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An Interview with Greg Callaghan

Posted on February 28, 2018 @ 11:48 AM

The 2018 Enduro World Series is rapidly approaching, and some of the big names have recently been showcasing their newest teams and gear. Greg Callaghan, one of Ireland's best known mountain bikers and rider for Cube Action Team has been in training for months now to put himself in a strong position ahead of the series. We got chatting to Greg about his gym routines, hopes for this year's event and also put to him a few questions from MountainBikeNI.com followers.

Hi Greg! Thanks for chatting with us. We know you started mountain biking at 15 - what was it that got you into it?

I was initially into motor bike trials, which my dad and uncle were big into. I could only get out with dad at the weekends though, and I eventually met some mountain bikers doing some jumps. I went up the mountains with them and pretty much loved it straight away. It was something I could do myself and there was a great crowd of ones who would go along.


You’ve mentioned Joey Dunlop was a big inspiration which is really interesting. What was it about him that drew your interest?

As I say, my family were big into motorbikes and that’s I knew of Joey. I just think he had a great mentality, you know, he did things his own way and never got a big head. Even when he was working with some of the really big guys, he still slept in his own van and worked away himself. He knew what way he liked to work, and he knew it worked for him.


How different is your mindset going into big competitions now with the support of major companies like Cube and Red Bull Ireland, compared with when you first started out with Dirt/Norco?

I guess it’s still similar in a lot of ways, the only big difference is that now I know what I’m doing. Back when I started, I just rode my bike loads and when I was there I’d aim to ride faster than everyone else. Now I’ve got a different approach, but the mentality of wanting to go out and win is the same.

We’ve seen your training video which is beast – has that evolved much since you first started?

I work really closely with my coach, Chris (Kilmurray from Point1Athletic). He works out a programme around my strengths and weaknesses and we go from there. Every year it evolves and it’s totally tailored to me. So my cousin Killian for example, who has Chris as his coach as well, could go into the gym with me and do a totally different workout.


I imagine the EWS squad is one big family anyway, but it must be nice to have Killian there with you when you’re on the other side of the world?

It is definitely yeah, him and Kelan and all the guys. To be honest, it’s just great to have Irish people around, I think our humour is pretty unique.


Last year was your fifth year in the EWS. Does it get a little bit harder or a little bit easier every year?

Definitely harder. It’s a young sport that everyone is learning super fast how to perfect their skills, meaning the level gets higher every year. I mean, every year you’ll go in knowing of 10 guys that could win and suddenly there are 5 new ones. And the year after there are maybe 20 who could win it. It’s definitely a good thing though, I think it makes the sport more exciting every year and pushes us all to up our game.


We’re only a few weeks away from the start of the EWS 2018. How are you feeling for it?

I’ve had a really good off season, probably the best off season I’ve had competitively. I’ve been training well and the body is in quite good shape physically. I’ve got a new bike too which I’m really excited about, but can’t tell you more about that just yet…


Which of the trails have you been to in Northern Ireland? Any favourites?

I actually think they’re all great, but I get a real enjoyment out of DH2 (On the Pulse) at Rostrevor.

How important do you feel purpose built trails are for growing mountain biking?

I’d say they’re incredibly important, you just have to look at the likes of Jacob Dickson’s success. He learnt his craft at Rostrevor and he’s doing incredibly well. They also make the sport so much more accessible and gives somewhere for riders wanting to try it for the first time exactly what they need. In winter it also means all riders have somewhere that’s going to be well looked after and improves the safety aspect.


How would you rate the quality of riders coming out of Ireland as a whole, and maybe particularly, Northern Ireland at the minute?

I’d say it’s really strong, like I said Jacob is doing really well and Kelan Grant is down training at the minute as well, it’s great to see. 


Some quick fire questions now from our followers! What's the best piece of MTB advice you've ever received?

Look up. From the trials years ago, I was always used to looking down, but keep your head up, see what’s coming and you’ve more time to react.


Best cardio exercise for endurance riding?

You could get bogged down into it, but honestly riding your bike is the best thing you can do, simple as that.


From flisjan: "Hi @greg_callaghan, just one question, is it too late for me to become a pro enduro rider? I started riding 1 year ago and I'm 19 years old. Thanks and keep on shredding."

Definitely not, you just need to look at Steve Peat, who took up mountain biking when he was about 17 and he did pretty well for himself. It’s never too late.

From liam_macgearailt: “Will you ever see yourself leaving Cube and going to another team in the near future?”

No, I’m genuinely really happy where I am and am loving what I’m doing.


How many proteins do you eat a day?

So many proteins. (Greg instructs me to bash the numbers key) 648,249,159 or so.


From samgeddes123: "Can I have free stuff??"

(With philosophical gravitas) Nothing in this life is free.


Check out Greg's visit to Davagh Forest Mountain Bike Trails here, and keep up to date with how Greg - and everyone else - is getting on at the Enduro World Series on MountainBikeNI.com. Thanks to Greg and Red Bull Ireland for arranging our chat! 

Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

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