Nature Valley Pro Chase Selects First Two Amateur Riders
(Minneapolis) – Two southern California elite amateur bicycle racers have qualified for spots on the Nature Valley Cycling Team and earn the opportunity to compete against professionals at the Nature Valley Grand Prix June 13-17 in Minnesota.
Trina Jacobson of San Diego, California, and Connor McCutcheon of Big Bear Lake, California, claimed their spots on the unique Nature Valley Cycling Team by qualifying at the first 2012 Nature Valley Pro Chase selector race – the Tour de
Murrieta in southern California.
“It will be a learning experience to ride with the pros, but I hope to place well in the criteriums,” Jacobson said. Jacobson took a few years off of cycling after becoming a new mother, but she said she is more motivated than ever to ramp up her road racing skills in preparation for the challenging Nature Valley Grand Prix, which includes three criteriums.
McCutcheon, a high school cross country runner, tried cycling as a cross-training tool, and quickly left the running shoes behind.
“This a great opportunity for an unknown like myself, and I’m super stoked,” said McCutcheon, the veteran skier.
“The Nature Valley Pro Chase has been a ticket to the professional ranks for a number of amateur riders”, said Nature Valley Cycling Team head coach Michael Engleman, a former pro himself. “Current pro’s who came through this program include Jade Wilcoxson, Anna Barensfeld (both Optum Pro Cycling) and Alison Tetrick Starnes (Exergy Twenty12).”
All Nature Valley Cycling Team members receive generous travel stipends, housing, team clothing, ground transportation, a pre-race training camp, and staff support for their composite teams. They also receive recognition before, during, and after the events, including call-ups and promotional appearances.
The highest-placed man and woman in one of six Nature Valley Pro Chase races qualify for the Nature Valley Cycling Team. The 2012 qualifier races are:
Tour de Murrieta (San Diego, CA) March 9-11
Jefferson Cup (Charlottesville, VA) April 1
RBC Tour de Moore (Raleigh, NC) April 28
Superior Morgul Classic (Boulder, CO) May 18-20
San Jose Omnium (San Jose, CA) May 27-28
Memorial Weekend Omnium (Quad Cities, IA/IL) May 26-28
All riders selected during the Nature Valley Pro Chase will be documenting their preparation and experiences at the Nature Valley Grand Prix via the blog and video galleries at www.naturevalleyprochase.com. Fans can follow these racers all spring as they prepare for the greatest challenge of their cycling careers.
About the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival
Now in its 14th year, the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is a 11-day celebration of bicycling that includes amateur and professional racing and community events. The Festival will open on June 7-9 with the Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic at the National Sports Center Velodrome. The marquee event, the Nature Valley Grand Prix, will be held June 13-17. The stage race has become the top event on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar, attracting top American and international racing teams and nearly 300 riders from around the world. The Festival is a volunteer-run event with all profits donated to Children’s Lighthouse of Minnesota. For more information, visit www.naturevalleybicyclefestival.com.
About the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar
Entering its 16th season in 2012, the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC) is a road cycling series sanctioned by USA Cycling. It is designed to provide a ranking system for all elite-level cyclists, both amateur and professional, through participation in the nation’s premier cycling events.
About Nature Valley
Nature Valley, the brand that created the granola bar category in 1975, brings variety to healthy, active consumers looking for wholesome and great-tasting snacks. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Nature Valley is part of General Mills, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products. For more information, visit www.NatureValley.com.