A lot happens in one year. Here’s a look back at 12 of the most popular stories to go up on Freewheelin’ during 2019…
Gravel grabbed our attention this year with the announcement of Ireland’s first gravel sportive in Fermanagh – Lakelander Gravel Grinder. What proved to be the top story of 2019, it turned out to be a hit with over 400 lining up for the 100km and 50km routes through the UNESCO forest parks. Promised to be bigger and better for 2020, red line October 10th into your cycling calendar.
Just in time for Christmas, phase one of the eagerly awaited Slieve Bloom Mountain Trails opened. With a 14-kilometre Blue loop and six-kilometre Red loop there’s plenty to get the wheels turning.
Ravensdale saw a revival for 2019, hosting the Irish National Enduro Championships. Kelan Grant and Leah Maunsell were top dogs.
We like a bit of factory bling. Racing for the official Specialized Racing team, Killian Callaghan’s factory-prepped 2020 Specialized S-Works Enduro is a bike on many a rider’s wish list.
Thanks to Chain Reaction Cycles Belfast we had some sweet rides to test this year. An ultimate trail slayer, the Nukeproof Mega 275c was the Big Daddy of them. We teamed up with MTB Tribe for the podcast review.
Popular, but for all the wrong reasons, news that Bike Park Ireland would remain closed until further notice due to crippling insurance costs hit the MTB community hard. They’ve now been shut since May 16th.
The arrival of Kerry’s Shronaboy Farm was arguably the feel-good story of 2019. A much-needed boost the Kingdom County, the new bike park held their first event with the Munster Gravity Championships. Perfect weather ensured it went down a storm.
Jacob Dickson was on fire throughout 2019, delivering some seriously hot form. Along with retaining his Irish National title, he claimed his best UCI Downhill World Cup result with 13th at Andorra.
A world-class line up saw EWS regulars Greg Callaghan, Kelan Grant and Killian Callaghan fight it out for the win, with teen talents of Harry Byrne and Drew Armstrong right at the Gravity Enduro opener in Ballinastoe. Sunny weather and dusty trails ensured a serious weekend’s craic.
Irish Downhill saw a resurgence in 2019. The series opener at Carrick set the benchmark with Gravity BC club pulling out all the stops. 200 riders came out in force, with Greg Callaghan nabbing the win over pinner Ronan Dunne.
Teaming up with legend Meave Baxter we took to Ravensdale to preview the opening round of the First Tracks Enduro Cup. With GoPros rolling, we got mic’d up for the craic!
Oisin O’Callaghan’s win in Portugal back in March signalled big things to come for the Limerick teenager. He went on to win numerous rounds of the iXS series before becoming one of two young riders to get signed by YT Mob for the 2020/21 Downhill World Cup.