Not al­ways lead­ing the pack

Katie archibald

Cycling Weekly - - WEEKLY COLUMN -

At age 19 I was ac­cepted onto the Bri­tish Cy­cling Academy and moved to Manch­ester. It was Novem­ber of 2013 and though in my mind I’d been knock­ing on the door of great­ness for the past year and a bit, to Bri­tish Cy­cling I’d come as a bit of a sur­prise. Like an un­ex­pected baby but to a cou­ple that’s al­ready set­tled with kids and fully equipped to deal with an­other. Sure, we haven’t painted your room yel­low or brought the crib down from the at­tic, but pur­ple is a fine shade, the crib will take two min­utes to put to­gether, and so we’ll just have to make room and love you none­the­less. So Mama UK Sport and Papa Bri­tish Cy­cling made space, and two months af­ter the ‘of­fi­cial’ Academy in­take of that year they took on an­other and down south I went.

Part of be­ing on the Academy is liv­ing in Pro­gramme hous­ing. You pay your ‘Academy con­tri­bu­tion’ each month, which is a sort of faux rent, and in re­turn you’re put in a house with­out any bills to pay and you’ll never have to buy an in­ner tube again (a perk that shouldn’t be over­looked). I moved into a lovely three-bed house with what were now my Pro­gramme team-mates, Eli­nor Barker, Dan­nielle Khan, and Rosie Blount. Of course my ar­rival meant es­tate agents had ev­i­dence that that ex­tra cup­board is in fact a bed­room and so, yes, we can call it a four-bed house, which I still feel guilty about. The door hit my sin­gle bed when you opened it and my stor­age was a sin­gle free-stand­ing clothes rail, so I kept my suit­case un­der the bed and never un­packed. This is the rea­son I’m think­ing about it now, five years later, as I pack for the Berlin World Cup this week­end, slowed down by the fact that first I have to un­pack my case from my last trip. Old habits, eh. Berlin Track World Cup will be cov­ered on Eurosport Nov 30-Dec 2 with com­men­tary from Joanna Rowsell­s­hand, whom I have al­ready bribed to com­ment on how won­der­ful I am.

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