We caught up with up-and-coming cyclist Kaia Schmid to learn about her drive to succeed. Kaia is a 16 year old cyclist who already has 3 national titles to her name. She started off as a mogul skier before she found her passion for cycling.
Photo: Ethan Glading
Where is home?
What is your primary sport?
Cycling; mainly road, track and cyclocross.
Do you compete on a team?
I currently ride for the New England Development Team.
Why do you compete? What drives you to do what you do?
My bike has brought me to so many beautiful places, taught me so many valuable lessons, and has built a community of like-minded people. I ride my bicycle because it gives me the freedom to go on new adventures. I strive to become faster, beat my personal records, and dig a little deeper. Cycling challenges me to overcome mental and physical obstacles. It may take longer than a day, or even a year, to conquer an obstacle, but when I do, the feeling is unreal. There is absolutely no feeling like crossing the finish line first, and knowing that all of the long, hard hours of suffering paid off. When I’m on my bicycle, all of my worries go away. It’s like being on a mini vacation, and I get the privilege to be on that vacation every day I ride my bike.
What is your greatest personal achievement so far?
This year, I became a National Champion at Junior Road National Championships. It was special for me because a lot of people think of me as just a crit or track racer, and I was able to prove them all wrong.
Is there a person or athlete who you look up to?
I look up to cyclists who do it their way, despite what others might say they must do in order to “make it.” I like to think of myself as someone who has not followed the traditional path, but rather, have navigated the right direction for me to go in. I look up to Laura Van Gilder for not only her legendary status, but for the fact that she is doing what makes her happy. She’s doing it her way. I also look up to my father, as he helps me navigate through the cycling world. He believes in me and my goals more than anyone else, and I couldn’t imagine my life as a cyclist without him.
What is your best fueling tip?
I eat half a bag of Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews an hour before each race, and finish the other half 30 minutes before the race. I’ll then have an Energy Gel at the start line. Most of my races are short enough that I don’t end up needing to consume more during the race.
Are there pieces of advice you have learned over the years and would like to pass on?
Follow your heart and passion, not just your natural ability. Dedication and happiness in what you’re doing will get you further in the sport. Be sure to listen to your body, because your body knows best. If it needs time to recover, it will show you. In order to avoid things like over training or getting sick, take the time need to recover so that when you return to your bike, you’ll be that much stronger.
What is your favorite Honey Stinger product and flavor?
Follow along with Kaia’s adventures: