"I haven't gotten that adrenaline rush anywhere else": Greg Callaghan on falling in love with Enduro

As the world's number one rider, the Dubliner tells Newstalk.com what attracted him to the sport

BY Cian Roche 15:00 Saturday 3 June 2017, 15:00 3 Jun 2017

Image: ©INPHO

Since he was a boy, Greg Callaghan has been attracted to the thrill of riding.

At the age of eight, the Dubliner was competing on motorbikes and did so up until his teenage years. Logistics made him swap his motorised vehicle for something a little more rudimentary.

"This sport was just more accessible for a motorbike," he tells Newstalk.com. "With motorbiking, you needed to have a full day and you need to have someone bring you to it when you’re a young lad.

"With Enduro, you can just take your bike to the hills and you can spend as long as you want out there."

With this in mind, Callaghan threw himself into the world of Enduro racing. Since dedicating his life to sport - which in its simplest terms is a type of mountain bike racing where the downhills are timed but uphills are not - he has risen to number one in the world rankings.

The 25-year-old has been competing in the Enduro World Series this year and for the past three years.

"We’ve been in New Zealand, Australia, Madeira and now in Ireland. The place was packed."

The Emerald Enduro touched down at the foot of Carrick Mountain in Co. Wicklow, where 350 riders were competing in different age groups over the course of the weekend.

Coillte Emerald Enduro welcomes 350 of the world’s elite riders to Carrick Mountain in Wicklow for the 4th round of the Enduro World Series. Image: ©INPHO

"Because you’re hidden away in the hills you’re not mainstream. But it could be. People are joking around calling it ‘the new golf’. And, in some instances, it’s becoming quite apparent.

"All the cars you used to see going to golf clubs now have bikes on the back of them.

"The first Irish race had nearly 400 riders at it. There were loads of fans and spectators, there was a big buzz around it. Every year it continues to go from strength to strength."

Two days of practice and a day of racing attracted thousands of visitors to Glenealy. Having just picked up a win last month in Madeira, Callaghan will have been disappointed with a 10th place finish.

However, the Cube sponsored rider says he's not too disappointed because he knows he gets to continue to compete in a sport he loves.

"The buzz you get from racing to the limit and it getting a bit out of control is something that I haven’t found anywhere else.

"That adrenaline rush is quite addictive."

Travelling at high speeds on uneven terrain will inevitably lead to injury and Callaghan admits he's picked up his fair share of knocks over the years.

"Yeah, but nothing major. Broken collarbones, a few bones in my hand, my wrist and a bit of a knock to my knee.

"Nothing big, just small little niggles. The first thing you think of when you pick up injuries like that is ‘when can I go back at it again?’

"It doesn’t even cross your mind to pack any of it in. When it’s going well, the good times far, far outweigh the bad times of being injured."

Callaghan's journey now takes him Millau in France at the end of June for the fifth event of year. Despite the travel, he still says he would like to see more events in his home country.

"This is third time we've had this event. It's a favourite with the riders. We race all over the world, but the Irish in terms of organisation, venue and crowds, are terrific.

"The crowds are some of the best in the world, the Irish hospitality really shines through. There are very few venues that people love coming to and we've been back here three years in a row which the riders have enjoyed. That tells you something."

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