Check out University of Montevallo’s new mountain biking team, course + scholarships

mountain biker, University of Montevallo mountain biking
There are currently hundreds of high school mountain bikers in the state. Now they have an in-state college option to continue the sport they love. Photo via Kim Moon

While the sport of mountain biking has skyrocketed in popularity across Alabama during the pandemic, our state does not yet have a varsity-level collegiate team. Thanks to the University of Montevallo (UM), that’s about to change. We spoke to Kim Moon, Director of Health Services, and Dr. Shawn Mitchell, Head Coach, to find out as much as we could about their new program, course and scholarships.

The University of Montevallo is currently recruiting riders for the inaugural Falcons Cycling mountain biking team for Fall 2022

Falcons Cycling logo
University of Montevallo Falcons Cycling

UM is getting ready to welcome their first class of riders. This will give high school riders in Alabama and Mississippi their first opportunity to continue racing and be part of the community while staying close to home. While there’s currently a club team at Auburn, there’s nothing at the varsity level—yet.

UM is planning to transform the city’s former golf course into a world-class mountain biking course

Montevallo golf course
On the map, the golf course is all the light grass area around the lake, just west of the 204. You can see the sidewalk type paths for the golf carts. The plan is to link up with the trail in the wooded area around the lake. Photo via Google Earth

Can you think of a better use for a former golf course than riding and experiencing other fitness trails? When it’s completed, the course will serve as the home course for the Falcons Cycling program. 

Here are some of the features they want to include: 

  • Bike shop
  • Wash station
  • Storage
  • Work areas for each student athlete on the team

There will be scholarships for the new mountain biking team

Because this team will be at the varsity level, there will be scholarships available. While organizers are currently working out the details, they know the scholarships will come from UM President Dr. John W. Stewart III’s office. 

This follows the model of the University’s successful Outdoor Scholars/Bass Fishing team, which took the national title last year.

Meet some of the key people behind the new team

Dr. Shawn Mitchell, Head Coach

shawnm rotated Check out University of Montevallo's new mountain biking team, course + scholarships
Dr. Shawn Mitchell is the Head Coach for Montevallo’s new mountain biking team. Photo via Shawn Mitchell

As we mentioned before, Dr. Shawn Mitchell is the head coach for the Falcons Cycling program. He grew up in Arizona and has been riding mountain bikes for over 30 years. 

“We were riding old cattle trails before they were mountain bike trails. We just rode bikes—that’s all we ever did.”

Dr. Mitchell

He’s so passionate about mountain biking, he did his doctoral research on the sport, studying the physiological characteristics of mountain bikers as well as the ways they were training. 

While this will be his first venture into coaching mountain biking, he loves the sport and rides all the time. In addition, Mitchell is a certified strength conditioning specialist with the National Strength Conditioning Association. He’s looking forward to bringing strength training to the team. 

Kimberly Moon, Director of Health Services

The Moon family is way into mountain biking
Lennie, Kim + Lauren Moon with the Thompson High School Mountain Biking Team. Photo via Kim Moon

Kimberly Moon is Director of Health Services at UM. Professionally, she’s a physician assistant and has been working at UM for eight years. 

She and her husband Lenny live in Alabaster, where they serve as parent volunteer coaches for the Thompson High School team. They started the team last year and their daughters currently compete. They’ve been a part of Birmingham’s cycling community since before they had children. 

“I love the University of Montevallo. I love the atmosphere here and the size of our school. Being able to add a cycling team is so exciting because I’ve seen how much it’s done for my family. Adding the sport’s community atmosphere to our campus will bring another set of people to campus and will give our high school riders an opportunity to continue their sport in college, whether for competition or for fun.”

Kim Moon

Five things the new Head Coach of the Falcons Cycling program is most excited about

  • Getting the team started is a dream come true.
  • The golf course provides a lot of land for the trail system.
  • There’s a lot of support within the University.
  • UM will be able to provide opportunities for high school riders to stay and ride locally if they want to. 
  • Riders will play an active role in putting the trail system together.

Did you know mountain biking is a world class sport? Find out how it happened.

Want to find out more or get involved? Email cycling@montevallo.edu or visit the Falcons Cycling website today.

Default image
Sharron Swain
Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference
Articles: 540