Big Bear High School senior Connor McCutcheon had a long road to ride before reaching Kentucky last week for the invitational 2009 Tour of the Red River Gorge cycling race. Prior to being invited to participate in the Red River Gorge competition, 18-year-old McCutcheon first had to earn his place at the Lance Armstrong Junior Development Camp for young cyclists. McCutcheon, the youngest of Dennis and Lisa McCutcheon’s four children, cycled his way to a fifth-place finish in a Lance Armstrong Junior Road Series Race on the Los Angeles circuit, thus earning a place at the camp; while there, with other teens aspiring to be professional cyclists, he excelled in field tests and time trials. Given his third-place ranking at camp, McCutcheon earned the top spot on the juniors team that raced in the Red River Gorge last week. The Tour of the Red River Gorge took place from July 14 through 17 and the race is the largest international cycling competition for juniors in the U.S.; in fact, the race itself is made up of four stages and a prologue and is only open to 130 riders from 30 teams around the world. McCutcheon’s road to the race also included a fair share of fundraising to not only ship his bike to Kentucky, but to pay the $1,200 entrance fee to compete with his camp teammates who raced as Arizona Select. All told, McCutcheon’s efforts paid off as the team of 17 and 18-year-old cyclists took eighth overall in the competition and, as a solo rider, McCutcheon placed best in his team and in the top 20 in a field of 83 young men vying for professional riding careers.