John Archibald

First things first, introduce yourself

My name is John Archibald. I'm 28 years old and currently living as a full-time athlete, training with the HUUB-Wattbike Team Pursuit squad.

Where were you born and where did you grow up?

I was born in Edinburgh; although spent 10 years living in Surrey before returning to Glasgow in 2002.

Where is your current home?

I'm currently living in Derby; not far from the Peak District. Although I've been there for 6 months, I expect to return to Glasgow in the near future.

How did you get into riding a bike?

Originally through commuting to work. City traffic is unbearable and I'd rather endure the Scottish elements than sit in endless queues.

What is your local climb? The climb you do the most out of any other.

My go-to climb is the Crow Road from the Lennoxtown side.

What is it like?

It starts with a sharp kick that lasts around a minute, then opens up into a more gradual gradient overlooking the Campsies. At the half-way point there's another 2 sharp kickers, before it really gets fast in the run up to the summit. It's exposed to the wind, has a reasonable road surface and little traffic.

What kind of efforts is the climb suited to?

The climb lasts around 15 minutes for mortals without a tailwind. It's ideal for steady-state efforts, but the steep kick at the start can also be used for 1 minute throw downs. Equally, the half-way mark is a renowned Strava segment for VO2 reps if you like. It's versatility is part of the appeal.

Sounds like a good one for your training then! Is the Strava KOM for the climb ever in your thoughts, or do you strictly focus on the goals of the current effort?

I enjoy chasing KoM's when I have no other targets in mind and I've definitely tested myself a good few times up that hill. However, more recently my goals have become very specific and I find myself chasing KoM's less and less. It's a coveted segment though and seemingly people take notice of who has the crown!

Any other climbs in the area you prefer, or is this climb your favourite?

There's a lot on offer in our area, but the Crow is my favourite hands down. Longer climbs like the Tak Ma Doon seem to have greater appeal to me, but even short and steep ones like the Khyber Pass have unique charisma. 

What about favourite climb overall? Any reason?

I've been on a few training camps abroad and Sa Calobra in Mallorca is hard to beat. I climbed it in February a few years ago when the road was closed to traffic. We had the road to ourselves and it was special. I really enjoy the consistent gradient, winding hair pins and coastal views.

What is the hardest climb you’ve summited by bike?

Xorret Del Cati in Alicante. You shift into your granny gear at the bottom and never leave it until the top. It averages 11% for 3.8km and it's a sufferfest.

What kind of riding do you do in general? Is it more for training or pleasure?

It's entirely training at the moment. Even if I wasn't racing, I get a lot of satisfaction from intervals and testing myself. I can see the appeal in touring by bike, but long days in the saddle isn't what motivates me.


Touchy subject, but something that has happened to every bike rider at some point, getting dropped. When did you last get dropped in a race or ride? What was going on when you got dropped? 

It happened to me at a local road race last year, the Hugh Dornan Memorial. I was in the lead break and got spat out of it, on the final lap going up the climb. I had totally cooked myself in the lead up to that point and got found out when the lead 3 riders snapped the elastic and rode off.

Did you get back to the group you were with?

On that occasion I didn't. Once the lights went out, I struggled in no man's land for a while until I was swallowed up by the peloton.

Gruelling turbo session or climbing the worst climb you can imagine in wind and rain?

Gruelling turbo session. I know it's the wrong answer, but I actually really enjoy my turbo trainer.

No wrong answers for that! Onto more current matters. Which team/club are you riding for this year, and what do you aim to achieve in 2019?

I'm riding for Team Ribble on the road this year and we now have UCI status, opening up our race programme. My main objective will be the National TT championships, but on the whole I'd like to help the team in our qualification attempts for the Tour of Britain.

What are your interests away from the bike?

To relax I enjoy movies or other sport. Having tried many sports over the years, I still enjoy being involved. Until I moved to Derby, I also did a few hours a week as a masters swim coach for my local team.

Quick fire questions

Tell me your…

Go to summer road bike? 

Ribble Aero 883.

Dream bike? 

Cervelo S5.

One climb to ride said dream bike up?

Alpe D'Huez (never done it)

Favourite cycling book?

Faster - Michael Hutchinson.

Favourite cycling movie?

Road to Paris. Can't explain why, but I always find myself re-watching it.

Love that doc too! favourite pro rider?

I don't have a favourite pro rider, but my favourite performance is Steve Cumming's stage win at the 2015 Tour De France. You can tell there was only 1 thought on his mind. Loved it.

Favourite piece of cycle clothing you’ve owned?

Castelli bib tights. Expensive, but faultless.

Thanks John!

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