It was a very wet and grey Friday 13th when I drove out to Trinity Beach to talk bikes with Linc Carolan. As I turned onto his street my eyes scanned the letter boxes ahead, attempting to read numbers. It wasn't long before my attention was caught by a lone shirtless figure standing in a driveway, a mountain bike carefully perched from a workstand in-front of him, cleaning brush in-hand. The beard confirmed his identity!
Stepping into Linc's garage, it was apparent that I was entering the home of a cycling family. Three meticulous Trek road bikes and one Trek Superfly hardtail adorned one wall, with the now glistening black Trek Fuel duallie carefully parked alongside them, it's wet wheel marks the tell-tale sign of a recent outdoor adventure. A strategically placed shoe rack filled with cycling and running shoes hung beside the entrance to the house, allowing for sock-clad feet to remain clean on polished white tiles.
Cycle FNQ: Who is Linc Carolan?
Linc: ... a layed-back, friendly and approachable guy who happens to be a Police Officer. I've been married, geez I better get this right, 13yrs. My wife Lara and I have a ten-year old daughter Bel. In the last four years I have become bike-obsessed.
Cycle FNQ: How did cycling find you?
Linc: Four years ago I walked into Discovery Cycles (Smithfield) with a $400 budget and spoke with Larry Lanza about a bike to ride to the shops. Larry explained that for $700 I could get a half-decent bike to ride World-class mountain bike trails. So, I walked out of there with a $700 Felt 27sp mountain bike.
Cycle FNQ: Matters of the heart - dirt or road?
Linc: Definitely dirt. Road riding is for training and dirt is for fun. I try to ride everyday, including on the trainer. In a typical week I'd probably spend about 4hrs on the road, 6hrs on the trainer, and up to four days on the dirt.
Cycle FNQ: What is your view on sock height?
Linc: (Laughs) I had no idea until it was recently pointed out to me. I just go into a bike shop and buy socks that have a mountain bike brand on them ... sometimes they happen to be too short.
Cycle FNQ: After a successful 2014 season, what are your goals for 2015?
Linc: My biggest target is the Crocodile Trophy as part of a Discovery Cycles team. I am also stepping-up to race in the Elite Category (from Veteran) in Cairns and Townsville XC events. I would also like to improve on my seventh-place finish at the RRR. I'll probably race everything I can, from XC to enduro, and the last round of the National XC Series in Toowoomba.
Cycle FNQ: Do you have a favourite or stand-out event for 2014?
Linc: The Dam Dark 12hr at Ross Dam in Townsville (my favourite too - Ed). The atmosphere, course, organisation, and winning overall as a mixed team of two with Sarah Kaehler (Team Discovery Cycles).
Cycle FNQ: What is your weapon(s) of choice to reach those goals?
Linc: Thanks to my sponsors at Discovery Cycles, I'm racing a custom Trek Fuel 9.9 for all events. It's a 120mm dual-suspension trail bike with a full SRAM XX1 build running a 32T front chainring, Shimano XTR Race brakes, Bontrager RXL wheels with Bontrager XR3 tyres (front and rear). It currently has a RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper seatpost fitted, but that gets removed for racing.
Cycle FNQ: Do you have any unusual/specific bike setup requirements?
Linc: I normally strip my bike and weigh the components (self-professed weight weenie). I run a shorter stem than most at 80mm. I also reverse my setback seatpost (just like his idol Emily Batty). Tyre pressures are 25psi rear and 23psi front - pople often comment that my tyres look flat. Oh, and the fact I race a 120mm travel duallie (most xc bikes have 100mm or less of travel).
Cycle FNQ: What goes through your mind prior to each event? Do you have a pre-race routine or rituals?
Linc: The night before an event I wash then polish my bike with wax. I figure if I do something nice for my bike it will do something nice for me. As a pre-race meal I eat poached eggs on toast three hours before start, washed down with electrolyte. To get the most out of myself I must warm-up to near exhaustion. Finally, I have a gel on the start-line.
Cycle FNQ: What advice would you offer newcomers to cycling?
Linc: Buy the best bike you can afford. Once you start (cycling) it's like a drug. You become addicted and want to upgrade. You won't regret it.
Cycle FNQ: Beards. Is there a correlation between beard length and performance?
Linc: My beard grew out of laziness and being on holidays. In the Police your beard must be at least six weeks old (i.e. grown on your own time, not at work). The beard definitely cannot be too manicured. Keep it tidy, but with a bit of scruff.
Cycle FNQ: Is the beard going to get any longer?
Lara: (From across the kitchen) HELL NO.
Linc: The beard is definitely staying though.
Cycle FNQ: Your team mate Wayne Evans has one question for you ... Will you cope with the pressure of stepping-up to Elite Category this year?
Linc: I hope so. If I can ride half as good as Wayne Evans I will be happy.
It takes great commitment and sacrifice for riders to reach the start line of every event. As such Linc would like to thank his family for their sensational support - it seems Lara has perfected bottle exchanges at drink stations, and has been offering advice to other support crews to reduce spillage and time.
Linc would also like to thank Discovery Cycles for their continued sponsorship, and for keeping his bike tuned and race-ready.