Low Profile - Paul Winter

Paul riding a Club '10'

Now here's a man who's determined to get maximum enjoyment out of life! Given Paul's penchant for wine, women, song and sport (possibly not in that order), it's a wonder he ever has time to get out on the bike!

Who was number one in the charts when you were born ?
I donít know if they had charts that long ago! [No, they hadn't even thought of it - Ed] Alma Cogan was pretty popular around 1952 though, so if you know anyone of that ilk, aged over forty five, they are the equivalent of the Kylies of the 1980s.

When and where were you born ?
In time for breakfast (I've never been late for a meal since) on the 7th of July 1949 at Llwyn-y-Pia in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales.

When did you start cycling and what was your first club ?
1993(?) with Ythan CC.

What was your first race ?
The 20 Mile hilly at Ellon (I think in '94).

What was your first win ?
Iím still working towards it, although I have collected silverware at athletics and at a novice triathlon.

What was your last win ?
I think it was the novice triathlon at Alford (circa '92/93).

What is your favourite food ?
This has to be potatoes. Iíll eat any kind of foreign muck as long as I get my daily ration of spuds.

What is your favourite drink ?
Fruit juice diluted with white spirits (gin, vodka, Bacardi etc., not the stuff you clean paintbrushes with).

What was the first record you ever bought ?
Something by Roy Orbison or the Beatles, Iím not sure which, but I still hold my younger sister in contempt, because she lent it to her boyfriend and I havenít seen it since.

And your favourite song ?
This is a hard one! I like almost anything that combines good music and lyrics. I suppose Mandolin Wind by Rod Stewart would be pretty high on the list.

What were you like at school ?
A survivor Ė just. Mostly scared witless and bored, which would seem an unusual combination and I believe is only found in schools staffed by the dregs of the teaching profession and pupilated [sic] by thugs.

What kind of books do you read ?
Things to do with science! In the past Iíve read everything that Leslie Thomas, C.S.Forester, J.R.R.Tolkien and a host of other people have written, and probably everything that Gollanze published prior to 1974. More recently, Iíve read ten years worth of New Scientist and Scientific American and almost every biology course that the Open University does.

Do you have a favourite TV programme ?
No, I donít have the attention span to be a good telly watcher, although I do like anarchic comedy and current affairs programs.

And your favourite film ?
Again, my attention span gets in the way. Iíve been to the cinema twice since 1977 although that Steven Spielberg film about the English kid lost in China during WW2 [that'll be Empire Of The Sun - Ed] held my attention for a while when it was shown on telly (addendum - Iíve just been to see the new Star Wars film Ė it was worth watching).

Which newspaper do you read ?
The Sunday Observer, although I normally Ďbiní the arts section without opening it. Tariq Ali and Carlos the Jackal are kindergarten teachers compared to Nick Cohen, one of the Observer's columnists.

Whatís your ideal holiday destination ?
Three metres of snow, Rossignol skis, no queues, cheap booze and lots of women in bum-hugging ski-pants Ė Austria often fits the bill nicely, otherwise I plum for somewhere hot and humid.

How do you relax ?
Misbehaving in a pub.

What is your greatest fear ?
Being old and in pain and relying on other people to accommodate bodily functions.

How would you describe yourself in a lonely hearts ad ?
Wicked shag, into horny bitches, adventure sports and booze.

What is your favourite training ride ?
Gleaning technical expertise from watching the ladies' Tour de France! If thatís considered an incorrect answer, my second favourite is doing aerobic sessions, i.e. about five minutes pushing hard, a couple of minutes recovery and then repeat the exercise for about 20 miles in all. I tend not to care too much about where exactly I do it. I suppose though that after the miles Iíve run around helidecks offshore, itís pretty easy to Ďswitch offí and just concentrate on the training exercise.

What is your best personal achievement ?
Probably coming out as top student on my saturation diving course. There were boffins and ex special forces people on it, and I got better results than everyone, on both the practical and theory Ė not bad for a ragged arsed kid from the Rhondda Valley I thought.

What is the highlight of your life to date ?
Going into the water at night in the Persian Gulf to remove a redundant welding habitat, when all the other divers had Ďbottledí it because there was a large hammerhead shark prowling around. Boy, I got some street-cred for that, although I got some stick off the superintendent because he thought I'd lost a spanner Ė I hadnít; I had it tied to my wrist with a bit of string so I could whack the bloody fish with it if I had to.

Do you have time for hobbies ?
If studying with the Open University is a hobby then yes. Otherwise, sports (running, white-water kayaking, skiing, hill-walking, squash and of course cycling) take up most of my time.

Who would you like to play you in the film of your life ?
Iím afraid my almost total ignorance of the world of light entertainment results in my being at a loss to answer this.

What is you most unpleasant characteristic ?
Misplaced self-confidence bordering on total arrogance.

Who would you most like to meet ?
I think Janis Joplin would have been pretty cool to hang out with. I think these self destructive, talented types are a good crack, plus she always knew where the best parties were.

What was your most embarrassing moment ?
Iím not telling you! Actually Iím not sure. I think the arrogance gets in the way of embarrassing moments.

What's your ideal job ?
Either a professional athlete, or a biological scientist.

Who is your hero ?
In his heyday, Brendan Foster was asked by a journalist (yuck), if he considered himself the best 10,000 metre runner in the world. His reply that he didnít consider himself the best athlete in his home town of Gateshead even, put him pretty high on my list of OK people.

Four words to describe yourself ?
Romantic, well-intentioned incompetent.

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