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Killian Callaghan - The Dublin Man Who Will be World Champion

01/10/2017
Killian Callaghan - The Dublin Man Who Will be World Champion

At the end of this month Killian Callaghan will be crowned World Champion in the U21 Enduro World Series, following a sensational few months which saw the Dublin man race consistently in each of the rounds, with a 1st place in Aspen, and 2nd in Whistler, Canada securing the overall series lead, leaving him unbeatable going into the final round in Italy on the 30-31 September 2017.


 

Enduro is one of the fastest growing strands of cycling in Ireland at the moment, consisting of timed downhill sections and untimed uphills. The winner of an enduro race is the person with the fastest combined times at the end of the day.

We caught up with the unassuming mountain biker this week to find out a little bit more about who he is, and his journey in Enduro!


 

Although Callaghan is still only 20 years old, he started Enduro Racing four years ago, after spending years on all kinds of bikes – from Motorbikes to BMX racing.

“I was doing motorcycle trials as a kid and then a year or so of BMX racing and I broke my leg, I was out for about six months. While I was out my mates started doing Enduros. I was looking at it on Facebook the whole time while I was injured. The minute I got better I just wanted to try it. I bought a cheap hardtail from my uncle and went out, did a race and loved it. I’m pretty much hooked since then.”


Although not UCI discipline, Enduro recently was recognised by Cycling Ireland as an official strand of cycling, and last month a demo National Championship event saw 350 people enter. The soon-to-be-crowned World Champion describes the social nature of the sport:

“It’s a day out with all your friends – you’re out all day, riding. There’s not much standing around – you do a stage and wait for your mates. You go back up casually with your mates – that’s probably the best thing about it.”


The Enduro World Series has eight rounds across the world, with one of the highlights being the Emerald Enduro in Wicklow, hosted by biking.ie. For the past three years Niall Davis and his crew has held what is widely considered one of the best rounds in the Enduro World Series!



 


Two weeks ago in Whistler, Canada, Callaghan came second in a defining moment of the series – his lead over the second placed overall rider, ironically called Nathan Secondi (France), was enough to mean he is unbeatable going into the final round in Italy at the end of this month. He describes the moment that he found out over the phone that the title would be his:

“I knew my mam and dad would be up – they’re usually worried sick. I usually text them after each race was done, but I just rang them, cos I didn’t know what the points would be like. I thought maybe my dad would be still be up. He was, and he told me I was World Champion, and got enough points ahead of your man in second! Obviously I was delighted, but it was a bit of a shock.”


Travelling the world to attend each of the series has not been without its challenges. As a 20 year old Callaghan has added pressures of not being able to rent a car and is largely funding his own travel, with the assistance of some private sponsors and his main employers EP Mooneys.

“I burnt the candle from both ends this year – and got away with it. I work most days from 8am – 4pm, and some Saturdays too. It’s unreal getting to go to all these places, but you are doing it on a shoe string budget!”


The changing point in the season for Callaghan was after the French round, when he spent some time training with his cousin Greg Callaghan (Elite Rider) in the Alps:

“I went out to the Alps to my cousin Greg and got a week’s training with him, which was unbelievable. It helped change a lot for the rest of the last two races – getting a good week training in the Alps, and getting to train in altitude. I came to America with a lot more training done, and fresh.”



With three weeks to go until he takes off again, for the final round of the Enduro World Series, in Finale Ligure, Italy, the pressure is off Callaghan, but he won’t be taking his foot off the pedal:

“I will just go into the race, relax a lot more and I can push hard and know that even if you get a mechanical or a fault you have the series wrapped up.”


Preparation for the finale includes the last round of the Gravity Enduro in Djouce this Sunday, and the Dublin man loves racing at home:

“The Irish races are so much fun, so social! On Saturday in practise everyone rides around together and has the craic. I love that. I think that’s more fun than the race itself!”


How did one of Ireland’s most technical bike riders learn his skill?


“Years of riding,” he tells us. “I was riding every day as a kid, on a lot of different types of bikes. I spent a lot of time riding in skate parks and BMX racing, a lot of motorbike trials and pedal bike trials as well. All of the skills cross over and help a lot. And now they’ve come together. Mountain biking is a mixture of everything. I still ride a lot of different bikes – it all helps. I think if I had more time I’d ride a lot more variety of bikes.”



Best of luck to Killian Callaghan in the final round of the Enduro World Series, at the end of which he will be crowned World Champion!


LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE


Photos Adrian Van Der Lee



Men U21

 


Overall Series with one round to go –

1. Killian Callaghan (IRL) 1490 points

2. Nathan Secondi (FRA) 1040 points

3. Vojtech Blaha (CZE) 1000 points


ROUNDS:


NZ 2nd (to Pedro Burns – Chile)

Tasmania 7th (Aus, Aus, NZ, CZE, France, NZ, IRL)

Madeira 4th (Fra, CZE, ESP, IRL)

Ireland 4th (GB, Fra, NZ, IRL)

France 12th, (Fra, Chile, CZE, Austria, Fra, Fra, Fra, Fra, Austria, Fra, Fra, IRL)

USA, Aspen 1st (ahead of USA, CAN)

Canada, Whistler 2nd (Can, IRL, Can)

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