Athlete on the Moo-ve: Nathan Moroney

Mountain biking, trail riding, gravel grinding, road biking, family and dairy cows. Those things might not sound like they have anything in common, but for Nathan Moroney, operations manager at Del Rio Dairy in Friona, Texas, all those things are a way of life.

Nathan calls himself a hobby cycling enthusiast. He started riding over 15 years ago, when he was burnt out from his time at the gym, and the treadmill and lifting weights just weren’t exciting anymore. He turned his focus outside to mountain biking and hasn’t missed the gym since. Short cross-country races turned into long-distance racing, at times biking over 100 kilometers and training whenever he has a free moment. During lunch you can often find him around the dairy training on gravel and dirt roads.

 “The highlight of my biking lifestyle happened in August of last year when I completed the Leadville Trail 100 MTB in 10 hours, 1 minute and 54 seconds,” said Nathan.

The race, through the Colorado Rockies, earned Nathan a prized belt buckle for riding over 100 miles, topping out at over 12,000 feet in elevation then turning around and going back to the start line in less than 12 hours.

Endurance races, like the Leadville Trail 100, require lots of training and a nutritious, protein-filled diet for Nathan to keep up his energy.

“I start every day with yogurt, have a sandwich for lunch and dinner is packed with lean protein and veggies,” he said. For long races, Nathan refuels during the race with fruit, nuts or trail mix but loves chocolate milk at the end of a long ride.

“After a rough ride nothing helps me recover more quickly or tastes better than ice-cold chocolate milk,” said Nathan. Chocolate milk is the ultimate recovery drink, packed with protein and the perfect balance of carbohydrates to keep hunger at bay. According to Nathan, “Carbs are an important part of my training because I need them with protein to fuel myself.”

Cycling, like dairy farming, is a family affair in the Moroney house. Nathan, his wife and three kiddos pack up their camper and head to races throughout the region. “All the kids have bikes and compete in races at the larger bike events,” said Nathan. “Taking the family with me to the races gives us a chance to see the sites, go fishing and spend time together.” 

The decision to start biking years ago has taken Nathan and his family to races around the country, up mountains, on gravel roads and paved streets. He makes sure during racing and training to fuel his body with proper nutrition and keeps moo-ving with his favorite beverage, chocolate milk.

By Elizabeth Hurst

Elizabeth has been working for dairy farmers at Dairy MAX since 2017. She has a background in marketing and public relations and loves helping tell the dairy story. When she's not working, Elizabeth can be found playing with her son and making our moist banana bread recipe. Learn more about Elizabeth