‘Fighting form’: Katie Archibald column

'I’m never sure if it’s polite to say you aren’t on form. I hate to hear it from other people'

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I’m back on the track and very happy about it, but not going
very well and a bit sad about that. Both are things I instinctively
want to lie about. I talk about velodromes enough that you’d assume I was on there at least most weeks…what have I been doing if I’ve not done been on the track? And I’m never sure if it’s polite to say you aren’t on form. I hate to hear it from other people. You’re not going well?

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To always be going well would mean never going really well — stop complaining. How self-indulgent, to be sad about being slow. But I am currently quite slow and it’s made me quite sad.

I’ve been riding a lot in Zone 2 and lifting in the gym. Now, a copy of this magazine ends up in the British Cycling staff kitchen every week, so if I was divulging top-secret training content nationally I believe
I’d be found out. I’m comfortable telling you this about my training for two reasons.

First: the offices are being done up and I think the kitchen is out of action because I saw a physiologist put their dirty mug in their rucksack to ride home with, refusing to wash it in the bathroom. Second: riding in Zone 2 and lifting in the gym being top secret is akin to a chef’s secret ingredients being salt and pepper. Who knows if Stephen Park [performance director] will read it this week?

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But now I’d like to start going fast again. I’m racing in five weeks time at a UCI track event in Poland, and in nine weeks’ time it’s the European Championships in Apeldoorn. If you’re thinking, “Heh, but the Euros have already been?”, well that was the European Games you’re thinking of, an event that takes place every four years specifically to confuse you. The European Championships still happen, and the fact I’m counting to them in weeks like an expectant parent tells you how excited I am for the track season.

You’ll know once I start going fast again because I’ll get so excited I’ll be counting in days.

This Katie Archibald column originally appeared in the print edition of Cycling Weekly, on sale in newsagents and supermarkets, priced £3.25.