During the week VC Glendale’s Marc Harvey invited me to a CX coaching day in Jenkinstown and I didn’t have to think very long to accept the invitation, been cooked up home I needed a break, my dear wife Maggie to I am sure, as when I left the house yesterday her smile was giving it away..lol. Dundalk is an hour away from Belfast and the same distance to Dublin. The Mc Crystal’s cycling track lay’s at the foot of the Cooley Mountains in a picturesque village called Jenkistown surrounded by farmland and woods. The track has been purposed build and designed for cyclo-cross but can also being used for off-road running and training if needed in the future.

The cycling track lay’s behind the village petrol station and shop, with massive parking created at the grounds and farmland of the Mc Crystal family to accommodate the visitors of the track. My brother in law Jerome and myself been welcomed by Iron man and cyclist Bryan Mc Christal, who build this amazing place, and his sister Eve mc Christal, the golden girl in Irish Cycling. Bryan has a long top-level sports history, but what I didn’t know Bryan was in his younger years a pro-soccer player with the likes of Leeds United and many Irish League clubs on both sides of the border such as Dundalk and Dungannon! His CV in cycling and triathlon in later life even more impressive, A man with a vision I found out while talking to him about his venue and his plans for the future. By trade, Bryan is a goldsmith and works in the family jewelry shop in nearby Dundalk, and all his free time has been spent on his dream and mission to offer something unique in Ireland, and unique indeed it is. Even the work is not finished it already offers so much! Designed by Irish Master CX Champ and International crosser Brendan “Doc” Doherty from VC Glendale to UCI standards who also helps out as coach to the young ones during the weekend’s session, this together with his teammate Mark Harvey (dad of the talented Lee and Dean, both international crossers and mountainbikers)

Brendan Doherty from Belfast (Vc Glendale) as coach
Marc Harvey (Vc Glendale) at work as coach
Gold medal holder as para-cycling pilot in Olympic’s and World Championships, ex- Elite women’s Irish cycling champion on the road, and renowned TT specialist Eve Mc Crystal (Strata3-Velo revolution CT)

The track is built on the family land of the Mc Cristal’s, a garage shop on the premises, and plans are made to build a coffee shop in the future to make this “the place to go!” A venue very much needed in Ireland, an alternative for parks and fields belonging to councils and city’s, and run by people who know their onions so to speak. The course has everything you need in cyclocross, tarmac at the start and finish area, elevation, steps, sand, grass, pitstop, and indoor hangar facilities. Access will also improve with another entry from the road in the near future. It could provide something we very much need…venues for CX, and a place for our youth to race and train in safety, a championship-worthy venue in the making!

Yesterday was a CX coaching day for the under-age boys and girls with tuition from Brendan and Mark, helped by Bryan, followed by a training session for the U14-U16, juniors, and some elites who joined later on in the day. Due to the current times the kids been split up in groups of a maximum of 15, the same with the older ones, mask been worn by instructors and parents, social distance adhered at all times…so a safe place to visit, even Santa made an appearance to give the kids a wee present as momentum (Mc Crystal Track Cycling bidon) All smiling faces, the parents of the little ones enjoyed watching their offspring learning new skills.

Some sponsors already in place

In all a great morning for us, it gives you a warm feeling that our sport has people like Bryan and friends, it gives you hope for the future of our beloved sport with such innovating project and need to be supported, as it provides a ready-made course without the red tape usually needed in our off-road events. More details of the venue and his goals can be found on https://www.facebook.com/mccrystalscxtrack and more photos on facebook later of the event

Watchfull eye of Lee Harvey while the kids learning the climbing of the steps
Father Christmas lives in County Louth, I swear…seen him on a bike
Learning skills of concentration
Smiling parents
Happy Kids
The Nolan family present from neighbouring Navan for the training sessions
Where is Eve
Till the next time…have a merry Christmas and a Healthy and prosperous 2021