Injured in ‘that’ motorbike crash prior to the Worlds she’s fought her way back to fitness and it’s confirmed that she’ll be in the GB line up for the 4,000 metre team pursuit.
We first interviewed Ms. Archibald back in 2013 and have kept abreast of her results since – but Olympic selection is special so we thought we best ‘have a word.’
Congratulations, Katie – how and when were you advised of your selection for Rio?
“We were notified 10 days before the official announcement, by telephone.
“We were told the news of our selection was embargoed (a very fun word to say over and over – embargoed, embargoed…) so it’s poor show that the selection got leaked early.”
Was there elation or relief or some other emotion when you heard?
“Warm and fuzzy?
“The formal nature of selection was a chance to reflect on the journey to that point which felt nice.”
‘That crash’ – your first thoughts/emotions when you stopped sliding up the road – was Rio in your mind?
“The Hong Kong world cup was in a month so that was on my mind.
“I thought I would just feel stiff in the morning because I stood up straight away – presumably adrenaline pumping.
“I was more focused on seeing if the bike was still rideable (it wasn’t).
“I was really in denial for a day and a half until I started getting x-rays and MRI scans showing the damage.”
Tell us about your fight back to full fitness after the crash.
“It went unbelievably well.
“My main struggle was convincing the people protecting me that I was ready to push on.
“I didn’t have any major setbacks because I followed a really well managed and constantly evolving rehab programme with the help of British Cycling.
“It was tough to see the World Champs in London slip away because I really thought I’d be ready, but I’ve benefited from having that time training.”
Was there a ‘marker’/’standard’ you had to achieve to be pronounced ‘ready for Rio?’
“Yes we have Rio targets.
“The best time to be ‘ready for Rio’ is 11th August I believe.”
How do you feel now, all the aches and pains gone?
“Just the normal aches and pains of all you other cyclists.”
When do you head out to Rio – and what’s the schedule like between now and then?
“We travel roughly a week before race day.
“Before that, the entire squad is based together training in Newport.
“I’ve been told school kids come and watch some training sessions to make it feel racey – sounds fun.”
Have you seen/tested the new bikes/clothing for Rio, yet – do you get the mega carbon fibre ‘slipper’ shoes?
“I’ve been riding the new shoes for a while now: love them.
“That’s all I’ve tested though.”
Any comment on those US girl’s new bikes for Rio?
“It’s fun to have that kind of stuff going on, it feels like the stories you hear of back in the day when riders like Obree were innovating bike design for the hour record.
“I feel kind of special to be involved in a rivalry like that.”
Have you seen videos/had feedback on the Rio track, yet?
“I’ve seen photos of someone riding it so that’s good news. (Construction of the track was so far behind schedule that an Olympic ‘test’ meeting was unable to be held, ed.)
“I gather some of the frills are missing but we’re used to peeing in bushes at the side of the road already so I don’t think it’ll be the end of the world.”
Tell us about your second place in the Fenioux Omnium in France; that’s the only result we can see for you, this year.
“Yep, our whole team has just been training. Laura Trott is racing a couple omniums before the Games for race practice and I went with her to that one because I’m the omnium reserve.
“I would only ride the omnium in very, very extreme circumstances but you always need a back up.
“So I was happy enough to come second to her in Paris and get the chance to race the French champion Berthon.
“It’s a wide track as well so flying lap times are fast (you get more height to drop from) and I got a new PB in 14.0.”
Your blog – ‘Katie Archibald Learns to Live‘ some big gaps in there – and no mention of ‘that’ crash that I could see?
“My other hobbies are painting my nails and listening to podcasts: they have also suffered whilst I’ve been preparing for an Olympic Games.”
Your take on the ‘Shane Sutton Saga’ please?
“I’ve not really got one.
“I didn’t have many personal dealings with Shane because when I got onto the squad (November 2013) he was shifting into management and away from coaching so I never had that bond a lot of the older riders do.
“My perspective is moulded by the same means as all the other pundits reading stories in the press so I don’t believe I’m a respectable source for comment.”
And have you selected a hair colour for Rio yet?
We wish Katie and Callum Skinner – also selected for Rio – all the very best for Rio and will be monitoring their progress closely.