History Happens: Pain Brings Glory For Colin Lynch And Ireland

Back in June when Marion and I cycled the Tour de Burren, we noticed a large number of the Paracycling Ireland team participating. Colin mentioned to me that about that time he spent seven weeks in Mallorca getting used to riding in hot weather in preparation for Rio, and look how that worked out for him!

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I tweeted my congratulations to world champion Colin Lynch during the week, and later he very kindly answered some email queries for me.

The general public do not really know much about Colin Lynch, and many within the Irish cycling community may not be up to speed either. So, while I tackle some of the majestic roads of Mallorca (and write it up later, of course), it is fitting that I acknowledge Colin’s exploits. Colin represented Ireland very successfully at the recent Rio Paralympic Games, taking home a silver medal and followed this up by taking the Hour Record last week. He will go down in history as the very first UCI officially-recognised winner.
While my cycling is at a predominantly leisure and endurance level, I am mindful of super-achievers too.

Historic victory for Colin Lynch, former graphic designer, now full-time paracyclist with Irish National Team

The details here are predominantly copied from Sticky Bottle:
A silver medal winner at the Paralympic Games in Rio, Colin Lynch has added another special piece of history to his palmares in breaking the hour record. His 43.133km marker is the first paracycling hour record ever officially recognised by the UCI.

But the former world champion also bettered by 2km the unofficial record set by France’s Laurent Thirionet in 1999 in the C2 category.

He has also collected a range of other top achievements since making his international debut including taking the road TT title in Denmark in 2011 and the individual pursuit at the track Worlds in LA four years ago. He went into the London Paralympics on the back of those results and was bitterly disappointed to be pipped for a medal in the bronze medal ride-off by a mere 1/10th of a second.

However, having run a successful crowd funding campaign for a new carbon fibre lower leg, (Colin broke a leg at the age of 16 playing rugby, and an amputation was necessary)  he has now secured a Paralympic silver and now the hour record, which he took on the Manchester velodrome. (October 1st)

“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he said after what looked like a savage effort. When I contacted him with some queries, I was not surprised to learn that his mantra is “pain today means glory tomorrow.”  The glory arrived after an hour of pain, achieved after months and years of hard graft.

It was near-perfect for the first 40 minutes but the last 20 minutes is where it really starts to hurt. With about five minutes to go I knew I was going to beat the record and was hanging on to make sure I set a strong new mark.

In a nod to other aspiring paracyclists Colin says:

 I hope the record will stand for a while now, but also hope this will start other paracycling riders in all categories to test the record books.

UCI president Brian Cookson extended his congratulations, saying Lynch’s achievement would “stand in history as the first ever paracycling UCI hour record”.

Here it is from the man himself:

Back in June when Marion and I cycled the Tour de Burren, we noticed a large number of the Paracycling Ireland team participating. Colin mentioned to me that about that time he spent seven weeks in Mallorca getting used to riding in hot weather in preparation for Rio, and look how that worked out for him!

Silver medal ride in Rio 2016

Many athletes are driven to overcome major obstacles. Even at local level, I am aware of some cyclists who enjoy their sport (not only cycling, of course) despite some physical difficulties. Recently, on the Waterford Greenway, I have seen some who are able to continue cycling using adapted bikes. The human spirit is strong enough to continue despite these difficulties.

I’ll finish with a recent video take from YouTube which I think is awesome:

And a final thought for the week:

..a disability is something within you. A prejudice is something within (others). Don’t look at yourself through their eyes. Look at yourself through your own eyes.”

Richard N. Bolles, What Color Is Your Parachute? 2012: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers

Safe cycling out there,

Páraig