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Fiber One Collegiate All-Stars: Different Riders, One Goal

May 26, 2010

John Barron is a Minneapolis native with a racing and coaching background. Since catching the cycling bug from his brother in 1986, Barron has raced, coached and managed amateur and professional cycling teams, in addition to traveling with the United States Junior National Team across the pond to Belgium. At the Nature Valley Grand Prix, Barron has managed men’s and woman’s professional teams and, most recently, the Fiber One Collegiate All-Stars. This composite team, hand-picked by Barron himself, is privy to free race entry, a travel stipend, host housing, a team manager, mechanic, soigneur and massage therapist. Over the last 3 years, the team has done very well, and 10 All-Star riders have earned professional cycling contracts. In addition to managing the Fiber One team, Barron also raises the visibility and excitement level for the team, producing trading cards of each racer to hand out to children and adults alike at each race venue. After the stage, fans crowd around the Fiber One tent to get the racer’s autographs. Here’s what John has to say about managing the Fiber One Collegiate All-Star team:

May 7, 2010 is when everything began for the Fiber One Collegiate All-Stars.

The USA Cycling Collegiate National Championships started on this day and the podium for the individual omniums in both Division 1 (larger schools, or schools offering scholarships in cycling) and Division 2 was determined the next day. This year, the top several women in both divisions had already been taken by pro teams so they weren’t eligible for my team. While I would have loved to build my team with these elite women, it’s best that the pro teams are discovering the talent that collegiate cycling is delivering to the peloton. I offered spots on the team to the best-finishing available women at Nationals and here they are:

Jennifer Purcell – Midwestern State University

Elle Anderson – Dartmouth College

Rita Klofta – DePauw University

Flora Duffy – University of Colorado – Boulder

Leia Tyrrell – Oregon State University

Kimberley Turner – Seattle Pacific University

One of our biggest challenges as a team is to form a cohesive group in only a few days. Most of the other teams that we will be competing against have spent a lot of time together, so small issues have been ironed-out. With the Fiber One Collegiate All-Stars, the team mechanic will be seeing every team bike for the first time only days before competition begins. These machines will wear a variety of components and will be in a wide range of “fitness for use!”  A team that’s been racing together for months or years would have each bike perfectly dialed-in by the mechanic by the time the Nature Valley Grand Prix rolls around.

Our soigneur will have to accommodate 6 different guts, each with its own tolerance and preference for on-the-bike drink mix and post-race drink mix. This will take him extra time each day that could be otherwise spent on other preparations. Other teams usually have everyone on the same mix. Not only is this easier, but it reduces/eliminates the risk of the wrong rider getting the wrong bottle at feed zones and when hand-ups are done in the caravan.

Our massage therapist will have to learn each team member’s aches and pains as soon as they arrive in the Twin Cities on Monday June 14. He doesn’t have the benefit of knowing each rider’s musculature and needs well ahead of time.

Despite the apparent advantage that other teams have over us in the examples above, my team will have a level of enthusiasm and energy that few teams can match.

In the past 3 years, 18 Collegiate All-Stars have competed in the Nature Valley Grand Prix.  10 of these women have landed spots on professional cycling teams. I have no doubt that members of this year’s team will do the same next year!

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Women Selected to 2010 Fiber One Collegiate All-Stars Roster

May 25, 2010

Composite Team of Top Female Collegiate Cyclists Will Race in Nature Valley Grand Prix

Minneapolis (May 24, 2010) – USA Cycling and the organizers of the Nature Valley Grand Prix announced today the selection of the fourth annual Fiber One Collegiate Women’s All-Stars team. The All-Stars include six female collegiate riders chosen to compete against professional cycling teams in the Nature Valley Grand Prix, June 16-20.

The team was selected at the 2010 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships, held May 7-9, in Madison, Wis. Selection of this year’s team was based on the final overall standings (omnium). Riders on the Fiber One Collegiate All-Stars Team represent different collegiate teams who are not members of a professional or elite amateur team already registered to attend the Nature Valley Grand Prix.

The 2010 Fiber One Collegiate All-Stars include:
Jennifer Purcell – Midwestern State University
Elle Anderson – Dartmouth College
Rita Klofta – DePauw University
Flora Duffy – University of Colorado-Boulder
Leia Tyrrell – Oregon State University
Kimberley Turner – Seattle Pacific University

Seattle Pacific’s Kimberley Turner said it was her goal to place well enough at collegiate nationals to earn a spot on the Fiber One Collegiate All Star Team.

“As a full-time student, it’s definitely hard to balance academics and training,” Turner said, “but it’s amazing to see all the hard work paying off. I am so excited to have the opportunity to race with some of the top women in North America.”

Leia Tyrrell of Oregon State University said an article about the Fiber One Composite Team piqued her interest.

“It is such an amazing opportunity for a student, who may not otherwise have the resources to go to such a big race,” Tyrrell said. “I am ecstatic that I got a spot on the team.”

“We’re always on the lookout for rising stars,” said Team TIBCO/To the Top Director Linda Jackson. “We pay particular attention to the Fiber One Collegiate All Stars team at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Devon Haskell and Amanda Miller came to my team from that program, but virtually every team in the women’s peloton includes alumni from the Fiber One Collegiate All Stars.”

Several alumni of the Collegiate All Star Team are racing for professional cycling teams, including: Erica Allar (Penn State) & Carla Swart (Lees-McRae College), Team Vera Bradley; Devon Haskell (University of Chicago) & Amanda Miller (Colorado State), Team TIBCO/To the Top and Kristin McGrath (Fort Lewis College) & Sinead Miller (Marian College), Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12.

Along with the honor of selection to the team, each all-star cyclist receives free entry into the 2010 Nature Valley Grand Prix plus host housing, a support staff comprised of a team manager, mechanic and soigneur, an operating budget, clothing and a travel stipend.

About the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival
The Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is one of the nation’s top celebrations for the bicycle culture, with tens of thousands of cycling enthusiasts, pro athletes and avid recreational riders converging on Minnesota each June. Its professional racing event, the Nature Valley Grand Prix began as a one-day criterium in Saint Paul in 1999.  Its schedule and prestige have grown steadily until now, in its 12th year, it is ranked at the top of the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar. The 2010 Nature Valley Grand Prix schedule includes a unique mix of three criteriums (short circuit races), two road races and a time trial as the stages of the race move from downtown Saint Paul, to Cannon Falls, to Minneapolis, to Menomonie, Wisconsin and finally culminates in Stillwater. The Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is a volunteer run event, with all proceeds donated to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the festival’s benefiting charity. For more information visit www.naturevalleybicyclefestival.com

About USA Cycling
Recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling is the official governing body for all disciplines of competitive cycling in the United States, including road, track, mountain bike, BMX and cyclocross. As a membership-based organization, USA Cycling comprises 66,500+ licensees; 2,200 clubs and teams; and 34 local associations. The national governing body sanctions 2,650 competitive and non-competitive events throughout the U.S. each year and is responsible for the identification, development, and support of American cyclists. To learn more about USA Cycling, visit www.usacycling.org.

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Fiber One Is New Sponsor Of Collegiate All-Star Team At Nature Valley Grand Prix

May 7, 2010

Minneapolis (May 7, 2010) – Fiber One, a General Mills brand, is the new title sponsor of the Collegiate All-Star Team for the Nature Valley Grand Prix that is being selected at this week’s USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships.

The six collegiate racers who earn spots on the composite team will wear their school jerseys but compete as the “Fiber One Collegiate All-Stars,” wearing team shorts at the Nature Valley Grand Prix in June.

The USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships are taking place today through Sunday in Madison, Wis. Eligibility for the special squad is based on the final individual overall (omnium) standings for female riders who are not members of a team that is already registered to compete in the Nature Valley Grand Prix. 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.

“The Fiber One Collegiate All Stars is one of the coolest programs that we have,” Nature Valley Grand Prix Director David LaPorte said. “Collegiate cycling is growing by leaps and bounds. This is a chance to showcase that part of the sport. It also help us connect the sport with people since the program resonates with the alumni of the schools that the riders represent and even with the alumni of those schools’ arch rivals.”

“I’m really excited to have Fiber One on board as a title sponsor”, said Fiber One Collegiate All-Stars Manager John Barron. “Cycling is a lifetime sport and Fiber One’s healthy lifestyles message is an excellent fit.”

Past Fiber One 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.

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