Katie Archibald column
“I’d applauded this result with the kind of patronising affection only a younger sibling can provide. I made it about me”
My brother is now the British national points race champion. I hadn’t been keeping track of his brilliance myself but I read somewhere (‘somewhere’ means I read it on Instagram but I’m too embarrassed to cite it as a news source, like when I tell a story about ‘someone I know’ when really it’s another lame story about my boyfriend that I’m trying to disguise) that it’s his best national result since a fourth as an 11-year-old swimmer.
The day before becoming the British national points race champion he’d won a bronze medal in the individual pursuit, behind Team KGF’S Charlie Tanfield and Dan Bigham. I’d applauded this result with the kind of patronising affection only a younger sibling can provide: I made it about me. My own first senior British medal, in 2013, was a bronze in the individual pursuit and I was touched by this mirroring. He’s my older brother, called John, by the way, though he prefers to go by ‘Katie Archibald’s brother’, but I’d indulged myself with a narrative where our breakthroughs would both come from the same medal.
Things I hadn’t taken into consideration: firstly, KA’SB (or, ‘John’) was already multiple Scottish national champion on both track and road, had already claimed Scottish national records from Graeme Obree, and qualified for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He’d had more breakthroughs than calls to see if he might have been mis-sold PPI.
Secondly, and in hindsight most importantly, John was mentally unhinged enough to ride another pursuit the day after his bronze-winning ride, but this time in the middle of a points race. Then win a few sprints for good measure.
And so I witnessed John achieve something that I thought would take him three more years and Laura Kenny getting pregnant to achieve — that’s what it took me.
My own Nationals also went well. If you’ve followed the ‘why are you entering the sprint?’ saga in this column I return with brilliant news of a bronze medal and one of the most enjoyable day’s racing I’ve had in years. John has a lot of work to do before he can match that.