In October 2021, Richardson raced on the banked Sir Chris Hoy velodrome for the first time after leaving triathlon behind, embarking on a meteoric rise. Two years later at the Lee Valley VeloPark she rubs shoulders with Katie Archibald, Neah Evans and multiple world and Olympic champions, as she rounds off a promising debut season at the UCI Track Champions League, finishing in 12th place.
“It’s been such a great experience and especially for someone my age as well. To compete at this level, I need to race it. It’s a really good platform to improve my skills and learn things.
“Travelling is something I’ve had to get used too, but now I know the basics like hydration and napping. It’s also really cool to be around everyone, seeing people like Katie and Neah, who are so experienced, and watching them prepare has been a big part of it also.”
The Glaswegian began her campaign in Mallorca, finishing sixth in the scratch race to beat one of her inspirations, two-time world champion Evans in the process. Despire being the second youngest rider in the endurance league, Richardson finished eighth after the first round. The 21-year-old went on to Berlin and Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines where she would add 10 more points to her tally.
Over the weekend’s penultimate round and Grand Finale of the UCI Track Champions League, Richardson stepped out into the glory soaked Lee Valley VeloPark where Great Britain sensationally scooped seven gold medals in the historic 2012 London Olympics.
In the very same velodrome, she would warm-up metres from the man that delivered two of them, Sir Chris Hoy, and race alongside the Scot that will hope to achieve the same feat come the Olympics next year.
“It’s so inspiring to see what Katie’s doing and the fact she’s come through the same Scottish Cycling pathway as myself. To see what she’s achieved makes you think one day that could be me,” Richardson said.
“It’s in a great place [Scottish Cycling] and I love training in Glasgow. The Scottish Institute of Sport support is world class and it’s shown by the athletes that have come through. It speaks for itself that there are five Scottish riders here at the TCL and there’s a lot of good juniors coming through the ranks as well.”
Despite her appearances at the TCL and the Track Nations Cup back in April 2022, Richardson remains a somewhat junior herself with only 25 months of track cycling experience under her belt.
The Scot sees both up and downside in her sharp ascent to sport’s upper echelon of competition, she said:
“There’s that feeling of naivety and it’s a positive thing as I don’t have anything to fear. It does come with disadvantages – of course I’d love to have years of track experience behind me but it’s getting there with every race.”
The Under 23 European Pursuit champion remains razor-focused on ascending the heights of the sport, and looks ahead to what could be another breakout year for her.
“After a couple of track races in December, it’s all eyes on the road season at the start of the year. Hopefully, then the Under 23 European Championships, which is a big aim for me as well as the World Championships at the end of the year.”
We think we’ll be seeing a lot more of Kate on the big stage over the coming years.
With thanks to Taylor Toney-Green for producing this article after speaking to Kate in London last weekend.