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Stories of Commitment: Tayte Proulx-Royds

Kelowna, BC, Canada

When you ask a 13-year-old how long she has been riding and racing bikes, you don’t expect her answer to be, “11 years.” But for Tayte Proulx-Royds, she’s not exaggerating when she says she’s been on bikes her whole life. Well, at least as long as she can remember.

Calling Kelowna, BC home, Tayte has always been surrounded by wild open spaces, mountains, and more than just a few bike parks. Following her older brother’s wheel, she began racing BMX as soon as she could pedal and quickly jumped on a mountain bike.

At such a young age, she’s already achieved an impressive amount – from being two-time provincial cyclocross champion and XCO MTB provincial champion to winning the Darkhorse Award at the inaugural Dark Horse Invitational Freeride event in 2021. In 2022, she’s already been on podiums at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California and NW Cup Downhill Series in Port Angeles, Washington.

If you ask Tayte what her favorite achievement was, she’d tell you it was winning the very first Dark Horse Invitational “Dark Horse Award”. Tayte was 12 at the time, the youngest athlete invited to the event. Riding with some of her heroes in the sport, she worked her way up to sending the line of massive jumps.

“To me, all in means always looking forward and not being afraid to be afraid,” said Tayte. “It’s giving it your all and never looking back.”

It’s obvious Tayte is wise beyond her years; so, we wanted to ask her a few more questions. Her responses, hand-written in a notebook, scanned and sent to us via email gave us a glimpse into Tayte’s past and her promising future in the sport.

Tayte Proulx-Royds, All In

Liv: How old were you when you started riding and racing bikes? What did you love about bikes when you were first starting out?  

Tayte: The first time I was on a balance bike was when I was about two years old. At the time, my older brother was racing BMX. After watching him ride and race, I decided to give racing a shot a couple of years later, when I was four or five. I think I love bikes so much because of my brother. He always included me when he rode with his friends and, naturally, I wanted to always keep up with him. Each ride was a little intense – it was like we were always in race mode – but it kept me coming back for more. 

Liv: How many different sports and disciplines of cycling do you compete in? What do you love about competition? 

Tayte: I compete in most cycling disciplines, including cross country, cyclocross, enduro, downhill and freeride. In the winter, I love Nordic skiing and spend a lot of time training and racing XC skiing and biathlon. There is no specific reason why I love racing so much. For me, I just love being focused and that tunnel vision racing gives me. I think my favorite discipline is downhill… it’s so hard to choose though. I love all disciplines!

Tayte Proulx-Royds, progression

Liv: What is the cycling community like where you live? Are there many girls that ride? 

Tayte: The cycling community isn’t extremely large where I live, but it is definitely starting to grow. There aren’t a ton of people riding, but I have noticed more young girls getting out there on mountain bikes, and I think it’s so cool! I’m actually coaching an amazing group of girls right now, and they are progressing so much.

Liv: When did you start riding jumps, drops, and other technical features on your mountain bike?  

Tayte: I’ve always tried to progress my jumping and dropping skills from day one, but the last three or four years my confidence in my riding has gone up dramatically. With that added confidence, I’ve been able to build my skill set. I have always loved getting air, even when I was little just being on a trampoline got me excited. But when I started getting air on my mountain bike, I didn’t really think about it. I kind of just threw myself off lips and 99 percent of the time, it went well. Over the past two years, my skills have progressed a lot. I’m not really sure why, but it’s like I hit a switch and then all-of-a-sudden I could do no-handers and t-bogs.

Liv: Prior to Darkhorse Invitational, had you done any other freeride mountain bike events? How did the features you rode at Darkhorse compare to what you had ridden previously?

Tayte: Before Darkhorse, I had not done any freeride events. The closest thing I’ve participated in was the Big White Slopestyle Competition. So, when I first saw the Darkhorse line, not gonna lie, I was pretty nervous. I had never ever thought about hitting such big jumps. But, the environment at darkhorse is great; I felt no pressure to hit anything. I really wanted to hit at least a couple of features, so with lots of run-ins, I finally got the line. I can’t thank everyone at Darkhorse enough for the support! The entire Darkhorse course was like nothing I had ever ridden, and I can’t wait to do it again!

Tayte Proulx-Royds, Dark Horse

Liv: When riding big features or a trail that is challenging, how do you overcome fear or doubt? Do you have a process for trying new features?

Tayte: When I am attempting a big feature, I try not to worry about it or overthink it. I really like seeing someone else hit the feature first, so I can calculate how I’m going to ride it best. After that, my process is to do run-in after run-in until I get the feeling that it’s go-time. 

Liv: What are you excited about for the year ahead? 

Tayte: I’m mainly just excited for a very busy race season! So many races are coming up in all disciplines! 

Liv: Is there a race or event you dream of competing in one day? 

Tayte: Yes! My biggest dream is to race downhill World Cups as a junior then elite! 

Liv: What advice would you give to someone just getting into cycling?

Tayte: I would say do your absolute best, but don’t be concerned about being the best. Taking your time to progress is key to becoming a good mountain biker.

Tayte Proulx-Royds, Do Your Best