Monday, April 20, 2015


The Ronde van Vlaanderen voor Beloften. I've started three times, had a DNF in my first attempt, finished my second and came crashing down and ending up in hospital in my third.
It's given me a roller-coaster of emotions, and admittedly it's leaving a hole in my heart walking away from this race without reaching my full potential in it. However that's cycling, sport and life. For most riders - 99% of the time racing won't go the way you wanted it to, but we all chase that 1% chance of something special happening. It's what we all dream about and gives us motivation and inspiration to work hard every day. The thought of it all paying off, for one day, one result and one moment. It would all be worth it...
This year RVV ended up in a bad way - for both myself and the team. Three of us were forced to abandon the race due to our injuries. I ended up in Oudenaarde hospital getting my body sewn back together for the second time in a month. 5 stitches in my hip, 2 in my elbow, plenty of more road rash and another course of antibiotics - my third course in a month! This time it hit extra hard as I had just about recovered from my previous crash at Omloop het Waasland (links*),  which gave me lots of complication. I started Flanders with cuts and scars from then, still some work and not in the best shape, but optimistic I could be an influential part of the team and everything had been going to plan until 120km. 
It was on the Kattenberg just outside Oudenaarde, a downhill sector of cobblestones that comes just after the Holleweg sector. About five minutes before we hit Holleweg it started to piss down with rain, you could see most guys race was immediately over, and I knew that shit was going to hit the fan - and that it did! 
When cobbles get wet they are like ice, super slippery - so when the peleton of young exuberant U23's hit the off camber downhill Kattenberg at 65km/h+ in was the recipe for disaster. I was quite close to the front, just behind my two team mates Jack Wilson and Ryan Mullen who I was to try and protect and help in the final. 
It started with a few guys going down in front, just next to Jack losing their bikes from under them and before I knew it mine was gone and Ryan and I were amongst it. It was carnage, must have been at least 20-30 riders involved as well as motorbike marshals and camera crew. I stood up so fast I can't even remember pulling myself off the ground, I was in denial - trying to convince myself that this wasn't happening again! The first thing I did was check my ankle before I limped around in discomfort and pain trying to believe this wasn't happening...again! The race was over for us at that point. I was asked to ride on, but there was no hope of ever reaching the front again. I got back on the bike and rode to the finish with Ryan, a grim and painful 5 kilometres. 
It's not easy, but I am shining a positive light over the current situation and considering myself lucky. These have been the two worst accidents of my career and I came out of them with no broken bones. A mere few days on and one of my best friends and team mates, Jack Wilson, was involved in another accident at La Cote Picarde in France whilst in the sprint for the win. He broke his collarbone and wrist. "Luck of the Irish" certainly hasn't been on our side this last month or so. 

Big thanks to Kurt Bogaerts, Cycling Ireland and Brian Nugent for all your help over the Nations Cup period. It's a shame how things turned out for us all. There will be better days! 

Now I am in the rebuild stage of my recovery. I have started training again, just. The wound in my hip was so deep that two stitches need to stay in extra long - just to be sure!  My plan is to take some weeks to train and regain some condition which was lost in this last month. I am motivated to turn my season around, this first few months has been rough for me and I haven't got any reward for the hard work I put in this winter which is the most frustrating thing, but I am remaining calm. It's a long season ahead! Comeback 2.0 is on! Wish me better luck this time... 

To wrap this blog up, check out this awesome picture Ryan Mullen posted on his Twitter last week. Never truer words...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I am back in business! It’s been around 3 weeks since I crashed at Omloop het Waasland, and I have been back in Belgium for a week or so already. It has been an eventful week as we had our team/press launch in Gent, and I have been back training on the road again. I was getting quite fond of the turbo however…. not! 

After my accident I flew home on St. Patrick’s day to firstly recover and then restart training. I spoke with the management and my coach and we decided it was better to be at home and get looked after properly so I could return to action as soon as possible. It turned out I needed just over a week completely off the bike - it really killed me inside! I guess not having so much time without exercise in the past 2-3 years made me crazy. However it’s what I needed to do in order for me to come back to full condition as fast as possible - in hindsight, it only made me more motivated! I was lucky I went home and got further medical attention though, as I started to get the first symptoms of a skin infection in my ankle which could have caused a lot of further complications. It was a deep wound right to the bone so it would have been very easily susceptible to getting infection. I knocked it on the head with a strong course of antibiotics and once the stitches got taken out I was immediately on the turbo again.

I spent around a week training indoors and I was and still am feeling better every day. I didn't lose too much condition thankfully, as I had a good winter backing me up. I was knocking out 2-3 hours a day on the turbo, and once I got back to Belgium I continued the same until the An Post-Chain Reaction team/press launch where I got back on the road for the first time and with success! Up until that point I was being extra careful not to reopen the wound but it’s been lasting even through some intense and longer sessions on the rough roads here. All positive signs! I can’t wait to start racing again. Through the past few weeks my motivation has remained high as when I touched down at OHW I was starting to feel really strong, so I was motivated and confident I can get back to that level. Just need some luck now I will be back in no time!

The An Post-Chain Reaction team/press launch for 2015 took place in Gent on the 2nd of April. It was the perfect opportunity for the team to meet the sponsors and press before we tackle our 2015 season. We arrived in Gent on the 1st of April to do some photos and meet the sponsors and press who came over from Ireland, then on the morning of the 2nd we rode the Ronde van Vlaanderen finale with the king, Sean Kelly. It was awesome for us to get to know the people who make it happen for An Post-Chain Reaction. Without the sponsors the team wouldn’t be able to function at a professional level. For me, I got on the road again for the first time since I crashed. I am happy to say I am back in full training and on the road to a good level again. The finale of the ride was made extra special with a feed stop 10km to go, where we rehydrated with Kwaremont 6.6% Belgian Beers - the perfect end to an awesome ride! 

After the ride and some lunch we then had to scrub up for some interviews before we changed into our team kit for the team presentation. I really enjoyed speaking to the Irish press about the upcoming season, it really made it sink in that I am now a part of this team - something, as an Irishman I am extremely proud of. The following morning some our technical sponsors gave the riders a briefing on their line of products. We had HIGH5 Nutrition, KASK Helmets and Continental Tyres talk us through the best way in which to use their equipment. Big thanks for the informative morning and I look forward to using some of your advice in upcoming races. 
Big respect to Kurt Bogaerts and the An Post-Chain Reaction staff for organising such a professional event. It was a great few days and I’m sure everybody had a lot of fun!

Now my plan is to ride the U23 UCI Coupe des Nations - Ronde van Vlaanderen, La Cote Picarde and ZLM Tour as part of the Irish U23 National team. I’m proud to have been selected again this year, I’ve ridden these events in the past few seasons and they have been the highlight of my season. Unfortunately this year I am entering them under different circumstances so wont have the condition I would have liked. Regardless I am going to give 100%, as I always do when I pull on the national jersey. 

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more news over the next few weeks. Follow the team and I on twitter to keep up to date on our upcoming events: 

My Twitter: @Eoin_McCarthy

An Post-Chain Reaction Twitter: @AnPost_CRC

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Last time I was writing about my adventures on a bicycle, I was in a hotel room in France at Etoille de Besseges UCI 2.1, trying desperately to concentrate whilst listening to my room mate Maessie’s music and recovering from a hectic first stage. Now I am sitting in Belgium, half of my body ripped to shreds and an ankle swollen like a balloon! This sure is an interesting lifestyle I am leading. However, it could be worse - it could be raining! 

I’m still trying to find words for Besseges… Even in just a few days, it was a big learning experience for me. My most important lesson being, you cant hide a bad day at this level! 
In my last blog I spoke of Stage 1, so here’s my recap on the rest of my race. One word for Stage 2 - bizarre! Something I will always have memories from, some funny and some scary! It was the day the peleton went on “strike”! On paper it was set out to be a horrible day. Very cold, and extremely windy. It had potential for another stage of absolute carnage! As we rolled out of Nimes in the neutral section I witnessed some scenes. It was so windy that I had difficulty controlling my bike and even some of the smaller guys got blown completely off there bikes as the gusts of wind were so strong! Once the flag dropped at kilometre 0 the peleton almost immediately blocked the road and there was a hell of a lot of shouting going on. Little did I know what was happening but apparently we were on strike!?! We came to a stop after about 5km and I had no idea what was happening. After chatting to some english speaking guys the plan was to ride to the finish line and stop the stage because it was deemed as too dangerous. Now, I was no one to question the world tour guys of Lotto-Soudal or FDJ - but the race was never going to be stopped! As we got further away from Nimes the wind started to ease off, and racing was now much safer. We got the finish line after around 60km and came to a halt for the second time. Then after about 5 to 10 minutes we got going yet again - full gas for 2 km before we now stopped for the third time!!! What in the name of god is going on!?!? This time it was Thomas Voeckler and Tony Gallopin who called the shot and got the race going again. We then raced to the finish as normal - fast and hard! It was coming down to a bunch sprint but a massive crash near the front end of the peleton at 1.5km to got blocked the road and all of our team were hindered in the process. Nobody got badly hurt thankfully, but it was disappointing for us. 

The third day of Besseges is not a day I would like to remember. It was quite possibly the worst day I’ve ever had on a bike. However I learnt some very valuable lessons from it! It was the hardest stage on paper, with a category 1 climb starting after 2km. Ouch! I was optimistic and hoped to have good legs as a day like this would usually suit my style. From the gun I was suffering badly, I never got going. Over the top I was hanging on for dear life, and when we got strung out on the descent I was way too far back and suffering too much starting the second climb just minutes later and I lost touch. I kept pushing through the pain but I was empty, I had nothing left. Once I reached the finish line I was too far behind the leaders and the organisers stopped me and some others. It was gutting! 
Honestly, I have never been so disillusioned and upset. I was so disappointed for weeks afterwards so it was a godsend that I was heading home for a few weeks instead of going straight to Belgium post race. 

After some easy days to recover and reflect on my French experience, I was ready to go again and started training solidly at home in Cork. In hindsight I went to France too tired and under recovered from Calpe and my weeks training post-Calpe/pre-Marseille. A big mistake on my part! Then my solo effort at GP Marseille and the hard first few days of Besseges seemed to knock me over the edge. You live and you learn!  

I am now in Buggenhout, Belgium. My new base for 2015! I trained really well at home and in my first few weeks in Belgium I continued to do the same. 

My first race here was at Wanzele Koers Pro Kermesse on the 11th March. I was really happy with how my race went, I was feeling 10 times better than I did in France and I proved to myself I have gotten better and made improvements. I had no result in the end - I just rolled in mid-peleton as it was a bunch sprint. I know it was a smaller race, but all positive signs for the upcoming weeks! 

Omloop van het Waasland was next up for me on Sunday the 15th. I was really motivated, optimistic and looking forward to having a good hard race and trying to show my worth. My goal was to represent An Post-Chain Reaction in the breakaway. Unfortunately it didn’t end up that way for me. It ended up at a hospital. At around 90km into the race I was involved in a heavy crash! I was about 20-30 guys from the front of the peleton and I was following my team mates Ali and Jack to the front. It was coming to the time of the race where there was a lot of attacks as the breakaway hadn’t been established, so I was very alert and watching what was going on - just waiting for a move to slip away. We were following the attacks and even making some ourselves. I know it’s so easy to say it now, but I was genuinely feeling great! I was starting to feel really strong again and I was well able to mix it. Then it all went wrong! The guy next to me hit a hole in the road and went over the handlebars - at 50km/h or so. I had nowhere to go and I hit the ground pretty hard. Race over in  a matter of seconds. I was quite dizzy for about 30 mins afterwards, but thankfully I was wearing my Kask Infinity helmet, it potentially saved my life! As usual when you crash I lost a lot of skin, in particular on my ankle, where I received stitches after a lengthy wait in the hospital with Greg. It is like a bullet hole, about the size of a euro coin - right to the bone! Horrible stuff, but a good story for the ladies as I am sure I will have a lovely scar to show for it! 

I now have to wait 10 days before I get my stitches taken out, but I hope to recover as soon as possible and start riding again within a week. My body may be hurt, but my heart hurts more. Although I know, with hard work and fast healing, I can come back and be at the same strength soon! It’s a long season ahead! I want to say a big thanks to Greg, I cant thank you enough for how much you helped me. Big shout out to Hans also who really looked after me and helped me yesterday and today. You guys are the best! I am motivated to come back stronger and show everyone what I can do - firstly though, I need time to make sure I am 100% healthy! Thanks everyone at home for your kind messages of concern. I will be better before I’m married as they would say in Ireland! 


Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Eoin McCarthy about his first races:

To say my first races with "An Post-Chain Reaction" have been "eventful" would be a huge understatement. They have been quite a shock to the system! Every year it has taken me the first few races to fine-tune my condition and this year is no different. I've had a good winter of training preparing for the season, but you can never compare training to racing!

GP Marseille kicked off my 2015 campaign. It was full gas right from the beginning with an 8km climb starting at kilometre 0. I was pretty quick to realise that I am no longer in the Elites and u23's - ouch! After about 30 or 40 minutes there was a stall in the peleton, and unsure that we had anyone representing us in the breakaway I just rolled off the front. At the beginning it was unintentional. I was just eating a HIGH5 gel at the front, I went around a corner and had a gap. I just rode steady and didn't make any crazy efforts. I hoped someone might join me and when I got the first time check and realised Conor had made the breakaway - I didn't know what to do! I never knew he was in front. I didn't really want to sit up and go back to the peloton, it would have been embarrassing so I kept riding and got over some of the harder climbs at my own pace. I spent about one to one and a half hours on my own. When I got caught we started another hard climb within a few kilometres and about halfway up I blew my lights. Maybe I had ridden harder than I thought. Lesson learned for the future, but hey - nothing ventured, nothing gained. I had nothing to lose. I got my name on the radio and some publicity for the team, if nothing else. I'll always have a story to tell about my first race at this level!
After GP Marseille we then had a few days to prepare for Etoille de Besseges which started today, Wednesday. For the first time in a long time I am sitting in my hotel room typing a blog, and finding it difficult. My brain is fried after a hectic first stage! The wind was the major decider in todays race, splitting the race to pieces from kilometre zero. Freezing temperatures, snow and crashes helped animate things equally! Immediately from the flag drop a front group had formed, from then on it was full gas and very nervous, everyone wanted to be in the front at all times. I am still amazed how I didn't crash today, I was agonisingly close on many occasions. Just before the second GPM (KOM) my race was decided. There was a crash right in front of me which caused a split in the peleton. I tried my hardest to come back but with the wind being so strong it was impossible, I went as hard as I could but couldn't close the gap! I finished in a big group roughly 13 minutes behind winner Kris Boeckmans from Lotto-Soudal. I have a lot to learn at this level, GP Marseille and today's stage show that, but I am optimistic that I can make improvements once I get the hang of the style of racing. It's funny because when I went to Belgium first, I found the local kermess races really hard and a year later I was contesting for wins. It's the same principle here, only harder. A lot harder! Tomorrow is another day. To try again and learn more...

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Interview from Calpe with

Here's an interview I recently did at our training camp in Calpe with the guys @ :

We are an Irish team, so talking with an Irish rider is always nice. Today we spoke with youngster Eoin McCarthy. A smart guy with an interesting opinion.

Eoin, why did you choose for An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly CT?

Last year I had the opportunity to meet Kurt Bogaerts and show myself and my skills to him. I really wanted to convince him to sign me. After I receive the chance of being a rider for his team I was elated. It means a lot to me!
What are you're expectations for this season?
Actually I need to see how things work. This is a whole new world for me. So I can say with pride that I like the idea of being a good helper. This way I can get to know the guys and how things work at this level.
How is the preparation going?

I'm happy with the training and the intensity. I must say that it's hard, but fun. We will be ready for the start of the season, of that I'm sure!
Which team-rider has made an impression on you yet?
Because I assume everybody is going to say Aidis and maybe I would to I rather go for Ryan Mullen. Not because he's Irish but because he is good and above all modest about his achievements. Happy to be on the same team!
Good luck and thank you Eoin!

A blog from Calpe, seen on

The first few days at the An Post-ChainReaction team camp have been awesome. It's great to be back out here with all the boys again after some family time at home in Ireland over Christmas/New Year. We are clocking up some quality kilometres to prepare the 2015 season. With the season only about 3 weeks away everyone is looking to out the finishing touches on their condition and this camp looks as if it will be the perfect block we need.
Right now I am really happy! Upon arrival, we received all of our new kit from Onda Sportswear and Nike, and it's fitting like a glove. Just perfect! It is super cool - and with our new team logo, and fluo green design on our casual clothes it definitely stands out from the rest of the teams here at the Diamante Beach! Now I really feel like a part of the team, and when everyone is riding in the same kit it's better for the team morale - as if it wasn't good enough already!
On the road it's great for a young guy to have such experienced guys around like our coach Niko Eeckhout who you can call upon for some advice and tips. I have a lot to learn about racing at this level, and I am very eager to pick at his brain and get as much advice possible to use in the early season. Aidis Kruopis is another experienced rider whom I am learning from, and I look forward to learning more. He rode for many years at WorldTour level and is good enough to win some of the worlds biggest races. He's a super nice guy, and we have a lot of laughs out training. I told him today he needs to teach me how to descend - because he's waiting for everyone at the bottom of every mountain. He's got skills!
Today I am getting a massage from our swanny Hans, and then I have some media work to do for our new video " #weshareourdream " which will be aired online after the camp. Tomorrow we have a nice ride in the mountains planned - and I hear that it's meant to be a hot sunny day. Maybe I'll get my arms out and get rid of this Irish milk bottle tan! Suns out, guns out and all that jazz...
Bye for now!
Eoin McCarthy