Colin Lynch reflects on ‘hour record’ attempt

The Irish para-cyclist dedicated much to break the track cycling world record, only for a punctured tyre to destroy his chance. 17 Oct 2015
Man on a bike, cycling on a track

Irish para-cyclist Colin Lynch at his 'hour record' attempt on 10 Octobrt 2015.

ⒸChris Keller-Jackson
By Colin Lynch

Irish world champion Colin Lynch attempted to ride the farthest on a 250m velodrome within an hour on 10 October at the Manchester Velodrome in Great Britain. But his hopes were dashed due to a punctured tyre with less than 20 minutes to go. The record in his class (MC2) still stands at 41.31km, set by France’s Laurent Thirionet in 1999.

The ‘Hour Record’ has dominated my life in one form or another for the last year. All the planning, training, working with the UCI and just trying to hit form at the right time – it was a lot. But I jumped through all the hurdles and was raring to go on 10 October.

I spent the last two months preparing for the attempt specifically, and in the final week before I could tell I was rounding into perfect form.

On that Saturday, when I was warming up right before the attempt, I knew I had it in me. Everything seemed perfect.

The plan was to go out a bit hard and try and build up a cushion, then settle into a conservative pace and hold onto the advantage until the last 10 minutes. At the 10-minute-to-go mark, the plan was to lift the pace a bit and try for some extra distance if I felt good.

Once I started, I could barely feel the bike under me. Everything felt superb. I settled in a slower pace for the middle section. I could see from the scoreboard roughly where I was and knew the pace I had to do to beat the record.

I was just past the 20-minute-to-go mark (18 minutes), when I heard the wheel explode. It was right before the bend, so I had no chance to slow the bike. Before I knew it, I was flipped over and sliding across the track. Luckily I didn’t try and break my fall so no broken bones – I just lost a bit of skin on my elbow and hip.

After a wheel change, I tried to get back up and just finish the attempt, even if the record was gone. But my raw elbow meant I couldn’t hold my weight in the aero position.

The organisers felt so bad for me – they actually offered to let me try again later that night! But there was no way I could manage it – not with the elbow.

Looking back, I am massively disappointed as it was an absolute certainty that I would have broken the record. I would be more upset though, if I had ridden the whole and physically not been able to do it. At least I know I can come back and have the physical capability to go again.

I also feel bad for all the people that worked on this with me, from my coach Neill Delahaye, to the sponsors like 3T and Spin11 that provided equipment and clothing. And the money I paid for the attempt is also gone, which was probably the biggest pain!

I’m a bit sore but nothing serious. I am already in Majorca, Spain, on training camp as I have a few races coming up. I need to get straight back into it.

Without a doubt, I will try for it again – the sooner the better. I have already been in touch with a few people to try and arrange a time and place. It needs to fit in with my other training and racing.

It’s good that loads of people tuned in to watch, and I hope it’s done a small bit to inspire people and give para-cycling a boost. I would love to do it again in January to kick off the Paralympic year in style!