From the age of three, Eddie Mungoven began pedalling away on his first balance bike; by five, he’d moved to a pedal bike, and by 10, he had picked up mountain biking as a hobby.
Now, at only 15, he has claimed a silver medal at the 2023 AusCycling Mountain Bike National Championships for the Men’s Under 17s XCO (cross-country Olympics) race, which took place last Sunday (12 February) at Thredbo.
The Mount Stromlo High School year 10 student also earned bronze for the Men’s Under 17s XCC (short-track) race.
Eddie’s mum, Ali Mungoven, who is also the Canberra Off Road Cycling Club junior development program coordinator, said Eddie was delighted with how he performed.
“He always aims high and tries his best to get to the top and this was proof that he is capable,” Ali said.
“This was the best he’s ever done and he was so happy to come home with two pieces of silverware.
“As his mum, it’s great to see kids like Eddie get rewarded for all the hard work they put in.
“Eddie’s been training really hard and it’s just such a fantastic thing to see him work hard, to see his progress and watch him succeed.”
Ali said Eddie competed against more than 30 other participants in the Under 17s category and was one of three young Canberrans to place at the championships last weekend.
Mount Stromlo High’s Oliver Grande secured silver for both the Men’s Under 15s XCC and XCO races, and Canberra High’s Amelie Burrell was crowned national champion after taking out the Women’s Under 17s XCO race, in addition to bagging bronze in the XCO event.
This was Eddie’s fourth appearance at the nationals, but his first time as a placegetter. He has also participated in many other competitions across the ACT, NSW and Tasmania.
His love of mountain biking came about when he would ride his bike to school and back, and after school.
“We live right near Stromlo Forest MTB Park, so that really pulled Eddie to go out there after school and get riding and he really started to enjoy it,” Ali said.
“He’s been racing his bike for the last five or six years now, and about three years ago decided to start taking it more seriously when he began competing.
“For the next nationals competition (next year), Eddie looks forward to competing with the Under 19s – this is when you start thinking about trying to make the Australian team and all of that, which is Eddie’s dream.”
Eddie now rides six days a week and trains at the gym to keep up his fitness and prepare for future competitions.
Ali said mountain biking as a recreational activity was one of the fastest-growing sports at the moment, and it was great to see so many young people developing a love for it and competing,
“There were so many Canberra kids in Thredbo over the weekend, including a lot of Eddie’s mates too,” she said.
“They’re all there supporting one another and encouraging one another, which is really nice.
“We’ve got the ACT Schools Championships coming up in March now, which attracts more than 400 kids, so you can definitely see there’s a growing interest from young people.”
To learn more about the AusCycling Mountain Bike National Championships, visit Thredbo.com.au.