Carter Warren, junior, competed in the 2015 Cyclo-cross National Championship in Austin, Texas on January 12.
“Cyclo-cross is like an obstacle course on your bike,” Carter said.
Carter started racing BMX in third grade. In sixth grade, he switched to mountain biking, but it was not until last year that he started racing Cyclo-cross.
Carter explained that the Cyclo-cross bike is a sort of hybrid.
“It has knobby tires like a mountain bike and it’s got the geometry of a road bike,” Carter said.
The athlete easily adjusted to the new bike. “I had a cross bike … and as soon as I got into racing a little bit, I won [the first race] and I just kept going weekend after weekend,” Carter said.
The Cyclo-cross National Championship races were scheduled for January 10 and 11, but the weather conditions were poor.
“It got rained out on Saturday, which is kind of a joke because Cyclo-cross racing is there for muddy races,” Carter said. “On Sunday, they decided that it was too muddy and they were going to shut everything down, so they decided not to have the juniors – the 17/18 which is what I was racing in – and the pros. Nobody knew what was going on until two hours later, they announced that they were going to do it on Monday … A bunch of people had to miss it … It was just a mess.”
Among those who missed it was Tyson Hausdoerffer, a fellow cyclist, and Clarke Warren, Carter’s father, described as a role model to Carter. Hausdoerffer bikes with Carter and runs a clinic that he has attended.
Hausdoerffer competed with his team, KS Energy Services Team Wisconsin, in a separate race in the competition that took place a few days before Carter competed.
Hausdoerffer was going to be in the pits with Clarke to help Carter. Because competitors race the course in laps, they are able to stop to get help during the race. When Hausdoerffer arrived on Sunday morning, he was told the race was canceled, so he went home and was not in Austin when the decision to reschedule was made.
Come Monday, Carter felt ready.
“I had gotten to pre-ride the course. I felt comfortable,” Carter said. “But as soon as the rain came it was just a disaster. They had races on that Saturday that just destroyed the course and made it really hard. You had to run more than half of the lap … It was awful,” Carter said.
According to Hausdoerffer, the course was a difficult one to begin with, scattered with two stone staircases as well as other challenging obstacles. Because it was so muddy cyclists often had to pick up their bikes and run with them. Clarke estimates that there was about a foot of mud in the pits.
Carter said he had to stop temporarily during the race because of the mud, so a few people passed him. Out of 52 cyclists in the CX Men Junior 17/18 race, Carter placed 35th.
“When I was done, I knew I didn’t finish very well. I was hoping for something better for sure. But it was just a cool experience to be there,” Carter said.
Carter’s father also bikes, but not competitively.
“The camaraderie from the top level professional to the first level rider was incredible – they were all in it together,” Clarke said. “There’s a community feel to it, everybody cheers for everybody, and at the national championship, that didn’t change.”
“It’s clear that biking is Carter’s passion and I love watching him do it,” Clarke said.
“It’s really amazing that he got that far. It’s really been one huge leap after another,” Hausdoerffer said. “Carter is a great technical rider; his bike handling skills are really great. With every year of training, he’ll get even stronger.”
“Cyclo-cross is the best kind of racing. There’s no other racing like cross,” Carter said.
Carter says that he hopes to continue riding in the future.
“Biking is a time where I can let go and get whatever off my mind. It’s just relaxing for me,” Carter said.
by Sabine Peterka and Helena Rose