CW columnist Katie Archibald discusses how the European Championships really marks the start of winter and a new routine
Today I fly to Berlin for the European Track Cycling Championships (though I think at the time of publication we’ll be a few days after the competition).
I actually have two flights booked. One from Glasgow, where I thought I’d be. One from Manchester, where I ended up. This is the problem with staying in hotels all the time for races and camps, it defeats the point of having a solid base to go back to; a ‘home’ if you will.
And so through the summer I simply didn’t have one. Or, depending on interpretation, I had three.
Which sounds tricky, like the kind of logistical nightmare that would make you waste £70 on a non-refundable flight to Berlin from the wrong airport.
But it’s usually a calm and soothing way to live. The trick is to plan your life out months in advance, avoid any impulsive life choices, own a railcard to take the edge off travel costs, and have a spare bike in each location to make said travel less cumbersome. Easy. It keeps me happy.
I don’t like the loneliness of living in one place all the time where the familiarity feels remarkably unexciting. Which shouldn’t imply that I live life for the thrills, but quite the opposite — I get my thrills from using a different pillow to the one I’m used to.
The track season is here now though, which is the one thing I gladly accept routine in exchange for. Track, track, track! Isn’t it just the best? This week at the Europeans I should be riding the team pursuit, individual pursuit and omnium, and defending a title in the latter two.
Though I’ve raced a couple low-key track events already this season, the Euros really marks the start of the winter and with it the knuckling down into this ‘routine’ thing.
It translates to living in Manchester to utilise British Cycling support and train with the British team.
I see this element of our national programme, one facility where we all train together, as one of the big contributors to our nation’s success in track cycling.
Long may it continue. Or at least for the next six months.