Colin Lynch: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”

20 questions with Paralympic cyclist Colin Lynch


The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?

I’m a fiercely competitive person. Many people find it annoying actually. From the need to always be right, to the desire to win and prove myself better than my competition, I always like to push myself to my limits.


“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?

“Pain today means glory tomorrow”. Fairly basic really: Work hard now and racing (and winning) will come easier. The hard work you do today will make the harder work of racing seem easier.


Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013 (2014)?

In my sport, it’s still doping. Doping and cheating has plagued the sport since it began in one form or another. Fortunately, it is getting harder and harder to get away with it, so performances are getting more and more believable. Doping is a problem that affects the professional ranks more so, but even at the Paralympic level there are those that still cheat to win.


Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?

Currently I miss being able to eat what I want, when I want. Cycling is largely about your power-to-weight ratio, so the lighter you are, the easier it is to move yourself forward – and up hills especially. Therefore you have to watch what you eat all the time. You can still eat what you want on occasion, but there’s always a guilt factor that goes with it.


What might you swap all your wealth for?

Wealth? What wealth? I’ve been living off credit cards for years to help fund my cycling exploits. But I would give back all my bikes and equipment and fancy toys to win a Paralympic gold medal.


Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?

Admittedly, once I left the “real world” of a 9–5 job and began my career as a full-time cyclist, I also tuned out of current affairs to a large degree. Like most people though, I wonder how we ended up where we are today. I see politicians scrambling to try and fix the problems of the global banking and economic crisis and all I can think is, the hole that has been dug is now so deep that we will never fully climb out of it.


What phrase or word do you most loathe?

“I’d like to thank <insert deity of choice here> for the win today”.


In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?

In the grand scheme of things, I’m not the most well-known person. I don’t have the same status as a professional cyclist riding in the Tour de France. But in smaller circles people do know who I am and what I represent. I make a conscious effort every year to use what little status and influence I have to support a few charitable endeavours.


Last year I chose to work with Cycle 4 Life in Ireland (along with Dan Martin) – a charity that supports the Temple Street Children’s Hospital in Dublin. And I plan to do it again in 2014. I also had the extreme honour of leading a team of riders from the Anne Frank Trust in the Cosaveli Trois Étapes event – a Pro-Am cycling event in the French Alps. Cosaveli raises millions for their partner charities and gives the riders a chance to experience a glimpse of what it’s like to be a professional cyclist.


The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?

I am almost permanently attached to my mobile devices, whether it be a laptop, tablet or phone. I am an information junkie and like to be constantly in touch with the world around me but it really gets on my last nerve when I’m out training on my bike and I see people driving along, talking or texting on their phones. It makes me want to chase them down, take the phone from them and throw it in a ditch before riding off. I get particularly annoyed when I see people talking on the phone when it would be easy and convenient for them to pull over to have that conversation. It makes me wish we could enforce Citizen’s Arrests for such offences.


Colin Lynch
Colin Lynch

If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?

The obvious answer would be lots and lots of professional cyclists. But beyond that, if I was able to have honest and frank conversations with the people in the carriage, I would love to talk with current and former leaders of the world: Presidents, prime ministers, kings and queens. I would love to know what really goes on behind closed doors. After I finished talking with them, there are a lot of pro cyclists I would love to meet and chat with. First among them would be Greg LeMond.


If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?

My last meal would consist of a porterhouse steak, lobster tail, grilled asparagus, potatoes au gratin, creamed spinach and baby mushrooms. I don’t think I’d have room for dessert. I imagine I’d have to eat it in my cell, but if I could choose anywhere in the world to have it, It would be at the top of a pyramid in Egypt. Never been there and think it would be interesting to see before I die.


What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?

I have been known, on very rare occasions to have an airport beer at six in the morning. As the saying goes: “It’s happy hour somewhere in the world”.


These days I rarely drink at all so it’s hard for me to say what is appropriate. It’s all a matter of the occasion I guess. It’s OK to drink at 11am if you are on your way to watch a football match at 1pm but starting to drink at 11am before a night out that starts at 8pm is pushing it.


A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?

A cup of tea.


Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

I really try and avoid parties and social gatherings. I’m a bit of a recluse and prefer the company of my girlfriend rather than a roomful of strangers or even people I know.


Who is the most positive person you know?

It’s a tough one to answer. I could say “Melony Jamieson” but that wouldn’t mean anything to anyone (a woman I went to university with). My teammate Mark Rohan has to be one of the most positive people I know. He always seems to find the bright side in a bad situation.


What’s your most guilty pleasure?

Either Haribo or ice cream. I’m a lover of both, and both are bad for me. I can get away with the Haribo if I ‘use it’ as training fuel.


If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?

Funnily enough, I have the Olympic rings tattooed on my shoulder but one ring (the yellow one) is hard to see. It almost looks like it is missing. Symbolically it fits – one missing ring for one missing leg, and for the missing medal I failed to win at the Games.


If you were a car, what marque would you be?

Probably something like a Mondeo. Reliable, not too flashy, and capable of bursts of speed when required.


Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.

I once spent a year as an amateur stand-up comedian. Open-mic nights mostly.


What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?

I live with my girlfriend and it’s her house so it’s Christmas decorations and lights. But over on the bookcase I’ve got my trophies and medals from the last year.


Cyclist Colin Lynch is an Irish paracycling team member. He is the current UCI World Cup Champion and working towards Rio 2016.


Follow him on Twitter @TTworldchamp.



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