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: 


Your comment shows the

Your comment shows the typical attitude of the ACA members these days (over 35, men, who are 4's, and do not race a lot. Currently over 50% of our membership races 5 times or less per year). First you worry about cost, have you looked at the bikes people are riding these days? I watched a junior women in the cat 4 race this past Sunday on a carbon bike, with Zipp tubulars, and an SRM. Dear god please help us. Secondly you are so out of touch that plenty of people already do have 2 licenses, not because we want to, but because we have to!

80% of the guys on our team already have both license. Not because we are some pro team, but because we like to race. Guys may race out of state at a larger regional race like Gila or Tulsa Though, do one of the great USAC races in CO like Apsen or Durango, or when traveling to AZ, CA, WY, or UT, or want to do an NRC race to test their game, or maybe nationals (juniors, masters, senior, Track, cross).

The ACA right now is focused on the low end masters as they make up the largest # of members. I would love to see how much these guys really race. IMO a lot of these guys don't race much. The ACA is like most organizations, where 20% of the members do 80% of the business. So when the ACA says only 23% of its members have USAC license I have to just laugh. Guess what ACA? Those are the guys who really race, who race a lot of days with you all, and are committed to racing. They are not the other 50% of our membership that race 5 times per year or less (the guy who only does TT, or only does HC, or does 4 road races per year). ACA needs to focus on their real customers, those of us who race 20 plus days a year.

CAT 5 learning Curve

Having only started cycling three years ago in AZ I can attest to the impact being a CAT 5 racer had on me. I was really not interested in having to complete 10 mass start events/ races to get my CAT 4 upgrade. However, in the time it took to complete those events I received a lot of mentoring from my teammates at Bicycle Haus, and a fair share of being yelled at by not so nice guys out in Redondo Beach at the Donut Ride. But on all those weekend group rides/ team rides I learned a lot about how to handle my bike, ride in a pace line, wash my jersey ?, the fact that my cross check is not a race bike, etc. etc. With time I completed my races and used my experience riding with other older riders to help make the last few CAT 5 races better, i.e. got breaks to stick, coordinated chase efforts. In the end the extra half year I spent doing those first ten races was great learning that made me a better bike rider today.


Can we get a statement or at least some information directly from USAC? In any conversation like this it is best to hear directly from each side. I know there has been lots of anomosity over the years but to make an intelligent decision we need to hear from all sides.

USAC/UCI Exclusion is Illegal!

Can you imagine your employer threatening to fire you if you did any outside contract work? This is what USAC/UCI is doing against it's own members. Besides being highly immoral, it is most likely illegal. Problem is riders or promoters don't have the time or money to fight it in court. The USAC has the time, money and lawyers to fight it even if it is not what their members want.
If I where a D3 Pro Rider living in Colorado, I would give the USAC B.O.D. a piece of my mind.

re: This is what it would look like

Anonymous - you linked to some out-of-date websites.

Here is the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference website:

And here is the Colorado Springs Velodrome Association website:

At the end of the day, whether your name is 'ACA' or 'USAC', all the money for a cycling organization comes from members and sponsors. Additionally, all the work is done either by volunteers or employees paid for from member/sponsor-sourced funds.


USAC doesn't run races, they sanction races. The reason more races aren't sanctioned through USAC instead of ACA is simply a function of most clubs currently being directly affiliated w/ ACA and the success of the events by those clubs is tied directly to whether or not the events are BAR/BAT.