HARRISONBURG, VA. (WHSV) -- When you learn how to ride a bike, the best piece of advice someone can give you is that no one cares how many times you fall down, as long as it's one fewer than the number of times you get back up.
From training wheels to a hand injury, one local rider is proving that everyday on the trails.
"I just love being in the woods so it drew me in,” Rocktown Racing junior Derek Elliot said. “And I love being out here riding rocks and going super fast through the woods."
Over challenging terrain and through narrow turns, Derek Elliot pedals with a passion. And out in the back woods is where it all started.
"I started when I was really little. I was out camping with my family,” Elliot said. “My brother and my dad went out to go on a bike ride. I couldn't come because I still had training wheels on my bike. That day, I made my mom take them off with a wrench.
Free from his training wheels, Elliot found a ride on the competitive side with Rocktown Racing in Harrisonburg.
"A lot of time goes into it, a lot of money. A big commitment,” Elliot said. “Put down a lot of other things just to come out and ride my bike and get in that training so that I could do good at races.
The Spotswood High student worked two jobs to earn money for bike parts. But the sport has its share of physical tolls as well.
"I went off a rock. Went down super hard on one hand I think I might have broken a couple of bones in there,” Elliot said. “Into a tree, got a branch stuck in my arm pulled it back out and kept on going."
But for every fall, Elliot gets back up. He won his first varsity race of his career last week in Harrionburg and is going for two in a row at the state championships.
"This is just the beginning of my year, I've got plenty of races to go from here."
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