What makes for a phenomenal bike race?

If you ask me, a great race is one that takes many facets of racing and blends them into one event. Steep climbs, fast descents, a technical course, and a strong field of competitors would undoubtedly make for an exciting day. Fortunate for the 303 Project, the 2019 edition of Joe Martin Stage Race delivered all of these features and made for a memorable four days of racing.

 

 This year’s race started off in dramatic fashion with a 113 mile loop through the lumpy Arkansas countryside, finishing on a 3-tiered climb to Mount Sequoyah. We were greeted with conditions that I’d consider “less than ideal;” unrelenting rain, wind, and a nervous peloton. Adversities aside, we raced well and delivered 3 riders to the base of the finishing climb, leaving myself to finish in the top 20 and Griffin Easter 5th.

 

These results from day one seemed to be the chorus of our weekend in the Ozarks. We continued to post respectable results in subsequent stages, yet failed to reach the elusive top step of the podium. Another noteworthy result included my 5thplace in the stage 3 time trial through Devil’s Den State Park, besting my personal record on the course by a substantial 21 seconds.

 It’s said in racing that when you don’t win, you learn. 303 Project certainly walked away from Joe Martin Stage Race with notes taken, legs sharpened, and a hunger for victory not yet satiated. On to the next one, where we’re more ready than ever to show the world what we are capable of.

 

By Austin Stephens