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Blog: Barney Storey

Posted: 26th April 2011

Taking some time out and enjoying some road racing!

When the track season finishes for me on the tandem it's always good to enjoy some down time, some bike riding without formal training efforts and some sunshine with my wife, Sarah, as she starts to prepare for her road season.

For the second year running Sarah is riding with Horizon Fitness Prendas Racing Team and one of the benefits for me is that I can help out with this talented group of girls as a coaching consultant, mechanic and general support. As well as this, my own club V C St Raphael have a female team for the summer's road season, so I am able to help out with managing this team and help the riders formulate solid race plans. So far both teams have had some great results and it's an honour for me to be able to pass on some of my road racing knowledge as before I was a track sprinter, I was an elite road racer - specialising in the bunch sprints of course!

Straight after the Paracycling Track Worlds, Sarah had the first of two road training camps planned. The first was in Lanzarote at the fabulous training resort of Club La Santa. So whilst Sarah went out for 4-5 hours most days, I would do some steady rides and enjoy the sunshine as my body recovered from the winters work building up to the three events we did at the Track Worlds. There was no better place for some R+R and it was great to see Sarah coming back each day with some impressive looking numbers on her SRM box and it made me all the more pleased I was on some down time and not expected to keep up!

Returning from the camp, the third and final week of my down time saw us spend some time in London as Sarah had a photoshoot with Vogue magazine. I have to admit, when Sarah first told me she would be doing a photoshoot with Vogue, I could tell she was very excited and seemed to expect that I would know what she was talking about. Having never heard of the magazine before, I had to ask that question, "Is that a good thing then?"!!
Needless to say when I asked if anyone on Twitter knew what Vogue was, I received a barrage of abuse from various female cyclists! However after the photoshoot, I now feel far better educated in both the magazine and the format of such a day and have to admit it was very interesting and I can't wait to see the final result in the July edition of the magazine!

Whilst in London we also had the honour of visiting the London Velodrome during a tour of Olympic Park. It was very exciting to see the first finished venue whilst driving around the Park and when we stopped to get off the bus my background in Building Engineering gave me plenty to admire! Going inside for the first time we saw the track from the first floor concourse and then it was the much anticipated trip into track centre for a closer inspection of the pristine wood and a chance to gaze at the number of seats and imagine the stands full.

Sarah had a few interviews which gave me extra time to check out the dimensions of the track, the curve of the bankings and the length of the straights. We were on the tour with a group of VIP's from Manchester Metropolitan University and so had some group photos and a good chat about how the venue is likely to look fully dressed for competition.

Heading home for the weekend, it was soon time to pack the bags again and head off for Sarah's second road training camp, this time with Horizon Fitness Prendas on the east coast of Italy and hosted by Jamie Burrow who I have known since we raced on the road together as Juniors! It was a brutal 9 days of training for me, with very little flat and so many climbs, but I was easing myself back into the road fitness and enjoyed the amazing weather whilst watching the blue and white Dolan bikes of the girls, disappear up the mountains! This terrain is Sarah's real strength and it was great to see her flying up the climbs and getting stronger by the day ahead of her first bout of road racing which started the first weekend after we returned home. The team's DS, Stef Wyman, is also a good mate and it was good to spend some quality time with the fella's and when Ronny Couliez turned up for the final week, the banter level was raised and we could all tell we would be having a great time this summer while the girls battle it out in the races!

I have always loved road racing and although it's not my strength at the moment, I love to watch it being done well, whether that is a road time trial or road race. Although I am biased I think Sarah does both very well, so whilst she drove our car out to the Headquarters of the first time trial of the season, I went out for a ride and met her at the start ready to fettle the bike and send her off for a 25 miles of pain! 57 minutes and 4 seconds later, having caught several of the men who had started ahead of her, she crossed the finish line for a huge personal best and a very modest power average considering the speed she was going. With more to come, it's exciting to see how much further her form can improve.

This first weekend was a double header for Sarah and on the Sunday morning we headed off to one of my favourite road races on the domestic calendar. The Cheshire Classic. Sarah was riding with number 1 on her back and with a small team from V C St Raphael on the start line too, I was busy making sure all the riders had what they needed for warm ups, bike set ups and drinks. It might seem strange that I would be able to look after two teams at one race, but the girls themselves are brilliant, they are good friends off the bike and they all have a mutual respect for each other that allows them to be professional and do the job in the race, but chilled out and no stress off the bike. All so easy to talk to and will listen carefully to their race plan, so it makes my job much easier. This relaxed atmosphere is all part of the enjoyment and after an action packed race both Sarah and I rode home, with Motorpoint Rider, Hannah Walker who lives in the same village as we do.

My training is now in full swing again with the next race being the National Tandem Sprint Championships in May in Newcastle. I'm still doing some base miles and have also started back in the gym with some basic strength and lifts that will help me when I get back into the heavier work in the middle of the summer. With Sarah having a Rudy Project Time Trial on Good Friday we took a trip down to the 22 mile course on a couple of days last week and whilst my wife Sarah, did the course recce with V C St Raphael's Sarah Byrne, I did my own ride. There is no way my sprinter muscles were ever going to keep up with those two climbing motorbikes!

It was a beautiful location to be riding in though and meant there was much anticipation for the actual race and plenty of discussion amongst riders as to which wheels, bikes and gears they were likely to ride in order to give themselves the best chance on that terrain. With my parents and Sarah's brother and his fiancé and her Mum also visiting for the weekend, there was quite a support group heading out to the course and enjoying the sunshine and the amazing views across the Peak District. Named the "Mountain Time Trial" and the name is certainly accurate, the average speeds of the race were unsurprisingly low and the riders, despite the clear suffering on their faces, were clearly loving every pedal rev of this unusual course. The talk in the HQ afterwards, was one of gear woes, cramp, overheating and legs "going" on the main climb of the second or third lap, but everyone still had a smile on their face which was great to see.

Sarah and Sarah [Storey and Byrne] finished 1st and 4th respectively, with my Sarah taking 4 minutes off her nearest rival and Sarah Byrne being equally impressive as she was riding a completely none aero set up and normal road race wheels, compared to my Sarah who rode her time trial bike and opted for a rear tri-spoke and front deep section in an attempt to save as much weight as possible.

I also added a 12-27 cassette to the rear wheel which turned out to be a good move as Sarah announced she'd hardly moved out of 39 x 27 for most of the ride! Hmmmm! There were plenty of the men riding the none aero set up like Sarah Byrne, but she finished quicker than most of them and this in her first National level senior event. So it's been a busy few weeks and one that I have thoroughly enjoyed. The Easter weekend weather has provided some great riding and with the football season coming to an end, Sarah and I attended a tense but successful end to the Manchester United game against Everton! We don't have many home games left before the end of the season and sadly will miss the next couple of games because we're heading to Australia! I know, hard life!

The first Paracycling Road World Cup of 2011 is being held in Sydney and with some crucial Paralympic Qualifying points on offer, Sarah is heading out to get stuck in to some international racing, we then stay for a week of training ahead of our upcoming races, Tandem Sprint for me and National 10 mile Time Trial Championships for her.

That's it from me; I'll report back from Australia and keep you updated with the preparation for Tandem Sprint Nationals.

Cheers,
Barney

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