USA Cycling and American Cycling Association

ACA Statement Regarding our Relationship with USAC, August 10, 2011

From the ACA
History of ACA
Prior to being an independent sanctioning body, the ACA was the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado (BRAC). Formed in 1976, BRAC was the USCF (predecessor of USACycling) District that ran road racing in Colorado. Beth Wrenn-Estes was the President of BRAC. In 1994, when the USCF decided to change their district structure, Colorado clubs became upset and disenchanted with the perception that the USCF cared only about elite racers and gave no attention to local riders. Beth proposed breaking from USCF and the clubs agreed.

The ACA in its current form was born. Beth was hired as Executive Director and Yvonne van Gent, formerly the USCF District Representative, was hired as the Membership Coordinator. Beth served as Executive Director until 2007. The ACA’s commitment to quality local racing and junior development was established in this time. During her tenure, because of significant mutual animosity, there was no chance of reconciliation with USACycling (USAC).

In 2008, Jon Tarkington assumed the position of Executive Director of the ACA. Under the leadership of Jon and the Board of Directors, the ACA consolidated and made transparent its finances, grew its membership, created evaluation processes for race promoters and officials, created a dynamic website that is both the organization’s database and storefront, embraced and helped direct the substantial growth in cross racing, and purchased a cutting edge electronic timing system. Jon and representatives of the ACA’s Board of Directors met with USAC leaders four times in attempts to negotiate a return to USAC, but could not find an agreement that worked for both parties.

In 2010, Jon decided to step down as Executive Director. Chris McGee was hired for the job, and began as ED in late January, 2011.

The Situation in 2011 Beginning this spring, our relationship with USACycling has been strained by USAC's decision to enforce UCI rule 1.2.019.

UCI Rulebook regarding 'Forbidden Races"

1.2.019 No licence holder may participate in an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognised by a national federation, a continental confederation or the UCI. A national federation may grant special exceptions for races or particular events run in its own country.

Attempts by promoters to gain exceptions for specific races, so that they may host UCI
professional racers, have not been approved. The ACA has formally asked for exceptions for specific races that do not conflict with USAC’s National Racing Calendar, and these too have been declined. We have spoken with representatives from USAC, the US Olympic Committee, legal advisors, journalists, and other people who are close to the situation. The ACA continues to explore options to remedy this situation.

Other issues have arisen this year, the most notable of which are new call-up procedures for Masters at Cross Nationals and the difficulty with dual-permitted events.

The ACA’s Position in 2011

The ACA is a fully-functioning, financially solvent 501c3 non-profit organization. We have an accountant who oversees our finances and helps produce accurate, up-to-date financial documents, which are posted on our professionally-maintained website. Our member-run Board of Directors meets monthly to provide oversight on the organization’s finances, planning and operation. We have five part-time staff who are dedicated to creating the best racing experiences for our 3,000 annual members. We believe that we provide the highest quality racing and cycling development product for our members at a reasonable cost, and we believe that we are an asset to both the Colorado and American cycling communities.

Rejoin USAC?

We are occasionally asked, 'Why don't you just rejoin USAC?'
There are many reasons why this is not a simple discussion, but the primary reason is money.
Local racing in the United States is governed by USAC’s Local Association (LA) Agreement. There are 33 LAs the country, totaling approximately 35,000 road/cross/track racers. Each LA receives income from USAC in the form of $10 per Senior license sold in their LA area (no money for juniors, officials, mechanics, or mountain bike licenses). In addition, Las can raise money by charging separate membership fees, $1 or $2 for each race entry in races sanctioned in the LA area (these called race surcharges), and $1 per entry from USAC's online registration service.

Most LAs are run by volunteer boards with no paid staff.
A couple of facts to think about:

  1. Current annual membership prices are $45 for ACA and $60 for USAC.
  2. At this time, approximately 23% of ACA members also hold a USAC license.
  3. ACA members currently enjoy a lower license fee, incredible insurance with a low $1,000 deductible and great customer support, timely results on our website, timely calculations for racing points series (BARBAT, Cross Cup), a comprehensive race kit for our promoters that includes 2 high-speed cameras, laptops, and software, access to world-class timing and results companies at affordable pricing, world-class officials, on-site medical support at all races, neutral support at 17 races by ROL Wheels (paid by ACA), and a full 9 month calendar of affordable, great racing.
  4. The ACA's Junior Development Program is one of the best in the country. We offer Juniors Ride Free, Junior Road Camp, Junior Cross Camp, the Colorado Mini Classic, the 1st Bike Program, and in 2012 will introduce the Junior Race Grant Program. We have a paid Junior Development Coordinator who is a former professional racer. We spend more than $40,000 each year in this investment in cycling’s future.

When we talk about becoming an LA, we have to ask ourselves many questions:

  • If the ACA were to simply agree to the LA model, our income from memberships would fall approximately $100,000 annually.
  • As we function today, $45 from every ACA license goes toward local cycling. If we were a LA, only $10 from the USAC license goes to local Colorado racing.
  • What does the core of our membership (racers aged 35-54 in categories 3 & 4) gain from a realignment with USAC?
  • Would our members pay an additional fee to support the ACA's programs and services? In the past, BRAC used this model to generate income. Approximately 1/3 of Colorado racers voluntarily paid a separate fee to the local association.
  • If we do not have a separate ACA membership fee, how would we provide members with the same level of support with a reduction in staff?
  • How would the ACA continue its extraordinary support of junior development with significantly less budget?

One solution is to charge a separate ACA membership fee after racers pay for their USAC license. The questions: How many riders are willing to pay an additional fee for their racing licenses? What is the value of the ACA’s services to Colorado racing? What could the ACA reasonably charge as a LA membership fee?
To address these questions and get sense of our clubs’ needs, the ACA will conduct a survey of our 95 clubs. As a member-driven non-profit, it is imperative that we receive the input necessary to act in the interests of our membership. This survey will be sent the week of August 15th, 2011.

Colorado has always been a fantastic place to ride, race and train, for beginners and professional racers alike. We are committed to providing high quality events for all bicycle racers regardless of their level. The ACA always has, and always will, welcome all racers to our events. It is important to note that the ACA is not creating any barriers for racer participation, and we will not bend or break our own policy in the interests of one segment of our membership.

The ACA is a grassroots, amateur-based organization. "The mission of the ACA is to expand and develop the sport of amateur bicycle racing in the Rocky Mountain region while ensuring quality experiences for all involved." We continue to pursue remedies to the situation with professional racers and elite level racers, but at the same time must remain focused on our mission. Please know that we work every day to fulfill this mission. Board and staff information is available under 'Contacts' on the ACA website.

If you have questions, suggestions, or comments, please contact us.
Bill Barr, President, ACA Board of Directors 303-355-9914
Chris McGee, Executive Director, ACA 303-458-5538

News Item: 


oh and another thing - if

oh and another thing - if ACA were to rejoin USAC, as I understand it one of the MAJOR expenses (insurance) would be covered in the main by USAC. So there is that. Also USAC's coverage seriously kicks the butt of the ACA coverage. It's one of the many reasons I keep a Fed license. I have comprehensive group medical coverage OUTSIDE of racing. They're simply big enough to have this sort of administration and clout.

Also I think the whole juniors thing is a bit of a red herring. Our LA put together a series and budget to send our local juniors to Nats every year. And, they could easily compare themselves against juniors in other regions because they didn't have to dual license and/or travel 10+ hours out of state to earn upgrade points and national rankings.

Summary: It can be done, and there are many, many examples of how it is being done very well in many other regions in the nation. TXBRA, NCNCA, the Mid-Atlantic Cycling Association - they have been doing this for decades under USCF leadership, and frankly, they're kicking our ass at Natz because of it.

LAs not all rosie

You really need a good amount of checks and balances. The ACA now has that.
NCNCA almost went under due to past board not filing taxes.

If the ACA Members decided to go back to the USAC, who would run things in Colorado? No Chris McGee.
Would Yvonne be hired back? bigger question would she want to work for an organization that fired her via a fax. Who would train officials.
Who would run the Website? Would we keep past results data?
Would the current board members stay on?
Would all the promoters stay on?

USAC or people that proposing to run things in Colorado next year if was back to USAC, need to answer a lot of questions! I haven't seen anything saying how it would work next year if members decided to go back.
Membership fees would go up. Promoters would have to deal with results. Uploading and any emails after the race on issues.
Separate BRAC Membership Fee again? LA kickback would only be around $30K. A lot less than now...

I would look at the

I would look at the comparison of coverage from insurance that USAC provides vs ACA in what Chris sent out. Being a member of USAC or ACA does not cover medical expenses that occur outside a permitted event. Both are supplemental that will kick in to meet expenses your primary insurance does not cover. What ACA now provides is more comprehensive for the rider, but is .19 more per rider per day.

There are several good reasons to consider moving back, but at this time insurance coverage is not one of them. The additional .19 does add up and is a cost for the promoter if you want to worry about that.


I am NOT a proponent of going back to USAC, but, I must say that using insurance as a pro/con argument is really disingenuous, unless things have really changed in the recent past. Trying to get the ACA insurance provider to pay when I needed it several years ago after a crash was a total joke, but I wasn't laughing. Even the ED at the time admitted I would be lucky to get anything covered. Maybe things have changed. I hope so. We need honesty on this from the ACA if it is going to be used as a pro-ACA argument.

Thanks for that little tibit

Thanks for that little tibit of information. That is good news! It used to be that the ACA insurance plan was kind of hush-hush because of how bad it was, and also because, I think people would try to use it to get every little crash covered (which tends to raise rates eventually). It's good to hear that a local provider was chosen and the coverage is better. Just remember, folks, it's called "supplemental" for a reason.

The ACA Insurance is a Nightmare

The ACA insurance is totally a joke. It was a nightmare just to get the ACA to do their end of the paperwork. It went on for almost 9 months without them sending in their side, and eventually we had to pay the hospital or face collections. In the end, we never saw a penny of the supplemental insurance, all because the ACA administrators wouldn't do their end. Very frustrating.

$100 license ?

So you'd pay an additional $40 fee on top of the current $60/year license? For a total of $100/year? I don't see many Colorado racers being willing to do that. Remember all the complaints about spending $35 on a chip that should last for many years.