CX Athlete Feature: Curtis White
Curtis White, 24, comes from a family of cyclists. His sister, Emma White, has won National Titles in Road and Cyclocross and is currently racing for the U.S. National Team in Track cycling. The White family, nicked-named the White Family Band in the Northeast cyclocross community, has been a fixture for years. Curtis has always been brushing shoulders with the best in his age categories. The 2017/2018 season was quite the transition as he was racing his first year in the elites and focusing on graduating from Union College. After having a breakout season in 2018/2019 including a win at the Pan-American Championships, a Silver Medal at the 2018 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships, White ended his season with a 21st place finish at his first Elite UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Denmark. Now a college graduate, he is able to strictly focus on his cyclocross racing and it’s showing. White has been a consistent podium contender at the ProCX races while wearing his Pan American Champion jersey. He has been a long-time athlete of the Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld team. USA Cycling and the MudFund have supported Curtis on the U.S. National team as well as the USA Cycling Bentonville Cyclocross Camp.
What was it like growing up as a family of bike racers?
We were pretty fortunate to be part of this sport from such a young age. It’s taken us all over the country and the world. There will always be a sibling rivalry, but we’ve all been able to help each other out on and off the bike. At the end of the day, we are each other's biggest fans.
How did you manage the never-ending bike racing schedule while being a full-time student?
It required a lot of self-discipline, time management, communication, and patience. I had a limited amount of time to get my school work done and to achieve my goals in cycling, so I had to adopt a pretty regimented lifestyle. There were many weeks where I’d be in class Monday through Friday, fly out to a race Friday night, race over the weekend, and return home late Sunday night or first thing Monday morning for class. Now that I’ve graduated, I can tell you wholeheartedly that balancing my academics with cycling has made me a stronger and more dedicated athlete.
What was the biggest lesson you learned after racing your first year as an Elite?
I’ve always been a hard worker, but not always the smartest worker. I had goals, but I didn’t always know how to achieve them. The team that I was on, and still on today (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld), really fostered an environment of truly becoming a student of the sport. I started to ask “How?” and “Why?” a lot more.
What is the team dynamic like on Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld?
As a team, I think we all bring out the best in each other on and off the bike. Our goal is to always represent our sponsors to the best of our abilities and to get results, but we’re constantly trying to help each other reach a higher level.
How has the gravel, mountain bike, and road racing helped you prepare for the Cyclocross season?
Cyclocross is all about being an incredibly well-rounded athlete. It requires a variety of skill sets which we use to perform in any conditions that are thrown at us. In the past, I would spend half the year racing on the road, which helped develop a solid aerobic base and depth, but lacked what MTB and gravel could provide. This past year, I created a well-rounded program to develop as many skills as I could for cyclocross.
How was this year’s USA Cycling Cyclocross Camp supported by the MudFund?
I’m very happy that I had the opportunity to visit the Fayetteville/Bentonville area and become more acquainted with it. From a performance perspective, with the World Championships coming to Fayetteville in 2022, I wanted to maximize the “home field advantage” and get as familiar with the area as I can. From a development perspective, it was really inspiring to see the investment that so many young American athletes are making in this sport. I remember being a junior and U23 racer feeling like I had the potential to perform, but didn’t always have the right information available to me or know what questions to ask. This camp helped to facilitate that process for many young athletes.
There has been a lot of support this year in the cyclocross community. What kind of opportunities are being created for yourself and other cyclocross athletes?
The MudFund has created a pretty clear surge of development opportunities for young athletes looking to enter this sport and to learn more, which is very exciting to see. I had the privilege to meet some of those young athletes at the Bentonville Cyclocross Camp, and to see the resources that are being put into the development pool. Additionally, as a member of the US National Cyclocross Team, I’ve been able to enjoy access to a few new sports performance services. It’s an exciting time to be a cyclocross athlete, and I’m proud to witness this energy surge.
Following up on last year’s silver medal, how do you feel going into Nationals this year?
I’m feeling strong and confident. I’m consistently performing at a higher level this year, but there are others who are doing the same. Winning a National Championship won’t require a special effort on my part. I just need to focus on bringing my best to the start line, and do what I’ve been doing all year long.
What are your goals for the rest of the season?
My goals are to defend my Pan-Am Continental title, win the National Championships, and top-10 at the World Championships.
To cheer on Curtis throughout the year, follow him on Instagram and Twitter @CurtisJWhite.
Developing athletes like Curtis would not be possible without the help and support from the USA Cycling Foundation's MudFund. If you would like to be a part of the future of American Cycling, consider donating today: https://www.usacycling.org/foundation
Visit USACycling.org for more information on the athletes, events, and membership programs, and follow @USACycling across all channels for the latest on Team USA.
Cyclocross Nationals is around the corner! Don't forget to register today! https://www.usacycling.org/events/national-championships/2019-usa-cycling-cyclocross-national-championships
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