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.

Summary
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

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110 Comments

Survey

ACA, please survey the members, not just club leadership. Club leadership does not necessarily represent it's members. Individual club members should have a say.

This quote from above sums it up nicely:

"The ACA is a grassroots, amateur-based organization."

And it's doing it quite well, IMO.

A couple changes I would like to see:

* Stop the proliferation of categories. Yes, this has been discussed already, ad nausea.
* To upgrade, you must get your points by racing in the straight category (not masters) categories. So, for example, no upgrades from 35+/4, 45+/4, 35+/3. It blows me away that you can become a 2 by only racing 35+/3. If you can't get your points in straight cat 3 races, you shouldn't be a 2!

To be fair to the ACA, most

To be fair to the ACA,

most of their members are middle-aged guys with full-time jobs and families. The ACA needs to attract the largest number of racers they can into the sport, or else it dies. If you end the masters upgrade rule, and effectively end the ability to move up into high ranking categories for them, many are going to give up on the sport if they can only upgrade racing against collegiate age athletes.

I know - you are some bad ass, who can take down the straight-up SM4/3 category. Good for you - you seriously kick ass at low level amateur racing, and apparently, think your high level of talent at office parks crits and all the fame and money involved are being watered down by 35+ and 45+ men getting upgrade points in races full of old guys.

At the end of day, why does this bother you so much. If you make it to a 2 (even if racing the 35 and 45+ fields), it is still an achievement. And as stated below, most 2's end up racing open masters races after a year of getting shelled by former pros and younger guys anyways.

I'm a masters racer and have no problem with what is suggested

I'll happily race 35+/4 then 35+ /3 and then 35+ or 45+ open depending on my age then. The 35+/4 fields in CX last year were more competitive than the standard 4's and the 35+ open was throwing down better times than the 1/2/pro's. I have a feeling the 35+ /3s will be putting down times as good or better than the standard 3's as well.
Its not a matter of not being competitive - its a matter of racing with piers and a slightly different outlook on life along with better controlled field sizes and/or even being able to race (35+/4s were selling out 2hrs before race in more than half the CX races last year).

Quality races?

Do the ACA and Colorado cyclists consider Deer Trail, Hugo and the random parking lot crits currently making up the majority of the road season quality racing? Maybe the majority of license holders have not raced outside of CO in the past 10 years because our calendar has become pathetic compared to many other parts of the country and even what the ACA was 7yrs ago. For a cyclist who wishes to truely develop and grow in the sport the ACA has become not worth the $45 price tag. ACA has become the Amateur Crit / Circuit race Association.

What Parking Lot Crit?

What parking lot crits have you done? I don't remember any ACA Crit going through a parking lot this year.
Bannock, Longmont, Vics, City Park, Ft. Collins, Salida, Rasin Hope, FCCF, Steamboat, Dead Dog, ERock, The Sonic Boom, etc... I don't remember riding through any parking lots...

Hummm, with a packed schedule from April to December, if you don't like a certain race, there are plenty of other races out there to do. I would say this is the most packed schedule we have had in Colorado in 10, 15 years. Usually 2 races or more to choose from every weekend.

I skipped the 8 hour drive to Durango and did the Morgul-Bismark Road Race instead this year. Deer Trail, Koppenburg and Hugo where great preparation for it. 4 Hard Days of racing without any hotel time. Very good for the family life.
Only Road Race cancelled from the ACA schedule was Air Force due to continued Code Yellow-Red. It probably won't be run as Collegiate race again if security level doesn't change. Bummer...

Parking lot crit is a generic term

Packed schedule, are you joking me? 60 minute crits around industrial parks and 4 mile hill climbs to not constitute a packed schedule unless you are a track racer. We wouldn't want to attract any attention or publicity to the sport now would we. I am guessing you are a masters racer who has no desire to leave the state of CO or improve past a recreational racer. In the past we had races such as the Carter Lake RR, Estes Park stage race, Stazio Crit training series and more in Colorado and Dead dog didn't have a pathetic 25 man fields but maxed out around 100. Driving hours out to Deer Trail and Hugo to have no prize money, in adequate support and no fans / exposure for the sport is a great way to continue this downward spiral.

The short version of this whole issue is that if you want to have high level racing, promoting growth and showing juniors and all cyclists what top level cycling really is things need to change in a major way. I know when I was a Cat 3 in Colorado 10 years ago I did not decide to devote so much time to train and improve so I could do 60 min crits with no pro's, often less than 40 in the field and no prize money. Like Kenny Powers said "I play real sports. I don't try to be the best at exercising".

He is referring to the fact

He is referring to the fact track races are shorter in duration, and therefore, athletes who specialize in the track would find the 60 minute crit and the 4 mile hill climb a full day of racing.

But more to the point the guy is making:

Road racing is dying here in Colorado. Hugo is gone, I heard Vic's Crit may be going away (say what you will - but this is a race where non-cycling spectators get to watch the race due to the number of shops and restaurants around the course).

To be honest - part of the problem is that this is Colorado. Too many great rides, mountain bike opportunities, making the appeal for racing less than it is in say, New Jersey or Iowa. Add to that the impact of cross taking some potential racers who prefer the more laidback, results be damned culture of cross, and is it not a shock.

Also - was speaking with a promoter about this, and said that it seems all people want to race in Colorado are hill climbs. Maybe road racing is cursed by geography, the rise of mountain biking and cross, and the impact of triathlons in the last 20 years also siphoning off potential roadies from the pool of available athletes.

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