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Back 12.3.2013

From Small Town NY, Curtis White has Big Cyclocross Goals

Curtis White grew up – actually, at just 18, is still growing up – in the small town Duanesburg in upstate New York. His high school senior class has just 59.

What’s funny is that by joining something else small in number, the four-rider Cannondale p/b team, White took a big step toward the big time of cyclocross. The teenager is making a name for himself on the U.S. circuit, most recently at Baystate Cyclocross Weekend with a second place (behind teammate Tim Johnson) on Day 1 and a third place on Day 2.


“It’s really an honor to be on the team, but I also have to do my part,” White said. “They’re providing me with so much that I have to really try my best to give it back to them.”

He’s learning how best to take advantage of everything his team and sponsors offer. It could be pre-riding the course with teammates Ryan Trebon or Tim Johnson taking about tires, what lines to take or tactics.

“Often times some of the younger guys they’re talented but they struggle a little bit because they’re not on a bigger program,” said Stu Thorne, director of the Cannondale p/b Team. “It’s been nice this year. He just shows up... “He’s really been able to focus on his racing?

Thorne called White – who is 6-foot-1, 165-pound – an all-around rider who goes all out but who also races within his limits. “He’s thoughtful and mellow, not super nervous. He kind of just goes with the flow,” Thorne said, adding that for a teenager, “he’s a pretty seasoned rider.”

White rides Zipp 303 Firecrest Disc-brake wheels and Zipp bars, stem and seatpost. He also relies his SRAM RED 22 groupset with HydroR hydraulic disc brakes. He recently traveled with the team to visit the Zipp office and factory in Indianapolis. He toured the production facility and took part in tech sessions with Zipp engineers and product managers. “It’s so much more than I imagined it would be. The setup here is so legitimate and dialed,” White said.

It’s not surprising Curtis was attracted to the all-out intensity of cyclocross. His father, Tom White, is head coach of the men’s and women’s crew team at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., and as a competitor was part of the 1988 U.S. National Rowing Team that took silver at the 1988 World Championships of Rowing.

Tom White also competed in cycling, and that sparked White’s interest. Curtis White started racing at 10 and soon was hooked on ’cross. “One race led to another. I got a bigger bike. Things really took off from there,” White said.

White confirmed his potential as a young rider to watch with an 11th place finish on a snowy course at the 2013 Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville. He talks excitedly about racing on the most iconic courses in ’cross such as the sand at the Koksijde World Cup.

Yet those exploits are tempered with the duties and busyness of a teen with four siblings, including younger sister Emma who races for the Zipp-supported Team. White is considering where to attend college and working with teachers to balance school and racing. White said attending a small-town school is an advantage because his teachers know him and his goals. His English teacher even attended one of White’s races. “They get what I do,” White said, “and they’re fully supportive of it.”

Follow @CurtisJWhite on Twitter