Neko Mulally Interview
Posted : 03/08/2017
The US has seen a recent resurgence in talented DH athletes in recent years and Neko Mulally is one of those riders. Hitting the podium since an early age, Mulally continues to be a threat at any race. We took some time to get to know the YT Mob’s newest rider.
How would describe yourself, in four words, when the race clock starts?
Focused on the task.
And how would you describe yourself off the bike, again in four words?
Fortunate, Relatable, Hard-Working, Driven.
You’ve had great racing success from an early age. You won the silver medal at the 2010 Junior World Championships and then the following year you beat the entire Elite field, to become US National Champion. Can you tell us about your early years riding mountain bikes, how you began racing and how you became such a fierce competitor at such a young age?
As a kid I was lucky enough to race my bike every weekend with my Dad and my brother. We drove up and down the East Coast to some amazing places and had weekends I’ll never forget. I had a lot of success racing as an amateur. I loved the feeling of putting together a fast race run and I always wanted to be faster. That mindset lead me into some great race results as years went.
In a sea of energy drink sponsors, you have an unusual personal sponsor, with craft brewery Oskar Blues. Can you tell us how this came about and a little more of your relationship with the company?
Oskar Blues Brewery is one of the coolest sponsors I have. I got linked up with them when they opened their East Coast brewery, just a few miles from my house. We’ve been working together on projects like group rides, camps and trail advocacy over the past few years. Aside from brewing awesome beer that fits into the lifestyle of many mountain bikers, Oskar Blues is a company that gives back to the community and shares a passion for our sport.
You have been racing at international level for quite a few years now. During that time, what would you say is your proudest racing achievement and why?
I’ve had a lot of great results as an elite racer, many of them being quite unique. My proudest moment is my 3rd place finish at the World Cup in Cairns, Australia. More than the podium finish, I believed that I had what it took to win it and went for it. I’m still chasing the one result that I can truly be content with. I’d love to win one someday.
In the time you have been travelling the globe to ride your bike, what is top of your list of places to ride and why?
My favourite place to ride is the area around the Ports du Soleil, in France and Switzerland. I’ve had some of the best days riding the chairlifts there. The feeling of adventure being able to cover so much ground and connect over ten ski resorts on your downhill bike is so cool. I have also linked up some epic rides on my trail bike on some of the natural trails outside of the bike parks, with the use of trains and gondolas to cover even more ground. It’s an awesome place and I’ve been lucky to make good friends with some of the locals.
You made the move to the YT Mob this year. It’s been a successful start to the season with the new team, with two 7th places in the first two World Cups. How has the transition into the new team and onto a new bike been for you?
The transition has been smooth as can be. I was familiar with most of the team staff from my days on Trek World Racing, and the bike fits me great and is very easy to ride. I felt at home right away.
How has it been having Aaron Gwin as your new team mate? What do you feel you are gaining from having a rider of Aaron’s ability on the same team?
Riding with Aaron has been awesome! The two of us have similar preferences on bike set up, line choice, and race strategy, so we complement each other well. It’s awesome for me to be around Aaron because he’s a great guy and constantly puts himself in a good position. Chasing him down a World Cup track and seeing some of the things he can do on a bike first hand, riding through roost is a pretty cool place to be!
You’re fresh off the Lenzerheide World Cup. Can you tell us about how the race weekend went for you?
In Lenzerheide I was disqualified for not having the proper back protection, a situation I should have never put myself in. It was bad judgment on my part and something I’m not proud of. My sincerest apologies.
You just started using Renthal products, with this year’s move to the YT Mob. Can you tell us about the cockpit set-up you use and your reasons for choosing those specifications?
I’m running the alloy 30mm rise 31.8 Fatbar cut to 790mm wide with a 50mm 0mm rise Integra direct mount stem. I prefer the feel of the alloy bar, even though it’s nearly the same as the carbon. It feels more comfortable to me. I’m loving the feel!
And lastly, what would be your best advice for race run tactics to anyone looking to start racing?
My best advice is to practice the way you want to race. If you can time yourself and simulate a race run before the big race, it will feel much more familiar and hopefully the kinks will have been worked out.