10 months ago by Info Circuit

Introducing Kaia and Makayla

American teenage talents looking forward to their Human Powered Health debut

Ahead of their moves to Human Powered Health™, Cyclingnews spoke with our new young American talents Kaia Schmid and Makayla MacPherson

Kirsten Frattini spoke to ‘the next star of American bike racing’ Kaia Schmid. 

Cyclingnews: Tell us about where you grew up?

Kaia Schmid: I grew up in Marblehead in Massachusetts and went to a private boarding school, Proctor Academy, which had a ski and bike team, and other sports programmes, which was cool. I raced mountain bikes and later on the road for Proctor Academy. I also started racing track when I was nine and cyclo-cross when I was 11, and then competing on the road when I was 15. 

I was pursuing mogul skiing, too, and would spend the winter semesters competing in Colorado. I balanced cycling and mogul skiing until the end of high school and decided to just pursue cycling. I graduated high school in three years and then enrolled in the University of Colorado Boulder in the fall of 2020. I live and train out of Boulder now.

CN: What do you expect going into your first season racing in the elite ranks?

KS: I am going into it with confidence. Riding for an American team will be helpful in my development and making the transition to Europe easier, and jumping into the WorldTour. That will be crucial. Having success in my junior career gives me confidence, too. I know it will be a big jump but I think I picked the right team to make that jump with. I’m stoked about it.

I will combine road and track. Signing with Rally meant that I could put the main focus on the road but when I have an opportunity to race on the track, I can do that too. 

CN: How did your contract with Rally come about?

KS: They had approached me during the year, and I got an agent, so I work with Joao Correia and a couple of other agents from Corso. It was necessary because I was overwhelmed with teams after doing well at road worlds. They worked on my contract and I put them in touch with my agent, who was super stoked on Rally and thought it was a great option for me and one of the best options for my development. 

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Jackie Tyson then spoke to US junior road race champion Makayla MacPherson. 

Cyclingnews: You are only 19 years old and yet you have accomplished a lot so far in road cycling and on the track. How did you get started?

Makayla MacPherson: I started out on the track, actually, when I was seven. My dad wanted me to start out there because it put his mind at ease that I was not riding on the road with a bunch of cars around me. The worst thing is that maybe I crash and get scraped a little. But I was always an outdoor kid and I was already scraping my knees from time to time. Slowly he took me out onto the road, and I fell in love with that. First, it was strictly on the river trail. Not too exciting, but eventually I needed to go out and explore. I can’t keep riding the same one road. 

CN: Schmid was a teammate of yours at LUX and with Team USA. How excited were you to know she’d continue as a teammate for the next two years with Human Powered Health?

MM: I had signed with Rally first. I knew that she was considering Human Powered Health and I was just saying ‘come on, come on, we can be teammates again’. I was a little sad that COVID happened and we were not able to do as much racing as we were supposed to with LUX, so this would give us a chance to race together more. And also just have that familiar base. Making the move over to Europe, I think we both wanted that. We’re going to room together which I think is going to be so fun. Kaia and I are about to sign a lease on an apartment. 

And also, having someone who is also obviously young going to a WorldTour team [Human Powered Health application in process]. The fact that we have that together to bond over and be the ‘little kids’ on the team, maybe a little bit scared, but we are super excited.  

CN: Looking ahead to 2022, what is your biggest goal for the next step in your career?

MM: I cannot stop thinking about racing the women’s Tour [de France Femmes]. The fact that there is now a women’s Tour is so amazing to me because I always watched the Tour de France, but I always wanted a Tour de France for women. That is the one that I am most excited for. It’s such a huge step for women. I’m hoping that the Tour is on my schedule, we’ll see. Obviously I don’t know my schedule yet for next year. The team is amazing in that they want to work with each athlete and put them in the best races possible for them. I think it would be one of my proudest moments to make that Tour team and be able to go down in history as one of the first people to do it. That would be amazing.

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