About Me

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Bryan McCrystal is an athlete thats likes all kinds of sport, for the moment cycling on the Irish national circuit is what he does. 
Bryan is married to Karen and two children Rian and Eire.
Both Bryan and Karen work in their jewellers MINT in dundalk, Co Louth

Sunday, December 27, 2015

December wisdom..

Why do we do it?... Endless self F-ings off.. endless ' tomorrow the 'diet starts '... You promised yourself on the 20th of december this wasnt going to happen.. now you lie in a pool of obese shit... as I said to Rob cummins, the fuck it switch has been pressed.. actually its on an automated timer going off  every hour and your belly is that sore from  food it  doesn't know what end to come out..

But hey that happen last year too and im guessing the year before.. But there is Hope and its called January.. January is the month of retribution.. So its happened, you've neglected sessions, you've drank a little in excess and certainly didnt need 3rd helpings at diner...

All that said I think its important to go there.. feel like crap now because  when the important time of year comes around feeling good feels  Fricken Awesome.. 

When you're ready give yourself 2/3 days of no training to get your food plan right. Get the sugar cravings out of your system by eating clean . Now you'll be ready to get back into it. Train aerobically for 2 weeks and go short and hard for 4 weeks after(HIIT). Now would be the right time to get into volume. 

Short words of wisdom I hope saves you from tearing your own head off..

Monday, November 23, 2015

Ironman Arizona

If somebody told me in January that I'd do an ironman in October I'd of laughed. If they would have told me I'd do another ironman 5 weeks after that I'd of called the men in white coats to take that person away.  And while some might think I methodically planned the season,  I'm sorry I'm not that smart.
So here I stood, Tempe beach Park scottsdale arizona. One question, why?  To improve and execute a better race than I did in Barcelona. More importantly I got a green light from home. 

We all have the answers before and after the race but during a race is what matters.  I was extremely pleased with Barcelona but there was some regrets in decisions I made and a few what ifs. Going to arizona would be a challenge. I flew out on Thursday and raced Sunday. Not ideal but nothing to worry about. Owen Martin was there and the company was great for both of us. We had different goals with  Owen wanting to get his Kona ticket and I... Well what did I want exactly. A faster time maybe.. There I said it, I was to chase the clock.  I speak too often about not racing for time and race for position but Arizona I felt I could achieve 8:20's status. That was my target. I felt I could swim sub 1 hour and bike relatively the same in Barcelona and hopefully around  3 hours for the run.
I raced in the professional category again. I seem to have a knack of picking the races where the field is stacked with talent. Any one of 5/6 could win(I wasnt one of those!!!) and then about 20/30 lads jostling for first page  on the result sheet. Top 20 would be a realistic goal I felt.

Swimming in Dark Holes
Ironman is very much  an eventful day and you're tossed curve ball after curve ball. My first came as we entered the water. I says to the Dutch guy I know. "It's a little dark".. He says.." that's why I wear no goggles ".. Oh dear.  I had a brand new pair of roka mirrored lense goggles and when I put them on it was like looking into a black hole. But there was no way I was throwing them away, they were nearly 50 quid!. I had to use my instinct and follow feet and hope they went straight. Trouble is the I held onto those feet for all of 10 meters. 
The sun did rise before the turnaround but   I wasn't on it at all. My arms were so tired at the first turnaround. About 10 women swam clean over me.. I've never been abused by so many women in such a short space of time. 1hrs 2 mins. Ah well.. No worse than Barcelona! . I made the biggest rookie mistake here and I didnt realise until Owen pointed it out to me the other day. He asked did I wear my speed suit over my shoulders under my wetsuit. Just as he said it it registered.. The speed suit is really tight and  I basically fought extra resistance for the entire swim. Nothing to do with the speedsuit, just my decision to not wear it around my waist.

I got moving slower in the bike. I was seeing big numbers early on in Barcelona but my legs were singing so I went with it. But to sing for over 4 hrs is difficult and that's what I needed to fix. Plan was to get my heart rate in the 140's. I never seem to Roll into the next race with the same  set up. For this race I changed  wheels, tires, tire pressure, bottle placement, helmet,shoes, trisuit... Basically everything.

I  rode 10 watts less than Barcelona for the first couple of hours . I wanted to be more consistent.. The urge to push was there but I stayed in control and saw myself in around 30th place.. Right, time to go to work. The bike felt great, I was rolling smooth and felt happy with the few changes. After the race Bob at cyclepowermeters.com gave me a call and took my data from the bike leg. He did this also for Barca. He calculated my cda (aerodynamics).. came in at .25. This is why I changed set up because my CDA for barcelona was .32.. Too much he said , I needed to be in and around .25. not too aero but aero enough to enable a healthy run!. I knew I was more aero and I got the pressure in my tires just right. It felt so smooth.

 The distance can always get you  and I'll admit I had a bad patch around 85 mile.. It came out of nowhere, I needed to pee really bad and I had difficulty. I also felt at this point a little hungry and it wasn't a good sign.  The weather wasnt hot, rather cold with rain hitting us at this point. I needed more calories because in the cold your body burns more calories. Always important to eat more.  I had to make  a decision, at the 90 mile turnaround I basically stopped to make sure I got a few bananas and liquid from the aid station,  I then stood on the pedals and thought... Big flowy fountains, big flowy fountains... With difficulty the fountain arrived. Such relief. Up until that point for the 40km splits I rode. 56mins,55 mins, 54 mins,  the 4th was 60 mins.  That episode cost me 5 mins but in hindsight it would've cost me the race had I not dealt with it.
I was happy that I picked it up for the final 10 mile and finished strong. I knew I was well up at this stage.

Running in the rain.. in the dessert!!
I did not want to run but who does after 112 mile on the bike but on exiting t2 the winner of Barcelona tore out like a man possessed. I on the other hand looked like I was out for a Sunday run. And that's exactly what my plan was. Again learning from Barcelona I wanted to build into it and not let my legs lead me into a false sense of what's really going on. It wasn't great but somehow I was moving OK. I changed my running technique because of my calf issue in Barcelona.

 Instead of being on my toes I slapped the ground more. There were aid stations at every mile and I fueled at them all bar 3 I'd say. This was leading from not enough calories on the bike. Way too much time wasted. I also needed to pee again and I haven't quite mastered the 'running pee',  I had to stop for this one!! But the clock doesn't stop...It rained for the duration of the run and it was great. Keeping the core temperature down is essential for a big guy like me and even though I do perform well in the heat Ill take the rain any day of the week.
I knew I didn't get the nutrition right but I had to focus on the job in hand. I felt strong and not terribly fast but I started to repass guys that flew past me early on which gave me a lift. We had special needs bags and I really needed it. I had a banana and about 16oz of Asea in it..  As I Passed one guy he was ready to quit and his Mrs shouted he was in 8th place.. Not any more I says!!. Huge boost I got from that.. Jaysus I'm in the money here I thought.. As the finish approached I was gaining on 2 others but ran out of road.
Ironman doesn't play out inside 4/5 hours and your day is never done until you hear Mike Reilly announce 'You are an Ironman'  and it's good to get that reminder again. Having two very bad episodes could have cost me and had I let that filter into my head and not used experience Owen Martin could've been listening to me making all the excuses under the sun Sunday night. Ironman doesn't go smooth, certainly didnt for Owen either but he (and me)  got the job done. See out the day and reflect, good or bad. Owen won his age group, a feat he achieved last year. A true professional performance from him!
Getting back to my 8th place finish... I rang  Karen shortly after.. Both of use elated... "8th..wtf" ..."eh no.. 12th"... Are you sure I said. Pretty sure Karen said back... Ah bollix, here's me thinking I crept into top 10 and earned  some coin to bring home.Well... I'll 12th any day of the week. And if I was in this game for money I'd be broke a long time ago.. I took over ten minutes off Barcelona , not quite 8'20s status but 8:30 will do just fine!

Whats next for Bryan McCrystal?? Cake, buns and Christmas. 
With the Season finally coming to a close I want the thank a few people. Asea Corporate for believing in this team last year and supporting us in achieving lifelong goals. Also Mildred and john McMinn for the endless work behind the scenes for the team. Sponsors for the team, Niall Clarke Oils, Cyclepowermeters, DMT, Wattbike, Graphix Station, VeloRevolution

Biggest thanks of all to a great bunch of Lads in Team Asea. We had some good and bad days but always met the next challenge head on. Special mention to the Honey badger himself Brendan Grimes. He was at every race possible working tirelessly to ensure us guys were in the best possible shape. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Do you suffer from CB?

Its getting cold and the clocks are going back, every athletes dream.
I can guarantee that the winter warriors have already begun their quest for the perfect 2016 season. (and are probably 6 weeks in!!) If you have you could be on the road to my  diagnosis CB. Cycling burnout!.


''This year is gonna be my year''.. ''Im gonna lose X stone and prove those gobshites wrong..!!''So what happened last year? I tell you.. you were fresh and felt good so you pushed on, that's because you were knackered by july and have been resting since. The cycling calendar started too early(that's a whole other post that'll fall on deaf ears AGAIN).. in the fecking Snow!!! .. So you kept pushing.. you rode outside your comfort zone with friends at the weekend while still holding conversation  and it was still december!.

You feel To improve you must train hard! Its conventional wisdom to think like this. So what happened when the season kicked in... EXACTLY. Weren't able to go with the moves..But you were ready right? or so you thought.. You were averaging 35kph with the lads on Sunday rides. YOU ARE THE STRAVA KING! Whats going on.


I know what went on!.. You felt so good that it was easy to push on. You had no PATIENCE and with no patience comes lack of CONSISTENCY. Two big words that every program needs. So simple but yet so effective. The lack of patience means you need to rest mid cycle both mentally and physically, this stops you getting out thus break in training. Its probably the best advice i can offer. Ive failed but Ive learned..still learning!

Now is your chance to change it up a little, find new ideas. Do you think you eat clean but still a little pudgey??.. Could be alot to do with your training efforts. What else can you do ??, slow down. There is a time and place to go hard but knowing when  can prove difficult.  Find yourself a good coach that understands how training works. There needs to be communication. Emailed programs dont cut it, your coach needs to know YOU. He or she needs to know how you tick..work together! Can you meet for a coffee every now and then. Simple factors..  Do you work night shift??.. how does that affect your sleep pattern???.. Are you cramming in sessions because it says it on the sheet. Are you playing catch up for missed sessions..All these things lead to one result. CB

If it didnt work last year then it probably wont work this year.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Ironman Barcelona...What was I thinking!!

Pickle me bunions and boil them in butter... Im about to do an  Ironman. It only dawned on me that I was actually going to do this thing. ''No matter what happens, it'll be ok'' those were her  parting words... What does that bloody mean!!!

Ironman Barcelona 
3.8km swim - 180km bike - 42.2km run

Why was I doing an Ironman...? a question asked of me many times. What Ive done all year didnt exactly lend itself to perfect Ironman prep... Was it Kona? No..For records?? No/maybe/i'll see!! But does it matter.. Not in the slightest.

I wont  lie.. Running and swimming began mid june. Im older and wiser & I know how to get in shape to swim and run.. all i needed was patience and to annoy Rob Griffths from time to time!! soreness came and went and I quickly saw training numbers I was happy I could compete with. I didn't pick Barcelona because it was a quick course, I picked it because  1- it was easy to get to 2- gave me enough time to get distance in the legs 3- cheap! and 4- my calendar was free.

I love racing Ironman.. Im up against it from the word go. Swimming slower  has me chasing. I love it.. Ive over 4 hours to make up the time..

The race
The swell in the water didnt  work out for me and had me swimming slower than expected but when I saw the clock I accepted it. 1hr 2 min with only  3 sea swims  in as many years might do that to yeah. It could have been alot worse. I was in transition with 2 guys & we all headed out of T1 together. 3km in they waved the white flag and let me go.  Here I've clear road, the 2 lads that exited the water with me  fall back and are out of sight.. my eyes are fixed ahead. I want to be as aerodynamic as possible and hold my upper body still. My legs are the only thing that move. Get the heart rate down..negative.. power high.. but i'm feeling good. This very moment in a bike leg of a triathlon is where everyone crumples up their race plan and fucks it over their shoulder... What was the point coming up with a plan! those endless emails back and forth with the coach !!... what does the coach know!!??. I got this!! Its a mistake we all make but only the really experienced can recover late on if they go too hard. For an  inexperienced guy it could make their day a very long one... So with that..Always listen to your coach!

My heart rate comes down and my power stays high.  Love my Trek and sticking it in 56/13 at 75rpm feels good,  these roads are beautiful.. the extra 10 psi was a good idea. I get a visual of the front pack, then the second, third, fourth, fifth!!! WTF.. how fricken slow was I in the water.. I must of been in 50th place... But i make inroads and by 150km i caught everyone except the front group.. Passing the chase pack had its challenges.. a group of 12 all lined out and bending rules. You wont hear me complain about drafting.. as the fella says.. ''Dont hate the player, hate the game'' and you  have to play the game... 6 min power of 392 watts gets rid of them except  a german guy.. He annoyed me.. Id no motorbike marshal to keep him in check and  he probably could of reached out and took a gel from my pocket had he felt the knock coming!.. after a while I sat up and put him to the front.. paced slowed.. then I called him a pussy and then I went back to the front.. I think the name calling worked because he rode hard after that.. Picked up another german.. another pussy. I made some calculations and knew Id be in t2 around 4:15/18 so I didnt really  ride  for last 20km.. I stayed with the pussys and rolled into t2...

The Run

Id of liked a wee snooze here.. stop the clock and take 15 min power nap..Unfortunately that didnt happen and  50 seconds later I was out running. The Pussys took off as if it were a 10km race.. Good luck lads!.. My goal was 3hrs/3:05.. Id be happy with that and  it would give me sub  8:30.. I can do that i said and I was up to a point..

We have a joke in our team about the ' Bad man '.. You dont want to be talking to the ' bad man ' in a race...But the  ' bad man ' came out and stopped me in my tracks once or twice but all in all i was going rightly.. first half in 1:28:30. I  was right where i wanted to be.. 'Bad man arrived back and his mate 'Stitch'.. that stitch  stopped me dead on the road.. You're going to face challenges like that in ironman. Its how you react.. From here  the run course was getting busy and  I knew some guys passing me out but you have to stay positive and believe in yourself.. They're only going fast because they're on there first lap.. second lap tells a tale. Anyway... I had difficult patches but nothing that would prevent me from a 3hr/3;10 marathon until A sniper from the rooftop of the Volga hotel took my calf out of it. My day was over I thought .. 13km remaining I didnt think id do it.. One second I heard  a voice shouting '' you're motoring Mccrystal'' next thing pop..

I hurt my calf while  out for a light jog the day i landed.. It annoyed me but nothing Id be really worried about but it caught me out and here I had a decision to make. This race was never about the Irish record but suddenly it was.. I never spoke of a record beforehand and certainly didnt take it for granted that i'd get it but im around a good while now to know what im able to do. Studying results and times from competitors Ive raced before gave me an insight of what was realistically  achievable. It was heading that way until the calf issue and had to somehow find a way to get to the line...I tried limping but everything else was seizing so i had to somehow get running with good form again...my calf would only let me run 5:10/20km. I couldnt even slow down for aid stations because i wanted to hold that rhythm. The ' Bad Man ' arrived with 5km to go and stayed with me until the line in Irish record time. 8hrs 41mins  was my time and Im really pleased in the manner in which i got it. I had an honest day with some challenges that I overcame. I love ironman, I love the support, I love the togetherness and most of all I love the custard doughnuts at the end!!
We had over 180 competitors from Ireland there and with those competitors came the support.. In all critical parts of the course there was an irish voice none louder than my wife Karens and my friend Sheena.. The support was immense and im truly grateful. Id like to congratulate my setanta crew for the weekend, all racing hard and getting the results they wanted.. Peter Tomany , Colin Teevin and the happiest Ironman athlete alive  Kevin Hamill!!..

#asea #cyclepowermeters #niallclarkesoils #velorevolution


until the next one.. I heard theres an adventure race in Dungannon 22nd November. Blood Sweat and Tears www.bstextreme.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bullet Post.

I always fear the next challenge. Fear maybe the wrong word but I want it always to be as successful as the last one..
Post Ras, we looked to the nationals. Damien won.. WON,, yes.. fecking won it.. Ali 7th.. me 10th. both giving us the team prize too and the overall. Wow, how big is that?? ameteur outfit (but with a professional mindset) mixing it with the full timers. I don't feel they have an advantage anymore, i really do believe that. I feel i/we can beat them on any given  day. I think we fight more, we want it more. Id like our first year seniors that want to race full time to stay in ireland and race here instead of looking overseas. I think a year or 2 apprenticeship here will do them the world of good and stay settled.

National Series 
We won the national series.. I say 'We' because i needed help to do it. I was consistent in the races that mattered this year but to get the series title is a major achievement and Ill be collecting it on behalf of the team.

Its July and its over

I Called it right... Roadies lose interests after the nationals.. They need a break because they've been flogging themselves since november. The cycleways cup seems like a year ago but only happened in march..in the snow... So with this in my thoughts since last year I RAN and SWAM after the RAS... I'm a triathlete at heart..forgive me. I just cant sit idle and wait for the winter to kick in and i like competition too much.. and i'm 35 next birthday... gotta make hay.

Typical me.. I don't just want to do it for the craic. When i line up, my chips are in.. Swimming might be a problem but soon i realise it isn't. I swimming better!!..why?? because i learned how to swim again.. I forgot everything , and now I take my own advice I give my athletes I coach and its paying dividends.. Rob Griffiths gives me confidence, back and forth mails help me talk things out. Running... that was a problem... So sore. I'm a big man. raced the road at 93kg this year.. NO speed work... AEROBIC AEROBIC AEROBIC... believe in the program..patience... and bang Im back.. running the same ,swimming the same.. and no speedwork... Bike is good too, Wattbike Wattbike Wattbike.. My methods work and when you believe and trust in what I show you you will improve too.. Forget what you think is right..

Where now.. 2 x half ironman.. need to find new boundaries.. Need a power meter(want a power meter!!) enter BOB cyclepowermeters . 2 races 2 wins. new numbers to work from, happy that i trusted myself and happy i held it together. The borderman (with all due respect ) didnt give myself or Owen much competition but lost sheep did and we both backed up our 1st and 2nd result with very astute race strategies!!! ;-)

Now Barcelona Ironman.. October 4th.. SHITE.. Im afraid excited nervous all rolled into one. What do I want?? Simple, I want a solid race.. do I want a time? Yes but the clock looks after itself when you cross the line. I'll race the race first and stick to my numbers.. what time that gives me I will accept... the 2015 journey continues.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

An Post Ras 2015

So there you have it, 8 days of An post over for another year. Did it grip the nation a little more? i think it did.. It certainly left an impression on me.

The 8 days as you would expect were tough, the relentless attacking and the quality of field that was attracted from all over the world proved that the Ras is the hardest race a cyclist from Ireland will face on these shores.. At times you dont race, you survive. For some its the medal at the end  and for others its the chance to showcase their talent. That was Team Aseas plan, muscle in and annoy.

Its also  a chance to get treated like a professional and for me 8 days was plenty!! We had brilliant back up, Brendan Grimes was head of affairs, Gary morton was our Masseur, Joe fenlon rode shotgun with Alan Geoghegan  and we laughed..alot. Its fair to say we had a great time off the bike and from day one at Dunboyne to day 8 at skerries laughing and slagging was part of the adventure. No man was safe.

In general the race lived up to our expectations, our goal was to step up and race outside ourselves and try win on the biggest stage an Irish domestic cyclist can. We also wanted to represent our sponsors and repay them for the support they are showing towards the team. Every day was like being shot from a cannon, I looked around at some guys that ordinarily wouldn't last and they were fighting, more than any Sunday race. I liked that, I think the Ras brings something extra out in you and its fair to say that happened to Ian Richardson who won the county individual prize and 10th place. Congratulations to him and UCD.

Personally a day didn't go by without something happening to me. After 10km in day 1 my Di2(gears) stopped working after i hit a pothole. A bike change and a big chase left me empty but
I think I'll be remembered for my day 2 exploits,  I rode off into a headwind with a few others then found myself alone chasing a gold medal.. It was  a weird day.. i might expect myself to be in that position in a Sunday race but never the Ras. It was a nearly day and I take full responsibility for hoarse voices and the lack of work in the Louth area . I heard the twitter refresh button was hit many times for updates on time gaps.

Bike crashes and more bike changes had me in and out of the cavalcade but team Asea were conducting themselves quite well and mixing it up top. Damien Shaw had an incredible week riding into two 2nd places and one 3rd, for an amateur to do that is amazing. Damien really showcased his talent for the bigger occasion and gives faith to the county man wanting to make the final step up to the top tier of the podium.

The county team prize was out of our grasp  after a few days  and 2 races within one was clearly evident , aqua blue took that and rode smart.Riding there last year its no surprise that they clearly wanted it.

All in all it was a week to remember and we ticked all our boxes. It was great  to be involved in a race of its magnitude and everyone associated with the race should take pride in the job they done for the riders.

Thank you to all our sponsors Asea corporate,  cycle power meters, basso, equinox, so cycles, velo revolution  and a special mention to Niall Clarke Oils and Topaz Ireland for fueling us throughout the week!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Amber Green Tour of Ulster...& some..

Imagine dieing inside the first 3 seconds of a 4 day Stage... yes imagine that.

Friday Day 1- 1st May 19:55 I lined up at the gates of Stormount Government buildings belfast  with the objective of riding as hard as one can to the top. That was stage one.. 3 hours of preparation that only took  1 min 57 secs ...of pain I might ad. But it was to end very well for the team, Damien(Shaw) motored up it and set the fastest time meaning we were in Pink(leaders jersey)..

 Saturday Day 2

You can do all the training you want but nothing can prepare you for the weather and by the looks of things it was to turn nasty and it did. We started in Belfast and we were to make our way to newry on some testing roads. I started to look at this stage 3 months ago and if i was to have an A race on my calender that day would have been it. Newry is like a second home, Ive lived there and played football there and have many friends there, winning was an option.  I recced the course 3/4 times because its handy to do it on a long spin from my house. I was well used to the last 50 mile of the route..
This race starts like them all, attack, follow, attack.. until something establishes but nothing was sticking and i took my chances on nothing getting away.. I did however get into group of 5/ 10 mile from castlewellan. Too early in the stage to be burying yourself  but it all seemed to come back together at the top of castlewellan. There was a tasty KOH there and when we turned left for Bryansford I put gently rolled off the front on my own. Block headwind  helped as not too many wanted to chase. I welcomed Dowling and Hassey towards the next big test, Spelga Dam.
Weather was getting bad but something I welcomed and when we were on the Cat 1 spelga the comm told us we were to be stopped because we went the wrong way.. I reply, ' by f*&%'.. ' we didnt' .. turns out they sent the chasing pelaton the wrong way and neutrailsed us at the top where it was 1 degree and freezing.. I think Eoin morton peed on his hands for a bit of warmt.. I however was grand.. somtimes it pays to eat some cake.
Eventually we continued but it was not to last.. The race was abandoned on the decent.. ' You cant cancel a race in the middle of nowhere' a VeloRevolution rider piped up and said.. and thats they did..
Disappointed was an understatement but with no medical on the course due to crashes the race had to be called off. Though the racer in me would ride through anything , looking about there were guys unable to unclip their helmet.

Sunday Day 3

Today started with Stage ones placings so it meant we still held the lead.. A better day and I was on familar roads. I wasnt too hot for the first hour, I found it tight enough but found my rythum when things settled and got away with a good selection.. I didnt ride for a while because i felt I couldnt with us in pink. Naturally the group whittled down with the climbs and 6 remained.. 3 clipped off and I wasnt able to go... Dowling was one of those and it left me with Mckenna, Mclaughlin and lacey. Irvine arrived and it didnt help my situation. It seemed Mckenna and Irvine wanted across but not with me. I had to deal with both attacking me but with the race up the road we would have been better coming to a short term agreement.
Coming into the last 6/7 km we were caught by a chase group and from here it was just a matter of time saving. I sat in but wasnt comfortable with 1km to go. The earlier efforts didnt leave me with a match to light for the group gallop.
After today GC was gone for me and our team.

Monday Day 4

Karen and the kids arrived today because it was more spectator friendly with a 10 mile lap around the town of Cookstown. The BST contingent was there also and today we had one plan and that was to win. In all my years in team sport Ive found it very easy to win but to lose not so.  And thats what was happening, Team Asea was losing the overall and wasnt looking likely we'd get the win, a stage win was all that mattered. A real test of character is how you respond when your losing, you find out about people. We were in everything and after the first few laps I knew we'd do the job. The laps saw a few groups slip away that we were present in. Ucd made a great attempt to hold onto the jersey towards the end when it looked like it would stay on the shoulders of morton. My only concern was our guys not to be caught for the stage. Roger and Damien were up the road and I knew the lads would finished it off... in the distance on the crest of one of the hills i could see 1 minute up the road and I could see the style of the dodger swaying the bike side to side effortlessly gunning it alone..
A great win for Dodger...job done
Thanks to all the back up, Gary, Brendan, Ondrej and Bob Davision for Giving me a dig out..

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2/3 week round up!

We wait all winter for this time of year to come and it takes an age... Now that we're here its going by too fast. I cant believe its Tour of Ulster time this coming weekend. Myself and Damien had a good time there last year so hopefully it can be repeated  by us or by one of the team..

NENAGH 19th April
Getting back to the last couple of weeks I was lucky enough I found some time to get some extra miles in and the weather was kind.. One day I had the day off work and left the house at 9:30 after the school run and didnt return until 4:30.. A few online meetings and calls throughout the day on my smart phone was enough to keep me out that long. 5 Coffees in fact! ( and 3 buns)

That big day stood to me in Nenagh where we had a good squad down to hopefully do some damage in the Visit Nenagh Classic. I never did that race before, Damien had won it the year before so he took centre stage for the team briefing beforehand. We welcomed Neill Delahaye into the fold so he threw  his tuppence worth in too. Joe was out from his knock in kerry and Ali and roger didn't tog out. Fraser,Chris, Del, Damo and myself made up the team.

All I can remember reading in the online document was 22% gradient. I didnt know such a gradient existed in this country and knew it to be a mistake .. but we did see that gradient and it was like cycling up a wall but only for 100 meters or so. There were more testing climbs and looking strong on the day was Chris reilly. He was the first to put a dig to open a gap as it was very hard for anything to esablish itself early on. Some guys like Mortan and O brien fetched over to him and Dowling was the last to join. Back in the bunch it was still hard to get out but i managed to escape with a few guys, dolan and a guy from ucd plus one other. At this point with 25/30k to go you have to really commit. I was doing huge turns and we met a final climb and I got up it well, I found chris on the road  and pushed on for Morton , O'brien and Dowling that had already absconded.. Passing through Greg Swindard tagged on and the others sta back. We did make it but from there my day was done. My effort to get across left me with little energy to try and put the sword to the boys so I took my chances for the sprint. If you were a betting man Obrien would be your pick and how right you would be. I got 4th and a good result illuded me. But the day was positive, its always important to leave on a positive. My sister Eve won the Womens event so that was good news.. A win for her is a win for me.

Bohermeen 26th April

I togged out on my own, I didnt make it to the uk where the rest of the team were  for some reason or another. They were racing the famous Cicle Classic.
The race was hard, in the sense that it was a clear shit fight in the bunch with guys trying to get out over to the break that clipped away from the gun. I wasnt too bothered about that until I heard martyn Irvine was in it. oops! And it was a shit fight, it was flat and plenty of guys strong enough to hold wheels but many reluctant to press on. I rode the bike angry and reflecting I apologise to whoever felt my wrath. Cycling is a tactical game and I learned that a while ago . Im sure I frustrated a few too, murphy, dowling, Watson so my toys should of stayed in the pram.
 I wanted to pull over and ride home after each lap but experience told me hang in it might change. So a group drifted off as i slowed and I had to pick the right time to get over to it. Dowling picked the same time but i was just behind. Now by reading this youd guess this was the winning break, Oh no, Irvine was up the road telling one liners to himself and trucking but by little more the 30/40 seconds.. I think some in our wee group felt they were in the winning break. No co operation was ever going to be made with us guys so it was 2nd and 3rd placings up for grabs.. I got 3rd with Dowling in 2nd.
I learned a bit about myself that day.. (keep a tight hold of the toys) .

And Eve won the Womans race ..!

We ride In Ulster this weekend.. Big weekend!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

4 Days of Kerry

JJ, Tyrone, PB, BT, Shackleton, HH, R2D2,HB, JS

Easter for the last two years has been spent away from home with other guys that have the same interests as me, the Ras na Mumhan. The Easter bunny is a big deal in our house so its another sacrifice on my families part. It also is my daughters birthday and last year she brought me some luck when i won the final stage.

Some pressure was thrown our way to perform but you would never of guessed from the atmosphere in the B&B. There didn't seem to be a minute going by that somebody didn't get a sneering and laughed at.  The diner table brought some entertainment from a few colourful characters on the team. You certainly wouldn't want to be sensitive in our crew.

We made no secret that the aim was to come out on top by the end of the four days. Our squad on paper looked one of the strongest but we still had to lace up and do a job.

Day 1

We rolled out of Killorglin in the beautiful Kerry sunshine at 15:30 and it was clear to see everybody was up for it. Attack after attack after attack but nothing stuck. Our jersey was  well  marked but then again we marked a fair few ourselves so there no point in complaining. No kind gestures would be made in the 116km's that we raced, our handshakes and compliments would be left in the car park. See a wheel and hold it, see a hole and fill it,  hide from the wind that was causing havoc within the pelaton. It seemed like the stage was one big line out with the culprits being the young Rapha JLT guys eager to impress. But it wasn't to be their day with Paidi O Brien taking the stage and it was job well done from us. 

Day 2 

Roger had go the way roger knows and had quality company in the form of Martyn Irvine riding with the national squad. Martyn oozes class but so does Roger and when those two go up the road you sit up and take stock. I on the other hand was back the road chasing after receiving a puncture. Thankfully i got back in & the guys informed me what was after going down. 
Many tried to get over but either didn't have the legs or the lungs. Sean McKenna also from the Irish squad put in a big effort to join his teammate, it was strong enough to get out but not strong enough to go without the presence of Stage 1 winner and yellow jersey Paidi and our man  Damien Shaw. 
Again the young Rapha Guys rode... hard! We were to meet those breakies on the second last climb and it was  dowlings turn  to unleash some hurt. He split the bunch to about 20 riders only capable of holding his wheel and myself and ali were there. 
We descended..the group lulled..I attacked.. 50km from the finished I had a go- on my own!. Not wise but worth a punt.  I folded like a calf with 10km to go and was caught by those pesky rapha kids. Not knowing my own name at this stage I crossed the line thinking of mars bars and kitkats. I was to lose vital seconds for not doing the basics, feeding!

Day 3
The wind picked up and so did the speed. Roll out was eventful and it was clear that the pelaton had there porridge for breakfast. Flag down, hammer down. It was like a major sergeant shouting '' THIS IS NOT A DRILL SOLDIER ''  
Asea was there in the form of Damien and myself. For company we had Morton,clarke, lacey, mason, hassey, stewart, mckenna. This train was going, infact it was gone before the bunch could even dream to buy a ticket. But the strangest thing happened, we were sent the wrong way. Race stopped and restarted with 40 sec gap reinstated. It didnt work this time as circumstance changed and lungs were refilled from the chasing wolves.
Not long after that I was in a good position to go with a  good move with one  of the English guys from Champion Sysyems along with a dutch kid. Sure enough Mckenna wouldnt be far off, he rarely doesnt go with anything. We went full gas from the get go and no words were spoken. This worked and we stayed away. This was the queens Stage and dealing with a Cat 1 climb coomanaespeg had to come. I wont lie, a little fear was in me and this was confirmed when I saw the bloody thing... Dear F*&$!!  A recalibration of my saddle height since the Hanlon had me feeling better seated on the climbs. It worked and at 90kg i got up it, just about!! .. The support and atmosphere was electric and seeing the passion in guys like Michéal O'Shea shouting you on was on was uplifting. 
We held the bunch at bay but 20km was still to go. Dowling arrived with a Scottish guy and full cooperation from everybody wasn't going to happen from here to the finish. The Scottish lad jumped off the front and we had a job getting him back. It was only myself and mckeena that could go across and it looked like it would be between us three for the win until the Scottish guy blew up. Myself and Mckenna rode honest until the last 500m when I got the better of him in the sprint. 
The best part of my day was turning around and seeing Ali get 3rd. That was a great day for the team.

Day 4

We started 2nd and 3rd on General Classification. Mckenna was in yellow and he didn't look tired from his efforts the day before. We felt good and confident we could win the overall. The pelaton was  marshaled really well by the Irish and Irvine showed his experience. The other Irish kids that didn't show there faces much all weekend stood up and helped there man. We tried but we needed the day to be harder and longer but it was what it was. Mckenna minded himself really well and for the first time I saw maturity in him. That's not a criticism but a compliment. The GC finished as it started and Team Asea went home with plenty. We won the Team prize , Stage, 3rd on a stage and 2nd and 3rd overall.

Big thank you to Team Manager Brendan Grimes, Driver Alan Geoghan and Masseur Gary Morton.Also to the race organisers, volenteers who did a fantastic job.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Working to the numbers

Depending who you bump into you are sure to get a difference in opinion so here's mine. I wont get down to the nitty gritty of the numbers but I offer some insight into the training tools i have.
 I do feel I've become very astute knowing where my body is in training and racing but I could never be absolutely sure. That's why over the last 3 years Ive made some investments in key training tools that work well for a part time athlete.

I think the majority of amateurs train too hard. But whats more , they train hard at the wrong times. Its classic but I can see why. Having some tools to measure where you are seem to have their place in the amateur pelaton. Our team are lucky to be in partnership with cyclepower meters and personally Wattbike Ireland have been very supportive. It really gave me a kick up the ass around November that i needed to knuckle down and make adjustments to improve. 

I only train with power in the form of a powertap wheel and my stationary wattbike and  that for me is the perfect option if you don't want to race with power. . What has got me thinking is these new pedals that powertap have come out with... they could be a game changer. For some reason I didn't like the look of garmin pedals but I do like what powertap are after doing with there set.

My wattbike  has been one of the best if not thee best pieces of equipment i bought since getting into the sport. It for me has made my limited time riding during the week into 100% quality. I can handle 3 hours on the wattbike and for me its not a chore. It replicates the road and being in a controlled environment helps to hit each rep bang on. At least twice a week I am on my wattbike and I use the wattbike to test most of my athletes. Only recently I did a 3 minute test and done right will put you on the floor. I under estimated it and 3 minutes is one hell of a long time maxed out. Only riding 3 minutes will give you bang on training numbers. The 3 minute test is handy because sometimes the longer tests can be too taxing and take too long.With the built in tests and sessions and the ability customize it is a winner. I see these wattbikes popping up in most gyms so if they are in your gym dont ignore them!