By Richard Bell
After a successful fall season, Muquodoboit Harbour mountain biker Mackenzie Myatt is headed to Europe in May for two World Cup races as one of four women on Team Canada’s U23 (under 23) team. Myatt was also recently honored as a member of USA Cycling’s fall 2016 class of Collegiate Academic All-Stars, one of 82 athletes who competed at a USA Cycling National Championship while maintaining a high academic standard.
Myatt, now in her second semester at Savannah College of Art and Design (in Atlanta, GA), is taking classes in English, design, and business. She was recently selected as an “ambassador” by Fast and Female, an organization whose mission is to “keep girls health, happy, and active in sports through their teens.” She’ll be participating in “Champ Chats” around the country for girls 8 to 18, doing some exercise, yoga, and dance, and sharing her experiences about how empowering sports can be.
But Myatt is not just “Fast and Female.” She’s also ferocious, signs of which pop up sometimes on her blog. In a post on her most recent races, she describes one race as having had “a heart-in-your-eyeballs start,” while at the end of another, she was “breathing out of my eyeballs.”
In an interview while home on break, she said the eyeball references described times when "you're racing so hard you can't see straight, or you're feeling cross-eyed. It's about the effort you're putting out."
Growing up riding in Nova Scotia’s unique mixtures of mud, snow, and ice (what she calls “smudge”) has prepared her for the worst weather conditions. In fact, she likes bad weather. Commenting on a recent race on her blog, Myatt wrote, “Just before the course closed, I was able to jump out and take a look at the course. It was pouring, mind you, but I loved it. This girl has no fear of mud.”
Myatt most recently rode in the Bear Mountain Canada Cup race in Victoria, BC. She got there several days early to avoid any transportation snafus and to get a good chance to do “course reconnaissance. Racing without going over the course first is a very bad idea!”
Myatt loves wrestling with the challenges of a new course. “It’s super fun to learn a new course. It’s a place to explore on your bike. You’re meeting a new course, getting acquainted with it. You figure out the fast sections and the technical sections, see where the climbs are, and where can you recover. I’m asking, how can I do this the absolutely fastest way possible?”
Myatt has big summer plans: “I’m going to be everywhere,” including the Czech Republic, Germany, Ontario, Canadian Nationals in Alberta, the Canada Games in Winnipeg, and the World Championships in Australia.