Makenzie D cover photo
Women in Cycling
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

How Makenzie DeLaughder will #LeadThemForward

By: Cecilia Patten  February 03, 2021

In honor of the 35th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, USA Cycling shares stories from Girls and Women in cycling who will #LeadHerForward.

Sports are much more than just a game or just a competition. Sports are an opportunity to learn more about yourself and develop skills that will benefit you in and out of competition. National Girls and Women in Sports Day is all about celebrating and encouraging the involvement of females in sports, so more women can emerge as leaders in sports and life.

We had the opportunity to ask cyclists in our community what sport has meant to them throughout their lives and how they will #LeadHerForward!

Here is what Makenzie DeLaughder had to say:

Being an athlete has been at the core of who I am for as long as I can remember. Sports have given me a place to grow and learn not just about myself, but also interact with people who I get the honor to learn from as well. During my time at Sacramento State, I took a chance on myself by becoming the president of the Sac State cycling team. As a person who is Nonbinary, Bisexual, and Black/white, this experience with sport made me feel more confident in who I am. It also helped me develop the knowledge and leadership skills essential to the work I do currently. I’m passionate about community work and cycling, and all of these components have blended together into the advocacy work I do and care very much about. I feel strongly about making my immediate community and beyond a better place to live and thrive.

I first started getting involved in sports when my mom signed me up to play soccer as a kid, which I continued to play for a long time. Once I stopped playing soccer, I wanted to find myself in another sport. I was introduced to cycling through my twin brother who was a road cyclist. I remember going to his bike races and finding the sport thrilling and fascinating. I started on the road bike when I was in college and got into cyclocross as well.

What I want to do as a Nonbinary, Bisexual, and mixed Black/white athlete is inspire people to be proud of who they are. I hope that my existence and determination in cycling can help people feel like they have a place in sport and feel validated in who they are. I’m proud to lead forward by living authentically and continuing the important work towards our collective liberation. The advice I would give my younger self is, keep being a rebel and advocating for what is right.


Want to share how you will #LeadHerForward? Send your story to cpatten@usacycling.org!