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: 


Being USAC doesn't mean we

Being USAC doesn't mean we will "get" a NRC event. That is up to the promoters to find a big sponsor and appropriate courses. Texas is currently the second largest USAC state, with 3000+ members, and it does not have a NRC race. I they had one in the last 10 years.
Oregon has a NRC race, one year they had two. They have a lot fewer USAC members than Colorado.
NRC Requirements at

*Prize list for the Pro/1 Men’s and/or Cat 1/2 Women’s categories are as follows:

Minimum of $15,000 for one-day events
Minimum of $25,000 for multi-day events

Morgul-Bismark RR was a Great Race, Mt. Evans even though it is a "little silly Hill Climb" is a Great Race with large fields and lots of history, Roubaix, Bannock, etc., etc...

Did you read the Steamboat news release on the courses? ACA or USAC wouldn't be involved in finding a course for a race. It's up to the promoters to find the courses.

A couple quick responses

I never said that Colorado needed to be USAC to hold an NRC race. I was merely responding to the above posters assertion as to the racing scene here in Colorado. Claiming there is the occasional NRC race is a bit false.

Secondly - my whole point on the ACA and Steamboat was more related to the issue that the ACA seems to ignore its role is ensuring that the racing calendar is filled with quality races. In my mind, this requires them working with promoters, cities, towns etc... and trying to determine better approaches towards increasing membership.

It seems this is ignored by the ACA.

Not saying that....

I am not saying it will not be a good race. All I am saying is that in my mind, the ACA should take a more proactive approach when promoters face hurdles like these. Maybe I am getting ahead of my skis on this, but I think the ACA should be more than just a group that is good at hosting web-sites. They need to act more in concert with the promoters, and take a more involved role in the shape of the road racing calendar.

When races run into obstacles, if the ACA was historically more proactive lobbying and communicating with local officials so we had more support from local city and county commissioners, maybe some of these issues would be better resolved.

Not sure the story on the SSR, and I applaud them for coming up with a solution rather than shortening the # of stages. I just wish that the ACA had more of a role helping promoters hold challenging and interesting races.

If they are not going to take on this role, I question whether it really matters at the end of the day to have ACA vs. USAC as our parent organization in Colorado.

At a minimum, I think your

At a minimum, I think your skis are crooked. First, do you know, based on personal experience how "proactive" the ACA is or isn't? Have you witnessed this personally? You act like you have some inside knowledge or something. I do happen to know that the ACA does work with promoters when they run into course issues. They are always involved in checking out course changes to make sure they are safe, for example. In the end, if the promoter wants to run a certain course, it is their responsibility to get all of the approvals from the respective authorities. They get assistance in many ways from the ACA, but the ACA is not there to hold their hand.

I believe ACA is also involved in cycling advocacy in general in the state (along with Bicycle Colorado, etc), and that is valuable to all cyclists, whether you race or not. Is the USAC involved at the local level like this? Hmm, not so sure about that, nor do I expect that a big bureaucracy such as the USAC would get involved at that level if ACA went back to USAC.

I think the point is, under

I think the point is, under USAC guidance, BRAC used to fulfil a lot of those functions very well as a local association, then they split and took on all the burden of being a licensing/sanctioning body all by themselves. USAC is an administrative sanctioning body that also has the clout to do the big stuff like major sponsorships and nationwide programs, train coaches and officials, maintain a huge database of results and event dates, maintain and revise regulations and guidance documents, etc... on a national scale. The local associations are the ones who rightfully should handle local interests, like grassroots racing programs, community presence, local sponsorship, promotion and coordination with local governing bodies and other cycling groups in the region. A GOOD local association (like my old one in Maryland) will have a lot of this stuff covered.

All that stuff mentioned up there in the previous poster's comment that you are refuting is EXACTLY what a competent local association is, and should be doing.

The ACA are currently trying to be all things to everybody. They are both the licensing/sanctioning/administrative functionary, and the local association. If much of the administrative burden were to go away thru a merger/rejoin, this then frees up ACA as a LA to focus a lot more on meaningful ways to improve local racing. It's difficult to lobby effectively for better venues when you're also busy trying to calculate upgrade points, process membership fees, revise the rulebook, manage and train officials, submit insurance claims and keep the website running.

RE:Quality Races

I have to agree with you, I think our road racing calendar is a bit lacking. But I think the ACA does a fantastic job with cross in Colorado. The calendar, quality courses and organization, BCR, and Cross Cup Points are all top notch. I am a little concerned about start positions at nationals being based on USAC points. That puts Colorado racers at quite a disadvantage.