193 – Professional Mountain Bike Racing, Injury Recovery and More with Kelan Grant
Professional mountain bike athlete and racer for Chain Reaction Cycles: Kelan Grant
On episode #193 we are chatting with the man, the myth, the legend, Kelen Grant. We chat about his transition to the Chain Reaction Cycles Professional MTB Enduro Race Team, how his first season didn’t really go to plan, how he bounced back with the help of his team mates, racing and learning from Sam Hill, recovering from a major shoulder surgery and what his 2021 race season goals look like. Plus lots more!
It was awesome to get Kelan back on the show. He was first on the podcast way back in episode 22 (listen here) around three years ago, and lots has changed for the young man from Omagh since then. At that time Kelan had just been signed to the Chain Reaction Cycles Team, the news was just hot off the press and he couldn’t have been more excited to have landed his dream job (I am not sure if he would even call it that).
Kelan would be doing what he had been working so hard to achieve for a number of years, be a professional athlete, race full time and build a career for himself in the mountain bike industry. However, things didn’t go to plan over that first season, it is a tough adjustment to the pros and when you put a tonne of expectations on yourself things can quickly feel like they are slipping away and you are not achieving your full potential.
We chat to Kelan about his move to the pros, how he bounced back from a disappointing first season, what he has planned for the upcoming race season, why the CRC and Nukeproof Race Team are one big family and what he thinks of his new Giga ride. Plus tonnes more.
Thanks for supporting the podcast and for tuning into the show!
- How Kelan found the change to the pros
- How the CRC crew works as a team
- Why having a great team environment is so important to Kelan
- The benefits of riding in a professional team
- How Kelan bounced back in his second year to post better results
- How he approached his second race season a little different
- What it is like riding with Elliott Heap and Sam Hill
- How Kelan has learned so much from riding behind Sam
- How Kelan injured his shoulder back in the day
- Why he decided to take his third season off and get shoulder surgery
- What his recovery has been like
- How his shoulder feels now
- Why Kelan is loving the new Nukeproof rides
- Why the mullet setup is not for him
- What rig he will be racing this season
- What Kelans race goals are for the 2021 season
- How to get in contact with Kelan and find out more
Kelan loves mountain bikes and loves racing. He is super passionate about his sport, the people involved and the community that has built up around it. Kelan’s home stamping ground was the natural trails of Gortin, and back then, there was no purpose built trail network, just trails sculpted by hand and hard work. Things have changed since those days and now Gortin has its newly built network of trails for everybody to enjoy, get out on their bikes and have a blast. You would think that someone who has been there from the beginning would not be keen to see it developed in such a way, but Kelan thanks it is amazing to see how busy the car park is and how many people are getting out and enjoying nature and what the trails have to offer.
That is one of the things I love about Kelan. He likes to see the development of the sport and industry. He is super stoked on how Gortin and other places across Ireland have transformed and embraced the popularity of the sport, helping and encouraging more people to get out on bikes. Kelan loves the new trail network at Gortin, and as he says he can still hit it as hard as he wants while his family members can also enjoy the trails at their own pace.
Kelan is loving his role in the CRC Race Team. After a shaky first season (in his eyes, awesome for the rest of us) he bounced back to have a very good second season, found his feet, the approach that worked for him and got settled in. Kelan puts a lot of this down to the support and family atmosphere that is within the CRC Team. He was nervous at first when meeting Sam, Pagey and the rest of the crew, but he quickly found out that they were all like him, they simply loved racing and riding their bikes. That family environment is very important to Kelan. He needs to enjoy the people he spends time with and it just works so much better and on so many levels when that is the case. Afterall you are living and travelling with these people for a large part of the year so you need to get on and enjoy each other’s company.
Kelan decided to take his third racing season off to get a shoulder injury sorted that had been troubling him for a number of years. CRC gave Kelan their full support to go ahead and get the work done, they had no issues with Kelan getting the surgery, taking the season off and having a full recovery. As it worked out with the Covid pandemic, it was a pretty good season to miss and work on the much needed rest and rehab. I will not go into too much detail about the surgery here, you will have to listen to the podcast to find out the full details, but just lets say that there were a few scary moments when Kelan thought he would not be riding a bike again. Of course that was not the end result and all came good, but a scary time all the same.
So put your feet up for an hour and hear what Kelan has planned for the 2021 race season, why he loves coming home to ride his local trails, how he encourages people to get involved in the sport and race scene and the toss up between the Mega and the Giga.
Thanks for being here. Enjoy the show!
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Thanks so much to Kelan for coming on the podcast, giving us an update and sharing his story.
And thank you once again for tuning in!
Join me next week for another MTB TRIBE Podcast show!