Tyler, 16, Riding with El Grupo since 2010
If I had a superpower, I would have: Infinite Cycling Speed
Now playing on your iPod: Riff Raff
Favorite Trip: San Demas and Gila
Favorite Style of Riding: Road
Favorite Hobby: Working on Bikes
Favorite Bike Ride in Town: Mt. Lemmon
Quotable Quote by Ignacio: “Control the controllables.”
Favorite Food: Dried Bananas as a snack
Tell me why you like riding your bike?
It’s fun for sure. I like the challenge and the competition.
How does El Grupo challenge you?
Just overcoming suffering like going up a climb. Climbs are famous for being hard and you have to overcome pain you’ll feel going up.
Compare how you’ve grown in skills and character since you’ve been with El Grupo.
I remember when I first joined El Grupo, it seemed the first month we just went up Tumamoc Hill. We played a lot of ultimate Frisbee too and I wondered if it was even a cycling team, we didn’t ride very much! Then I realized I joined during the off-season. When we started riding, I really liked it. Just starting, I was all-around slow then but still liked it. Now, I like to think of myself as a sprinter-climber hybrid.
Can you tell me the highlights of your summer in Europe?
It was just a great experience being alone for the first time for three weeks. I’ve always travelled with friends and people I know. We were staying in the Netherlands, really close to the German border. We did a lot of our rides in Germany and Netherlands. Just going out on rides everyday, you get to know the other people. We met Karsten Kroon who won a stage in the Tour de France and he took us on a good ride, where we saw classic roads from famous races.
-What did you learn?
As a rider, I learned a lot about racing and the tactics involved. I’m more confident now, having raced in Europe. As a person, I definitely came out of my shell more- talked to a lot of people, learned about the culture, all that stuff.
-How did El Grupo prepare you for this trip?
El Grupo is a lot like what we did in Europe- the rides, the structure; similar to the Durango trip.
What are your goals with El Grupo?
My ultimate goal when I graduate is to get on a professional development team, a U23 team. I need to do a lot between now and then. Obviously getting race results, learning more and getting faster are all important. Getting more experiences in Europe hopefully.
What are three things you’ve gotten from your time with El Grupo?
- I’ve definitely grown up in El Grupo- El Grupo’s shaped a lot of who I am.
- El Grupo’s given me a lot more confidence.
- More ability to push my limits further.
What is a highlight of your time with El Grupo?
Two years ago at San Demas. After the race, we stayed at a camp and then went to Six Flags.
How has El Grupo helped you grow up?
I always wonder who I’d be if I had never joined El Grupo, if I’d be similar or completely different. I’m definitely healthier and my lifestyle is better.
What are your hopes for El Grupo’s future?
It would be awesome if El Grupo continued to grow and got more riders on the team, more coaches helping out, more sponsors so we could do more things, just get bigger and bigger.
What would you tell Tyler four years ago just starting El Grupo?
I would probably tell him that I wouldn’t be a slow little kid forever. Eventually I would start growing. It will take hard work, showing up to every practice, making sure to try your hardest in every practice and everything will work out.
How would you describe the social dynamics of this team?
I think it’s a lot different than most teams. Most teams, each athlete practices by themselves, but we hang out before practice and then we ride together. We get to know each other really well which makes a really strong team.
What do you think you’ll do with bikes after El Grupo?
After El Grupo, I’d like to pursue a career in professional cycling. If that doesn’t work out, I’m still gonna ride my bike a lot because it’s fun.
What do you think you’d be doing instead?
I crave competition. I was swimming- I might be doing that but I didn’t like it as much. Sometimes I run, it’s similar to cycling. Maybe I’d be a runner.
How do you describe El Grupo?
I would say that we’re a youth cycling team that instead of taking talent and developing it, we take a bunch of people and develop the talent.
What influence do older riders have on younger riders?
I remember when I was 12, I just wanted to be like the A team. I did whatever they did. There’s definitely a large impact on the younger kids.
How has El Grupo influenced your identity?
El Grupo made me a cyclist. Now I identify myself as a cyclist. If someone asked me who I am, that’s who I am.