Archibald: Cycling Makes Me Feel Alive
Published 16 April 2016
Even with a swimming-mad brother and a runner for a Dad, it was never written in the stars that Katie Archibald would end up pursuing a career in sport.
Following her brother to the pool and her father to the track, the self-confessed hyperactive youngster was initially looking for an outlet for her energy, and a way to spend her summer holidays.
It was perhaps that early willingness to try new things that led Archibald to give cycling a go. Even though she was often the only girl at the track when she started racing as a 15-year-old, Archibald wasn’t deterred and while she freely admits she was never looking for glory, racing became an addiction.
“As soon as I had my first taste, I thought, I’m not dropping this from my jaws, I’m staying at it,” she said.
“It wasn’t a goal to be an Olympian or anything, I just wanted to ride a bike fast, and then eventually you find yourself trying to ride faster than anyone else.”
It is fair to say riding fast came naturally to Archibald, who was raised in Milngrave, just outside of Glasgow.
She burst onto the scene in the weeks after London 2012, winning a British Junior title, before going on to become a European champion and World Cup gold medallist in the team pursuit the following year.
Now a regular fixture in the highly successful British Cycling team pursuit squad, Archibald has offered some pertinent advice for would-be cyclists looking to follow in her footsteps through the UK Sport and EIS talent identification programme #DiscoverYourPower.
“The one thing I’ve learnt is that you’ve just got to put yourself out there, it’s all about collecting knowledge and gaining exposure and giving yourself the shot to fail and learn.
“I think so often people think that these [top athletes] are just amazing superhumans, but for me it’s actually from meeting the right people and performing on the right platforms that has opened up opportunities.”
Archibald, still just 22 herself, has now warmed to the idea of competing at an Olympic Games and her face lights up at the prospect of lining up in Rio this summer.
“It’s pretty exciting, we had a debrief after the World Championships about what we’d done through the whole winter season and where we’re going, so you get that reset momentum of this being the final push towards what has been a four-year goal; everyone is pretty jittery and enthusiastic!”
And is she feeling the pressure?
“That’s what I love about what we do, it’s half terrifying and half invigorating and it involves a lot of shaking with nerves, but it’s what makes you feel alive.”
UK Sport and the EIS are currently looking for fast, powerful 15-21 year-olds with Olympic potential. Could it be you? Sign up for #DiscoverYourPower: www.uksport.gov.uk/talent
Katie Archibald is one of 1,300 athletes supported by UK Sport’s National Lottery funded World Class Programme.
Scroll through the gallery below to see to see Katie in action: