Nick Carter also won 2016 Mountain Bike Championship; has been asked to race with Team USA when he’s 16
By JAN WILLMS
For Nick Carter, becoming a cyclocross racer seemed a natural step. The 14-year-old South High student lives in the Howe neighborhood with his parents, Doug and Katie Carter. And his dad was doing cyclocross racing before Nick was born.
“Cyclocross is a form of bike racing where you’re on a normal road bike with wider, knobbier tires,” Carter said. “The course is a mix of dirt and pavement with obstacles thrown in.”
On Jan. 10, Carter won the USA Cycling Cyclocross Junior Men’s National Championship at the National Championship races in Hartford, CT (photo right). He previously won the Junior Varsity Division II Mountain Bike Championship in 2016. He was selected to attend an Olympic development session at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He has also been asked to race with Team USA in Europe in two summers when he will be 16.
“The course in Connecticut is right next to a river, and there’s a dike in case the river overflows,” Carter explained. “You start out at the bottom and go diagonally up it. You figure out which line to take up the dike. The hill is probably like a normal flight of stairs in height.”
Carter said it had snowed the day of the race, and his practice riding in Minnesota had greatly helped him prepare for it. “Lots of the others were falling, and it really helped to be from Minnesota,” he quipped.
Carter said he got his first bike when he was three, and his father helped him get in a race when he was 9. “I watched my dad race, and he got me into cyclocross,” he added.
Although his school does not offer cyclocross as a sport, mountain biking is a new addition to its sports program this year. “I’ve got two of my friends doing the mountain bike team, and we practice with Southwest and Washburn, so there are about 40 kids,” Carter said. He is on Northstar Development, a junior development team that helps riders under the age of 18 develop into better riders.
Carter said he prepares for a race by practicing strength work-ups three to four days during the week. He then rides around three hours, getting ready. “I also get to the race course a few days early and practice on the riding course,” he said.
He said that cyclocross has been around for quite a while and has gotten more popular in recent years. It is mostly based in Europe. “There was a World Cup Race in Iowa City last year, and it was broadcast in Europe,” Carter noted. “More people watched it in Europe than the number who watched the Super Bowl here in the United States.”
Carter said he can see himself riding as a professional. “There are a ton of scholarships through cycling in general for college,” he said. Although the sport is not yet a part of the Olympics, there are many who are working to get cyclocross as a part of the competition.
And when that happens, Nick Carter hopes to be there.