Nature Valley Pro Chase Selects First Round of Amateur Riders

  
  


Two more 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.
 
Lindsay Bayer, 27, of Reston, Virginia, and Pete Custer, 28, of Washington, DC, claimed their spots on the unique Nature Valley Cycling Team by qualifying at the second 2012 Nature Valley Pro Chase selector race – the Jefferson Cup in Charlottesville, Virginia.
 
Bayer, a proposal manager at a defense contractor, entered her first race less than five years ago.  She crashed in that race and had to be taken away by ambulance.  She came in second at the Jefferson Cup to retired pro Kelly Benjamin in Charlottesville.

“Second never felt so good," Bayer wrote on her blog, www.thedirtfield.com, as she was the first amateur eligible for a Nature Valley Pro Chase invitation. 
 
Custer, an Information Technology professional, comes from a racing background.  His mother, Tracey Foley, and uncle, Skip Foley, are both Cat 1 level racers.

"I'd like to think that all of my progress through the cycling ranks was earned on my own, but I can't ignore all the support and encouragement I've received," Custer said.

“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).”
 
Bayer and Custer join Trina Jacobson of San Diego, California, and Connor McCutcheon of Big Bear Lake, California, who were selected as a result of their respective finishes at the Tour of Murietta in southern California.  These four riders will join the next rounds of athletes selected to form a composite sponsored team to race against other pro teams in June.  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 each of six Nature Valley Pro Chase races qualify for the Nature Valley Cycling Team. The 2012 qualifier races are:
 
March 9-11    Tour de Murrieta (San Diego, CA)
April 1            Jefferson Cup (Charlottesville, VA)
April 28          RBC Tour de Moore (Raleigh, NC)
May 18-20     Superior Morgul Classic (Boulder, CO)
May 27-28     San Jose Omnium (San Jose, CA)
May 26-28     Memorial Weekend Omnium (Quad Cities, IA/IL)
 
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 16thseason 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.


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