Katie Archibald column: ‘I had to decide whether I would make myself sick from overeating or sick from the misery of passing up on free food’

The last time I got on a first-class train journey (also my first time; a slightly awkward affair as most first times are) I had brought a packed dinner. For some people money burns a hole in their pocket but for me it’s food; at school my packed lunch never made it past break time.

Well anyway, as soon as I got on the train I started on my Tupperware pasta dinner, which meant I’d already eaten by the time I found out they give you a free, ‘free’ dinner in first class — disaster!

>>> Luke Rowe column: ‘The real days that give me nightmares are the stages that start uphill’

I had to decide whether I would make myself sick from 
overeating or sick from the misery of passing up on free, 
‘free’ food. You’re an intelligent person, so you know which 
one I picked.

I’m back on a first-class train today, only this time I’m mere days away from the start of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour — AKA the longest and hilliest race I’ll have ever done, by a huge margin.

I won’t be doubling up on dinner this time. In five days we’ll cover 653km, including 7,920m of climbing. Now consider the fact that the last stage (the London finale) is pan flat and 86km, and those first four days look quite frankly obscene. Which I mean as a compliment — sort of.

Our Team WNT Pro Cycling squad for the race is myself, Eileen Roe (British national criterium champion), Lydia Boylan (Irish national road race champion), Elise Maes (current climbing star in the team from Luxembourg), Natalie Grinczer (stage race specialist who’s twice finished top-five GC at Rás Na mBan) and Hayley Jones (top domestique just returning from a broken collarbone).

As a team in its first professional year we have modest ambitions, but of course we want to make an impact on race. Which we will!

You can check I keep true to my word by watching the highlights, which are on ITV4 (11pm) and Eurosport (10.25pm) every evening from Wednesday June 7. Even armchair critics are encouraged to tune in — I guarantee I’ll get worse from my dad anyway.

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