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

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Out of the Ras Bubble

An Post Ras 2016

I must admit I had huge reservations about this race. I felt I wasn't ready. You didn't hear of me on stickybottle getting up in races and to be honest I was getting a kicking in some races I did. I was coming good but I still felt I wasnt right. I dont want to go down the swimming and running road aiming blame there, I feel that is a cop out. At the end of the day my name was down to do the ras. Nobody would give a dam how or what I was doing. The Ras is cut throat, a rat race, a real shit fight.

I was mentally ready, I always am and also because Ive great support, constant reassurance from my wife and from Brendan Grimes my manager. Hes been chipping away at not only me but the rest of the guys for months. Hes a great character and a leader. He instills fun and high standards for us. As he says himself hes no filter.. he'll say it how it is... ''you were soft today''...'' not good enough''.. The compliments come too but you have to earn them!!


I gave a day to day small report on the race on my facebook page so I wont go into great detail on what the days were like. Ill give an overall opinion on our week. The Ras is a huge effort with 5 riders and 4 staff. The days are 7am to 10pm and everyone does their turn. To get a team into the ras isnt easy it takes months of begging sponsors to make our dreams happen. From speaking to some guys some clubs wont fund a ras team or even give a contribution, I cant understand that. Some clubs don't know what to do with their resources. The social and casual side of cycling has added revenue to clubs but they're at a loss as to what to do with it. That side of the club seems to have ripped the history of Racing clubs apart. Maybe they'll be back. To our Sponsors ASEA and Wheelworx we are grateful and I hope we expressed our passion for riding on this team last week. Its not only them that have helped, Niall clarke Oils/Topaz VeloRevolution, Spar Baggot Mile, Trek, Cyclepowermeters. Id love to mention a vehicle company...(maybe next year, wink wink!)

Very quickly about the race and how I perceived it- It was faultless in the sense of organisation and starting at dublin castle was perfect. The weather made this alot easier mind you but nevertheless the setting was special. Tony Campbell must of shook my hand and hugged me a million times over the 8 days along with every other person.. I can see his passion and love for the race. He wants the county man there.


I raced like i always do and the competitive guys nationally did the same, it was great to see county riders popping off the front. Eoin Morton and myself were the first to light it up on day two and we were good partners in crime. I'm glad one of us won it and i'm glad the other didnt get mopped up by the bunch. Eoin deserves his place in history and got the rewarded for his efforts. Mark Dowling had a superb ras and his final gc place doesn't do him justice, with punctures and caught behind crashes he would have easily been plus 18 minutes. He rode at the front all week. Lacey and Feely were other stand out riders that attacked with heart. I was surprised as anyone to get the Mountains jersey for a day and I actually finished 2nd overall in that competition!!..  At the end of the day the pros are just like us. I keep saying the standard here is as good as that in the uk.. they're just made out to be superstars with the coverage on eurosport. The respect is there from them and I saw that we got more room at the front this year. Maybe there's a window of opportunity for a TV station to film us.


Quick Apology!!

I must apologize for my actions mid race where I lost my cool, I do not however take back what I said. Anyone who was there will understand what I mean.


The County race
I don't want to discredit or make little of this prize but It can make the race negative, a race within a race. My team won the Team prize and we accepted it wholeheartedly but we didn't set out to win it. We'd rather get up the road one day and rest the next or something like that!. It was clear that this was a focus for a few teams and I feel they did not race their normal way. That point could be discussed at length. The overall county rider was won be Ian Richardson, my biggest problem was i was within 25 secs of that jersey for a few days. Its very difficult for me to criticize Ian because he is one of the best riders in this country and had a decent ras but Ian rode that race like the Yellow jersey and chased only who was a treat to him ie me, thus pulling the bunch up to me. I feel Ian has ticked that box last year and he might of found more out about himself had he attacked and went in a break. But that's just me. I think the Overall GC county rider prize should be scrapped and let the county man who is first man over the line wear the coveted Blue jersey the following day. That way you'll see a race with no agenda.

Where to now..
I ran today.. slowly. enough said.

BMC





Thursday, May 19, 2016

An Post Rás 2016 - the build up

That's me in the photo. Bricking myself in my first ras a few years ago with Cuchulainn. I hadn't a clue what to exact. I'll be starting my 3rd ras (finished 2) and I'm still bricking myself because I now know what to expect..

The Ras is special, it grips part of the nation that couldn't care less about men in Lycra and the success story/dream of the average working man trying to compete with the tanned pros still sells.

Asea Wheelworx will be there to race and be as professional as possible. A good week for us will be to try and get in the headlines. Since my last post in Kerry we've been preparing well and maybe haven't put results on the board we feel confident and ready.

IRISH RACING

The standard of Irish racing is at an all time high. I don't have right to say that because of my short time on the circuit but speaking to guys that are around 20 odds years  say it has never been better. I think it'll make for plenty of county rider commentary.

IRONMAN PREP ON HOLD.

I've put my running legs away for the last 2 weeks and I think I'm better for it. I raced well in the shay elliot last Sunday, fading at the end but I was happy the way my legs went with my brain.

Next week I'll try my best to update with team progress.

Follow me @mccrystalbryan @Asea_Team and @anpostras for Twitter updates

Good luck to all my fellow County men.

HH 😊

Sunday, April 10, 2016

National Duathlon Championships

A few weeks back I scrolled through the triathlon Ireland calendar of events and noticed the national duathlon champs. The only thing I saw was the 40km bike and the fact it was in mondello. The run bit I'd worry about later...
So the running has being going well, I had curtailed it a bit with Ras mumhan the week before as there'd be no forgiveness there if I turned up with tired run legs. So I came back from kerry and myself and rob worked on short fast run sets to hopefully open me up for   what lay ahead in the 6.7km first run leg of the race.
I knew this would be very difficult because I can't tell you the last time I did a 5k race, over 3 years ago definitely!.
So the format was a 6.7km run followed by a draft legal 40km bike(road bike)  and then to finish off a 3.4km run.
I think what the years of competing has given me is a cool head and put out of my comfort zone I try and stay calm keep smiling keep talking and have an attitude of what will be will be. If I didn't feel pressure to do well I certainly did 20 mins before the race!.. Alot of talk surrounded me in what I was going to do. Ah well I'm here now, all I can do is my best.
The race was in mondello race track and very much spectator friendly. Karen and the kids were there along with Eve. I knew the kids would love the laps as they rarely get to see a race like that. The weather was awful but the grandstand sheltered them from the rain.
Another thing the years of racing has taught me is wear clothes!.. I wore an underlayer along with my VeloRevolution  speedsuit and a gilet. The kids lined up as if it were a summers day...(not mine, the ones I was racing against!).. "I'll give you boys 45 mins in that '' I said to myself.

Run

Bang and I mean BANG...! The race was on.. Those guys just exploded out of the traps. I felt lazy slow heavy but I got into it." Relax.. Do your thing.. There's an hour of biking to make up for this.. " I kept saying...  Then a few guys started coming back to me and then I'm running with dessie Duffy and Cillian heary although I don't think Cillian was 100%. OK.. Keep this..  It got hard after 5km running off road in muck and grass. I thought transition would never come.
Bike
The bike was draft legal on road bikes. The course was wet, exposed and windy with a few hidden drags. I never raced mondello before and it took me a lap or two to find my line, although it was hard to take the correct line as I was passing out guys that were in front or either being lapped. 

Eve was switched on to give me laps to go and splits. I would veer over towards eve to hear the split to the leaders and then... "come on Dad!!!" would follow me round the first bend.. The time was not coming down by more than 5/10 secs a lap inside the first 3 laps.. In cases like this I ask myself a very simple question.. "can i go any quicker?".. No is the answer..  So I tell myself again to remain calm.. There's alot of road to cover.

Very quickly after I thought the race was out of my reach I caught the chase group of maybe 8. I haven't much time to play so I rest for a minute or so at the back and then seated coming out of a corner I go full gas and I'm alone again. Now I'm in 4th with 3 up the road

My confidence lifts and I'm in a race. Eve gives me more splits and after 6/7 laps I catch the guys. Now the race gets tactical.. Mintern, O'Reilly, Jackson are the leaders.. I try an play the the alpha male and coax the guys to ride with me. Mintern seems to be the only guy switched on to know what I want to do so out of the first bend with a few laps remaining I put the power down and he comes with me dropping the other two. I isolate him and get a gap and flicked the elbow for him to ride. I knew he wouldn't come round so slowed to a near  stop. With that the two lads passed us and i wasn't to worried.. It forced Mintern to close the gap and I sat on until it was closed and then I attacked and wasn't coming back. From here I had to go full gas, eyes to the tarmac with my bontrager Balista cutting through the wind. I still didn't think it was possible given how fast the guys ran and they're used to the bricks more than  me. With 2 laps to go the gap was only 30 secs, I figured I needed a  minute . Then all of a sudden the gap went out to 90 secs...  (Remember what I said about wearing some clothes!! )

With eve giving me laps remaining she had given me 1 to go but rounding the last bend thinking I had 1 to go I looked at my garmin for the first time and it said 40km...time to get out of the shoes.... "you've another lap she says" ... "do I f&@k!!"..


Final run

When I say my legs hurt I mean they feckin hurt like never before .. Lungs burning.. I couldn't feel my feet.. I had to look down to see if I put my shoes on as I couldn't feel my feet..." Beastmode, animal, dog, woof woof "... Shouts from the terraces... Holy Jaysus lads I'm a normal human being!!!
In my mind I was going to be caught but it didn't happen.. I resigned myself to silver or bronze but gold was there with 1 km to go... Then I upended myself and near broke myself falling on a corner... I got up as quick as I went down.

Fimilar faces cheered me to the line and it felt nice. It was great my family was there to share the moment with me. I now have an excuse to wear a national jersey!!


Womens Champ 

Congratulations to Heather Foley the women's champion, pure domination from start to finish. Chapeau ! 

Thank Yous!

This was an individual race but thanks to my team mates over the weeks for keeping me right when I wasn't going well. Thanks also to our sponsors Asea, Wheelworx, Trek, Cyclepowermeters.com, Niall Clarke Oils and amphibia . Thanks also to Personal Sponsor Wattbike Ireland, Udos Choice and Nateralife. And my friend Rob Griffths.... the man who understands!!!!

The biggest thanks of all is to my amazing wife. K you are the best XX


BMC


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.




Race

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!

BMC

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.

Honesty!
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. 

PS 
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!!


Monday, February 22, 2016

mondays lesson- Dont be a sheep

Dont follow the crowd. From a young age I never followed the crowd. I was always taught to have a leaders mindset. I'll try and instil that into my own kids as I feel it has helped me to this day.


Where am i going with this?? I had a discussion with an athlete I coached not so long ago and i felt it was time he/she should work with someone else. The problem I had was getting this athlete to close their ears when talking to other friends. They were too hooked up in what others were at and not focused in what they were doing themselves. I would have easy sessions laid out and Id find out that they would have 'pushed on' because thats what 'Mary' was doing. 

If you want to achieve anything in life you need your own mind. Im not concerned what my competitors or friends are at, all im concerned about is what Bryan McCrystal is at. Im introducing some 12 week structured plans that can help and educate guys in proper training practice. 
You can register your interest here

3 quick sum up  points-

  • You dont have to be a winner to be a leader. This comes within, stand out from the crowd and be your own man or woman. 
  • Document your progress. Its good to look back on training before and get an understanding of where youve come from. 
  • when you achieve your ultimate goal it will be even more satisfying knowing you did it your way.
BMC... 'baaaa'


Friday, January 29, 2016

Free yards

Am I qualified to speak about this. I think I'm more qualified than anyone because I am you and I am working progress. here goes..

Background

Almost all my triathletes come from a non swim background. And I get asked the same question over and over by them. I need swim lessons. But you can swim? i ask...Ive no problem with getting your stroke  looked at but how many times are you going to do it.. If you are working with a coach for more the 3/4 months then he or she is taking your money too easy. (And I'm being generous with 3/4 months.. ) We are fixated with swimming in triathlon and its the shortest discipline.. put more effort into you bike and run and you'll be a different animal trust me.


Plan of action

 Here are my thoughts.. Get a few lessons if you need to. In my eyes that work is done. Now get in and train. Get the yards in... Ask yourself how long do you stay in the water at a time?? most want to improve there swimming but will only swim 30/45 mins... then blame their stroke. This isn't enough time in the water. You need to periodize swimming like the other disciplines but you need to put in the yards regardless of your ability and speed. You need to look at yourself and ask are you doing enough personally to make the gains. If your working with someone over 3/4 months paying them to show you how to swim then something is  not right.. A a message for you.. your stroke will never be perfect... ever. Go watch some of the top pros first out of the water. Some of them swim awful but they swim very fast.  So work with what you got, get in do the yards and get swim fit... like you would either biking or running and save your pocket! I tell my guys give me 4 months then tell me if you need your stroke looked at.

BMC




Wednesday, January 20, 2016

35 today

35 today so that's me  officially in my  mid thirties. At 16 I thought getting to this day would take a life time but its here. Back then I was in dream land when all my wishes came true when I began a career to fulfil a boyhood ambition to be a professional footballer. 15 guys signed that year and looking back we were all a bit over ambitious. We dreamed big but didn't want it enough. The work ethic wasn't there and it came and went in a flash.


I can now cash in on my pension(not that much). When I signed we took out a footballers pension that would mature at 35 when our career would be 'over' and we'd be finished and id be over the hill. It was some of the most amazing years of my life that have shaped the person I am today, not perfect mind you but the constant reminder the seize every opportunity as if its the last stays with me to this day.

If you are 16 now dont sit still. In the team photo below we all thought we'd have a career and make plenty of money in football but only one person in that photo made a career out of it and 90% quit playing football altogether before there were 22-25. Think ahead and dream with a brain. This world is a rat race & luck sometimes plays a part. Consistently have Plan A, B, C and D when things dont work out. You  need to be honest, work hard  and not sit still. I've met some amazing people of different personalities over the years and have taken little tips from each of them and moulded them into my own. Ive a beautiful wife that supports me in everything(mostly) I do and two healthy beautiful children. Who needs ferrari's  and million euro bank accounts!! (ok, there maybe an argument on that one!)


But am i really finished at 35??definitely not. This post is a personal therapy session to remind myself to keep working hard, keep meeting new people and continue to learn. Always be thankful and never take anything for granted.



BMC