Quinn Moberg Interview by Mike Berard
MB: Do you remember the first time you met Felix?
QM: It was around 2012 and we were at a Cycling BC team camp together. It was right before he moved to Quebec and he actually stayed at my house. And we weren’t friends, I had never met him.
MB: And so you were both at a high level at that time?
QM: For our age, yeah. We weren’t phenomes by any means.
MB: You’re grinders?
QM: Yeah, closer to that end of the spectrum I would say.
MB: Racing XC in the Sea-to-Sky—where it’s predominantly an all-mountain/freeride bike culture—is there an automatic kinship when you meet someone that is geared toward XC?
QM: I think so. When I was living in Squamish I was never good buddies with Felix. We moved to Victoria at the same time and that’s when we started to become close, but I knew him for a few years when I was in Victoria and he was in Tramblant. There is a fairly close-nit group of cross country racers in Sea-to-Sky and on Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast…but there is a style. If we go to race around the country there is a west-coast style. I think it’s derived from what you are explaining, that casual freeride…you know, mountain biking. It’s represented in our racing style.
MB: Tell me about the moving from Squamish to Victoria.
QM: This is my third year [in Uni]. Victoria is rad. I wouldn’t say it’s better or worse than Squamish, I like Squamish too, but there are pros and cons. The weather is better in Victoria. The “true” mountain biking is obviously better in Squamish. Training is good in Victoria…there are good training partners, the forest is beautiful the terrain we ride in is unbelievable. Same as Squamish but it’s different. We’ve got Arbutus trees, moss and rocks and ocean here. Even though Squamish is a community on the water you don’t ride by it every day.
MB: Other than the fact that you have year-round riding, has Victoria’s riding scene or the Victoria riding style affected yours at all?
QM: Yes, for sure. It has improved my riding a lot. Believe it or not. In the Sea-to-Sky corridor there are definitely tech sections, but a lot of what is “tech” is just having big balls. You have to just man up and ride it. In Victoria, there is some of that but it’s few and far between. But it’s still real tech, and it’s humbling because you don’t have to “man up” all the time but you have to be on it. Really focused. The rock is a lot slicker here. There is more root. A lot less groomed terrain. Probably because the bike scene is a lot smaller. But it’s a lot more technical. And I think that catches people by surprise. But you lose that big-line, all-mountain feel. You never feel out there, but it’s nice in other ways.
MB: If you are an XC racer, you need to be able to get quickly through technical terrain…trails that might not be fall-and-get-hurt-type terrain, but if you aren’t on your game you are going to lose a lot of time.
QM: Yup. When you are mountain biking in Victoria, if you aren’t on it 100%, it’s going to really show. In Squamish, leaving my parent’s house and going to ride Rupert’s or another “average” Squamish trail, you don’t have to be that dialed to make your way down. Or up. But if you came to Victoria and you weren’t focused or fresh or ready to go mountain biking, you are going to be slow. I guess that’s the biggest thing that Victoria has taught me. The focus, and riding technical stuff.
MB: It’s great that Vancouver Islanders get to ride all year, but it comes with a whole new level of wet and gnarly weather. You guys are probably training four or five months in pretty wet weather? How does that shape you?
QM: It makes you tough, for sure. You can ride all year, but it’s five degrees Celsius and raining. There’s no excuse not to… but it makes you hard, for sure. I think it’s advantageous. Spending the time…I’m not going to use the word miserable. That’s something that I’m trying to avoid. But it’s hard. It’s hard to do.
MB: What about gear? Do you think that a company—or at least an R&D team—must be based on the wet, west coast in order to build product for it?
QM: It’s an advantage for sure, and I am conscious of it. Felix and I train a lot together and bounce ideas off each other but there are also other guys in town. Felix and I have the same gear. It’s a huge advantage having what we have. We can be way more comfortable. Our bikes are made to ride what we ride what we’re riding. We are set up very well, even with the parts our bikes are built with.
MB: When you talk about XC racing, especially, every advantage is a good one. It’s often just the tiny little ones that help.
QM: Being literally as comfortable as possible. It’s unreal. It’s really nice to have.
MB: What is the difference between a solo ride and a ride with Felix?
QM: There is an extra push with Felix. I don’t have the vocabulary to describe it, but we are somewhat competitive, in the sense that we push each other, he pushes me in a lot of facets of my life close to what my maximum would be. But it’s not competitive. I don’t want to better than him. I want him to be as good as he can and if that’s better than me, that’s perfect. But I am pushed by him. And it’s not just the training. It’s having that person there that is going through training and school. It keeps you accountable. It would be very easy to just gap and not get school work done.
MB: In mountain biking, there are a lot of “teams,” but how often are they actually working together? I know in road biking it’s a lot more common, but it seems like you have a more traditional relationship, where you are pushing and living and training with each other and it all becomes holistic in a way.
QM: Absolutely. I think it’s pretty unique. I have been on the Rocky team and a couple of smaller teams but I have never looked at my “teammates” as someone that I am working with. They are just sponsored by the same person. And I think that if Felix and I were sponsored by different people we would still work together. Having that same sponsorship, there is something extra special there.
MB: University seems impressive to me on its own, but you guys are taking almost a full class load and also racing at a competitive level. Do you miss out on other parts of your life because of it?
QM: Thanks, yeah, I think I do. There is definitely a big sacrifice. People talk about a university experience…and I don’t know if I missed it. I mean, my life doesn’t suck at all, but I don’t party very frequently, or barely at all. And I skip out on post lecture hangouts in the hall between class. I try to be really efficient with my time, that hang-out time is sacrificed. The biggest thing is staying organized with your time and focus and, once you are organized, committing to that. Not letting up. But to be clear I’m not upset about anything. If I wanted to do something different I would just do it. I’m doing this because I want to.
MB: I asked Felix what you have been able to teach him. What has he been able to teach you?
QM: A few biking things: he’s a really skilled rider. I think his skills are underrated. So, bike skills are a big thing…just following his speed on trails. It pushes me. He’s damn good bike rider. Life balance also. Sometimes I’ll get obsessed with biking or school or some other thing on my mind and I think Felix keeps me stay healthy.
Photos by Brian Goldstone