Tegan Cruz on Kidsworx, his new spot on the RockShox Trek Race Team, and what it’s like growing up with Crankworx in your backyard
Used to be in Kidsworx, now we’re here. Cruz, racing in the 2016 Kidsworx Enduro. Photo: Sean St. Denis
Tegan Cruz is a young rider that represents a new era: mountain bikers for whom there was never not a Crankworx. Crankworx was born in 2004. Tegan, in 2005. And here we are. At 15 years old he’s been given a golden ticket: an invitation to join a full factory team. We chatted to him about how it felt to get the call, what it’s like growing up alongside Crankworx, and what’s next for this up-and-comer.
Crankworx: You jumped into the spotlight recently, having been announced as part of the RockShox Trek Race Team. First of all, congratulations! Tell us about what it felt like to get the call that they wanted you on the team.
Tegan Cruz: To receive the offer to be a part of a world class team was unbelievable, very honored to be a part of the RockShox Trek Race Team. Honestly it was emotional not just for me but for the whole family. We were all so happy!!
CWX: What’s the response been like since the announcement came out?
TC: Honestly it has been amazing, I am flattered by all of the local community support as well as the racing community.
CWX: Before that, we knew you primarily as an up-and-coming racer who’s pulled in some super strong results in local races and at Crankworx Whistler. You won the Garbo DH and the Canadian Open in the 13-14 category in 2019. Have you always known that this was the direction you wanted to go in – part of a team that includes some of the top riders in the world?
TC: Yes this has always been one of my goals, but to be on a factory team with riders who have tasted World Cup podiums as well as a World Champion is just amazing. I feel very fortunate for this opportunity and I am super excited for what’s ahead!
CWX: Your first results we saw go all the way back to 2014 – racing Kidsworx at Crankworx Whistler. Do you remember your first race at Crankworx? What was it? How old were you?
TC: Crankworx was the first mountain bike event I ever competed in, I would have been 8 turning 9 in 2014 but I think I may have even raced the year before as well. B-Line I believe was my first race, or the Pump Track Challenge, as I would have done both. All the Kidsworx events were always so fun! Awesome events and opportunities for us younger riders to try out racing.
CWX: You grew up in Pemberton, just north of Whistler – did it help you as a rider and racer being exposed to Crankworx from such an early age?
TC: Absolutely!! Ever since I was young, Crankworx has and continues to be one of the bigger events of each season and we always look forward to it. Very thankful that I was able to compete at such a young age and now my 9 year old brother Levi is doing the same, he already has 2 B-Line races under his belt racing at 7- and 8-years-old.
CWX: As you mentioned, you come from a racing family, including your older brother Lucas who races for the Norco Factory Racing Team and joined us at the CLIF Crankworx Summer Series this past summer. What was it like watching his races, and seeing him take the win in the Dual Slalom in Kicking Horse?
TC: Being a part of such an athletic and supportive family has definitely helped me to become the person I am today. Seeing my brother compete and win against the top Canadian riders is the ultimate inspiration. And to see him on the TV was pretty cool. I thought the Crankworx Summer Series was such a great event and I just wished I was old enough to have been a part of it. Maybe they will consider it for 2021? Wink Wink…
CWX: Heading into the 2021 racing season, your first season on the RockShox Trek Race Team, what are your goals?
TC: To absorb everything I can from my more experienced teammates and to continue loving being on my bike. Training and preparing for my first year of junior, getting to as many races I can and always doing my best. Consistency with my results is something I am aiming for, and continuing learning and being coachable, as well as being a role model and mentor for others.
CWX: Do you think being a part of this team will help you take your racing to the next level? What kind of support do you get from them?
TC: Absolutely YES!!! This is like a golden ticket and I am sooo honoured to have it. Having a factory ride at such an early age is very rare. It is definitely going to help me be prepared for my first year of Juniors in 2022, mentally and physically. I do love all disciplines of cycling so I will have all the bikes like DH, DJ, Trail, Road. Team clothing and safety gear, I have a personal trainer organized and will have some coaching. Pit support at the bigger events like Crankworx and the iXS Cups. Hopefully I can get over to Europe this summer and possibly Rotorua in the fall. In 2022 at the World Cups I will have full pit support with a mechanic, travel, accommodation and food. I’m so lucky, it’s the full meal deal!
CWX: What would you say to other young racers who see you rising up through the ranks, and hope to one day accomplish what you have. Do you have any advice?
TC: Sure. Love what you are doing, keep setting goals for yourself, stay humble and learn from others with more experience. Also no matter if it’s biking or another sport, HAVE FUN. For me, there is nothing I enjoy more than riding and racing my bike!!
Get the details on the Tegan and his RockShox Trek Race Team crew: