NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Like it did for his two sons, BMX has given 53-year-old Rob McCauley of North Little Rock a hobby and a passion. Now the sport gives him the chance to represent Arkansas against worldwide competition.
The amateur competitive cyclist is traveling to Scotland on Tuesday to compete for Team USA in the UCI Cycling World Championships, where 10,000 riders from 120 countries are expected to race in 13 cycling disciplines. Running from August 3rd to 13th, is said to be the biggest cycling event of its kind.
“All these guys I race in the old group are former pros back in the late ’80s, early ’90s,” McCauley told FOX16’s Nick Walters before flying across the pond. “They’re all my age. I was not doing BMX and they were BMXing as pros. Then they came out of retirement, and next thing you know, I have to race them and I’m just some kid’s dad.”
One of just six Americans in the 50-and-over age group for cruiser bikes at the event, McCauley is the only adult from Arkansas who qualified for worlds. The Chicago, Illinois native picked up BMX after his two sons raced their entire childhoods. His son, Ian, competed for Team USA and was nationally ranked for four years.
Deciding to put the pedal to the metal changed Rob’s life, shedding 50 pounds in the process.
“At 40 years old, I came off the couch and decided to get healthy,” McCauley said. “And I got addicted to BMX. I never thought I’d get here.”
After years of practice and thousands of hours of riding — having tracked over 9,000 hours — McCauley went to a Florida qualifier event in February to beat out talent from all over the states and become one of 16 Americans to make the cut. It took constant practice around town.
“I really started taking it seriously the past couple years and doing some extra training,” McCauley said. “We have a track at Burns Park and we have a track in Cabot. You can race four days a week, five days a week weather permitting. I just go, and I go, and I go.”
One of six who chose to pay their way to Scotland, he’ll join 75 riders worldwide competing in the cruiser bike races, hoping to advance to deeper rounds. The main event is comprised of just eight riders who will be named all-world.
See our story to hear more from McCauley on competing in the BMX World Championships this week. Find more info on the event here.