An electrician, who swapped his kit for a mountain bike earlier this year, now travels the world, competing against the best of the best and creating his own hops along the way.
Mike Ross says he’s always loved anything with two wheels—first riding motorcycles in his younger years, then BMX freestyle bikes—but when he found mountain biking, he “fell in love with the community.”
The 30-year-old has spent a decade juggling his passion for riding with a full-time job as an electrician in Queanbeyan, just outside Canberra.
A few months ago, he quit his job and went to pursue his dream.
“I’ve spent the last 10 years in my electrical trade and this has only allowed me to follow my passion and reconcile the two,” he says.
“I think it was harder than I remember at the time, looking back. I don’t know how I did it.
“Doing eight or nine hours of work a day and then trying to ride for another three or four hours on top of that is a pretty big feat.
“Then, this year, I had the opportunity to actually quit my job and do it full time, and I think the results really kind of show themselves.”
Instagram content upload
Ross has already won a number of medals and awards, though his most recent victory was a success he won’t forget anytime soon.
He finished first in the men’s speed and elegance event at Crankworx Rotorua, the first of four stops on the competition’s World Tour. He is the first Australian to win a gold medal in the men’s category.
“I think this medal really shows how hard you work for it,” he says.
“[It]It kind of brings a tear to my eye thinking about that. “
However, this victory was not the only first for Ross. He had previously pulled off a trick that had never been seen in the competition.
“In the middle of last year, I made a cashout from a steady decline, which was the first time it had ever been done,” he says. “So, think about dropping 4 feet off your balcony, for example, and then landing on a drop and doing a 360-degree flip, basically.”
With a World Tour gold medal already under his belt, Ross says he doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.
“Next up is Crankworx Cairns. So, the next leg of the world tour is here in Australia, which is very exciting,” he says.
“I think it’s a big step for the community, and Australia in general, to see something of this caliber here.”
We had to build our own facility
To stay in general shape, Ross loves to ride the trails around Canberra, but trick training requires a more customized preparation.
“For proper, big airtime scams, we had to build our own facility,” Ross explained.
“No place in Australia has what we need, so we put all our money, all our time, into building something we can train for – and we can safely train for.”
He says he would like to see better public facilities in the Canberra area that include jumps for everyone to use.
While mountain biking is often considered a youth sport, Ross says this is just the beginning for him, and he hopes to compete professionally for many years to come.
“I’m 30 now and in as good shape as I’ve ever been and don’t plan on slowing down.
“I’ll see how far I can go.”