Our alumnus Katie Toft grabbed an amazing four gold medals and a world record in the para-cycling championships in France.
She excelled in the competition at Saint Quentin en Yvelines near Paris.
Here’s Katie’s busy diary during those days:
Day 1: Katie flew to Paris, with the goal set on a World medal. On the Monday evening Katie arrived at the hotel. The velodrome hosted lunch and dinner, meaning from early on, she got a feel of the track.
Day 2: The first training session started. It was sprint and endurance efforts, to get a feel of the track and blow off any cobwebs from the travelling. The track played to Katie’s strengths having short straights and long bends. After a great first session it was time for a spot of food, then a rest in the hotel.
Day 3: The penultimate day before the competition, a light training session. A sprint was executed perfectly putting Katie in a positive mindset.
Day 4: Morning session: The same perfected warm-up. The heat posed a challenge but Katie overcame this through fans and cooler towels.
Race 1 (200m): “The race itself is a couple of laps to build speed then 3/4 of a race lap at full gas. It’s about timing your descent onto the black line to get the most speed and therefore faster time. I got a world record, I couldn’t believe it. It felt fast but you never really know on such a short effort.”
Day 5: The same perfected warm up was done. Due to the nature of the 500m, timing can pose an issue, so this was something Katie had to get right!
Race 2 (500m): “This race you go out of the start gate, with a countdown, timing is important and something that can be tricky. After the start, it’s as hard as you can for two laps. Your legs sting at the end but it was worth it because seeing the timing board with 47.2 on was brilliant!”
Day 6: Another day another race, another perfected warm up. This time it was the 3km! This is a gruelling 12 laps. This race requires pacing and concentration to keep the pace.
Race 3 (3km): “I’ve had Covid twice this season so I wasn’t 100% sure how my endurance would be but to my surprise I did a very similar time, in fact faster than at the nationals earlier in the year. Great news and very promising for future races.”
Day 7: The scratch race; the long race. As always, the same perfected warm up was carried out before racing.
Race 4 (Scratch race): “Being the only one in my category and the C2s realistically faster than me, there was a question as to how much of the race I would do before being pulled out. I asked our team manger what would happen if I was pulled. He spoke to the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), who said they’d leave me to it basically. This was fab news! Basically, I kept trying to stay with the C2s, but as expected got dropped. Despite this, according to my training peaks, I got several PBs during this race, so no wonder it hurt at the end!”
Medal ceremonies: Katie received the gold medal four times. Striped jersey on, and the national anthem in the background this was a truly fantastic achievement.
Day 8: It was time for Katie to head home, after conquering the 2022 World Championships.
Q&A with Katie:
Q How did you feel crossing the line for your ninth world title?
A “The last race was a 10km scratch race (40 laps) so I was pretty hot and tired but happy to have completed the omnium.”
Q How are you consistently the best?
A “I work hard and try to focus on each session at a time or even smaller than that could, be one bench press or interval, then reflect.”
Q What do you think makes you stand out from the competition?
A “It’s just the consistent work done both with DIS and my cycling coach to push me as hard as we can (when appropriate)”
Q Before a race how do you keep focused and in the right mindset?
A “It’s one thing I’ve struggled with and continue to work on. But I think it’s about setting yourself a routine. Timings help massively knowing what to do and when. Then it’s just how I feel on the day. Sometimes I want music, whereas sometimes I want to stay aware of what is happening.”
Q If there was one piece of advice you could give young athletes, what would it be?
A “Learn from each experience and ask what would you change? Can you put a plan in place for this?”