Anyone who has even the slightest interest in mountain biking will know the name Glyn O’Brien. The Newry man is a legend in the sport, and for good reason.
Glyn’s racing career spans the 90’s to the present day, and he’s crammed in plenty over the decades. He raced the UCI Downhill World Cup circuit from 1997 to 2006, and in 2009 came second I the World Masters Downhill Championships.
But in 2003 Glyn lost the plot altogether – taking himself off to Utah where he competed in the Red Bull Rampage – and finished an incredible third.
Legendary status confirmed, Glyn still went back for more the following year. Just in case you’re not clear exactly what this event consists of, Glyn describes it as ‘basically jumping of a cliff on a bike.’ And he’s not joking - check out the footage on YouTube.
When he’s not hurling himself off mountains Glyn is immersed in the business end of the sport, working with Vitus Bikes a s a Brand Ambassador and founder of the Vitus First Tracks team, coaching and, oh yeah – he’s also been a fireman for the past 14 years. In fact Glyn took gold at the World Police and Fire Games in Canada in 2011 and again at home in Northern Ireland in 2013.
Whenever he can though Glyn can be found riding the local trails in Bigwood or at the Mountain Bike Trail Centre in Kilbroney Park - which he was involved in setting up in 2013. Armagh I caught up with Glyn when he came down from a day’s work in Rostrevor, filming with the new range of Vitus bikes at the top of the mountain. The fit-as-a-fiddle athlete wasn’t even out of breath as he talked about his love of downhill biking and adventure. Glyn tells us all about that memorable day in Utah, touches on the tricky topic of the dangers posed by walkers on the bike trails in Kilbroney Park, and how he would love to see the area expanded.
There’s no sign of Glyn slowing down, as he gears up to compete in the first round of this year’s Irish Downhill Mountainbike Series , which takes place in Rostrevor next weekend, April 2 -3. The event is completely sold out, with mountain biking more popular than ever – and long may it last.
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