Last year, Nature Valley Pro Ride was one of the few televised American bike races. I remember watching it and thinking, "How the hell did this race get on TV?" The camera work and announcing were charmingly amateurish. I don't recall helicopter shots, for example. After watching a stage or two, I got into it. The finishing climb, which took place in some Minnesota town, was especially dramatic--Rory Sutherland attacked on the last stage on the finishing climb to take the GC from Kelly Benefits' Scott Zwizanski.
This year, our very own Jefferson Cup was a qualifier for a competition which allows amateurs to race in the Nature Valley Stage Race. The website for the event describes it as "cycling's version of American Idol."
I'm not sure how it happened, but our own Tim Rugg won the competition, despite not winning Jefferson Cup. He won "Cycling's American Idol," and will be racing with others from across the country on a squad of amateurs.
You can visit the website and see a pedostached Tim Rugg and read his bio on his very own page, which runs like this:
In 2008, Tim moved to Washington, DC and got an old downtube shifting steel bike to commute to work. It was raining on his first day and he ended up crashing, destroying his bike, getting a concussion, and had to have my lip stitched up.
He didn't let that stop him though and a week later he bought a carbon fiber bike and ran into some bike racers at a coffee shop who invited him to a training ride.
He did his first bike race a month after that in swim trunks, gym socks, and a v-neck t-shirt and has been racing since.
I love the bio, because it's about the Tim we know--the goofy guy who doesn't care about anything except being really, really fast. He may not be suave, he may not be timid, but he sure as hell will tear some limbs off to get across the line first.
I'm hoping Nature Valley makes some kind of documentary about Tim and his fellow amateurs, because having spent a fair amount of time in the presence of Rugg, some seriously good stuff will occurr, I guarantee.
Good luck, Ruggman. You done made us proud.