Paracycling Track Worlds: Sarah Storey’s Preview

VeloUK’s Q & A with a World Champion who is going to Los Angeles to bring back more rainbow jerseys – Sarah Storey

VeloUK: Is this your final major track competition before the London Olympics?
Sarah Storey: It certainly is! We will have some track sessions in London but no more racing until the Games start!

VeloUK: How different are these Worlds compared to Italy in 2011? Do they have any bearing on selection for the Olympics for example, are they more important than the ones in Italy and if so, why?
Sarah Storey: It’s slightly different for me this year as for the first time I will be riding Team Sprint as well as my individual events. Every competition is a chance to put down a time that will be considered by the selectors, although I would imagine there may still be Trials for some people prior to selection in June.

VeloUK: How long has the preparation period been for these worlds — ie, when did the training become very focused on this event.
Sarah Storey: It’s a constant year round season for me, but the focus on LA became more apparent after my de-selection from the Olympic Team Pursuit squad. It has been a less hectic build up than for Montichari as I don’t have to divide my time between the two squads, so that has been good!

Above: Sarah was involved with the able bodied Team Pursuit squad but was left out of the line up for the London World Cup.

VeloUK: What would be a typical week be in the pre-worlds camp be?
Sarah Storey: I don’t spend much time on the track these days (2 sessions a week) so having a pre-worlds camp wasn’t in my schedule. I spent a couple of days in Newport whilst the rest of the squad was there but was mainly on the road and turbo at home doing the specifics. I have been doing some strength and power work to continue my starts progression and have added in some intense lactate intervals on the track to finely tune for form from Team Pursuit to Individual Pursuit.

VeloUK: Which countries are the biggest threats to Britain at the Worlds
Sarah Storey: I have rivals from China, New Zealand, Australia, America and Poland, but there are some good riders coming through from Germany too.

VeloUK: Do the riders expect these worlds to be tougher as riders come out of the wood work to compete for the first time at a major event?
Sarah Storey: All nations have been using the international events over the past two years to qualify points and this qualification period ends with the Track Worlds in LA. Anyone coming out of the woodwork now is leaving it a bit late to qualify a place, so unless they are a new talent I don’t expect new faces to be there, however with the Paralympics looming, everyone will have been looking to step up their performances so nothing can be taken for granted.

This is one of the things Sarah goes to the worlds for — a rainbow jersey!

VeloUK: Do you find that as the worlds get closer, normal life starts to take a back seat to becoming an athlete 24 hours a day – ie, more resting and focusing on the training
Sarah Storey: What is normal life!! I don’t think my life changes at all to be honest, with Barney in the team and our whole family well drilled in the routine over the past 20 years, everything we do puts training and racing first. I think when you arrive at a venue and go into the team hotel things change because there are no longer as many welcome distractions!

VeloUK: How has the technology of preparing for an event changed since Beijing — is life as an athlete becoming even more scientific?
Sarah Storey: I have worked in a scientific way my whole career and studied sports science at Uni. I love the process of putting together a performance through training and specific build up to an event.

VelUK: Do you feel the times and level of performance from paracycling athletes has moved on over the last four years
Sarah Storey: In some cases yes and in others no! I have been able to reduce my IP time by three seconds from Beijing and my 500 metre time is over a second faster. I have probably improved even more on the road though.

Sarah celebrates another title in Italy in 2011.

VeloUK: Who do you expect to be your biggest rivals in your event at the worlds?
Sarah Storey: I think Greta Neiminas and Ju Fang Zhou will be the biggest rivals.

VeloUK: At the worlds, is it simply resting, being waited on and racing — does it ever get boring on days when all you want to do is get on the track and race?
Sarah Storey: I like to make my own drinks and keep my brain active, there is a danger of getting too sluggish if you do nothing but train, compete and rest, but everyone is different. I am not the sort of person who can lie around watching endless rubbish on TV!

VeloUK: Is the period leading up to the worlds a little nerve wracking after months and months just training and then you’re faced with racing for the first time in a long time.
Sarah Storey: The build up to a track race is exciting because the racing is fewer and further between compared to the road season. I love the final phase, I can’t get enough of racing to be honest!

VeloUK: Do you have a favourite part of the training, whether that be specific drills or racing against fellow teammates in coach led races etc
Sarah Storey: I love the lactate tolerance intervals and especially what they do to the form for the IP. I haven’t done many of them since being with the TP squad, but now I am by myself, I can do them to my hearts content, it is great!

VeloUK: When you go away to the worlds, is there one (or two) things you have to take from home — a food, a book, a gadget?
Sarah Storey: I take my laptop for keeping up with and all the business stuff we have going on and also a plug adapter so that I have enough space for charging my SRM’s, Di2, phones, laptop and camera!

With success comes the interviews and this with a legend in paralympic sport, Tanni Grey-Thompson.

VeloUK: Has there been a lot of competition for places in making the team for the worlds
Sarah Storey: The squad had trials before Christmas and then I did Team Sprint trials whilst in Newport. There are five riders working towards the team sprint, although I didn’t have any competition to make the individual events.

VeloUK: Is life as an athlete in Olympic year a series of mini steeping stones? Very regimented.
Sarah Storey: I think it is important not to be over awed by the fact we are approaching London 2012. At the end of the day, it is just another bike race, so for me it is about preparing to ride better and faster than I did in 2011.

Every year I want to be better and faster than the previous year anyway, so in that sense it hasn’t changed at all. Every year has lots of stepping stones before a Worlds, or major event, so one of the good parts is that the processes don’t change, but we will get a longer rest at the end of the year!

Jon-Allan Butterworth is not only quick he’s funny too according to Sarah!

VeloUK: Who’s the funniest in the team when on the road?
Sarah Storey: Jon-Allan Butterworth is the funniest and to be honest about the only rider on our team who will ride with me on the road, I suppose I have to say him. It is always good banter when Jon is out!

VeloUK: . … and who’s the quietest?
Sarah Storey: Barney is the quietest but he would say that is because I am riding too fast for him to speak and he is always behind me!

VeloUK: Finally, the funniest story you can repeat about your head coach Chris Furber — there must be some!
Sarah Storey: We were on a training camp in Mallorca and former stoker Simon Jackson was playing the piano and Craig Maclean had his guitar out, Chris Furber was leading the singing, it was quite a little band going on!

Related Link: Q&A with Helen Scott and her Pre-Worlds thoughts

2012 London Olympics

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