U.S. Paralympics Cyc... Features Chris Murphy Doubles...

Chris Murphy Doubles Down On Training During Postponement

By Sheridan Powell | Sept. 14, 2020, 5:28 p.m. (ET)

Christopher Murphy competes in the Mixed C1-5 750m Team Sprint Time Track Cycling at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on Sept. 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

Chris Murphy was stuck in Southern California traffic the first time he considered getting into cycling. On the way home from his part-time job in the city, he was tired of spending so much extra time in his car.

“I remember it so well. Some guy on a tri-bike just went by in the bike lane, someone that I’ll never see again. But seeing him made me realize that cycling would be a way better use of my time,” Murphy explained. 

After visiting a local bike shop and picking out his first bike, Murphy realized just how much he liked riding. He began to ride at night after work, sometimes going as late as 10 p.m. to avoid the California summer heat. 

One day he came across an article about an Australian Para-cyclist who had a successful professional career, world records on the track, and similar nerve damage as Murphy. This opened up the possibility of competitive riding for Murphy, something he hadn’t considered until then. 

“I just started looking into it further and entering local races,” Murphy explained. “I signed up for my first Nationals in 2013 and did well enough to get on the radar for the U.S. Paralympics Cycling National Team.” 

From there, Murphy qualified for his first national team and has been competing ever since. To date, Murphy has seven world championship medals and qualified for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio.

I’m going to turn some heads at the next international competition.

Off the track, Murphy is an experienced musician. He first picked up an instrument in the 7th grade, where he landed on the trombone. As the most ‘right-handed’ instrument he could find, Murphy was able to play despite nerve damage in his left arm. 

He pursued music in college, earning a music degree in trombone performance - even working as a musician for more than 10 years. Although work and training don’t leave much room currently for work in music, Murphy sees a future in which he will return to playing and teaching music. 

“All of that knowledge isn’t really doing anything right now, it’s sitting unused in my head,” Murphy laughed. “So I’d really like an opportunity to relay all of that experience and knowledge to people in the future again.” 

While some adjustments with the postponement of the Paralympics have been difficult, Murphy admits that for him personally, it is probably for the better. He’s been able to dedicate more time to training, with a focus on strength and conditioning. Murphy even built his own home gym in his garage while facilities and training centers were still closed. 

“I’ve actually found an enjoyment of conditioning that I didn’t know I had,” he laughed. “I’ve been taking a pretty deep dive into it, understanding it as a sport itself, rather than just a supplement to cycling.” 

He’s dedicated a lot of time to his gym - both in building his own platforms and setups, and in gaining understanding of lifting as a sport in and of itself. Murphy hopes that the extra focus on conditioning and training will pay off when competitions finally return. 

“I don’t want to say anything definitively and come off as arrogant, but I really think I’ve made a lot of progress. I’m going to turn some heads at the next international competition.” 

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Chris Murphy