2-Time Champ AJ Mooney
I got a chance to interview AJ Mooney who won the very first two IditaFAT’s on the men’s side for the long course. He’s the team captain and my teammate at Tryon Bike.
STICKBOY: I don’t think I have ever admitted this to you. When I realized you signed up for the IditaFAT in year one I really wanted to beat you, hahaha. I was out in ahead of you for a few seconds before you passed me. YES, hahaha. This leads me to my first question, how did you hear about the IditaFAT in year one?
AJ: Ha, that is funny. I fall back in the beginning because I can’t run. You now know this is true! I actually do not remember how I first heard about this incredible race. That year I had bought my first fat bike so that I could get outside more and enjoy winter, instead of spending it at the gym and in my basement. Well, that ended up being an EPIC winter and I was hooked! I think I saw some mention of the race on social media and when I looked at the trial map of Winona and thought of the professionally groomed fat bike opportunities I WAS ALL IN!
STICKBOY: Where does winning the very first IditaFAT rank in your career?
AJ: It was one of my best and most rewarding wins because it was a new and incredibly unique event. We also had huge late season snows that year, so it was DEEP in the forest. You really had to know how to handle a fat bike to do well in those conditions. I will never forget the super cool “fat bike tires snow podium” which was the coolest thing I had ever seen for a podium. Thanks Pat!
STICKBOY: How great was it when we decorated your number 1? Didn’t see that one coming did you? Hahaha.
AJ: It was really unexpected and definitely made me feel special. I love that you do it each year and think it’s great!
STICKBOY: Why did you start fat biking?
AJ: Get outside more to enjoy the beauty and solitude of winter. It is incredibly peaceful to be in the woods in the quiet of winter. I also wanted to be able to stay motivated to ride year round and be more competitive in my summer race season.
STICKBOY: You have been doing this racing thing for a while now. What motivates AJ?
AJ: Personal satisfaction and growth not only as an athlete but as a person. Training has become a lifestyle for me and I feel that it enhances ALL the other aspects of my life. I also love to compete and have consistent goals to work towards each year. Racing also puts me “in the moment” more than anything else as, it takes all of your thoughts and focus to the immediate task at hand!
STICKBOY: What advice would you offer to someone that is just starting off in cycling?
AJ: Smile, have fun and RELAX! Seriously, if this ever stopped being fun I would not do it. There is enough stress in life. Racing should be a chance to let it all go and just go for it!
STICKBOY: Who’s the coolest person on the Tryon Bike team. It’s me isn’t? I knew it. Hahaha.
There’s lots of cool cats on Team Tryon Bike. You did not seriously expect me to answer that did you?
STICKBOY: No I didn’t expect you to answer that question but I had to ask, hahaha. When are you going to do the Hardcore 24 solo with me? Come on! Hahaha.
AJ: Maybe this year. It’s a great event at one of my favorite places to ride. Same weekend as the Wilderness 101 though, so we will have to wait and see.
STICKBOY: Last question. What’s your favorite part of the IditaFAT?
AJ: Winona Way – the way (haha no pun intended) that trail flows and undulates through the forest is SO FUN AND SO BEAUTIFUL! Fast, swoopy downhills, punchy little climbs and twisty rolling GROOMED terrain is really special. Thanks for the interview Tom and I can’t wait until the weekend of March 3rd! YES!!!
Thank you to all of our sponsors:
Used Car King
Fast Eddies Cycles
Feather in Flight Productions
Old Man Mountain Rack
Old Man Mountain Rack