In Wicklow this year, Greg Callaghan once more stole the show when the EWS rolled into town. To repeat the home win was nothing short of stunning, but he wasn't the only rider giving the home fans something to cheer for. Just seven spots behind him was another local lad, Dan Wolfe. To those following the Irish series, it's likely to be a name they are familiar with - he has won their national series for two years in a row now. Outside Ireland he has never quite matched that form though, with his EWS erring towards the average rather than the exceptional. That is until Ireland this year, when he propelled himself to that stunning eighth place in a sport where it is getting ever harder for privateers to run at the front. Since Ireland he has funded himself to follow the rest of the series across the world. We sat down with Dan to find out a bit more about him. Who is Dan Wolfe?
I am an Irish Mountain Biker and a social creature, always up for a chat so this sport suits me perfectly. I am also a creative person and have a BA in Fine Art, although everything non-bike related has taken a back seat for the last few years as I try to make this a job. Where are you from and where do you live?
I am from Ireland and I live in South Dublin. This is where it all started for me with my brother Gerard and my cousin Niall. Who do you ride for?
I ride for me. Long story short, after a less than fruitful off-season trying to acquire sponsorship, I was left in the 'amazing' situation (glass half full) of deciding what bike I wanted to ride (Transition Patrol). The guys in The Bike Rack Dublin came on board to facilitate this direction, as they were already the dealers here in Ireland. I bought my very first mountain bike there and as I only live down the road, it was a no brainer. Al is so enthusiastic and puts more time into my bike than his own. They are well aware of what I am trying to do this year so there has been no pressure to balance the books until the season is over. Production Privee, an Andorran company who make bombproof steel hardtails, bar/stems and grips, also supports me. Where are you happiest?
I just came back from Whistler, need I say more? I would say knocking out laps of Crabapple Hits with a good bunch of lads, pizza breaks and a beer at the end. It doesn't get much better than that. What’s been your favourite race/contest venue?
It has to be competing in this years’ World Enduro in Ireland. The atmosphere was just insane, getting to see the world’s best riders on the trails with my family and friends cheering from the sideline! The icing on the cake was coming in at 8th place, my first top ten result at that level. What are your strengths?
I think I’m fairly resilient, I don't mind a bit of misery. I guess I had to push hard to keep up with my big bro when I was younger so I'm used to it. What are your weaknesses?
Probably my diet (only when I eat tons of biscuits), it’s not my fault they complement the tea perfectly. Who am I to break up such a perfect coupling? Honestly though, in the past I focused on results too much and I didn't open my eyes to how privileged I was to be traveling the world and racing. Since then, I have changed that mindset and I have been able to enjoy myself a lot more. What’s been your worst crash over the years?
I would have to say dislocating my elbow last year just 4 days before the World Enduro in Ireland. The feeling of it coming out of the socket was stomach turning and the pain was insane until I got it set back in 3 hours later. Being the stubborn person I am and after looking forward to the Irish EWS and thinking it may never return to Ireland, I cut my cast off and raced it anyway. Let me tell you, that was a long day. What’s been your luckiest escape?
I would say not continuing my life as 'Fat Dan'. When I lived in Chicago in 2012 I didn't do much exercise but ate like a horse. 'Fat Dan' was great guy, some would say a party’s favourite, but he had to go. Which bike from over the years, conjures up the best memories?
My bright yellow Saracen Frenzy, which I rode when I was 14. The main frame was a hollow monocoque construction that made a bonking noise when I went through rough stuff giving me the nickname 'ping pong'. What bikes are you riding right now?
Transition Alloy Patrol, PBJ Dirtjumper, Production Privee Shan 917 Who’s your favourite rider?
Brandon Semenuk because he's a trick wizard and he's pinned on the downs too. Also, Chase Hawk and Tom Dugan for their style. Who or what inspires you?
Richie Rude. I am blown away by how dominant he has been in a sport that has so many variables. I like not knowing what tomorrow brings. If I am being honest, I sometimes get terrified at the prospect of having to stop chasing this dream and find a career, but I like that I create my own faith and anything is possible. In that unknown you can find positivity and drive, which inspires me. What do you enjoy doing away from bikes?
Hanging out with my girlfriend and friends, absorbing coffee, traveling, hikes, going to the cinema and having a tasty IPA or Guinness (or both). What are you listening to right now?
I like a lot of stuff to be honest but these would be my frequent go to artists: Alt-J, Matt Corby, Bon Iver, Hozier, Two Door Cinema Club. What’s your favourite movie/ TV show?
I just finished watching Stranger Things, a new Netflix series. It was amazing! What’s your favourite non-bike website?
I mostly live on bike websites but I guess I'm on Met Eireann a lot checking the weather (Irish curse) and Netflix for my shows. What’s your favourite motto or saying?
I don't really have one that I say regularly but I've been getting a lot of 'DAMN DANIEL' and 'BACK AT IT AGAIN DANIEL' in the last month or so. What grinds your gears?
People that are too 'cool' to talk or mix with people not as fast or as sponsored as them. We just ride bikes at the end of the day so cop on! What makes you happy?
Riding with a great bunch of people and all bouncing off each other’s stoke. I loving hitting new tracks blind, it’s so raw and it’s such a pure feeling. Also spending time with the missus and my mates, eating biscuits of course and you can't beat taking a pee at the top of a mountain looking down the valley before dropping in. If you weren’t a pro mountain biker, what would you be doing?
Well unfortunately I'm not a pro mountain biker, that’s what I'm trying to change. So I paint houses, landscape gardens and do Art commissions to pay my way. I just landed myself a paint job for the entire interior of a house so I better get that done before the next EWS, haha. If I were fortunate enough to become professional I would love to spend more of my free time on my Art. It’s something I am starting to miss. If you were in charge of the sport, what changes would you make?
Mandatory skinsuits and bullet helmets, haha. When you hang up your racing/ riding shoes, how do you want to be remembered?
I would be so humbled to be remembered, hopefully as a good guy who had a laugh with everyone. I’ll accept if people remember 'Fat Dan' too, he was a legend.