Power of sport inspires Exergy TWENTY12's Tayler Wiles
We love getting to know the Zipp-sponsored pros who represent us so well at races across the globe. So, we fired off a bunch of questions to Tayler Wiles, a young racer with Team Exergy TWENTY12, on everything from bike tech to favorite foods.
Zipp: You recently finished 30th at the Tour of Flanders. Teammate Kristin Armstrong was second. What was it like to compete in such a huge race in a country where people are so passionate about cycling?
Tayler: Flanders was an incredible experience. We executed our race plan perfectly and when we crossed the line we knew we’d given everything we had for each other and for that step on the podium. Racing a major Spring Classic in a country so passionate about our sport is an amazing experience. The fans, the Vlaanderen flags, the little kids sporting their favorite team kits, and the all-around beauty of the countryside make for a pretty breathtaking atmosphere.
Zipp: Did you ride 303 Firecrest wheels in Flanders? How’d they feel on those cobbles and technical roads?
Tayler: The 303 Firecrest wheels were great at Flanders. We had tested them out during our recon rides with various tire pressures over the cobbles and come race day they couldn’t have been any better.
Zipp: Tell us about your time trial setup.
Tayler: I ride a Felt DA2 time trial bike with Zipp VukaBull bars and Zipp chicane VukaExtensions. I race the Super-9 Disc the most, and change up the front wheel between 404 Firecrest and 808 Firecrest depending on the wind, course, etc. I love my TT setup, I’m lucky enough to be riding the fastest equipment out there!
Zipp: What are your biggest goals for the rest of the season, including the upcoming women’s Exergy Tour?
Tayler: My goals this year are very team oriented. With my racing on the U.S. National Team in Europe my goal has been to be the best teammate possible for the girls on the Olympic long list, helping them gain points in an attempt to earn the United States another spot. In the states, my goals with Team Exergy TWENTY12 are also team oriented, with the Exergy Tour being a big focus. That race is going to be such an incredible step in the right direction for women’s cycling, and my team is ready to battle for that top step on the podium!
Zipp: How much do you think the $100,000 prize list will affect the racing at the Exergy Tour next month in Idaho? It’s a big race, and that’s a lot of money!
Tayler: The Exergy Tour is going to be such a great step forward for women’s cycling and having a prize purse that is comparable to what we see on the men’s side of the sport is a great opportunity to show potential sponsors and race promoters that women’s racing is exciting and worth the investment. The Exergy Development Group has done so many amazing things in the cycling community already -- they have stepped up in support of women’s cycling in a big way, and I believe that their faith in our side of the sport will go a long way to strengthen women’s cycling in the future.
In terms of racing and the effort put forth, I do not believe that money will effect how we race. On the women’s side of the sport we race because cycling is our passion. It is what we love to do, and we pour our hearts into it. So, no matter if we are racing for $1 or $100,000, we are going to give it everything we have.
Zipp: Being properly fit and comfortable on your bike is so important. Can you tell us which Zipp handlebar you use?
Tayler: I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have a proper bike fit and the huge improvement in efficiency you can make by just being comfortable in your position. I use the 40 cm Zipp Service Course SL bar with Short and Shallow bend drops for a more comfortable reach and increased handling during criteriums and while descending. Having the option of Short and Shallow or Tradition Bend handlebars is so important when it comes to providing comfortable fitting bar for riders of differing sizes, and that comfort is key when it comes to performance.
Zipp: You used to be very into soccer. What was it about cycling that really drew you in?
Tayler: I always loved the team aspect of soccer, working together as a unit to reach a common goal is such an amazing thing to be a part of. So many people think of cycling as an individual sport because when you cross the line there is only one winner. However, I find the team aspect of cycling to be even more powerful than with soccer. When we ride as a team we put everything out there for each other, we suffer for each other, take risks for each other, and when a teammate crosses the line with her hands in the air we all share in that excitement!
Zipp: Do you have a teammate on Exergy TWENTY12 you look to as a mentor?
Tayler: Kristin Armstrong Savola has been someone I’ve looked up to from the moment I bought my first bike. I remember visiting my aunt and uncle in Boise and hoping that I’d somehow run into Kristin. I would have been happy with a simple autograph and handshake, I never could have dreamt I would be where I am today. Having her as a teammate has been an incredible experience and something that has and will continue to shape my career. The things she has taught me about racing, training, recovery, tactics, etc. are so valuable. I am very lucky to have Kristin as a teammate, mentor, and good friend.
There is another girl on the team who I’ve always looked up to and considered a mentor, and that is the one-and-only Coryn “The G” Rivera. It may sound silly that I consider her a mentor because she is actually younger than I am, however, I have always really admired her and I owe a great deal of my success so far in cycling to her.
Zipp: You study biology and kinesiology at University of Utah. What career outside cycling most interests you?
Tayler: Before I found cycling my goal was to finish my bachelor’s degree in Biology and apply for medical school with the dream of becoming a physician. Then I found cycling and my life and goals began to change. I still have an interest in healthcare and the dream of medical school, however, cycling is something I feel I was born to do. So, I’m just putting those dreams on hold for a bit while I shoot for some different ones. Continuing my education has always been important to me and I plan on completing my bachelor’s degree while cycling and then going on to graduate or medical school once I retire.
Zipp: Who’s your funniest teammate on Exergy TWENTY12?
Tayler: Coryn Rivera is a riot! I love being around that girl. She always makes me smile! Greta Neimanas is also hilarious -- she may be the wittiest person I know!
Zipp: When you’re really hungry after a race or long training ride, what food do you crave most?
Tayler: I am quite known for craving all kinds of different things while riding and on the really long rides my routes tend to have bakeries along the way! I also have a serious weakness for pumpkin chai muffins (aka, the KStrong Gold Medal Muffin) found only in a coffee shop called “Big City Coffee” in Boise, Idaho!
Zipp: Who is one female athlete who truly inspired you?
Tayler: Growing up I idolized Mia Hamm, I had posters, T-shirts, the works! I remember watching the commercial she did with Michael Jordan (where the song “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better” played as they tried to out-do each other in various sports) and thinking what a great representation it was of female athletes and the potential we have. It was a simple commercial, but it really inspired me to put everything I had into becoming a great athlete and proving what I could achieve.
Zipp: Thanks, Tayler. Best wishes to you and the entire Exergy TWENTY12 team!