The first two of six races of the Nature Valley Pro Ride occurred this past 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 raceâ€™s signature feature is its brick roads. Like the pavÃ© of Paris-Roubaix, Hillsboro-Roubaix is often decided on the old-style streets that take their toll on riders and their equipment.
â€œDespite the challenges of this course â€“ or perhaps because of them â€“ Hillsboro-Roubaix is enormously popular,â€ Nature Valley Grand Prix Executive Director David LaPorte said. â€œThat was a major factor in its selection for a second straight year.â€
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 Patriotâ€™s Trail Road Race Saturday and the Winthrop Lake Criterium on Sunday.
â€œWith 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,â€ LaPorte said. â€œThe 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.â€
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 amateursâ€™ last chance to qualify for the 2010 Nature Valley Pro Ride.
Mt Hamilton Classic Registration
Memorial Day Criterium Registration
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 Childrenâ€™s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the festivalâ€™s benefiting charity.
View: Nature Valley Pro Ride
Memorial Weekend Coordinator
San Jose Bicycle Club