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Blog: Sarah Storey
8th July 2011
Sarah Storey writes as the build-up to the 2012 Games intensifies, Bournemouth opens its new track and the Thuringhen Rundfahrt stage race approaches
Photo: Sarah was impressed with the new track at Bournemouth
It's been a couple of weeks since the last blog from Deloitte Ride Across Britain and there hasn't been much chance since then to get writing again.
After a week of steadier riding and some recovery from the big miles of the End to End, it was time to add some racing in with a blast round the National Road Race course and then a few days off the bike after such a big focus on mileage during June.
During this couple of days off the bike I again had some time booked in with Links of London as we were launching the Entwine range of jewellery in their flagship store in Sloane Square, London. The Entwine range is the latest in the London 2012 range for the official jewellery provider and is a beautiful collection which I also happen to be modelling in the July issue of Vogue magazine!
The evening in store was great fun and after a short talk from me I took some questions from the floor and then did a prize draw. It was great to mingle with the guests in store and find out about their own sporting challenges. It constantly amazes me how many people are training for a marathon, triathlon or other sporting challenge and meeting these people is always brilliant and it's always an honour to be asked advice on training, nutrition or race strategies.
The day after the store appearance I spent a day with some journalists who were writing about the jewellery and the gradually increasing range being specifically designed and launched for the build up to the Games. As we all know there is a huge emphasis on the legacy of the London 2012 Games, especially in terms of the venues and the inspiration the athletes will hopefully provide to the next generation of athletes.
On a personal level, anyone visiting the Games or competing at the Games may well want to find some kind of momento that reminds them of their time in London. The jewellery range from Links of London is perfect for exactly that and with so many fun charms and beads to add to the glamorous pieces within the collection, there really is something for everyone and it was an easy day of interviews to explain them all to the people I was talking to.
During an easy ride I was also able to have a photographer in tow who is putting together a book specifically about British Paralympians. I was glad they didn't want to get me back in a pool to mark the former life I led, and with the weather being kind the shots around the lanes of Cheshire were looking good on the laptop.
Although the Deloitte Ride Across Britain was well and truly done and dusted, the fundraising is still in full flight and I had the honour of attending a Gala Dinner in the Deloitte Yorkshire region, with some of their VIP clients and several fellow End to End riders. A further £20,000 was raised on the night for Paralympics GB and I had the honour of making the final address for the evening.
Deloitte are the Official Professional Services Provider to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and their input into the Games, from the bidding process right through to Games delivery is quite extraordinary. Not only that but they are of course an incredible supporter of Paralympic sport, right from grass roots and the Deloitte Parasport website, through to the TASS grants and of course the big sponsorship and fundraising efforts for Paralympics GB.
With half of 2011 already over, Barney and I then headed south to his place of birth in Poole, Dorset, and to our first experience of a new velodrome that has been opened in the neighbouring town of Bournemouth. This new outdoor facility is based on a big sport's venue at Slade's Farm and was officially opened by another tandem legend, Geoff Cooke just a week earlier. We were blessed with wall to wall sunshine as we stepped onto the tarmac 250m velodrome and it was superb to spend an afternoon whizzing round and even got the chance to jump on the back of the tandem with Barney!
Keeping a watchful eye on us lapping in a group and generally putting the track through its paces, was a group of young people who I managed to get a word with during the session. They were all riding BMX bikes and had attempted to ride round the track on these bikes but found their low profile to the floor meant they kept clipping their pedals and sliding off. They were fascinated to see the track bikes and although we all take these kind of machines for granted, they had genuinely not realised there was a specific kind of bike for the velodrome!
It was great to stand and chat with them, they all had so much enthusiasm for this new facility and were dying to get on a proper track bike and see whether they could get round a whole lap without crashing! Barney gave one young man a taste for the track with a quick whizz round on the back of the tandem and once they stopped there was non-stop talking about how amazing it had been to ride so fast!
The track itself has some great dimensions, with a real change of height from the banking to the straights when riding round the fence. Riding on my Dolan upright I was able to practice some of the skills I don't get to use very often and it got me thinking how much fun it would be to race an omnium down there one day. The speed you get from the banking would be a great place to launch an attack in the bunch races!
With the track training done and the young people promising they would come back for a proper go on the track, Barney and I headed east on the south coast and paid a visit to my coach, Gary Brickley, who is based at the University of Brighton, in Eastbourne. It was time for a well overdue lab test and given the work of the previous weeks, the perfect time to put some specific numbers to the form.
The results show I am in perfect shape for the upcoming stage race with Horizon Fitness Prendas in German, and also now have an even better base onto which I will build the track form for the forthcoming winter season. Barney managed a 5% improvement on his previous best lab score, so the journey home was one of excited planning of how we can now move forward again for our specific events.
Now it's time for me to hit the track for a short time. With the track season starting at the end of September, I will spend a few days in the team pursuit line to keep my hand in on all the technical and pacing aspects the event requires. Exciting and busy, but that is just the way I like it.
I'll be back soon with the pre-event view next week when we arrive in Germany for the Thuringhen Rundfahrt stage race.