Matt Willing popped an impressive podium result yesterday in Pro/1/2 event in Boone, NC, part of North Carolina Cyclocross Series. After a shaky start that found him about 20 riders back, Matt powered through the mud, fog, and a strong field to take a solid 2nd place behind Eric Thompson, a 3rd place finisher at last year’s Div I Collegiate National Cyclocross Championships. This all bodes well for Matt and Mars Hill as we enter the final six weeks before this year’s Div II nationals in Bend, OR, on December 12th.
While this is Matt’s first podium in a pro event this year, he’s no stranger to the podium, having won six of nine events last year in the B category in Michigan’s cyclocross series. The first event of that series was Matt’s first bike race ever. This year Matt has made the jump up to the top ranks and will race for the Asheville Bicycle Racing Club in all non-collegiate events. Matt has demonstrated that he belongs with the pros by riding to a couple of top ten finishes in Michigan’s UCI Pro event earlier this year, as well as competing strongly against the very best in the nation at last week’s USGP UCI event in Kentucky.
Matt will take a break from racing next week for some secret training leading into November 14th’s first collegiate event of the year, hosted by King College in Tennessee, followed by the Southeastern Conference Cyclocross Championships hosted by Brevard College and then Hendersonville’s UCI pro events on the 21st and 22nd.