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

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!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Stamullen cycling club...we/I thank you!

Few words of thanks to everyone in Stamullen...

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!