“Even the time we spent avoiding ice at the top of Mount Teide, staying in the middle of nowhere and not getting home until December 23, was fantastic”

Olympic and world champion, Katie Archibald got into cycling after winning handicap races on a Highland Games grass track. She writes a column for Cycling Weekly each week

This week I’m on a training camp with my British Cycling team-mates in Portugal.

It’s fantastic. Not Portugal per se, or even this particular camp; all camps, ever, are fantastic.

Even the fortnight we spent avoiding ice at the top of Mount Teide in 2014, riding stupid-long days, staying in the middle of nowhere and not getting home until December 23, was fantastic.

I remember being very upset at losing 4kg and feeling sure I had spent two weeks getting slow (for I had spent two weeks going slow). I would not recommend such a camp and never plan to return myself.

>>> Katie Archibald column: What’s in a name?

It was still fantastic though: I just love being on camp.

In fact, all the Archibalds love being on camp. They call it “going on holiday” but I don’t bother myself with petty semantic arguments — I’m too busy training in the sunshine. This year, an Archibald first, we’re going on camp over Christmas.

I don’t mean during the Christmas season, I mean flights are cheapest if you go December 24 to January 1. We’re doing the freaky warm Christmas thing.



I worry you might be horrified. A similar feeling to walking into an avocado-green bathroom suite or seeing someone put the milk in their tea before the water. It’s not really a crime, nobody gets hurt, but in your gut you just know it’s wrong.

This was my first reaction too. Until my dad told me he was sponsoring the camp (again with these semantic differences; the phrasing he actually used was “paying for the family to go on holiday”) and my gut was quite settled. As my contribution I’ve bought into exchanging the smell of pine needles for the smell of suncream.

>>> Katie Archibald column: Hitting the gym early to feel smug

The only thing I’m slightly concerned about is what kind of Christmas gift a 20kg baggage allowance allows. Not for the gifts I’ll give (a haiku each as it’s the thought that counts — and haikus are two times more thought than regular poems because of the maths) but the ones I’ll receive.

How much does a Chocolate Orange weigh? A new coat? A coffee machine?

Fingers crossed, not much.