Katie Archibald column: 'I’m not very good at riding a bike'

"I’m still as erratic as a long-legged cat riding Fort William on a unicycle when it comes to my training form"

Katie Archibald.
(Image credit: Nick Hill)

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

I bumped into the British Cycling psychologist recently. Like always, she had praise for me (I’m obviously the only athlete who she regularly makes a point of praising; it’s because I’m brilliant).

“You’re being so consistent, Katie!” It’s important you’re hearing this in an Aussie accent, especially the “Katie” bit, which is pronounced “Kadie”. “Keep up the consistency, Kadie!”

Consistency is my thing. Or more specifically, my lack of it. For this reason I’ve been waiting to get kicked off the GB cycling team since, roughly, day 91 of getting on the GB cycling team — nobody gets kicked off in their first 90 days.

You see, with the exception of every race day, I’m not very good at riding a bike. Beyond being a general source of frustration, this also makes me a terrible team-mate.

There’s a complex calculation the team pursuit girls have to make to gauge their own race-day effort since they don’t know if Katie is capable of riding a series of two-lap turns (Rio) or if she’ll get dropped after her first turn (two weeks before Rio) or if she’ll help us set a new world record in training (three weeks before Rio).

“You need to work on your consistency, Kadie.”

Ruth (that’s the BC psychologist) thinks I’ve overcome this, from looking at my results. The problem is you could have always looked at my results and seen consistency: I’m a gold-egg-laying goose on race day — a rule which has its exception(s). But I must tell you the truth, Ruth.

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I’m still as erratic as a long-legged cat riding Fort William on a unicycle when it comes to my training form. I’m just getting away with hiding it since I’m living this horrendously lonely life training for solo events.

Times are a-changing (back) this season, though, as I fold back into team pursuiting. Although the squad environment will reveal my problems with the C word (consistency), being back as part of a team is going to make this season a fun one.

Of course, the most fun thing we could do is get back on the podium at the Worlds. Watch this space.

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