Pickle me bunions and boil them in butter… Im about to do an  Ironman. It only dawned on me that I was actually going to do this thing. ”No matter what happens, it’ll be ok” those were her  parting words… What does that bloody mean!!!

Ironman Barcelona 
3.8km swim – 180km bike – 42.2km run

Why was I doing an Ironman…? a question asked of me many times. What Ive done all year didnt exactly lend itself to perfect Ironman prep… Was it Kona? No..For records?? No/maybe/i’ll see!! But does it matter.. Not in the slightest.

I wont  lie.. Running and swimming began mid june. Im older and wiser & I know how to get in shape to swim and run.. all i needed was patience and to annoy Rob Griffths from time to time!! soreness came and went and I quickly saw training numbers I was happy I could compete with. I didn’t pick Barcelona because it was a quick course, I picked it because  1- it was easy to get to 2- gave me enough time to get distance in the legs 3- cheap! and 4- my calendar was free.

I love racing Ironman.. Im up against it from the word go. Swimming slower  has me chasing. I love it.. Ive over 4 hours to make up the time..

The race
The swell in the water didnt  work out for me and had me swimming slower than expected but when I saw the clock I accepted it. 1hr 2 min with only  3 sea swims  in as many years might do that to yeah. It could have been alot worse. I was in transition with 2 guys & we all headed out of T1 together. 3km in they waved the white flag and let me go.  Here I’ve clear road, the 2 lads that exited the water with me  fall back and are out of sight.. my eyes are fixed ahead. I want to be as aerodynamic as possible and hold my upper body still. My legs are the only thing that move. Get the heart rate down..negative.. power high.. but i’m feeling good. This very moment in a bike leg of a triathlon is where everyone crumples up their race plan and fucks it over their shoulder… What was the point coming up with a plan! those endless emails back and forth with the coach !!… what does the coach know!!??. I got this!! Its a mistake we all make but only the really experienced can recover late on if they go too hard. For an  inexperienced guy it could make their day a very long one… So with that..Always listen to your coach!

My heart rate comes down and my power stays high.  Love my Trek and sticking it in 56/13 at 75rpm feels good,  these roads are beautiful.. the extra 10 psi was a good idea. I get a visual of the front pack, then the second, third, fourth, fifth!!! WTF.. how fricken slow was I in the water.. I must of been in 50th place… But i make inroads and by 150km i caught everyone except the front group.. Passing the chase pack had its challenges.. a group of 12 all lined out and bending rules. You wont hear me complain about drafting.. as the fella says.. ”Dont hate the player, hate the game” and you  have to play the game… 6 min power of 392 watts gets rid of them except  a german guy.. He annoyed me.. Id no motorbike marshal to keep him in check and  he probably could of reached out and took a gel from my pocket had he felt the knock coming!.. after a while I sat up and put him to the front.. paced slowed.. then I called him a pussy and then I went back to the front.. I think the name calling worked because he rode hard after that.. Picked up another german.. another pussy. I made some calculations and knew Id be in t2 around 4:15/18 so I didnt really  ride  for last 20km.. I stayed with the pussys and rolled into t2…

The Run

Id of liked a wee snooze here.. stop the clock and take 15 min power nap..Unfortunately that didnt happen and  50 seconds later I was out running. The Pussys took off as if it were a 10km race.. Good luck lads!.. My goal was 3hrs/3:05.. Id be happy with that and  it would give me sub  8:30.. I can do that i said and I was up to a point..

We have a joke in our team about the ‘ Bad man ‘.. You dont want to be talking to the ‘ bad man ‘ in a race…But the  ‘ bad man ‘ came out and stopped me in my tracks once or twice but all in all i was going rightly.. first half in 1:28:30. I  was right where i wanted to be.. ‘Bad man arrived back and his mate ‘Stitch’.. that stitch  stopped me dead on the road.. You’re going to face challenges like that in ironman. Its how you react.. From here  the run course was getting busy and  I knew some guys passing me out but you have to stay positive and believe in yourself.. They’re only going fast because they’re on there first lap.. second lap tells a tale. Anyway… I had difficult patches but nothing that would prevent me from a 3hr/3;10 marathon until A sniper from the rooftop of the Volga hotel took my calf out of it. My day was over I thought .. 13km remaining I didnt think id do it.. One second I heard  a voice shouting ” you’re motoring Mccrystal” next thing pop..

I hurt my calf while  out for a light jog the day i landed.. It annoyed me but nothing Id be really worried about but it caught me out and here I had a decision to make. This race was never about the Irish record but suddenly it was.. I never spoke of a record beforehand and certainly didnt take it for granted that i’d get it but im around a good while now to know what im able to do. Studying results and times from competitors Ive raced before gave me an insight of what was realistically  achievable. It was heading that way until the calf issue and had to somehow find a way to get to the line…I tried limping but everything else was seizing so i had to somehow get running with good form again…my calf would only let me run 5:10/20km. I couldnt even slow down for aid stations because i wanted to hold that rhythm. The ‘ Bad Man ‘ arrived with 5km to go and stayed with me until the line in Irish record time. 8hrs 41mins  was my time and Im really pleased in the manner in which i got it. I had an honest day with some challenges that I overcame. I love ironman, I love the support, I love the togetherness and most of all I love the custard doughnuts at the end!!
We had over 180 competitors from Ireland there and with those competitors came the support.. In all critical parts of the course there was an irish voice none louder than my wife Karens and my friend Sheena.. The support was immense and im truly grateful. Id like to congratulate my setanta crew for the weekend, all racing hard and getting the results they wanted.. Peter Tomany , Colin Teevin and the happiest Ironman athlete alive  Kevin Hamill!!..

#asea #cyclepowermeters #niallclarkesoils #velorevolution


until the next one.. I heard theres an adventure race in Dungannon 22nd November. Blood Sweat and Tears www.bstextreme.com