Since my last post very little has happened. The racing season is coming to an end but the training still has to be done for Florida in november.(70.3). I had the pleasure of being interviewed for Lmfm and a 100 mile time trial was looming but we’ll talk about that later..

I got a call a few weeks ago from my ‘Italian’ friend Pat Shaughnessy. He wanted me to go on LMFM and talk about a few things in relation to my Triathlon, work and footballing past.. I said what the hell and it wasnt long before Gerry Kelly rang me with a quick prep on what we’ll be talking about… Gerry is a footballing man and I got the impression he knew a bit more about me than he was letting on.. typing into google ‘Bryan McCrystal Leeds United’ gives a funny indication as to where i was. 😉

The big interview..

I arrived in for my big debut on the radio and we talked about various things. Gerry wanted to talk about the Rooney scandle! why…? I don’t know.. Now! footballers aren’t the best behaved lads but was I going to say that on radio..?? hell no.. instead I took the ‘Bertie’ approach.. It was texted to me soon after the interview that I should have been a Politian… I was nervous before it, as if it was the start of a race. If I had of heard a Gun go off or ‘GO’ i swear i would’ve started sprinting.. where to?? who knows..

It was hard to remember the old days(10-15 years ago).. I’m never one to dwell on the past or think or talk about it.. when its gone its gone and I’m always looking to the future.. We spoke about the footballing days more than anything else and sometimes I have to really ask myself was it really me in that situation so many years ago. Mixing with the top guys in the premiership was second nature and you took it for granted. As a footballer you grow egos the size of small planets even if your shite!! 😉 because at the end of the day ” Im a professional footballer”.. so there!!! I follow most kids locally and nationally that go over the water and I think to myself I hope they get lucky and get a chance. Because at the end of the day, Luck is the biggest challenge any footballer can face. I remember Alan Smith  been put in the first team before the reserves. All us YT’s(youth team) were sitting around a big Grundig tv in the canteen at the training ground watching him come on for his debut in Old Trafford. He scored and that’s the difference.. A few things happened that changed his life  that day.. 1- he was given the chance, 2- he needed to so the temperament for the big stage, 3- he scored too!!.. What would have happened if he had bottled it?? well he didn’t and he’s a top footballer now playing at the highest level..Yes he had to train and work hard but it was the little bit of luck he needed to get him up there. From then on he made his own luck!. I’ve seen better players than him and there not even applying their trade anymore(not me- I was/is big, ugly and turned like a steamboat) Thats a wee off topic but I will sometime do a post on ‘Footballers going through the system’.. So my 5 seconds of fame came and went and I got a little plug-in at the end for my business Baldwins

Ulster 100 Mile Time Trial Championships

This race was pencilled in about 2 months ago. Myself and my coach Rob Griffths decided this would be a good indicator to see where I was and with the view of maybe upping the distance one of the years!!.

I meet people all the time and always a hot topic with me is ”what have you on next”?? ….”a 100 mile time trial”.. my reply. ”sorry, 100 mile???..” yes i said… ”100 miles”!! It actually didn’t really dawn on me the severity of this race. 100 miles as hard as you can go for the distance is a tough ask!! I didn’t come to this conclusion until after the race when I was laid on the side of the dual carriageway 5 yards past the finish line!!! My Dad had to come a walk my bike back to the van. Some might say I do good John Wayne impersonation.

Race Prep.

Once again my ”Team Mate” Gerry McCabe let me barrow his wheels.. Thanks ”team mate”… If I was taking this race serious then my preparation in the days leading up to it didn’t reflect this. I was at a 30th birthday for my boy Derek Delany on Friday night… whoop whoop.. it was a good laugh but my night stopped at the chinese for me and I left the younger ones  to club it up!! I felt shitty the next day as if I was out and even had some hang over food! Carmel Square.. uuummm. After work on Saturday I grabbed a quick steak sandwich and headed for home as I knew my wife was heading out. To my dismay and lack of listening skills I was going out too!!! Oooh bollix! I had nothing done with my bike or gear and I was heading out. And to top it off I had a full belly!! sitting in a restaurant that serves the nicest food in town (Fitzpatricks) isn’t nice at all! I had to order something… so a prawn salad was the choice.. The 2 boys Stephen and Brendan looked at me funny , probably thinking im taking this bike lark a bit serious!! There they all were with their starters, mains , chocolate fondants!!! and there’s me with me salad….. bad times..

Anyway, we got home around 12 and I started to get ready, 4 hours kip and I’m good to race. I picked my dad up at 5:30 and he went into Schumacher mode and we were  in Ballymena before you could the ”HEY”..(poor joke selection..sorry)

I lined up 24 minutes behind the first starter with 1 minute separating each rider. I wanted to be down the list so that I would have targets and hopefully pass as many as possible. The race is pretty uneventful.. I sang, I hummed, I thought about different people and even wrote this blog in my head!! 4 hours of riding on a dual carriageway will do that to ya…

The course was 7 and 3/4 laps around the A26. With 2 roundabouts to contend with I knew I would have my work cut out for myself if i was going to break 4 hours. The plan was to break the race into 25 mile segments. This was done by my auto lap on my garmin watch. I got into a pace straight away and settled , that said it was 42.3kmph average… I took a chance and stayed there.. My heart rate was reading a bit lower than usual but not a man to be ruled by heart rate I took the executive decision to ‘keep her lit’..  I had my back up team with me AKA Pat my dad! I had spare wheels in the back if I was to puncture and he also carried my bottles when I emptied out.. I would hold my bottle up in the air and he would shoot on up the road and wait till I passed. I informed him to leave the shirt and collar at home and wear a track suit.. I wanted him to start running when I got close and we would do a relay type change over!!! (if only it had been caught on camera)… I would be glad we did that after!!!

I was going through the fluids more than I thought… I knew I was going well and the first 3 25 miles were splits were only 15 seconds apart.. My pace was good.. I said to myself get to the 3rd 25 mile at 57 minutes and I give what I had for the last 25… eehhh negative!! the last 25 were bloody tough.. The lights didn’t go out but if felt like someone was turning the switch on and off!.. I ran out of fluid but remembered an emergency bottle of coke in the van.. I held my bottle up…pat drove up beside me.. ”Ive none left” he said…. ” on the floor” I said… On he went up the road…I haven’t done big miles this year and the body hasn’t been there so it was a case of Wait and see….

 Track suit on.. knees up, arms pumping, Pat took off like Usain Bolt for the final 100 metres of the olympic relay final.. I grabbed the coke and it felt like heaven going down my trusty throat.. I didn’t die nor was I close but it felt like a marathon…. ”The race starts at 20 miles”… A wise man called Ceefax once told me that..;-)

I crossed the line in 3 hours 51 minutes 1 second. I was chuffed.. My garmin gives a 4 second quicker reading but I wasnt going to complain.

I was soon to find out not only did I win but I broke the National record by 1 second!!… I put that all down to my dad handing me the bottles.. If it weren’t for him Running for the couple of yards so that I didn’t have to slow down who knows, i probably would have been a second outside the record… The record still has to been confirmed by Cycling Ireland.

Thanks to everyone for the kind texts of well wishes and to Bann wheelers for their welcoming spirit and attitude towards me.