This past weekend both Matt Willing and Paul Webb demonstrated that they are in great form as they approach the fall cycling season for Mars Hill College. Matt competed in the Hot Doggett 100, an annual event promoted by the Madison County Rotary Club that starts at Mars Hill College and climbs nearly 10,000 feet before finishing back at the college. Matt was with the lead group approaching Doggett Pass, the ride’s namesake and the first significant challenge on the course but still about 65 miles from the finish. Matt crested the 7 mile climb alone and then waited for seasoned pro Andy Applegate on the descent so that they could work together for the remainder of the ride. But with about 35 miles left, Andy dropped of the strong pace set by Matt on the front, leaving Matt to solo in and claim first place by over 6 minutes in a time of 5:13, over 7 minutes faster than last year’s winner. Matt’s next event will be this weekend’s French Broad Cycling Classic, which kicks off tomorrow with a 20k TT, followed on Saturday by a challenging 40-mile RR that finishes atop a challenging climb, and concluding Sunday with a challenging and technical criterium.
Up in Nebraska, Paul has continued a strong string of results since he claimed the Nebraska State Criterium Championship back in early June. Since then Paul has finished 5th in a challenging mountain bike race against a field of category 1 riders and has scored a series of podium finishes at road events over the last three weekends, often sacrificing personal victory for the greater good of the team. Rest assured he will have plenty of opportunities at MHC next year on the road when the team will be working to set him up for sprint finishes. You can keep up with Paul’s recent and upcoming successes at www.nebraskacyclingnews.com.