Having spent the summer recovering from a debilitating back injury that forced her to miss the Pan Am Games, two-time World Champion Sarah Hammer is back on track in her pursuit of gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The 24 year-old put some racing kilometers into her legs last week at the U.S. National Track Championships in Carson, California where she trains twice a week.
"It felt good to be racing again," Hammer admitted. "There was no pressure so I was able to just get out there and enjoy myself. More importantly, the back gave me no problems and I'm very happy about that."
Hammer and coach Andy Sparks decided it would be safe to ease back into action, thus she sat out the individual pursuit. Instead the Temecula, California resident competed in both the men's and women's team pursuit.
After using the men's event early in the week as training, Hammer proved to be firing on all cylinders in the women's team pursuit, a new event that will be held for the first time at the 2008 World Track Championships. Teaming with national sprint and keirin champion Jennie Reed and newly crowned individual pursuit champion Dotsie Bausch, Hammer helped power the women over the three kilometers to a national championship in a world record time of 3:34.783.
"It was so much fun to race with Jennie and Dotsie," said Hammer. "It was our first time (racing) together so we're only going to get smoother and faster."