Katie Archibald column: The joys of the ‘friendly’ bike ride

"I even got dropped for a bit just to make it clear that there’s no shame at all in bonking. I was fine though."

I’m writing this sat in the front of an Archers Sleepcentre van, one of three. I’m not the one driving, or the one doing all the talking; I’m the one typing. We’re cruising through Dumfries and Galloway with six bikes in the back — three TT bikes for racing on and three road bikes for having fun on. My legs are sore, because this is the return journey.

This morning we (me, my friend Jesse Mitchell, and my dad) raced the fourth round of the Sigma Sport time trial series, in Castle Douglas. I won the women’s, my friend Jess was third, and my dad missed a turn and went the wrong way for 20 metres, which is undoubtedly where he lost the 10 minutes he was down on the men’s winner.

We went out for a ride after the race because I like to put on a show about being a professional cyclist and my dad likes to get out on new roads to fill in his Strava heat map. Jess was just an innocent bystander. She started struggling halfway through the ride and I had to pretend I was fine, I could definitely keep riding for another 100km no problem, but was willing to have a cafe stop for the good of the group. Then I ordered lots of food so Jess didn’t feel embarrassed about bonking. Then I even got dropped for a bit just to make it clear that there’s no shame at all in bonking. I was fine though.



There’s some gorgeous roads out here. I’ve had my head down suffering for a good chunk of the trip, but when I have looked up I’ve seen some pretty special sights.

The next round of the series is in the Lake District, but I’m missing it. I’ll be in Portugal with the British team on a training camp, where it’ll probably be raining all week while the UK enjoys glorious sunshine, because that’s how life works. I get far more pleasure moaning about mild inconveniences than from life going smoothly though, so it suits me fine. What would I talk about otherwise? Moaning, bikes, and Game of Thrones: that’s all the conversation I’ve got. And why I’m the one in this van typing, not the one talking.