Whitescarver Claims Championship in Mountain Biking
For a guy who didn’t take up mountain biking until he went to Appalachian State University, Derek Whitescarver has settled into the sport in a big way.
In early October, Whitescarver, a 2009 Pinecrest grad and Pinehurst resident, was crowned the mountain bike champion of the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference at the championships held in West Virginia.
A cross country runner at Pinecrest where he was the captain of the regional championship squad in 2008, Whitescarver realized he probably couldn’t compete on the collegiate level at ASU, so he decided to take up mountain biking.
“I looked into it when I was still in high school,” he says. “I didn’t want to give up the whole competitive thing. And with ASU being in the mountains, it just seemed like the thing to do.”
And do it he did.
In only his third year competing, Whitescarver picked up the ACCC individual championship, while his Mountaineer club team picked up the overall team title in the ACCC’s Division I. It was the first time an ASU team had won the title, and the first time an ASU rider had won the individual crown. Whitescarver is also the president of the club this year.
“We have a really strong club team,” he says. “We have 42 dues-paying members, and about 20 of them went to each race.”
Going to the races is key to winning, Whitescarver says. The championship is decided by points that are awarded in each race. The points are awarded in three different types of racing: endurance (cross country), downhill and short track.
“I’m not too good at the downhill. That takes a lot of guts,” Whitescarver says. “But I won close to half of the endurance races.”
Makes sense that the Pinehurst resident would be good in the endurance races given his background in cross country. And don’t let him fool you about the guts part of his makeup. The young man was involved in a wreck during last spring’s Tour de Moore that left him with a broken wrist.
“I was just cruising down Youngs Road when a guy flew over his handlebars,” Whitescarver says, “and I just got caught up in the mix. I came down on my back and banged my head. Everything hurts after you crash, but I couldn’t move my wrist.”
The crash left him with the broken wrist, and a cast for almost three months.
It’s not the first time he’s been thrown from his bike. Whitescarver relates how, several years ago, he was riding on Midland Road when he collided with a car. He says he glanced off the car’s right quarter-panel, and the car’s side mirror caught him in the back.
“I went flying through the air, and I’m thinking what just happened?” he says. “It wasn’t really bad though. I shouldn’t have been riding into the sun — lesson learned. I still have the mirror in my room.”
Now, he can add the ACCC championship medal to the collection in his room. After finishing third in the ACCC road racing competition last season, he set his sights on winning a championship.
“That was my focus from the first race,” he says. “I thought how cool would it be to get first in something. Now, I have. It’s something I’ll be able to tell my kids.”
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