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March Madness

The madness of March is in full swing this year. Bike building, last big blocks of training and dusting the cobwebs off for the first races of the year, so far March has been treating me well. I received my sweet Kona Hei Hei frame and built it up with the best, Nox wheels and TruckerCo Components. Once I got the new whip sorted out, it was time to head down south to Georgia for the first race of the year. The famous Snake Creek Gap Time Trial is well known in the south. It’s a tough 34-mile point A to point B TT on some of the roughest single track around. What’s cool about this race is you pay one entry fee and you get to race three times; once in January, once in February and the final race takes place in March. You can do all three races or just one and the fastest time out of all three races wins. Racing all three can give you an advantage of knowing the course and improving upon your time each run. Whereas racing only one of the dates can be very risky due to weather, bike malfunctions, or just a bad day in the saddle.

I put a lot of thought into racing the Snake Creek Gap TT because I could only attend the March TT. Again racing only one of the TTs is pretty risky, I could flat, it could rain or I could take a spill and go home empty handed. I decided to take a shot at it and headed on down. I had heard that February conditions were pretty prime, resulting in some fast times. I tried to put this all in the back of my mind as I filled out registration. I paid for the race and all I could do now was to try my best with what was given to me.

My efforts and positivity served me very well! I set a time well enough for second overall behind Tomas Turner (Jamis Factory Racing). I was stoked! Conditions were a bit slower than February and I made the mistake of showing up to the start line late, as it was a first come first serve to start. So I had close to one hundred racers to pass before I could get some fresh air. This put my second place finish well above my expectations! I am really looking forward to this race next year, I learned a lot this round and I want to apply this new knowledge to see if I can get closer to that top spot!

Next on the agenda was to head home for my spring break and get some quality time in on the bike. I had been looking forward to this week for a while. I had been training on my Super Jake CX all winter and with the arrival of my Hei Hei, I was beyond ready for some warm single-track! Well, I say this often, but you can’t always get what you want! Early in the week I looked at the predicted radar and it showed rain all week, I was still hopeful that the rain would pass me by. However, it rained nearly all week, not only did this eliminate my single-track time, but it really tested my will power. I really focused on what I wanted out of this season and pushed through the terrible weather and was able to squeak in a solid 25-hour week. Not quite as much as I wanted, but it topped all of the 18-20 hour weeks I had done beforehand, so the week wasn’t completely trashed.

Moving on I had my last race for the month the third weekend of March. The Chickasaw Trace Classic is one of the longest running races in the southeast and it’s also the first race I ever won when starting out. This year I rode down with my good friend Elliot Baring. Elliot and I always have a good time on road trips and this one was no different. Being poor college kids we camped out at the venue. It was probably one of the better camping spots we’ve had, as it was under a pavilion with lights, perfect spot to setup our hammocks and to call home for the night! The next day turned out to be a great day of racing! It was pretty uneventful with myself riding off the front early and taking the win and Elliot cruising in not too far behind in second. This was a good test for me to see how I was going to respond to the big training loads during the winter and also build some speed for the summer races.

After Chickasaw I spent the last weekend of March in Brevard, NC to recon a few of the stages for the Pisgah Stage Race and to get my Hei Hei setup for the rough Pisgah conditions. I have found over the years I have a bike setup for Pisgah and a setup for everywhere else. The changes are mainly in suspension and pressures, but I’ll go over all that later. As I transition into April my focus is The Pisgah Stage Race. I must send many thanks to Provision Sports Medicine, one of my many sponsors, for their support with the stage race. Provision is one of the top medical groups for athletes in the region and without their help it would have been a challenge to participate in the stage race this year. I’ll try my best to do daily updates at the Pisgah Stage Race, so keep a lookout for those when the time gets closer. Until then get on the bike and enjoy this warmer weather!

- Cory

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