Colin Lynch: Shot at Glory

Irish para-cyclist Colin Lynch shares how many athletes are putting their lives on hold for a shot at Paralympic glory in London. 16 Jul 2012
Colin Lynch

Colin Lynch

ⒸColin Lynch

Every detail is recorded and analyzed afterwards to make sure nothing is left to chance on race day.

As I sit writing this, there are under 50 days to go until the start of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

I am sitting in a hotel room in Majorca, taking a short break after a lengthy morning bike and getting ready for a race simulation at the Velodrome this afternoon. We’ll practice everything from the warm-up, to the actual race (albeit over a slightly shorter distance than normal) to the cool down afterwards.

Every detail is recorded and analyzed afterwards to make sure nothing is left to chance on race day.

And this is what life is like in these final days before the big show kicks off in just under two months from now.

Training and preparation – both mental and physical – to make sure that when you step out in front of the crowd for the biggest race of your life, you are as prepared as you can be.

It’s at times like these that you realize that cycling is no longer a hobby. It’s a full-time job.

And along with that comes great responsibility.

You have to watch every single aspect of your life and try and balance everything out. If you actually have a “regular” job, then life is going to be even more difficult in the run-up.

As a full-time cyclist, I have the benefit of being able to focus on cycling and not much else. When I’m off the bike, I can get the extra recovery time I need to ensure my next training session is performed at an optimal level.

And yet, I still have outside obligations.

There are sponsors that need some of my time, articles to write, appearances to make and equipment to source and test before using it in London. I gladly do all these things, especially as it affords me the luxury of riding my bike for a living.

Even the constant travel takes it toll. Outsiders look at my travel schedule and think that it’s a constant party around the globe for us. But they don’t realize that most of our time is spent training, in meetings or inside a hotel room resting up for the next day. I have been to some great places around the world, and all I can tell you is the quality of their hotel rooms!

In many ways, it is a big sacrifice to make. You put your life on hold for an extended period of time – just for one shot at glory.

To stand on the top step of the podium at the Paralympics Games is the dream.

I’ve been on that step twice before at a World Championships, but it pales in comparison to be able to claim Paralympic gold.

For me, it’s a realistic goal.

All the hard work is coming to an end soon and we shall see if the sacrifices and hard work were worth it.

If I were a betting man, I would say yes.

We’ll see in 44 days.

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