Growing up in Santa Cruz, Tyler McCaul, “T-Mac” made a name for himself in downhill (DH) racing at a young age getting his first contract with Fox Racing at just 13 years old while racing Juniors. But, as he transitioned into the Elite class at 19, he found himself feeling like a fish out of water.
To be competitive at that level you need to be on your DH bike a lot more than I— McCaul
was able to be.
It was around that time that Tyler was also riding dirt jumps a lot more often. Some of you may recall that the there was a great community of riders in the Aptos and Santa Cruz area at the time with legendary spots like the Post Office. Moving to freestyle/freeride was almost inevitable. He and his brother Cam were super active as kids, playing all the traditional sports like baseball, basketball and soccer. However, it was when their dad took them to X-Games – San Francisco in ’99 that they became especially attracted to action sports. Their supportive parents gave them the freedom to try any action sports they had an interest in without pushing them. Bikes happened to be the thing they couldn’t get enough of.
While Tyler received his first contract at 13, it wouldn’t be until 18 when he signed his first paid contract worth $8,000 for the year. It was just enough to travel to races and comps – sleeping on people’s floors. He was putting every dime back into his career. While T-Mac says, “luckily it just snowballed from there,” the rest of us know his hard work and dedication played a big role in getting him where he is today.
Residing in southern Utah now, Tyler spends a lot of his “off the bike” time digging new trails and features through the winter months. On hot summer days when it’s too hot to ride, you can find him on the lakes and rivers in the area with his wife. …and while he may not enjoy it as much, you may find him doing some off-bike training at home.
I never used to cross train when I was younger, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized the importance of off the bike training. I’ve just always hated going to gyms and everything about that whole scene. While I was recovering from a long injury a couple years back, I revamped an area at my house into a home gym and little PT station, so I can work on that kinda stuff more frequently on my own.— Tyler
Diet is also important. While he can’t get enough of a good serving of buffalo wings with the right sauce and some blue cheese, Tyler eats pretty clean for the most part. No strict diets. Just tries to be smart about what goes into his body.
McCaul considers his greatest achievement as a rider to be competing in his 10th Red Bull Rampage in 2022. For some perspective on this achievement, as of 2021 it was reported that only three riders had accomplished this feat - Kyle Strait, Darren Berrecloth, and Cam Zink making Tyler a member of quite an exclusive club. Competing at what is arguably the gnarliest, most dangerous freeride event on the planet, it’s no wonder he sites injuries as the biggest challenge he has faced, by far.
Sometimes they can test you more mentally than they do physically, but there is always something to be learned while going through the rehab process.— Tyler
So, what’s next? In the next couple of years you can expect a few big film and photo projects that, Tyler says, are unlike anything he’s done before and he’s really looking forward to tackling. You may also be surprised to learn that during his lifetime on a bike, Tyler has never gone on any night rides. Now that he’s kitted with some serious lumens from Blackburn, he’s itchin’ to get out for some night laps when the temps warm up. Expect more to come on that…