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, 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..