| 16.3°C Dublin

Taking in the mountain air: Downhill racer 'delighted' to be back in the saddle


Close

Enduro mountain bike rider and Red Bull athlete Greg Callaghan takes his local trails at Glencullen Adventure Park by storm as he returns to training. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Enduro mountain bike rider and Red Bull athlete Greg Callaghan takes his local trails at Glencullen Adventure Park by storm as he returns to training. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Enduro mountain bike rider and Red Bull athlete Greg Callaghan takes his local trails at Glencullen Adventure Park by storm as he returns to training. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Professional Enduro mountain biker Greg Callaghan finally got to train on his own stomping grounds at Glencullen Adventure Park for the first time since lockdown restrictions were imposed.

The 28-year-old athlete, Ireland's only professional Enduro mountain biker, finally got a breath of fresh air in the mountains after being confined to within 2km of his home during the lockdown.

The sport is a form of mountain biking where the distance to travel downhill is timed, and while the uphill journey is mandatory, it is not timed. Races normally take place over one to two days and three to six stages, mostly downhill.

The cyclist, who grew up around and still lives in the Dublin Mountains, found his training very limited when the restrictions were imposed, so he was "delighted" to get back on the bike properly for the first time yesterday.

"I was absolutely delighted," he said.

"I had a training session at the park and it felt like I was home. It was great to get back."

He said for about three to four weeks, he was unable to go out and cycle at all.

"Within my 2km I did some trials, but I didn't really want to increase the chance of injury and put more pressure on the hospitals, so I did gym training at home instead. I went about three to four weeks without biking," Mr Callaghan said.

"I did try some things that I wouldn't normally do because I had the time."

While he does some specific training by himself, he said Enduro mountain biking is a very social sport and this side of it was missed during the lockdown.

"My friends are into it so we go biking as a group. In the last few weeks, we've been able to get back to rides in small groups.

"It was a strange time for everyone and I was ready to start a season before we went into lockdown, but it gave me time to pause and reflect," Callaghan added.

He finished third overall in the Enduro World Series in October 2017 and while other races are still postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the annual competition is set to take place now at the end of August, kicking off in Switzerland and ending in Chile.

This will be the sixth season on the circuit for Callaghan , who has been cycling since he could walk.

"I live in the Dublin Mountains and train here too - I was cycling since I could walk but I took up mountain biking when I was 15. But it's great to be back and I'm delighted to be back training," he added.

Irish Independent