WEST FORT HOOD, Texas – After not riding for 20 years, Clarence White is back to winning BMX races in Texas.
White, 48, is an Army civilian worker
White ran his first race when he was 14, but after his bike was stolen, he didn't get back into the scene until he was 35.
“I actually thought I was ready to turn pro, get my driver’s license and drive myself to the track,” he said. “But then my bicycle got ripped off, so I just didn’t go back.”
White said he let his brother borrow his bike, but when his brother came home, the bike was gone.
“I cut a lot of grass to get that bike,” said the U.S. Army Operational Test Command test officer for the Army’s chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense systems. “Back then, that bike cost over a thousand dollars, and it took me years to build it up to that point, so when one day it was gone — uh — I don’t’ know, I just — I just didn’t go back.”
White's three kids were also active in sports.
“I’m watching my kids, and I’m like, ‘I want to do something instead of just watch,’” he said. “So I thought, ‘What sport can we all do?’”
He decided to do BMX.
“I showed my kids some old pictures, and they seemed pretty excited about it,” he said.
White went out and bought the same bike he used to have and gave it to his son.
Once his kids started racing, White began showing them riding techniques.
“They were picking it up sort of half-way, and I thought the best way to do it is show them,” he explained. “So, I got a bike myself and I started showing them how to do it, and the next thing you know, I’m loving it.”
The kids (now 13, 19 and 22) don't ride anymore, but at 5 feet 9 inches tall and about 180 pounds, White keeps rolling along.
White won in Texas’ Regional/Gold Cup qualifier in Corpus Christi on Feb. 25. He took first place on his cruiser and third in his class.
The next day, he raced in the first Texas State Qualifier in Corpus Christi and won first on his cruiser and fourth in his class.
White will race again on March 18 in the Texas State Qualifier in San Antonio.
He will also compete in the USA BMX Lone Star Nationals in Pflugerville Apr. 21, which will be an opportunity to qualify for the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships at Rock Hill, South Carolina.