If there was a dictionary definiton of Sophie Tyas, it would probably read something like: “Kick Arse Chick”. At 17 years old she already has a pretty awesome race resume and her future looks even better. As you’ll read below Sophie has a rad sense of humour, and is always a blast to be around. Just don’t expect to be able to keep up with her trademark blonde locks on the trail.
How old are you?
17 years old
Where do you live?
Currently OPC lodge in Methven (an hour out of Christchurch)
What do you like best about living where you do?
Walking to school seeing the mountains! I am on an Outdoor Pursuits Course (OPC) so we get to do lots of exciting activities (including MTB) every weekend which keeps me busy, and at the same time living the flatting life. Also got Mount Hutt on my doorstep and get to go up every Wednesday after lunch for shuttles! That’s what I’m talking about!!
What do you dislike about living where you do?
Not having a car. Also the big change in temperature compared to Auckland; winter’s coming. And the unbelievable amount of homework that gets piled on me.
How did you get involved in the mountain bike scene to begin with, and how long ago was that?
Started riding with my big brother Ben, then with JAFAKIDS when I was about 11, doing cross-country and trail riding with Sadie Parker who is great with young kids coming into the sport. With that, got to know a few of the boys that did downhill, like the Baker boys. So once Ben got in to it at the National Secondary Schools in Levin, I was dragged along to the races. Then one day I decided to give it a go on the trusty old Yeti hardtail, I think I was around 13 years old, up at Dome Valley and have been hooked ever since. Best decision of my life!
What’s your ‘day’ job? What does it involve?
I work in a brilliant wee café (Primo), in the morning before school, setting up the tables and chairs etc. Then off to Mount Hutt College, trying to concentrate on my school work, though it’s hard when the mountains are in view.
What are five benefits of working with bikes all day every day?
Cutties on the way to school every day, getting max roost. Just riding my bike instantly makes me a happier person. Beating boys! They don’t like that at all, it’s great! Always gives you something to do, so you’re not sitting round bored. Something to focus on, an idea of direction in what I want to do. You really need to live on your bike.
How would you describe your riding style?
Some people say I am the Danny Hart of my generation.
It’s so hard to pick one, but I loved Val Di Sole in Italy, as it had a bit of everything. Insane rock gardens, holes just formed everywhere, roots like I had never seen before, just pure craziness! Was very challenging, the most rugged and tough track I have ever ridden. I could hardly hold on at the bottom, yet it was so much fun.
What’s one thing you’ve learned in the last 10 years?
Listen to the Notorious B.I.G.
What’s wrong with mountain biking?
Injuries! You just get so depressed not being able to ride!
Three things right with mountain biking?
The people you meet, everyone just has that instant connection because of riding. Travelling to new and exciting places that you have never heard of. Memories.
Top two mountain bike developments in the last 10 years (bike park, part or whatever)?
One would defiantly have to be Queenstown’s development in MTB trails. I remember they used to have the chairlift open up on Coronet Peak over the summer for riding which was awesome, just like being overseas. They closed that after the ’09 season, it was a bit of a downer, and then they got the gondola going! Best thing since the bike was invented. The trails up the gondola and all round Queenstown (Gorge Road dirtjumps, Dream Track, 7 mile and Remarkables) are just amazing, maintained very well with a wide variety of tracks for all skill levels. Puts New Zealand on the map for tracks and there’s never a dull moment in Queenstown. Another one would be the banning of the compulsory skinsuit at Worlds after 2006. Ahh hella’ no do they think I was going to wear one of them bad boys!
All time favourite rider?
Angus ‘Gus’ Chapman
Top five favourite bits of mountain bike kit?
Accessorising, buying pink gear! Anything which is pink I love, keeping the feminine side on show is a must. Even though I might ride downhill, it doesn’t mean I’m not a girly girl on the inside. My Shimano clips and shoes; changing from flats was a really good move for me personally, it just seemed to allow me to have a whole lot more of a feel and different control of the bike .My Fox riding gear is awesome and just provides me with comfortable style and steeze. Leatt neck brace, wouldn’t be without it. Some good working brakes.
Who do you look up to?
Gabby Molloy, such an awesome rider and an ULTIMATE GB!!
What are your vices?
Having too much fun. Yeow!
Finish this sentence: “On a Saturday I like to get up and….”
Jam some rad beats and get pumped for a day of whatever life brings me.
Cheers to Reece from Fox, Lapierre NZ, AKDH, my parents and everyone who has supported me or helped me out. All the DH girls and Mount Hutt 2012 OPC Crew!!