Submitted by: Mom
Written by: Olivia Nicholls
You’re lining up for your first NICA race. It’s your freshman year, and you’ve been practicing with your new teammates all season for this moment. You’re not sure how it will go, but you know the energy of the athletes around you is electric. The crowd is counting down, the racer beside you is clipping in…and it’s go time!
A few moments pass, and in the blink of an eye, you’re a senior. The teammates who have become your best friends surround you, cheering and shouting as you cross beneath the finish banner. It’s your last race as a NICA athlete, and your heart is racing with possibility.
Graduation is coming. It’s the end of this chapter. You don’t know what you’re going to do next, but what you do know is that you’ve got to find another start line.
And then another.
Continuing to race bikes is something many NICA athletes choose to pursue after their years on their local team. Some enjoy local events, and some want to take cycling to the next level, and pursue a professional career in sport. That’s how Carter Anderson found himself grinding through miles of gorgeous gravel roads in his first professional race alongside his idols at the Lifetime Unbound 2023.
The NICA alum joined the pro category of the legendary race not knowing what to expect. The race was 205 miles, nearly double the distance of most of the other gravel races he’d tried before. 1,270 men, including 116 pros, lined up beside him in the cool air of a Kansas summer morning. All around, competitors braced for the coming windy, wet conditions.
By 5:50AM, they were off.
A fast and furious start was slowed by a huge, muddy bog at mile 11. Carter got his wheel in just the right spot, pushed through the muck…and found himself leading the race for 3 heart-pounding miles!
For the next 40 miles, Carter raced in the lead group of 11 pros. They asked him who he was, and race coverage tagged him as “and others” on social media. Out of nowhere, Carter was in the running to have his best finish ever!
After falling off to join a chase group, and then dropping back again to ride 50 miles solo, Carter didn’t stop digging. He knew he had the skills, the fitness, and the determination to finish this thing strong.
2 years after his final NICA race and 10 hours and 48 grueling minutes after taking off, Carter Anderson finished 15th out of 1,270 Men! It was a standout performance, and the best race he’s ever had. Carter’s family attributes his self-confidence and strength to his four years riding on his hometown trails with his NICA team.
His professional cycling career is new and full of promise, but one thing is for certain: wherever Carter goes in life, he’ll take cycling with him.
Check Out More Stories!
No Matter Who You Are: Phinneus McKenna’s Story – Riding with NICA While Legally Blind
No Matter Where You’re From: How The UrbanPromise Trailblazers Are Bringing Mountain Biking to Wilmington
No Matter Where You Start: Ambra Baldwin Hart’s Story
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