Meet Katie Toft, Paralympic and World Champion hopeful from Chinley, UK. Katie recently won the British National Paracycling Time Trial and Road Circuit Championships in the C3 Category.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU TRAINED TO GET TO THAT LEVEL?
I first started riding at Stockport CP Wheelers around 2013 where I met Paul and Dee Becket. It’s down to them really – they encouraged me to start riding regularly, and without them I don’t think I would have started to ride clipless pedals.
From there I started to train on a Wednesday night with Mossley CRT (who I race for). My first race coach was Fred Hewitt, but over each session I worked with many different coaches. I went from a rider who needed lots of space (we joke its was 10 metres in either direction) to someone who could work in and with a group.
I now have been coached by Barney Storey for about 2 years, so I guess I have been building up to this point ever since then, really. I have also been working with ICON and the Derbyshire Institute of Sport on my Strength and Conditioning. I’d say in the last year I have really started to excel and develop as an athlete in many aspects, thanks to the help and support of all the above.
WHAT GOALS DO YOU HAVE GOING FORWARD?
I’d like to continue just focusing on each race, but one key goal is the Para-cycling World Cup in Ostend, Belgium in May. It’ll be exciting to see where everyone is at with it being a Paralympic year, and exciting to see how I have developed over the past year too
HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR DEVELOPMENT AS A YOUNG ATHLETE WHO HAS TO WORK?
I can only really manage to work a couple of days a week in general, as my Cerebral Palsy can make me really tired. I try and work mainly in the ‘off season’ because when I am racing the added intensity, although it doesn’t affect me on the bike too much, it does affect me at work as I work with kids, and working with children there is certainly no down time!
WHY DO YOU TRAIN WITH A POWER METER?
I train with a power meter because it allows me and my coach to see how I am progressing much more accurately rather than just using Heart Rate and Cadence. It also allows us to understand when and where I start to fatigue during a session and what aspects of training we can build on.
HOW HAS TRAINING WITH POWER BENEFITTED YOUR CYCLING?
Firstly my speed has increased sooooooooooo much already. I mean we are talking 15/20 min quicker because the detail and the precision of power the InfoCrank gives. For example, the InfoCrank measures the power output percentage of each leg so for me this gives a clear picture of which leg is stronger. It’s also given me confidence in my power as previously I have struggled on different bikes that don’t necessarily fit me (I’m only little) but now the crank is on my bike which was fitted to me by Swinnerton Cycles in Stoke, and it just feels like everything is coming together.