Kerry MacPhee - chasing my Commonwealth dream

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It’s official- I am now a ‘Commonwealth Games Potential!!!’ Woo!

And what makes that title official? Well for every Commonwealth Games cycle, individual governing bodies are asked to submit names to something they call the ‘long list’.

This is a list of athletes who are still in the qualifying period, but who governing bodies see as potentials for selection. And my name was added to that list two-weeks ago to make the goal of getting to the games even more realistic.

So as I scurry all over Europe over the next months leading up to selections and beyond, I’ll keep everyone at home updated via this fortnightly column.

For this week though, I think a wee bit of background and an explanation to how this has come about would be a good place to start.

If I’m honest, I can’t quite believe what is happening right now but know I will be doing everything in my power to get on that start line in July.

Having enjoyed a fair bit of success in triathlon over the last couple of years, it was becoming clear that my swimming was holding me back at the top end of the sport.

Nonetheless I was plugging away quite happily and entered a mountain bike race to supplement my triathlon training. Much to my surprise, I finished very well in this race and was quickly put in touch with Scottish Cycling.

They organised for me to be granted my elite racing licence, and I was soon racing British series events, a Swiss Cup and Belgian Cup.

I was still training for triathlon at this point, as I had the small matter of the World Island Games to compete in, so it wasn’t until September time that my focus turned completely to cycling. This coincided well with my last big race of the season, a Belgian Cup in Houffalize, and also my best result of the season – an international podium!

A couple of weeks after this, I went on to win the Scottish Hill Climb Championships and take second place at the Scottish Mountain Bike Championships.

From this, I applied to and was invited to join the Scottish cycling development programme. At that time, this was explained to me as development for and towards Gold Coast 2018, with Glasgow 2014 being a bonus. Being part of the development programme means I get access to team camps and help with coaching – there are no financial benefits to it and the next level up would be the performance programme, allowing access to Institute of Sport Doctors, physio’s, nutritionists etc. All going well, I hope to be moved up to this level in March when it will be reviewed.

To read the rest of Kerry’s column - which will be featured exclusively in the Stornoway Gazette every fortnight - pick up a copy in your local newsagent.