2nd year Sports Therapy student John Daly from the Portobello Institute in Dublin recently enjoyed a memorable experience at the 2017 Enduro World Cup Series, 4th round. John spent three days supporting world class riders at the event which was held in the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland.
Enduro racing is not for the faint hearted but it is hugely exciting. John explained:
‘Competitors ride their mountain bikes as fast as they can downhill over 6 timed stages. The times are added together and the winner is the rider with the lowest combined overall score, so the fastest times. When you mix high speeds, tight turns, obstacles and jumps over all sorts of terrain Enduro is a dangerous sport but the athletes are tough as nails’.
The Enduro World Cup Series is the biggest Enduro event in the world and while it would be easy to assume that John is an avid mountain biker himself, it could not be further from the truth. Daniel Brickenden, a Cross Country Mountain Bike rider and friend of John’s, heard that Emerald Enduro were looking for a therapist to support at the event and he gave them John’s details. John said:
‘I've never competed in an Enduro event. I didn't know much about the sport until I researched it’ but that didn’t faze him. Neither did the fact that the event attracted some of the world’s top riders including Irish rider Greg Callaghan, winner of last year’s Emerald Enduro, together with journalists, photographers and film crews from around the world.
The event included two days of practice and one day of racing. John said:
‘Although there were many crashes over the 3 days, nobody was seriously injured. There was another Sports Therapist working at the event and I was mainly doing pre and post event massage treatments. Most of the riders just needed tight muscles worked on. My worst case over the weekend was with Marco Osborne (ranked 22nd in the world) who had crashed twice on the Saturday practice. Marco was happy to finish 18th overall after all 6 stages on the Sunday.
‘Now having been involved and seeing how it works, I learned a lot about it and the athletes. I didn't realise how big the sport was, especially in Ireland, but seeing thousands of passionate fans lining the course was brilliant. It's an amazing sport to watch and I would certainly recommend it to everyone’.
Apart from the thrill of supporting at the event, John had another big surprise at the end of the stage. He said: ‘East Coast Adventure is organising the National Downhill Mountain Bike Championships in Northern Ireland in July 2017. After helping a young rider from County Down, they approached me about my availability and invited me to the event. Three other therapists along with myself are currently in contact with the organisers and are looking forward to supporting the National Downhill Mountain Bike Championships’.
Editor’s Note : Many thanks John for getting in touch and introducing this exciting sport. Good luck with your future studies and career – who knows what door will open next.
You can view some brilliant video footage and images from Emerald Enduro 2017 :