Kate Harrison Whiteside
Former Rossland resident Michael Mooney won gold for the Men’s 50+ category of the 2014 Canadian Mountain Bike Masters Championships at Sun Peaks Resort in May. He is now off to Norway for the World Masters Championships on August 24.
“We’re beside ourselves,” said Michael’s mother, Karen Mooney of Kelowna. “We’re very excited for him.”
Mooney was born in Rossland in 1963 and graduated from high school there. He spent a few years ski racing and many more years bike riding, and after moving to Vancouver he continued to ride socially. His son took up bike racing and Michael met another father who showed interest. They asked, “Why aren’t we racing?” and the rest is history.
At the Canadian event, Mooney took the Masters gold and his friend, Colin Yarrow, won in the 40+ category. These wins qualified Mooney and Yarrow for the UCI Mountain Bike Masters World Championships being held at Hefjel Park in Lillehammer, Norway this month. Mooney’s son Cole made it a hat-trick, taking first in the B.C. Cup U17 event.
“The cool thing for me was at the Canadian Championships; my son won his group,” said Mooney. “For me that was more special. It will always be a highlight. My son and I are traveling around, camping and hanging out. Mountain biking is unique in that we can attend the same events.”
Lois Haynes of Rossland is very proud of her nephew. “He only started racing two years ago,” said Haynes, who says Mooney has many friends and family in Rossland supporting him. “This is a racing community. You can say it doesn’t matter when you start. Michael’s proved that.”
“Local guys have been a real inspiration,” said Mooney. “I saw that you can do it. Lots of Rossland people do very well at mountain biking too.”
“I want to bike as long as possible,” he added, indicating he doesn’t want to become idle as he grows older. “We live in a place so suited for (biking).”
Regarding the Canadian event Mooney said, “I did it for fun and it worked out well. I was surprised but I have ridden a lot, and with a really great group of people.”
“The nice thing about racing is you are focused on how you ride, the technical aspects,” explains Mooney. “I think it makes me a safer rider. That’s just one of the benefits.”
Mooney and Yarrow leave for Norway on August 18. It will be the first time they’ve attended such an event, although Mooney has raced in U.S. competitions.
“I don’t have any expectations, but I’ll go for a nice, clean run. We want to be serious, focused and do the best we can,” Mooney concluded.
Find out more about the upcoming competition at www.mtbworldchamps.com.