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Minneapolis (March 29, 2010) – The first two of six races of the Nature Valley Pro Ride begin next weekend with the Hillsboro-Roubaix (Illinois) Road Race April 10 near Saint Louis, and the Rock Hill Spring Races April 10-11 in South Carolina, near Charlotte, N.C.
Like its namesake, the fabled Paris-Roubaix classic in France, Hillsboro-Roubaix favors hardy, experienced riders due to its short, sharp climbs, twisting descents and long, open sections where the wind can be a major factor. But the race’s signature feature is its brick roads. Like the pavé of Paris-Roubaix, Hillsboro-Roubaix is often decided on the old-style streets that take their toll on riders and their equipment.
“Despite the challenges of this course – or perhaps because of them – Hillsboro-Roubaix is enormously popular,” Nature Valley Grand Prix Executive Director David LaPorte said. “That was a major factor in its selection for a second straight year.”
While the Rock Hill Spring Races are a new addition to the Nature Valley Pro Ride, they have been a fixture on the Southeastern racing scene for years. Like Hillsboro-Roubaix, the 30-year event is enormously popular. The Nature Valley Pro Ride will play out as a two-day omnium, with racers contesting the Patriot’s Trail Road Race Saturday and the Winthrop Lake Criterium on Sunday.
“With omnium scoring, the Rock Hill Spring Races will select the best all-around rider, which is a perfect fit for the event they will qualify for,” LaPorte said. “The Nature Valley Grand Prix is unique on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar because it is designed to specifically appeal to spectators by including three criteriums and uses finishing circuits at the ends of the two road races.”
Chris Winn, who qualified for the Nature Valley Pro Ride Team last year, said he drove 13 hours from Colorado just to compete in Hillsboro-Roubaix.
“It was a long way to go for a for a weekend suffer-fest,” Winn said. “But it was well worth it for an amateur like me to get the complete pro package treatment and race for a composite team in the Nature Valley Grand Prix in June.”
Riders who fail to qualify at the Hillsboro-Roubaix and the Rock Hill Spring Races will have four more opportunities. The other stops on the Nature Valley Pro Ride are:
Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic (April 23-25), Oregon: A multi-stage race (four races in three days) set in the Portland area, the Nature Valley Pro Ride invitation will be based on the final overall standings.
Bear Mountain Spring Classic (May 16), New York: Set in Harriman State Park, the second largest state park in New York, this 98-mile road race for men and 56-mile race for women is promoted by the Century Road Club Association, one of the oldest bicycle racing clubs in the nation.
Barrio Logan Grand Prix/Mark Reynolds San Luis Rey Cycling Classic (May 1-2), California: The two days of racing in the San Diego area include a 75-minute criterium for the men and a 50-minute criterium for the women, followed by an 88-mile road race for men and a 59-mile road race for women.
Mt. Hamilton Classic Road Race/Memorial Day Criterium (May 30-31), California: One of the longest running bike races in San Jose, Calif., the road race (63.5 miles for men, 63.5 miles for women) climbs 4,500 feet in 20 miles over Mt. Hamilton, the highest peak in the Bay area, on a course that is part of the 2010 Tour of California. The criterium is run over a one-mile course in the Morgan Hill Business Park. This will be the amateurs’ last chance to qualify for the 2010 Nature Valley Pro Ride.
About the Nature Valley Grand Prix
The Nature Valley Grand Prix, which takes place in Eastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, is the premier stage race on the 2010 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar. The 2010 race will include stops in Saint Paul, Cannon Falls, Minneapolis, Menomonie, and Stillwater. The Nature Valley Grand Prix is a part of the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival, a volunteer-run event, with all proceeds donated to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the festival’s benefiting charity. More information can be found at: www.NatureValleyBicycleFestival.com
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.
We here at the TRIA Orthopaedic/Nature Valley Grand Prix blog like a lot of things. Two of them are constants: good weather and a nice bike ride. Every day, we’re getting more and more sunlight, leaving us with more time after work each day to hop on our bike and ride until the street lights come on. It’s this time of year that brings out the kid in us, as we traverse on roads we know and try out the roads less taken. Bob McEnaney, a certified USCF and USAT coach, and owner of Total Cycling Performance, has these tips to prepare your steed for the roads ahead:
Funny things seem to happen to our bikes from the time we put them away in the fall until we bring them back out in the spring. What we remember as a finely tuned and fully operational bike is all of a sudden filled with funny noises, poor shifting and in serious need of maintenance.
Of course what we should have done is taken it in to our trusty bike shop mechanic before we put the bike into storage, but we didn’t and as a result must deal with it now, when everybody else is in the same predicament.
The ideal scenario is to get your bike into the bike shop ASAP and get that much-needed overhaul. Unfortunately, the turnaround time may be lengthy. If you can’t leave your bike in the shop for potentially up to a couple weeks, try these:
1. Set an appointment to take your bike in. While this is not commonplace, it’s worth asking for. In this way you’ll only be without your bike for the time they’re working on your bike.
2. Do some of the minor maintenance yourself. You could purchase a book or DVD and become your own wrench. Assuming you don’t like this option, you can easily do things like:
A: Examine your tires for cuts, excessive tread wear or flat spots. If it looks at all questionable, replace your tire. Flat tires seem to be much more common in the spring. I’m convinced this is because tires were ridden on all last season, should have been replaced but weren’t and now can’t handle the increased level of sand and other typical springtime debris on the roads. Don’t wait for a flat. Change your tires NOW!
B: Clean and lube your chain and your front and rear derailleur. Chain cleaning tools are inexpensive and this is a snap to do. Lubricating the moving parts of your drivetrain will keep you riding until you get your bike in to the shop.
C: Lube all other moving parts on your bike. Your local bike shop can help you with the proper lube.
Assuming you don’t have any major issues with your bike (especially safety-related) these few simple tasks should be enough to get you out on the road. BUT, your bike should still be overhauled, or at least tuned up, prior to embarking on any major rides or events. Good luck, and GET OUT AND RIDE!
Minneapolis – Women competing at this year’s USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships have an added incentive: the chance to earn the opportunity to race against professionals at the premier stage race in the country.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Nature Valley Grand Prix will include a composite team of six collegiate racers who will wear their school jerseys but compete as the “Ryan Collegiate All-Stars.”
Eligibility for the special squad is based on the final individual omnium standings of female riders who are not members of a professional or elite amateur team that is already registered to compete in the Nature Valley Grand Prix.
Ryan Collegiate All-Stars Manager John Barron said the selection process often means a rider doesn’t necessarily have to finish on the podium at nationals to become a member of the Ryan Collegiate All-Stars team.
“Sometimes we have had to go several places down because racers near the top of the standings are already part of pro teams,” he said. “So it’s the perfect textbook example of how previously undiscovered racers have a chance to show what they can do. And it’s been our experience that they absolutely succeed in doing that.”
Past Ryan Collegiate All-Stars team members are a Who’s Who of young up-and-coming talent in the professional ranks, including: Kristin McGrath (Fort Lewis College) and Sinead Miller (Marian University), now both racing for the Peanut Butter and Co – Twenty12 team, Amanda Miller (Colorado State), now competing for Team TIBCO, and Erica Allar (Penn State) and Carla Swart (Lees McRae College), both now racing for Team Vera Bradley Foundation.
The 2010 edition of the Nature Valley Grand Prix will be run in East Central Minnesota and Western Wisconsin from June 16-20. Selections to the Ryan Collegiate All-Stars will be made after the collegiate national championships in Madison, Wis., May 7-9.
Each team member receives complimentary entry into the Nature Valley Grand Prix, free host housing, a support staff comprised of a team manager, mechanic, soigneur and massage therapist, team clothing and a travel stipend.
Ryan Companies, a national commercial real estate firm with national headquarters in Minneapolis, sponsors the team.
More information about the Ryan Collegiate All-Stars team can be found at www.ryancollegiateallstars.com.
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It’s time to mark your calendars for June 11 through June 20, as the Nature Valley Grand Prix will be rolling through the state of Minnesota with fast and furious bicycle racing. Professional and amateur men and women alike will be racing for the coveted leader’s jersey, which would secure them a spot amongst past winners like Kristen Armstrong, Rory Sutherland, Ben Jacques-Maynes and Robbie Ventura.
This year’s NVGP will have two brand new race routes: the St. Paul Downtown Criterium on June 16th and the Menomenie Road Race on June 19th. New in 2010, the Nature Valley Grand Prix leaves the land of 10,000 lakes to race in scenic Menomonie, Wisconsin.
Bookmark the NVGP website, as well as this blog, for more updates on race courses, participating teams, as well as a calendar of events before, during, and after every race this year!