World Championship Blog: Sarah Storey

Sarah Storey writes about her success and experiences on days one and two at the 2012 Paracycling World Track Championships

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.

Great Britain were contesting two gold medals on the first day and my 500m in the C5 category was the first of the golds, with Team Storey Sport’s Communications Manager, Helen Scott contesting the second along with her stoker Aileen McGlynn.

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Starting the Championships off with a good performance is always top of any athlete’s list and for me there was added spice to this 500m Time Trial as I was aiming to defend the World Championship title I won in both 2009 and 2010.

Ju Fang Zhou, the world record holder and world champion from 2006 and 2007 was on the start sheet and after beating her for the first time in my career in to the silver medal position in Montichiari last year, I was sure she would come back firing on all cylinders.

As I chalked my hands and got ready to walk to the gate, Ju Fang recorded only the third fastest time, which came as a surprise to everyone watching and meant that two American riders were now standing in my way of the rainbow jersey.

Starting has been an area of focus over the past year, firstly for the team pursuit and more recently for the team sprint. With added strength work in the programme and a focus towards increasing my usually laboured acceleration, I have been working hard on cadence and trying to spin the pedals up to a higher cadence more quickly than before.

The Los Angeles Velodrome was unfortunately far too well air conditioned, which kept the temperature at a disappointing 22 degrees and with the fantastic weather outside, and therefore high pressure, the conditions were somewhat different to the floaty conditions we so often experience at Manchester.

In the event I pulled out a personal best time and British Record to finish 1.8 seconds up on the silver medallist and was chuffed to bits to have been able to make another successive defence. The great part is, there is so much more to come and with the way some of the training times have been going heading towards the world record is definitely the aim for London. It would certainly be something if an old diesel like me could get into that ball park!

Within minutes of my medal ceremony, Helen Scott and Aileen McGlynn were on the start line facing Irish opposition of Fran Meehan and Catherine Walsh. Known more for their sprint and kilo ability, Helen and Aileen pulled out an impressive second ride, but it wasn’t enough to overhaul the Irish Pursuit specialists and they came home to a well deserved silver.

So it has been a good start to the Championships and with Barney Storey riding the Tandem Kilometre with Neil Fachie on Friday 10th February at around midnight UK time and Helen and Aileen riding the Tandem Kilometre around 11pm UK time, you might just catch either them or some of our team mates going for more medals in what is the final International track competition prior to the start of the London Paralympic Games on August 29th.

My next ride is on Saturday when I will be defending the 3000m Individual Pursuit title.

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.

Barney was riding the kilometre Time Trial with his World Record holding Tandem partner, Neil Fachie, whilst there was little recovery time for Team Storey Sport’s Communications Manager, Helen Scott, who was back in action with her stoker Aileen McGlynn.

After watching the Individual Pursuit qualifying there was time for me to get a quick spin on the rollers with a few revs out before returning to the stands to cheer for the tandems.

Last off in the men’s, Barney and Neil needed to get under 63 seconds in order to claim gold and it looked as though they were going to get there but the clock cruelly clicked over to a 1.03 and they were denied gold by the other GB pairing of Craig Mclean and Anthony Kappes by just 0.099 seconds. Great to see two Union Jacks on the flag poles as the anthem played though! The pairings will return on Sunday now to battle it out for the honours in the tandem sprint competition.

Helen Scott and Aileen McGlynn were proving they had the best backing up skills in the Women’s Tandems and clocked an impressive 1.10.1 to take the lead with just the defending World Champions from Australia to ride.

The Aussie pairing hadn’t ridden in the Tandem Pursuit yesterday and their fresh legs carried them to a world record. With more to come from the GB girls and a slightly more favourable programme in London in terms of timings, it looks set to be a cracking event to watch.

GB didn’t just settle for one gold on this second day of competition and just before I was whisked back to the hotel for my dinner and to rest up for tomorrow’s 3000m Individual Pursuit, I was able to watch an impressive performance from GB’s newest addition to the track squad, Mark Colbourne, who picked up gold and his first world title in the men’s C1 3000m Individual Pursuit. Sitting down to dinner news filtered through of two more medals for GB with Darren Kenny taking silver in his C3 class and Jody Cundy doing a storming catch to win the bronze medal ride off in the C4 class.

For me it was a rare chance to catch all of my team mates riding, but I am definitely ready and raring to get this 3000m Individual Pursuit on the go tomorrow! Riding at around 10.15am Saturday morning, LA time [6.15pm UK time], check out the live timing on the website and possibly the live feed pictures on

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Tags: ,