Dame Sarah Storey currently holds a whopping 72 world records. She is also the most decorated paralympian in history. At the end of February Storey will be the first woman in over a decade to attempt the Hour Record which as its name suggest is an attempt to cover the largest distance on the track in an hour.
We were lucky enough to catch up with the rider who is currently in Club Le Santa on her final training camp before she heads back to the UK ahead of her hour record attempt on 28 February.
It is funny because the hour record was never something I intended to attempt. It certainly wasn’t going to be something I would put myself forward for. But I received an invitation from Revolution as they were after a woman to beat the record and they thought I was the perfect candidate.
I have got the engine that it takes to do this record. I just need everything to come together on that one day and actually pull the rabbit out of the hat.
Athletes are not particularly good at sharing secrets so it is not a massive issue [that few women have done it before her]. You are not going to find athletes who will tell you how to break the 3km pursuit record, you are not going to find that someone shares their information on how they went quicker over the flying 200m as a sprinter. Everyone keeps their cards close to their chest regardless of what event it is.
We know how to get me fit as a person but we spend time separately based on the event itself. You need to be very much a diesel which I am but I am also a bit of a turbo, I can produce a reasonable peak power and a reasonable sprint too so we have to nullify those aspects of my physiology to make sure I don’t do any damage while I am fresh in the first ten minutes.
When I raced in the Glasgow Revolution, I got out of the saddle and the kick I would perhaps normally have used, just wasn’t there and I was like “Hang on a minute”. Those things are frustrating at that race but are positive signs for the bigger picture so you just have to take the event and break it down to the point that you don’t really need the advice of other people.
The mental aspect is probably one of the aspects that I have least considered. How an individual will cope with the monotony and going around following that one black line for 60 minutes. You can be very good in your own thoughts, you can be a very solitary athlete. I am quite well known for being good on my own. I do most of my training on my own, I am not a sociable trainer, I don’t seek training rides with other people very often. It goes back to my days as a swimmer. In swimming there was no way I could talk to anyone, I had my head in water.
People are not really aware of how much the core and upper body contribute to your position on the bike. The core strength drives the bike around the bends, you won’t be steering. And the upper body will be fixed in that aero position keeping the body nice and still. So all those things require stabilisation from your muscles and it’s that that is difficult to train for.