Newly crowned Irish National Elite Champion, Ryan Mullen of the An Post Chain Reaction Team, talks about his recent success and to celebrate we are giving away 5 cycling jerseys click here to enter !
Q1. Congratulations on winning gold in the Irish Road Racing Championships – how does it feel to be in winning position?
Thank you! It still hasn’t really hit me to be honest, it’s only when I look down when I’m riding and see I’m wearing the tricolour on my sleeves that I’m reminded of the win. It is a massive honour to wear the national champion colours – I really hope I can do the jersey proud during the rest of the season and next season.
Q2. Had you anticipated the amount of success you have recently achieved?
I hadn’t anticipated it all really. Regarding the nationals, I went there with the TT as my main focus, next thing I know I’m returning home with 3 separate National Champion titles. It was pretty overwhelming and the amount of support and messages I had off people was incredible.
I’ve taken the year step by step, doing each race and riding with the intentions of getting the most out of myself and getting the best result possible for the team. It all came together on the right day with all of us getting to step up on to the podium together. I’m sure that’s a moment Kurt won’t forget for a while!
Q3. How intense was the training leading up to the race?
I got a really good block of racing and training done prior to the nationals. I really felt like I was in top shape coming in to them. The race programme offered to us by Kurt really paid off. I’ve learned so much this year and doing these higher-level races has really brought me on as a rider. I don’t think my race programme could have been tailored any better to the kind of rider I am. By doing the right races and targeting specific races throughout the year has really worked out well for me and I’m able to enjoy stress free racing and train hard as a result.
Q4. How important was it to have the guidance of Sean Kelly and manager, Kurt Bogaerts on the team?
Having Sean and Kurt by our side is a huge advantage. Sean is an inspiration to me as a rider and his career and results speak for themselves. Having a man like that helping and guiding young riders such as myself in the early stages of our careers is an amazing opportunity. We can learn so much from him and the advice he’s given me I’ve already used and taken on board, and I’d like to think my results are no reflecting that.
Kurt is also a huge help – during the National championships his tactics were perfect. We ended up dominating the championships and the closing stages of the race were key to our success as a team. With Kurt guiding us and instructing us as to what our next move should be we were never going to go wrong.
Q5. When competing against some of the world’s finest riders, how do you prepare yourself both mentally and physically?
I’m young and at this stage in my career there’s not a lot of pressure on me which I’m very grateful of. I take each race as a learning opportunity and don’t pressure myself in to getting top results straight away. This is my first year at this level and I’m improving week my week. Taking care of myself mentally is the most important thing I can do before races, I think. I used to be one of those riders who panicked and stressed before races. Even before the race had started I was on the back foot as a result. With the help of Kurt and my coach Brian Nugent, I’ve been able to really focus and stay mentally strong throughout the year. Really focusing on races that I know I can get a result in has been really helpful in terms of preparing physically. I can tailor my training around certain races to get in to the best possible shape for my target events. Without the excellent race programme we have though, I wouldn’t have been able to train and physically prepare fully.
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the An Post CRC Team at the Tour of Britain 7th-14th Sept.