Greg Callaghan is a young Irish mountain bike professional, who competes in the Enduro World Series, perhaps the most demanding mountain bike discipline. We sat down with this outstanding athlete to talk about his goals, his races and motivation.
I just met the right people, and I rode in my first race. Then there was another race. First I did downhill races, and then endurance races. When I changed, I knew right away that there was a future for me in enduro bike racing. So then I really started to focus on racing and taking on more risks. I just put my all into it, and since then it’s been going great!
It’s about the how and the process more than the result – I’m a firm believer in that.
I’ve never been motivated by medals or good results or victories. I motivate myself. If I win a race but still feel that my performance was not as good as it could have been, then I’m not satisfied. If I take third and I know that I performed at my best, the best that I could do in that moment, then I’m very satisfied. It’s about the how and the process more than the result – I’m a firm believer in that.
Setbacks are important and they help us to learn. There are always ups and downs. Life is like a wave – especially the lives of athletes. Difficult moments help you to stick with things, and to keep fighting. When you make it through moments like that, the experience helps you the next time it gets difficult – one gets stronger. I had an injury and I had to get through that. Also, there was a time when it was just me riding, when I was doing races without a sponsor: just me, my girlfriend and a van. I didn’t have any money and I had to win races to get some cash. And I did just that, even though it was difficult. In especially difficult times, I still think about how it was back then. I can look back on that as a valuable experience.
I have a lot of goals. Normally I don’t write the big goals down, like for example what race I’d like to win. I keep it all in my head, what I would like to achieve in general and where I would like to go. For me it’s about the small goals and everyday habits – I concentrate on those.
I just keep doing it: it’s like that for everything I do. Sometimes there are simply difficult times – you have to just make it through. For example if I feel like I’m too slow during a race, I remind myself about all the things that I’ve already achieved. I just keep going and push myself to my limits, come what may.
I wish more people knew how fun it is. It is so unbelievably much fun – it would be great if even more people were excited about this sport. There’s really nothing like it.
I just keep going and push myself to my limits, come what may..
The thing I like best is the feeling that you have when you get into the flow, when you just ride and ride. That is such a gnarly feeling, and for me that’s provides motivation enough to keep at it.
Now I’m flying to Madeira for a race, and then on to the Irish Cup. My main focus, though, is the Enduro World Series.