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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ras Mumhan 2016

Easter weekend for the last 2 or 3 years is spent down in the Kingdom with like minded fools that ride bikes. We were down racing the epic 4 day race Ras Mumhan that takes in some of the most beautiful countryside your eyes will ever see. But this time it was hard to see because we were dodging pellets sometimes called hailstones.

It was a horrendous couple of days with the sun coming out for the Easter rising on Monday.


I was not looking forward to it nor did I think was I ready. There was no gamesmanship in previous blogs talking down my form. I have to give a word of thanks to Brendan Grimes for bigging me up and restoring my confidence. I went down with the intention riding for the team but the race turned on its head on day 2 and i had to roll with what was about to happen.

Day one for me was exactly what I thought about myself. I went backwards on the drags and climbs but I used my experience to hang in and finish in the bunch. Ali  and Mark were in the break and were super strong, unfortunately for them 4 of the Irish team were in it too. It was a tactical error in our part that was to be the difference for the weekend. Mark finished 3rd on the stage.

Day 2 is in my favourite town of Kenmare. I know the roads pretty well at this stage and its a stage I go well in but i didnt expect much because of yesterday. But all of a sudden im up the road with a gap going out to the bunch before we hit the Healy pass. Im with 4 others and my thinking is ride hard as fuck and hopefully a selection comes across. I sat up on the decent on the Healy as I saw Ali coming across but he was with the Yellow of McGlinchey from the Irish team. Not ideal but we rode together. The gap went out very quickly  with conditions  worsening  and riders fading in the break. Ali makes a move over a KOH at 70km and I follow taking the guys by surprise. Instantly we're gone and we go to work. From here Im convinced its the move that'll stamp our control on the race. We get a time of Fifty odd seconds to the yellow in the middle of the Ballingeary climb. But like houdini I hear a free hub spin and its the yellow jersey. 
So we have to reinvent our strategy. McGlinchey got a free ride for a long time and it annoyed me so cresting and then descending the county bounds i put an effort in that would force him to ride infront of ali. I wanted Ali to get a free ride while McGlinchey chased me. Thats what happened but all the time the conditions are shocking. Its cold, wet and windy. Time goes out but I get word McGlinchey dropped Ali. Ali cramped up and lost his wheel...That wasnt meant to happen so now I had to keep going for the stage. Id been riding hard all day and the strava file shows it. My pace dropped considerably coming to the line but with encouragement from the team car and Brendan going nuts I crossed the line taking a Memorable stage. I only had 4 secs to spare where I should have held my 50 second advantage but I have to give credit to mcglinchey for that.

Day 3
You wouldnt put the cat out in it.. The weather was ridiculous. I think lads signed on but didnt tog out.. Coming out of Waterville we lit it u along with Aqua blue and few others to really isolate the Yellow jersey. I wasnt too hot from the previous days efforts  and was under pressure but Im baffled how it stuck together as it was really hard for the first 20/30 mins. The Irish team showed theyre calibre at that point in the race and It was the winning of the jersey. We had to sit on our hands for a while and sent Dowling and Armstrong up the road. Here I thought GC could be turned on its head if Dowling would let loose. It nearly was to be but Mark ran out of steam and took 3rd on the stage. Myself and Ali got distanced on the Comminaspig climb but we were to make ground with 30km to go and finish with the yellow. I blew my lights with 5 km to go and rolled in 20 secs off the jersey.

Day 4
Try as we might  McGlinchey was too strong and fit for what my tired body could give. Plan A was to somehow get the jersey. Plan B was Dowling or Armstrong to win the Stage. Two boys were trucking and Dowling made the move and established the break with some smart riding. Late on Armstrong was going over but was to puncture. The Peleton always catching the break my job was now to somehow control the peleton and not let anything out. Luckily Mark gauged his effort to perfection and took the last stage.

As a team we won the Points, Mountains, 2 stages, 2 x 3rd's on a stage and 2nd &3rd overall. To top it off we got best team. It was a successful weekend but Id give it all away for me or  Ali to have taken the Yellow Jersey. No doubt we'll be back.

On reflection I made some tactical errors on the road that are bugging me but Ill put it in the memory bank. Im happy how the weekend went, the team working well on and off the bike. Thank you to the Ras mumhan for a great weekend racing and special thank you to Brendan Grimes and Gary morton for looking after us like professionals. And apologies to my wife... Twitter had her at her wits ens on Sturday.... 33 seconds... 28 seconds... 21 seconds.... 10 seconds... Winner! thank fook!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sportsmans Duathlon #2

I would put duathlons up there with the most painful exercises you can do. From the gun its balls out until the end although there is a pace eliminate involved. Ive done the sportsmans duathlon many times(actually I am the founder of the race) so i know how to race it. It is so simple but still the same guys make the same mistakes. Tip- run the first .5km easy!!. Because it starts on a slight downhill guys run the first 500m at a crazy pace. I knew I wouldnt have the legs to go with the fast guys so I had to bank on the bike leg to bring me into contention.

Killian Heary and Paul Carroll showed up..I was happy with that because I wanted a race to test myself. Two boys are handy and clean up wherever they go. Surprisingly I held them to 20 secs give or take on the first run and got a gap of a minute  until the second run. I wasnt entirely comfortable on the bike but i turned a good gear. I wasnt far off my fastest time on the bike which also surprised me. I think the 'glow' faster lid made the difference... sorry-bad joke!!  Fortunately for me the run leg is 3.1k as I blew completely after the first 1km of the second run. I held on just about with Paul nipping infront of killian. Good hit out that shows my power is there on the bike. The running is working progress but I have some speed.

more tips-
practice your 3km pace before you enter these races. You can get sucked into the fast pace but really everyone dies and it ruins your race. The same applies for the bike. Cruise out, dont panic.. shoes on ..tighten shoes.. Breath.. after 5 mins you should be ready to ride hard. The last run you just have to GO.. 

You need to practice running off the bike after doing some hard efforts.. A session Rob always gave me (that we have to revisit yet) is 1 hour turbo. 20 easy-20 moderate-10 hard-10 hard as you can go.... then run as fast as you can for 10 mins....thatll set you up nicely!


Thursday, March 17, 2016

My 2016- what are ye at??

The locals  see me running, they see me swimming...training in felda is a clear giveaway..oh and im going shite on the road at the moment! somethings up???. I'll come clean.. I'm back on the tri wagon!

I find myself in the same predicament I did in 2011. I want to be a cyclist and race triathlon.  This can be done with no problem but there's one..  You want to  be at your potential best for both.

Dont follow me... A good few guys missed the break in the last few weeks watching me..HAHA.. Believe me if I'd the legs I'd have been there!! Lesson for the next few weeks.. Don't watch me!
My winter hasn't been good.  Because of my late season last year I started back in January but that was quickly cut short as I was sick for 4 weeks and couldn't shake a viral infection I picked up. So really im only training since early February. That will stand to me though come the end of the year.

I really got the bug back for ironman last year.  I am at a crossroads at the moment because riding  around on a Sunday getting my ass kicked because I've ran about 30 mile that week and swim 15km isn't doing the confidence any good..  I love  it though..  Racing  on the road and putting your wits to the test is what wants me to tog out for the team.  But I'm prepared to put my road goals to the side because I've entered Ironman UK in July. Sometimes I wish I was 20 again because I probably wouldn't be jumping in and out of sports. My best years are ticking like a clock so I want to achieve good results.

I asked, shes agreed..
 Discussions lasting longer than the peace process with the most UNDERSTANDING wife in the whole world have been positive. I've laid a marker down for myself..  I want to hit the big Island.. Kona. It's a big shift in my thinking because Kona was a 4 year project.  Why?  It's too dam appealing.. and im sick of listening to Owen Martin!!haha  I'll race where I belong at age grouper so that means I'll need to qualify..  Plan A is is to qualify at Bolton.. I haven't figured out plan B yet..
Racing as a pro last year was frustrating and I only did it because it was a handy option. If I'd of raced age group in Barcelona and Arizona I'd of qualified by now..  Ah well Bolton was always a race I wanted to do.

What have I changed..
Myself and Rob Giffiths have hooked up again and it's great.  Although I help some guys out I still need a little looking after too. We've been friends for years and he knows me inside and out. I'm still coming with the same problems..
I need to be lighter.. Power is down..  I want to race this weekend.. "but you know Bryan that might be a problem"...  Ive all the answers but sometimes you need a telling off.. I'm no different. I could go alone wrecking my head for weeks on end with bad form and a 3 min conversation with rob fixes it all. To me thats what a coach is really about, understanding the person you coach. We can all write coaching plans, but can we coach people?? I hope I can.
What I am enjoying is the training... What  I'm not enjoying is the lack of form on the road but hours of swimming and running.. #biggerpicture
Ive also enjoyed going around a few different clubs and talking to the about Ironman and what it entails. 

That's it for now. I'll check in with some updates and hopefully keep you in the loop with my Ironman preparation. 

All the best to my amazing wife Karen who is running the new york half Marathon this weekend along with Denise and Lorraine!.. Go Girls!!