a friendship bracelet and worn by athletes and supporters alike to show the importance of support at a Home Games. I had the opportunity to spend a day doing some interviews with various publications and talked about the excitement around having so many Union Flags in the crowd.

Scottish Widows have had a couple of evening events for me to attend, with one of them being the Annual Widows Awards, which recognises outstanding performances in the Financial Services Industry. I have been fortunate to work with Scottish Widows since July 2007 and in that time I have learnt so much about finance and the importance of financial planning that I am genuinely surprised we never had an insight into this subject matter at school. As athletes, financial issues can be difficult to work out too, so I have felt privileged to have learnt about such things from the best and always try and recommend to younger athletes that they find out what they can and should do financially to make sure they don’t miss out on things that people in full time employment take for granted.

Deloitte have also been hosting some evening events as well as sending one of their clients on a “track day” at the Manchester Velodrome. For the latter I hired the help of Barney Storey as the accredited track coach and we got 9 gentlemen riding round the fence in no time. It was a brilliant group and they had a lot of fun on the flying lap challenge. I also had the chance to have dinner with Deloitte and some of their clients where I was asked to speak about my experiences in past Games and talk about the upcoming London Games, for which Deloitte are the official provider of Professional Services. For me, I think next year’s Games are going to be like the best book you have ever picked up. It will be a cliff-hanger finish to every day and you won’t be able to put down the event and won’t want to miss any footage!

Having launched the Paralympic Medals with the Official Metal Provider to the London Games, Rio Tinto in September, I then got the chance to talk about other uses of metals when the company launched a project alongside Imperial College London. The Engineering Department have a Paralympic project and are looking into creating a piece of equipment that will help in a Paralympic sport, or provide a disabled athlete with an easier life out of their sporting arena. The concepts are expected to be original and potentially usable in competition, potentially next year or more likely in the build up to Rio 2016. Working in cycling, we use and benefit from technology all of the time, and it will be exciting to see the projects the students are working on when I get back from Columbia.

The final and potentially most embarrassing appearance was my filming date with the BBC for Celebrity Mastermind which will be showed during the Christmas and New Year period. The result and content of the programme are, for obvious reasons, a secret, and the main reason for the visit was to promote the two local charities I am involved with. Both Barney and I are patrons at the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust which is an amazing children’s charity based in Cheshire and the second was Boot Out Breast Cancer which is just 12 months old as a charity and set up to raise funds for buying vital diagnostic equipment. Both charities are very dear to my heart and both entirely reliant on the generosity of the people who support and donate to them.

The Children’s Adventure Farm is based near Lymm in a beautiful farmhouse with some incredible facilities. Disadvantaged, terminally ill and under-privileged children from around the North-West visit the Farm on a year round basis with the final few weeks of the year spent doing a Christmas party every day for the children who will not otherwise get to enjoy Christmas at home because their families cannot afford it. The place is a safe and tranquil location for children to be children and for those that visit who are young carers or not in a safe environment at home it is amazing to see how they respond to having that chance to get their childhood back even if it is only for a week.

Boot Out Breast Cancer was set up by Debbie Dowie in 2010 following her own experience with being treated for breast cancer. Debbie asked her surgeon what she could do to help ensure more women were diagnosed early and he suggested raising money to buy the equipment that specialist centres need to diagnose the disease early. Being able to represent these two charities was a huge honour and so hopefully the show will be a success when it is aired!

It’s been an exciting few weeks and with the form in training looking strong and some good steps forward in some of my weaker areas, I am looking forward to racing in a country I have never been to before.


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