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: 


Louisville, Coal Miner

Louisville, Coal Miner Classic, Wheels of Thunder, Groove-Subaru.

Most of the crits set within office parks are early in the season, when the weather is questionable. Not saying that it would not be nice to have those in a more urban, city center setting, but in late March, early April, who really cares.

If I had one complaint with the road racing calendar, it is that they do not start the season in late April, and end it instead near the end of September. The weather is always better in September than March/April.

Quality Races & Racing?

OP, not sure where you are coming from. There are very few "parking lot" crits in Colorado...maybe a few office park crits, but CO is no different than any other part of the US. Colorado has some of the best road races in the country...Superior, Bannock, Salida, Mt Evans, Roubaix, etc...not to mention world class 'cross races. However, we have experienced and ebb tide in NRC "type" races such as Niwot, Celestial Seasonings RR, Castle Rock to name a few. Having lived and raced across the US, I have never experienced the level of quality of racing and promotion like here in Colorado. There are several reasons why many UCI 2 & 3 Pros & Elite amateurs based out of terrain, support, and number of races within an hours drive from Denver-Boulder.

What I do believe is the US Pro Cycling Challenge, if successful, will elevate Colorado back into the national spotlight in world-class events, bring back some level of race sponsorship and carry those existing "classic" races up several notches...

A little off topic, but I do think the USAC really pulled a fast one on the ACA, and is a no-win situation for racers and racing in CO...even if the UCI twisted the arm of USA Cycling.

Just my take.

You don't know what you're

You don't know what you're talking about. I've raced all over and I'd say the quality of racing is equal if not better than anywhere I've raced. We have a FULL calendar for 9 months of the year with a variety of series and disciplines to race. If you're an elite then you have legitimate bitch, but for amateurs and weekend warriors it doesn't get any better.

Doesn't get better?

TX = Better. CA, N or S, = Better. Anywhere on the E Coast (except maybe ME) = Better. IL/WI = Better

Seems to me the major argument that's been presented is that ACA would lose out on future revenue if we switched to the LA for USAC. Correct me if I'm wrong, but ACA isn't in the business of generating revenue for itself, but is supposed to be promoting amateur racing within CO. If that can be done better as the LA for USAC, then we should do it whether it results in lower revenues or not.

USCF comparison...Superweek

I had the opportunity to race outside the Colorado area this season and thought I would share my experiences in the USCF world. Maybe it will add a little insight to the discussion?

The races I attended were part of the Superweek series which has been around for about 40 years and currently runs for about three weeks in the Wisconsin / Illinois area. Lately the race has been troubled by poor promotion and largely supplanted by the tour of america’s dairyland (TOAD)…. Maybe some other colorado folks have done it? Anyway.

I started in 4 crits in the Milwaukee area all in consecutive days (wed thru sat). They were all USCF master category 40, 45 and 50 cat 123 running as a group. There was no chip timing. Fields varied from 35 to 70 and only the age groups were scored separately. They did have the infamous 35 +cat4-5 group running similar to ACA. They also had junior races and women 3-4 or women’s 123 (I guess you choose if you are a 3).

The good. Numbers were reused throughout the series and they used wrist bands to keep track of who had paid entry fees for that day’s race. The venue had a grandstand, announcer and barricades similar to what we see at Bannock course setup. They always paid to the top 15. Cash payouts (If the field was really large (above 45) they went to the top 20). Scoring was really quick and computerized in clear printouts. The courses were well secured with full barricades and very professional. No tape or cones for protection from traffic. They used the junior police (cadets?) for the marshalling. There were a TON of them all over the course at every event. A variety of urban courses (especially Downer Ave which was by far the best urban crit I have ever done) that were pretty heavily attended.

The bad. There were no primes in our races. The pros had quite a few. Maybe a trade-off for the payouts? Lack of bathrooms at some of the venues. No moto referees. There was a lead car which ran in front of us but no one behind (I don’t know if that was “a bad thing” just different). There was a last minute time change for one of the races (moved the start time up an hour). It was posted on their website, but I could see how that could be upsetting and easily missed. Races were 40 bucks a piece. There were discounts for multi race packages (6 pack).

The interesting. They did criteriums by laps / not time. So you would do 50 laps instead of 60 min. I was nice to know exactly where you were in the race and they were able to keep the timetable with that method. The races appeared to be run by two head officials and a skeleton crew of scorers, sheet runners and sign in help. They were the same folks for every race we entered and seemed to be very efficient. To be honest it kinda seemed like a UCI cross race. The officials clearly were business like and very consistent with pulling lapped riders , call ups and prerace instructions. There was no neutral wheel support in the form of free wheels to use, but they did have a staffed wheel pit (wheels in wheels out).

No masters 35 (only 40+). No masters women. No masters over 50. No women 4 (only combined 3 and 4). No cat 2. Only 1-2 combined.

I am not saying that USCF is better than ACA. I will say that we have nothing close to Superweek or TOAD in the Colorado area. In essence a 3 week long omnium with national level draw. I think that the parks and roads that Superweek uses in the Midwest allow for easier course permitting? Think Wash Park closed for a bike race in a town with ten wash park like loops to choose from… Although two of the courses I did required significant street closures in urban areas. Maybe they have more history and draw? It blows me away that the Colorado area couldn’t put something on like that. And that it happens not just once, but twice a year in Wisconsin….

BTW… I thought that the Colorado 35 open was way harder.

response to the Superweek experience

First off, anytime I read a "you do not know what you are talking about" response to a "experience" that is shared, I immediately skip the rest of that response simply due to the responders negativity, a inability to weigh the value of several different opinions and the immediate & obvious obliviousness to someone elses experience.

I think one very important thing to remember is the role the event promoter plays in Mr. Milnicks descriptions of "good, bad & just different". Many of the charactoristics described in his experiences at Superweek are at the control & discretion of the race promoter, NOT the governing body (for example, laps posted vs time, # of primes from one category to the next, amount of prize money, cost of entry fee's, race numbers, bathroom availability, venue changes, even category's offered to some extent). All too often, the governing/sanctioning body gets blame or credit for what is or isn't offered/provided by the promoter. This can not be ignored or lost sight of when discussing a independant sanctioning body or LA body dependant on the USAC.

I think a race is a race and there are matters that affect that race that are not dependant upon the sanctioning body. The big thing our ACA needs to determine is this: can we continue to offer the grassroots programing we currently offer (website, junior development, etc) independant of the USAC (the very things that make us shine bright) after we become a USAC LA? How do we fund it independantly and will the membership be willing to fund that in addition to its own USAC licenses & club memberships? It would be interesting to list out the costs under each model and see where it lands in a typical year.

Good Point

Thanks for the defense. You are absolutely correct and to be honest I didn't really think of it that way. It is entirely up to the promoter as you stated. It is interesting to speculate if the ACA or any sanctioning body provides a more fertile ground for promoters.

I can add that while researching the series I ran across some Chicago area racers (and other areas) who were posting some pretty harsh critiques of the Superweek promoters and the lack of quality at their events. The complaints / criticisms were in some cases pretty damning. Made me think twice about attending.

For the most part....the challenges we see in Colorado exist everywhere.

The point that I was really trying to make and what blew me away....was how those guys (and gals) in Illinois and Wisconsin have that opportunity to race in that quantity and volume if they wished.

I also just use the Superweek example as something I am familiar with. I am sure that there are much better series around the country.

Geography hurts Colorado Racing as well

When comparing racing back East, a couple of things needs to be appreciated:

1) Colorado is geographically isolated. If anything, we should count ourselves lucky at the number of races in the Denver/Boulder area. But this also means the population of potential riders is less than it is back East.

2) Eastern racers have to travel much farther in general for any given race. This obviously has its drawbacks (i.e. - travel is a bigger issue for them on any given weekend, versus here where the road season can be treated much like cross season, and you can travel, race and be back home within 4 hours max.

3) When we complain about the lack of larger style road races, part of this is due to the fact that promoters in the Front Range area cannot count on racers from other states. Sure, some Wyoming guys head down, and a few guys from New Mexico may make the trip occasionally, but by and large, the racers here come from the Springs-to-Fort Collins corridor.

Back East, it is easier to put on a solid road race (such as Battenkill) or other Stage race events, and fill your spots, both because the pool of available racers is larger, and those racers have been trained (or it is ingrained) that you will be traveling a bunch in order to race.

Not saying that we cannot find ways to improve the road scene here in Colorado, but part of the problems stem not from the involvement of any one organization, but from the sheer geographic isolation of Denver from other major population centers.

Top Five Racing States

Population vs. Racers

California - 37 Million - USAC Members - 7891
Oregon - 3.8 Million - OBRA Members - 3500
Colorado - 5 Million - ACA Members - 3400
Texas - 25 Million - USAC Members - 3033
New York - 19.5 Million - USAC Members - 2789

Oregon + Colorado represent over 10% of the Licensed Racers in the USA.

As i said - geography matters

First of all - I would want to see the stats on # of racers racing more than 5 events, and not just racing TT series.

Secondly - a regional breakdown would be better. Colorado may have a large # of racers, but we cannot draw upon racers from other states to race, due to the long travel and lack of population centers nearby.

New York on the other hand, still can draw racers from New Jersey, New England, Pennsylvania.

Hold a stage race in Western Mass, and you have a much larger pool of racers to choose from.