Thompson to compete in USA Cycling Cross-Country Nationals

Published 6:07 pm Wednesday, July 3, 2013

His favorite training routes include Lake Lanier, Hogback Mountain, the Greenville Watershed, and the Saluda Grade on Highway 176.

“If I get tired of road riding, I’ll ride to Tryon, 13 miles (by gravel road).”

Athletic competition is not new to Thompson. As recently as his freshman year at Polk County High School, he played baseball. He’d played elementary school baseball as a sixth-grader.

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Once bicycling took over, recalls Ethan, “I didn’t have time for any other sport.”

Competitive riding “has been a big learning curve,” he admitted. But, the results speak for themselves. At first, he finished near the back of the pack, with fifth and sixth-place finishes. Now, he’s out-ridden most of his older competitors. He’s defeated some potential competitors in this month’s USA Cycling event.

“It’s all happening so fast, it’s crazy,” he said. But, the young man remembers those who help him, and he balances his time among training, school, family and working.

“We are very proud of Ethan because he is learning that hard work and consistency will show results,” said his mom, Erin Thompson. Ethan has been working at Terra on Trade in Tryon, and also works with Stuart Evans. He trains until noon, so he can work later.

Local supporters of Ethan include accomplished cyclist John Cash, triathlon trainer Katie Malone, Tina Durbin of the Tryon Health and Fitness Center, and Sycamore Cycles in Hendersonville.

Though he’s not sponsored at this point, Thompson is affiliated with Sycamore. “I ride for them. I wear their jersey and their bibs,” said Ethan. “Hopefully, the next step is to get a sponsor, and get everything at cost.”

With all the effort, “I try to have fun,” he said. “It’s not worth doing unless you’re having fun.”