The rosters of the Nature Valley Pro Ride men’s and women’s teams are more than halfway filled, with another two riders to be selected this weekend.
Sunday’s Bear Mountain Spring Classic in Harriman State Park in New York will be contested on a challenging 21-mile loop that includes a climb of more than two miles, with some parts reaching a 12 percent grade. This climb is likely to be the decisive factor in the race. The Pro-I-II men race 80 miles while the women’s qualifying race is 50 miles. The event is promoted by the Century Road Club Association, one of the oldest bicycle racing clubs in the nation.
“The Bear Mountain Spring Classic is one of the most challenging one-day races in the Nature Valley Pro Ride Series,” Nature Valley Grand Prix Executive Director David LaPorte said. ”The qualifiers from this race will be well-prepared for the new Menomonie Road Race, which will put even the best climbers to the test.”
Four qualifiers from the past two Nature Valley Pro Ride events have been added to the roster of each composite team for the 2010 Nature Valley Grand Prix. The 12th annual edition of the premier stage race on the 2010 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar will be held in East Central Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, June 16-20.
Qualifying from the Barrio Logan Grand Prix/San Luis Rey Road Race omnium May 1-2 are Brandon Gritters (Williams Cycling presented by SC VELO) of Mission Viejo, Calif., and Emily Kachorek (Wells Fargo Racing Team) of Sacramento, Calif. Kachorek is the wife of former pro Pete Knudsen, a Minnesota native who placed third at the Stillwater Criterium in the 2003 edition of the Nature Valley Grand Prix.
Qualifying from the Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic April 23-25 in Oregon were Sue Butler (River City Bicycles) of Portland, Ore., and Gabe Varela (San Diego Bicycle Club) of Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. Butler has previously represented the United States at the cyclocross world championships in 2008 and 2009.
Previous women’s qualifiers for the Nature Valley Pro Ride are Kristen Meshberg of Lyons, Ill., and Monroe, Ga., resident Nancy Jones. Previous men’s qualifiers are Zach Garrett of Sumter, S.C. and Lawrence, Kan., resident Joseph Schmalz of the Mercy Cycling Team.
The final Nature Valley Pro Ride event is the Mt. Hamilton Classic Road Race/Memorial Day Criterium, May 30-31, in California.
Nature Valley Pro Riders who are invited to compete in the Nature Valley Grand Prix earn free entry to the race, generous travel stipends, team clothing, housing, ground transportation, and staff support for their composite teams. They also receive pro-level recognition before, during and after the events, including pre-race call-ups and participation in promotional and media appearances.