Riding for a Cause
May 31, 2020

Morgan Pressel shines, Rory McIlroy holds his own in Peloton Pro-Athlete All-Star race

Morgan Pressel (center) finsihed second to track and field's Colleen Quigley (left) in the women's divison of the Peloton All-Star race.

The legend of Rory McIlroy and his Peloton prowess has grown rapidly in the last few months, his output during training rides (specifically registering 955 kilojoules in one 45-minute session) causing a stir among Peloton junkies. But it was a different golfer who impressed on the bike on Saturday when Peloton and ESPN held its first Pro-Athlete All-Star race.

Morgan Pressel, the 15-year LPGA veteran, competed in the women’s ride and finished second among the eight participants. Pressel’s total output of 226 kilojoules trailed only Olympic middle-distance runner Colleen Quigley (348) and outpaced athletes from the soccer, tennis, basketball and gymnastics worlds.

The competition involved a 20-minute ride led by celebrity Peloton trainer Robin Arzon to help the Food Bank of New York City.

In the men’s division, McIlroy was one of three PGA Tour pros in the eight-person race, joined by Bubba Watson and Justin Thomas. But the World’s No. 1 ranked golfer could do no better than fourth in the competition, accumulating 351 kj. Swimmer Matt Grevers, a four-time Olympic medalist, finished first (417), followed by Boston Celtic All-Star Gordon Hayward (397) and former NFL defensive tackle turned broadcaster Booger McFarland (384).

Watson meanwhile finished sixth (275) and Thomas finished in last place (239).

That McIlroy couldn’t grow his legend on the bike might be seen as disappointing, but he was also a bit of a marked man for Saturday’s competition.

“Since I can’t beat Rory McIlroy on the golf course, my one goal for today is to prove that golfers aren’t athletes,” McFarland said ahead of the race, ultimately accomplishing the task.

Naturally, the trash talk wasn’t limited to before the race. Said Grevers during the competition: “I was trying to listen to [instructor] Alex [Toussaint] and the cues but I think Bubba’s breathing too hard for me to hear anything so I just kind of went.”

By the end of the men’s and women’s competitions, the NYC Food Bank had seen more than 1,000,000 meals donated as the 16 bikers accumulated 4,312 kj combined, far exceeding the 3,000 point goal.

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