Maggie Coles-Lyster Interview

Track cycling photo credit (excl. the left most pic): Stirl and Rae Media Haus

 

James here from Ryders. Recently, we were able to partner up with Maggie Coles-Lyster. She was a Junior Track World Champion in 2017, a Pan Am silver medalist in 2019, and podiumed on many elite-world races. She is an unstoppable force on the world stage. YES! She is a Ryders Eyewear super-fan. She will be representing Ryders in track cycling. Everyone here at Ryders is super excited.  I interviewed Maggie Coles-Lyster just recently and it was enlightening. Read on!

 

James:

Who is the person you most look up to in the world of track cycling? And, why?

 

Maggie:

The person I look up to the most in track cycling is Laura Kenny, who races for the British team. She is a 4 time Olympic Gold Medallist on the track, and arguably one of the greatest sportswomen of all time. She first won gold at the 2012 Olympics, right as I was getting into track cycling and watching her dominate the world of cycling has always inspired me to one day be like her, wearing multiple Olympic Gold Medals around my neck. It is pretty surreal going from looking up to her, to now racing against her; it really becomes a mind game telling yourself you are essentially racing to beat the fastest in the world!

 

James:

Racing against your idol is definitely surreal. Wow. Next question:
What or who inspired you to start track cycling? How did he/she or it inspire you?

 

Maggie:

I started cycling when I was 8 years old, and started in 2 disciplines- road racing and a discipline called cyclocross. I was very fast and very successful early on in my life, and when I was 12 years old I was taken under the wing of one of Canada’s former National Team track coaches, Jeremy Storie. Even at that young of an age, he really believed in me and saw my potential as one of Canada’s top cyclists, so as soon as I was big enough to fit the rental track bikes, he got me out on the boards, training and racing with some of Canada’s Olympic riders. Unfortunately, he passed away when I was only 14, but I accredit a lot of my confidence that I will be an Olympic Gold Medallist to him and his belief in me and my abilities. After he passed, my dad took over as my coach and we have been an unstoppable force since!

 

James:

It is great to hear you had a great coach before and a great coach now. It is sad to know that your previous coach passed away. I’m sure that Jeremy would be proud of your accomplishments. With so many different locations for races, you must travel a lot. Which city do you like the most? Why?

 

Maggie:

I feel like I am constantly on the road, travelling and living in various places around the world. I calculated that in 2019, I only spent a total of about 3 months at home, sleeping in my own bed! No regrets though- if I end up in one place for more than 3 weeks, I find myself going stir crazy and looking ahead to my next adventure! Out of all of the cities I have raced in, the most unique experience was probably in Moscow, Russia. I only spent three days there, as I hit the ground running the day before the race started, and was scrambling to find people to borrow equipment from as the airline had lost my bikes and suitcase! As cities go, much to my surprise, Moscow was the cleanest city I have ever seen. Not a piece of trash anywhere, or a single stray animal walking around. Red Square, the main center was absolutely breathtaking with the old, colourful architecture, which was stark in contrast to the serious nature of the people we met and the post-soviet grey, cement buildings. Like many places where cycling takes me, Moscow was probably not somewhere I would have picked to go on vacation, so I feel very fortunate that cycling took me to this iconic city.

 

James:

Moscow. It is a surprise. May your travels bring you back to Moscow in the future. What is your long-term goal in track cycling?

 

Maggie: 

Gold!!! I want to be riding around the track in Paris at the 2024 Olympics with my arms in the air and the crowd screaming my name. Probably the LA 2028 Olympics too. I want to be one the most successful track racer of all time, and while the Olympics is the biggest deal in sports, equally renowned and worshipped in cycling are the World Championships that happen every year along the way. As a junior rider (under 18) I was the 2017 Junior Track World Champion, and that was one of the most amazing feelings of my career, and why I spend most of my days pushing my body to limits beyond what I even think I could do, to chase this big dream.

 

James:

I can definitely see you winning a few gold medals in the future. You’ve just started your sports career in track cycling so you have many years and chances ahead of you. I've heard that you love animals. What animals do you enjoy being in the company with? And, do you have pets?

 

Maggie:

Animals have always been a huge part of my life. My first love since the age of five was horse-back riding. Before getting very serious in cycling, I competed for years in show jumping and dressage and loved it. I still ride, but just for fun now. I would love to compete again though! I have a puppy named Hazel, and have ridden a horse named Elmo for years now. I am also a total fish nerd! I have always had a hobby aquarium at home and am captivated by marine life. Post cycling, I aspire to finish school in veterinary medicine and specialize in marine life to be able to work with rescue and rehabilitation animals.

 

James:

What a coincidence. Marine fish. I have a 140G marine tank and I totally see how marine life and aquariums can captivate anyone. You probably have a ton of memorable moments in racing. What was the most memorable moment and why is it so?

 

Maggie:

The most memorable race of my career so far was winning the Junior Track World Championships (or “rainbow stripes” as they call it) in 2017 at a track in Aigle, Switzerland. I had won silver in another event the day before, and dreamt that night about winning gold in my next track race the following day. I was ready to go into battle for that medal, and a battle it was. The race was 80 laps long of a 250 meter track, and track racing is very aggressive and should probably be considered a full contact sport. There is lots of bumping and pushing as riders ride shoulder to shoulder, travelling at almost 50kph on bikes with no brakes. Needless to say, crashes can be quite common. A mere 10 laps into the race, my wheel touched another riders and we crashed. My coach and mechanic ran over to me with a spare bike and wheels, picked me up off the ground, brushed off the splinters, put me back on my bike and shoved me back into the race. All went well for the next 60 laps, and I was in the lead and almost had the win locked down, when, with only 10 laps to go a rider flipped over bars in front of me and crashed. With no brakes and riders on either side of me, I had nowhere to go except right over. So again, for the second time in 20 minutes, I hit the deck hard. This time, my bike was completely snapped in half and if I wanted to get that gold medal, I would, once again, have to grin and bear the pain and get myself back in that race. And despite the large splinters covering my legs and back, the bleeding road rash and bruises, and riding my teammates bike, I sprinted my way to a World Championship title! This is a memory that will not only stick with me because of the victory, but because of the feeling of being that tenacious and tough and how badly I wanted to win, and made it happen.


James:

What a story! You wiped out twice but STILL managed to win gold. NICE! Now, I have to ask: what is your favourite eyewear for racing?

 

Maggie:

The Roam FYRE optics have been my number one’s since I started wearing Ryders three years ago. The FYRE lens ability to change colour instantly in different lighting situations has made them such a great asset to me on the track, as every track is unique in how brightly lit it is, so this way I’m prepared for everything. Another crucial feature they have is their NXT LENS technology, which makes them extra impact resistant. I have had some big crashes on the track, and fallen on my face a fair share of times, hard enough to break the bones in my cheek, but the Roams have always managed to keep my eyes and skin protected, with barely a scratch on the lens. For this reason, you’ll never see me racing on the track without this stylish, safety essential.

 

James:

It is good to know that Ryders protected your eyes, but definitely please be careful out there. What about your favourite eyewear for leisure?

 

Maggie:

A newer addition to my glasses collection, but have quickly become the pair that’s always on my head or in my backpack- the Corsair. The perfect sunnies that still have a sporty flair to them, with the class of the aviator style. My favourite travel glasses, as I can throw them on to go to the gym or with a nice dress for an evening out. 100% UV400 protection, and a small fit that fits my face perfectly. When I brought them home, my mom and sisters tried them on and instantly wanted a pair as well, as finding a smaller fighting, stylish aviator glasses has always been a struggle before!

 

James:

The Corsair is a great choice for casual-wear. Outside of racing, what are your favourite hobbies?


Maggie:

I guess this is technically still a form of training, but outside of racing I love fitness and yoga! Yoga has probably been one of the most game changing practices I have introduced into my daily routine, benefiting both the mind and body. I am now working on my Yoga Teacher Training certificate, along with studying to be an ACE certified Personal Trainer. Like I mentioned earlier, I am an aquarium hobbyist and love hitting the trails horse back when I find a spare moment. In other words, maybe my hobby is keeping myself as busy as possible? Haha. 

 

James:

It sounds like some of your hobbies also involve some sort of exercise. Your work and play are the same. I am envious! What are your plans for track cycling in 2020?   

 

Maggie:

The track season runs from October to April, so my track season is already underway, and I have already had some big successes. I have committed this year to race in a series called SixDay Cycling. It is a prestigious series of track races that happen all over the world, and as a rider, you get invited to go race them. The racing takes place for 3-6 days in a row and happens between 5pm and 1am everyday. The stadium fills with thousands of spectators, and it is basically one big party with light shows, fireworks, DJs and food with track racing as the main act. As riders, we also get points that go towards our world ranking, and get to experience the highest level of racing against some of the best in the world. In January, I raced one of the oldest, biggest SixDays in Berlin, and came away with multiple top 5 placings, racing against olympians, olympic medallists and world champions! On top of the SixDays, I will be working to qualify for the 2021 World Cups and World Championships.

 

James:

Top 5 against elite competitors is impressive. I wish you the best of luck for the rest of the season. Well Maggie, thank you for the interview. I really appreciate it!

 

 

 

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