Jacobson and McCutcheon Qualify for Nature Valley Grand Prix

Two Southern California 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.

Trina Jacobson of San Diego, California, and Connor McCutcheon of Big Bear Lake, California, claimed their spots on the unique Nature Valley Cycling Team by qualifying at the first 2012 Nature Valley Pro Chase selector race – the Tour de Murrieta in southern California.

“It will be a learning experience to ride with the pros, but I hope to place well in the criteriums,” Jacobson said.  Jacobson took a few years off of cycling after becoming a new mother, but she said she is more motivated than ever to ramp up her road racing skills in preparation for the challenging Nature Valley Grand Prix, which includes three criteriums.

McCutcheon, a high school cross country runner, tried cycling as a cross-training tool, and quickly left the running shoes behind.

“This a great opportunity for an unknown like myself, and I’m super stoked,” said McCutcheon, the veteran skier.

“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).”

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 one 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.

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