commonwealth dreams

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While most of us will be glued to the TV this week for the Olympics, South Uist’s superstar athlete Kerry MacPhee is planning on getting back on her bike for a race on mainland Europe - as she begins her bid to secure a place with Scotland’s 2018 Commonwealth Games squad.

Kerry was part of the 2014 Scotland squad, and the only athlete ever from the Western Isles to compete at the Commonwealth Games, so having had a taste of the elite level she is determined to throw everything towards another ride in 2018.

“We don’t know the criteria yet and with the Games taking place in April 2018 the qualifying will be 2017,” explained Kerry to the Gazette.

“All my focus will be on that. There are more of us riders too and myself, Lucy and Isla are all quite similar and we don’t know if they would take all three so it’ll be very competitive and I’ll throw everything at it.”

This week Kerry is hoping to race in France in a bid to mine some more precious points to boost her world ranking and with it give her the best possible Commonwealth chance.

“It is a HC category race in France with some good points up for grabs which is an opportunity to improve my world ranking,” she continued.

“I’m hoping to make it a long season as I have a World Cup race in three weeks then hoping to do another two or three abroad to get as many points as possible to put me in the best possible position for next year which is the Commonwealth Games qualifiers.”

Recent testing on the bike have produced stellar results for the Kilphedar flier who also secured a fourth place finish in the fifth round of the British MTB Championships, where she laid to rest the demons of Cannock Chase.

In recent years Cannock Chase has been haunted territory for Kerry who was unable to finish in her first year due to a severe allergic reaction to the grass and pollen on site while she didn’t race the route last year.

“I felt very wheezy going around and my chest was quite tight but I have extra strong hay fever tablets and nasal stuff now through the Institute of Sport and that’s really helped,” she said.

“Based on all that it was a really good race and I was pleased to get in the top five and finally finish a race at Cannock.”

She added: “I feel really good on the bike and my testing on the bike at the Institute of Sport has jumped up massively - my best testing ever. It’s just about getting the other factors from races and pulling them together at the same time.”