Chris Kilmurray is a fitness coach who works with some of the world’s top and up-and-coming downhill racers as well as with ‘normal’ folk and also with the UCI. Chris lives in the centre of Alpine mountain biking and lives the life amongst mountains, bike races and winter time skiing. He’s now onboard as one of the Bike Magic contributors, so look out for his regular training features, starting soon.
For now, enjoy Chris’s self-introduction and look forward to more from him:
Words: Chris Kilmurray
Photos: Apres Imaging
My name’s Chris Kilmurray, I’m 27 years old as I write this and an Irishman living in “that” French Alpine town….yes Morzine. I’m a Nukeproof brand ambassador, fitness coach, racer, tea drinker but above all else I’m a lover of bikes. Push or motor, as long as we are talking two wheels and rubber touching earth then I’m smiling ear to ear.
This love affair with two wheels started in around 1993 watching Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz go bar to bar on 500cc GP bikes on Sunday mornings, I’d be out the door in no time trying to emulate these legends on my BMX 16”. Knee down (or so I thought) on the streets outside my house.
It wasn’t until 1998 that I discovered Mountain biking: ‘hucking’ off kerbs, dodgy pallet/ply-wood jumps, skids, wheelies the usual. After a few years of that carry-on, a few friends and myself found the local cycling club and made our way to the 2000 Irish National DH champs. 14 years old, rigid bike, v-brakes, no armour and scared sh*tless, but loving it nonetheless. The seed was sown and things took off quickly from there, upgrading parts when I could, dragging my dad to races, eventually buying a real DH bike and starting to take it seriously. By 2003 I was racing the full Irish and British DH series and by 2006 I was getting an eye opening to real speed whilst racing UCI DH World Cups.
It was through all those early years of riding and racing that my interest and eventually love of fitness and athletic performance grew. I learnt enough to try and improve my own results at first but pretty quickly I ended up in University completing a Diploma in Sports and Exercise Science. My education took a backseat in 2007 when I bit the bullet and decided to dedicate a full summer and winter to riding, racing and training, first racing all summer long based from Morzine followed by a winter racing and riding in New Zealand.
I quickly realised that I probably lacked that little bit extra that makes a rider a race winner at the highest level. However, I never lost the love and interest in all things fitness and performance. So I decided pretty promptly to hit the books again, I completed all my basic Cycling Coaching qualifications and finally got selected to spend two months at the UCI’s World Headquarters of Evil in Aigle, Switzerland. There I completed an intensive coaching course, working along side some world class athletes and coaches like BMX legend Thomas Allier.
Now I have my own training and athletic development business (Point1 Athletic Development) working with a wide variety of athletes from World Cup shredders Cam Cole and Tahneé Seagrave to Masters and Junior racers from around the world. But I also deliver Coach-education programs in developing nations through the UCI (they’re not always evil). Tie all that in with having moved to Morzine in 2008 so I could ride the best DH in Europe and explore never ending hidden singletrack as well as guinea-pig all my training ideas in the perfect setting and you’ve got a life that’s full to the brim with the love of pushing two-wheels to their limit.
I try not to limit myself to just a life behind bars though, living in the alps means an ease of access to the mountain life and the sports that follow. Skiing has become a huge passion of mine, whether we are talking 50cm of fresh powder, trying to drag the knucks strapped into a set of race skis or some sweet suffering on skinny little Nordic skis. Skiing has become the white months’ bicycle replacement and added to my education as a trainer. Learning from other sports but especially a close Alpine cousin like ski racing or big mountain slaying is vital to the continuing education and passion of any fitness specialist.
Mountain biking has given me the most though, it’s provided me with the means to travel the world, riding in amazing places like Iran and others. Years of racing have given me the experience to give my education the direction needed to really help MTB athletes of all disciplines. Mountain biking brought me to Morzine where I can train, ride, test and race on some of the finest mountains possible right on my doorstep and always have a friend from somewhere around the world to do some skids with.
Two wheels will always make me smile and the fitter you are the bigger that smile will be. Stay tuned for my ‘zeros to heroes’ series of features starting soon here on Bike Magic.