The tension was palpable today in the Lee Valley Velopark as Dame Sarah Storey attempted to make history and add another world record to the 72 she already holds.
At the first 5km Dame Sarah appeared to be on track, sticking like glue to the black line with a time of 6.3292 compared to 6.3262 set by Van Moorsel on her record. One thing was apparent from the get go, this was going to be close.
Things continued to look positive as Dame Storey approached the 20 minute mark three seconds ahead of Van Moorsel’s splits. Dame Sarah Storey looked strong and in control, making only small adjustments to alleviate the excruciating pain in her back, groin and hips caused by the aero position she had to hold throughout the duration of the hour.
At the 30 minute mark however, the magnitude of the challenge really started to set in as Dame Sarah Storey’s speed dropped just below the 46km/hr mark. This meant the last 10 minutes would be critical if she wanted to break Van Moorsel’s world record as she would have ground to make up.
Coming into the last ten minutes, the 5,000 strong crowd at the Lee Valley Velopark were on their feet cheering Dame Sarah on, willing her to keep digging deep.
Dame Sarah’s fight was incredible but as we entered into the 60 seconds it was evident it was not going to happen. Dame Sarah missed out on the world record by just 563 metres.
Climbing off her bike at the end of the hour, Dame Sarah looked beaten, flopping into a chair on the side of the track, paramedics running to her side to ensure all was ok.
“It is so hard to describe, you just want to stop but you don’t want to stop. Your legs – you can’t really feel them. Your legs don’t want to work but your head tells them to,” said Dame Sarah minutes after finishing.
“I went through several quite bad patches during the course of the hour but not many people do a full hour so I knew whatever I did today would be the very best that I can do and it really was. I emptied the tank at the end, I really couldn’t have got any more out of myself. I couldn’t have emptied it any sooner or I wouldn’t have finished,” she continued.
While Dame Sarah failed to break the overall world record, she still made history today as she broke the British Hour Record, the Master Hour Record and set the new C5 para standard. Not a bad day at the office after all for Dame Sarah.