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.
“You’ll have something to write about it in Cycling Weekly,” is the odd yet valid condolence I’ve received since DNF’ing at the recent OVO Energy Women’s Tour.
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Writing about it here means I’ll have to be good humoured about the whole thing when I’d really rather curl up in a ball. My ribs hurt too much for that, however, so here we go.
I was behind one of the many crashes in the last 10km of stage one and nailed myself into the back of another rider’s bike. My own bike was a write-off with the rear chainstay snapped, and the pedal sheared off, but I got a spare and made it to the finish a few minutes down.
Our team was pretty dejected at the finish since we’d wanted to line Kirsten Wild up to win the stage and the plan had fallen apart. Kirsten was typically buoyant and thoughtful: “these things happen,” she said.
By the last three kilometres she was meant to be sat behind myself, Annette Edmondson and Lisa Brennauer, ready to hear “how high” in response to her “jump”.
Instead, Kirsten was just making contact with the bunch having been forced to stop completely by not just one crash, but two. The second was my own because we’d dropped back to tow her into the race after the first, so Wiggle-High5 was trained out when I went down.
Kirsten was seventh on the stage: an incredible result considering so much of her effort was just to get back to the peloton.
I then spent the night convincing myself that it wouldn’t be as painful to get on a bike as it was to lie on this bed, and sadly the next morning avoiding laughter with my hyperactive room-mate (Nettie Edmondson) because it made my ribs thump.
I really was more comfortable on my bike than my bed though, so off I went on stage two. A ride which is now in my top three most miserable rides of all time. I made it to kilometre 90 of 145 and didn’t see the peloton again.
The story’s not done but I’m out of word count and out of drive. Give me until next week’s column to figure out what I’m going to do with this season.