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Women in Cycling Series: Kym Lynch

With a sociable side and a natural flair for forging friendships, Kym Lynch transforms into a merciless machine on her bike. While Kymmy is known for giving many male cyclists a run for their money, she is currently juggling her police and army careers with an intensive training schedule to prepare her to compete alongside champions in event three of the National Road Series (NRS) this weekend.

Kym’s fitness has improved exponentially thanks to her razor sharp commitment and the mentorship of 2014 NRS Champion and Townsville local Ruth Corset. Competing in her second NRS race after surviving the toughest ride of her life in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Women’s Elite Race in late January, we caught up with her to find out how she’s feeling, her goals, and get to know a bit more of her non-cycling self – a people-lover and sporting natural who loves to see others smile.

Kym at the start of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Women’s Elite Race in January.

Kym at the start of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Women’s Elite Race in January.

“I’m amazed at the friendships I have made, plus I love the social side of it and the drive to be strong enough to keep up with the strong fast boys in Townsville.”

When did you start riding and how did you discover it? I first got on a bike aged 10 when my mum and auntie asked my cousin and I to compete in a Kids Milo Triathlon. From there, I was addicted and eventually went onto being selected for the Queensland School Sport Triathlon team alongside champions Loretta Harrop, Luke Harrop and Courtney Atkinson [who’s coming for the Sportscene Superwarehouse Townsville Triathlon Festival in June]. In Year 11 I had my best result, coming sixth at the Australian Championships in Perth. But in Year 12, when competing to be selected again for nationals, I was struck with serious heat illness. The resulting complications saw me bed-ridden for about nine months and in-and-out of hospital for about six. I gained about 30kg and, when I was able to begin exercising again, was given the advice that I would never be able to cope with the hard regimes of triathlon training. I had to choose one aspect of triathlons. I chose cycling.

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Kym in her Total Rush Hyster kit with her game-face on.

How did your cycling progress from there? What do you enjoy about it? I road cycled in Brisbane from the age of 19 to 21, but at 21 I started my career as a police officer within the QLD Police Service and didn’t ride my bike again until I moved to Townsville four years ago. Noticing how many riders were around and how lovely a town it was for cycling, I immediately wiped the cobwebs off my old Alloy Cannondale road bike. I’m amazed at the friendships I have made, plus I love the social side of it and the drive to be strong enough to keep up with the strong fast boys in Townsville.

“I can honestly say it was the toughest race/ride I have ever done. After doing the Townsville Four Peaks Challenge in August last year with a great bunch of seven guys, I didn’t think anything could be more challenging, but this race proved me wrong”

We’ve also seen you on the mountain bike – how serious are you about that? I am a very social mountain biker – I’ve only really gone mountain biking about 20 times in my whole life and competed in my first mountain bike race ever at the end of last year in the Dam Dark 12-Hour with two friends Rhona MacPherson and Jacqui Doyle. It was a lot of fun and, although I haven’t got myself a good mountain bike yet, I’m keen to do a lot more mountain biking this year if I can fit it in with all the road training and my two careers.

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With Mum and Stepdad – Chris and Terry Byrne – for the ANZAC Day march.

What’s your proudest achievement on wheels to-date? There are two that stand out: In 1998 I competed in the QLD Team Time Trial Championships alongside Commonwealth Games gold medalist Rachel Victor and Brownyn Evans, also a very talented cyclist, and we won GOLD. The second one was competing as a team member for the amazing Ruth Corset [National Road Series Champion and Townsville local] this year in January in Geelong for the NRS Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

What was that like? It was an absolutely amazing experience. I can honestly say it was the toughest race/ride I have ever done. After doing the Townsville Four Peaks Challenge [Paluma, Herveys Range, Mt Stuart, Castle Hill - 258km] in August last year with a great bunch of seven guys, I didn’t think anything could be more challenging, but this race proved me wrong. I was very relieved when I was reunited with my teammate Ruth after I crossed the line and the first thing she said to me was, “I actually thought of you Kymmy during the race: I felt bad that this was the first NRS race because it would be the toughest one I have ever done”. Now, coming from the NRS winner for 2012 and 2014, let’s just say it made me feel a little better with how I went!

Smashing it with the boys in the epic Four Peaks Challenge - 258km.

Smashing it with the boys in the epic Four Peaks Challenge – 258km.

First of all, the calibre of riders was extraordinary. I believe the current world champion female cyclist was on the start line; there were three world-ranking ladies’ teams competing (GreenEDGE, Roxsolt and Wiggle Honda), and there were no individual entrants. I remember leaving our team hotel and riding to the staging area and thinking to myself, “Wow this must be a very high profile race”. Then our team got called up to the stage and we were introduced one-by-one and had to sign underneath our race number on the big stage while our GC [General Classification - the rider who has the fastest time when all the stage results are added together] rider Ruth Corset got interviewed. I was immediately nervous and questioning whether I was up for a race like this one.

The race was particularly challenging due to the weather conditions: There were 20-30 km/h headwinds and crosswinds, which caused problems with the peloton and there were several crashes during the race. I unfortunately got caught up with the first crash at the rear of the peloton, which caused the group to split and lose sight of the lead bunch. This was about 30km into the race. I continued to attempt to catch the lead bunch with another four riders, but even though we worked well together and got very close, the winds just caused us too much havoc and unfortunately couldn’t just get there. It was a tough 130km with a lot of hard long steep climbs. Due to a lot of inconsistency on the bike due to police and army work trips away I felt I could had done a lot better with more training and better preparation, but it was my first NRS and I have gained a lot of experience and learnt a lot that I can take into this tour in Adelaide [the 2015 Jayco Adelaide Tour is from April 9 to 12 and is held in four stages].

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A quick selfie with Cadel.

Where do you want to take your riding ultimately? I would like to continue to train with Ruth and be the best riding teammate I possibly can be for her and the team Total Rush Hyster. I would also like to compete and be competitive at the Australian Defence Cycling Championships and at the National Masters Road Race in the near future. Next year I’d like to do a lot more mountain bike races if I can fit it in with my already hectic life.

“I think more ladies are riding because of the friendliness and positive encouragement they are receiving from other female cyclists in Townsville and they are realising what a wonderful social sport it is”

What benefits are you noticing from your new training? Even though I have never felt as much pain in my legs as I have training with Ruth these past four weeks, I have felt the benefits and rewards already. I feel the fittest I have in a very long time and I am enjoying not only the structured training, but the company as well. I am excited to see how I feel in a couple more months and how I go in the Adelaide Tour and Battle of the Border at the end of May. The structured training has involved A LOT of hills: I have probably ridden more hills in the last four weeks than I have in the four years I have lived in Townsville, but we also do a lot of other structured training so there is a variety which makes it fun and exciting.

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In Adelaide this weekend for the Jayco Adelaide Tour.

What challenges are you currently working to overcome? Being able to manage riding and training at a NRS level with working as a police officer on a 24-hour shift work roster, and also the demands and commitment I have as a soldier within the Australian Army Reserves; but I just try and do my best and really enjoy it. I wouldn’t be able to do it without the amazing support of my partner.

Do you think more women are getting into riding in Townsville? Yes, definitely. I have lived in Townsville since 2010 and in the four years I have noticed a massive difference in ladies cycling. I remember when I first started cycling in Townsville I’d hardly see another female, but when I go for a ride now I see plenty and the majority of cyclists at the coffee shop are females – it’s great to see. There are a lot of great ladies in town that encourage girls to get out riding, which is great. Deborah Latouf and Gill O’Malley are two who have especially contributed to this. I think more ladies are riding because of the friendliness and positive encouragement they are receiving from other female cyclists in Townsville and they are realising what a wonderful social sport it is.

Any tips for women in particular? The biggest tip I can give in both mountain biking and road cycling is to enjoy what you do, have fun and be safe. Adhere to the road rules, ride in bunches where possible and make sure you get your bike serviced regularly so it’s in good working condition.

Any training advice you wished you’d listened to? From my cycling and training experience, the best training tip is to ensure you cycle with a high cadence, preferably between 90 to 100 reps/minute. Several champion cyclists have given me this advice and I have noticed a massive difference in my cycling once I stuck to this.

“I played rugby union at a high level and once toured Fiji for two weeks and got to play against the Fiji World Cup team… at the start of the second half [I] scored our only try, which won us the game”

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Kym competing in the Police Winter Games.

What other activities do you do besides riding? I love running, playing rugby league, rugby union, soccer and AFL. I have played rugby union and AFL for the Australian Army. I love spending time with my partner, going to the movies, spending time with the dogs, trail running and eating good yummy food. I also love snowboarding and wake boarding when I can.

Do you have any particularly memorable moments in sport? Yes I do – it’s not to do with cycling though. I played rugby union at a high level and once toured Fiji for two weeks and got to play against the Fiji World Cup team. There was one game where I come off the bench as a utility player at the start of the second half and scored our only try, which won us the game (which was the only game we actually won in the whole tour). I also played soccer for six years when I lived in Hervey Bay. It was quite a competitive sport and there were about 10 to 12 ladies teams. We made the grand final five years in a row, however the first four years we were nicknamed ‘Chokers’ as we’d always lose the big final. However, in 2009 we were finally the champions. Being so close to the majority of the team and sticking together through all our losses made it a very memorable moment for me, and one I will never forget.

“I am very passionate about being a loyal and honest person and being the best partner and friend I could possibly be. I just love people: I get a lot out of life making friends and making people happy”

What’s your favourite thing to do on a weekend in Townsville? Juggling two careers, I unfortunately don’t get many weekends to myself, but – if I do get a weekend off – I love spending the mornings doing a long tough ride, then going for a nice breakfast with my partner and friends, going to see a movie and wining and dining with good mates. I also enjoy going fishing and crabbing with friends, camping and 4WDing.

Tell us something that people don’t know about you. I love making people happy. It brightens my day knowing that I may have impacted someone in a positive way and brought a smile to someone’s face. Another thing: Even though I have been overseas about 20 times and flown about 1000 times on a plane, I am scared of flying and I hate small spaces. Similarly, despite the face I have a reputation of being very loud and talking a lot, I do love quiet time and just chilling on my beanbag watching TV. I am very passionate about being a loyal and honest person and being the best partner and friend I could possibly be. I just love people: I get a lot out of life making friends and making people happy.

Get involved

Find out how you can build your cycling skills through the low cost and free sessions that we are running in partnership with Top Brand Cycles, Townsville Cycle Club and Rockwheelers Mountain Bike Club as part of the Women in Cycling Series.

Update after Stage 1 of the 2015 Jayco Adelaide Tour

Kym with training buddy and mentor NRS Champion Ruth Corset. Ruth is wearing the King of the Mountain points Jersey which she won today.

Kym with training buddy and mentor NRS Champion Ruth Corset. Ruth is wearing the King of the Mountain points Jersey which she won today.

April 9, 2015: Finishing the first of the four stages, Kim said: “Today went really well. I managed to stay in touch with Ruth and the leaders after the first big climb (Checkers Hill), and then Ruth gave me the job of driving the front down the gorge descent which is approx 10kms – this gave Ruth fresh legs going into the big climb of the day (Corkscrew). She won King of the Mountain, and then it was only a 6km descent to the finish.

“My legs were pretty spent going into the climb, but I managed to hold position pretty well, and only ended up 1 min 49 secs down from the leader – three stages to go!”. Here are the results from Stage 1 (note: the lead riders, including Ruth, took a wrong turn just before the finish line).

April 10, 2015: Here are the results from Stage 2 of the 2015 Jayco Adelaide Tour.

April 11, 2015: The Stage 3 results are here. With both Kym and Ruth finishing in the lead bunch, Ruth said: “It was a fast, aggressive race. I won both KOM and broke away on last lap with another rider, but was chased down. We’ve got a good plan for tomorrow so keen to give it 100%. Very proud of our Kymmy – she’s just going to get better and better with more race experience.”

April 12, 2015: Here are the results from Stage 4 – the last stage – of the 2015 Jayco Adelaide Tour.

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Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz is combining two of her great loves — writing and getting active. Previously working as a journalist, sub-editor, and editor in newspapers and magazines; she is editor and co-founder of TheGo Townsville. She stays active with the staples of road cycling and yoga, but has recently discovered triathlon. And become addicted (apart from the swimming part). She also has a Cert III in Fitness and is passionate about improving mental health through physical activity.

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