Mary Maroon of Sacramento, Calif., and Lucas Binder of San Diego qualified at the Mt. Hamilton Classic Road Race and Memorial Day Criterium to become the 11th and 12th racers to round out the special squads.
Maroon is a former bike messenger who won gold medals at the Cycle Messenger World Championships in 2007. A member of the Touchstone Climbing team, she has also been successful on the track, having captured the California state keirin championship in 2007.
Maroon will be joined on the Nature Valley Pro Ride women’s team by Anna Barensfeld (Brookline, Mass.), Sue Butler (Portland, Ore.), Nancy Jones (Monroe, Ga.), Emily Kachorek (Sacramento, Calif.), and Kristen Meshberg (Lyons, Ill.).
Binder finished sixth in the road race and 10th in the criterium to earn his spot. He recently won the Southern California Nevada Cycling Association (SCNCA) State Championship road race, riding for the Echelon Gran Fondo/Zteam.
Joining Binder on the Nature Valley Pro Ride men’s team is Zach Garrett (Sumter, S.C.), Brandon Gritters (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Jacob Mueller (Skippack, Penn.) Joseph Schmalz (Lawrence, Kan.), and Gabe Varaela (Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho).
Michael Engleman, who will direct the women’s Nature Valley Pro Ride team, said the unique program is something that the sport of cycling needs.
“It’s a great opportunity for amateur athletes to have the full pro experience, but it’s also a talent identification program,” he said. “Riders who do well will be performing in front of all of the top pro team managers and can end up with pro contracts. Alison Starnes (Team TIBCO) and Olivia Dillon (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12) are alumni of this program.”
Nature Valley Pro Riders 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.
Rider invitations were issued at six stops on the national tour: Hillsboro-Roubaix Road Race (April 10) in Illinois, Rock Hill Spring Bicycle Classic (April 10-11) in South Carolina, Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic (April 23-25) in Oregon, Barrio Logan Grand Prix/Mark Reynolds San Luis Rey Road Cycling Classic (May 1-2) in California, Bear Mountain Spring Classic (May 15) in New York and Mt. Hamilton Road Race/Criterium (May 30-31) in California.