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: 


Okay - so are Pro-1-2 races doomed?

I guess the question is this:

I understand the issue at hand, and that financially, more money is going to be siphoned up to the USAC organization, which invariably means money focusing only on elite cyclists. But the Pro-1-2 races are dying in Colorado. Promoters sell their events to sponsors in part based on this race, and the ability to bring in spectators to these races. I have had a few friends show up to ACA races, shocked at the fact that the Pro-1-2 race was a joke.

My fear is that this is merely more an issue with the salaries of the leadership of the ACA versus trying to ensure cycling succeeds in Colorado. However, I also realize - without these individuals running the ACA, how backwards and unprofessional would the racing be without dedicated leadership?

Take away the stupid timing

Take away the stupid timing chips and use that money to pay the additional local aca club fee so the usac can return to the front range. It's pretty ridiculous that anyone seeking to upgrade past the category 2 level can't use any of the local races to achieve that.

Spectators don't show up for

Spectators don't show up for some lame-ass masters 35+ race....they come to see the elites race. All this focus on you masters and your incessant squabbling about being 'too old' to compete against younger riders is seriously hampering the chances of getting some decent road racing, backed by some decent sponsors, here in the front range. As for supporting juniors and younger are they supposed to upgrade to category 1 without taking time off school to travel halfway across the country to races that qualify.

They Left

To put it simply, they left. Instead of pursuing their upgrades at home, which allows them to support local events and help better racing in Colorado (as well as save them $$$), they had to leave the state because of a bitter argument between ACA and USAC.

BTW, I'm not the poster from the above comments.

Spectators don't show up for:

Bicycle races. In 2002 we did a race in downtown Manhattan with a international field including Armstrong. There were more people hanging out in an adjacent park on the backside of the course that weren’t even watching the race then there were lined up on the fence.

If were are not getting paid to ride your bike then we are amateurs and just like the guys playing golf on saturday or basketball sunday morning at the gym you shouldn’t expect anyone to come watch you ride around in circles.

I would be super pissed if I was still racing full and couldn’t race locally. Oddly enough unless I missed it doesn’t seem like the guys that are have to sit out are raising much hell over it.

Another interesting topic is that the ½ race sucks now. If there were new cats 3’s upgrading and winning straight away I would agree but at least recently the same guys that have been winning for years are winning the races.

35+ open

It does seem like the 35+ open is stacked with more guys this year who are racing both 1/2 and 35+. There seems to be more Cat 1's (a few ex-pros) racing 35+ this year. If 1/2 races are less competitive (I am not making that claim as I don't race 1/2), is the 35+ open more competitive? I think so. Not necessarily competitive for me, however. I have found 35+ open to be faster and harder this year especially, but that could just be due to the fact that I'm getting old and slow. Don't get me wrong, I like the challenge, but I don't ever expect to really compete against some of those guys. What's bizarre is it also seems that there have been more crashes in the 35+ open field this year.

Amateur racing

Once a Cat 3 upgrades, he races as a 2 for a year, tops. After that, if he's old enough, he goes to masters. Not enough time to train to race with the fast guys. I've seen it time and time again. Sure, a 22 year old will keep racing but somebody who has a job, family, responsibilities often cannot race P12. Pro-1-2 is dying but not because of ACA.

an example of how this works in other regions

we had a breakaway organization in Ohio in the mid-90s when the USCF f'd up royally and fired all the district reps with no notice (this was the situation that triggered the BRAC/ACA split in fact). When our LA rejoined the USCF in '99 the decision was made to retain the local coordinators by charging an additional $25 membership fee to belong to the local association for series points, race promotion support and so on.

I can see adjusting for inflation and charging an additional $35 or $40 membership fee to belong to ACA. I would pay it in a heartbeat, simply in order to have:

- an apples-to-apples comparison against my peers in other regions
- decent Pro-1-2 fields back again here in the Front Range
- the hope of better sponsorship and greater potential for NRC events in Colorado
- and last but most importantly: CAT 5 men's races - this is seriously a necessity for development that is being in no way served by splitting out all the specialty masters' age groups. Cat 4 in this region is currently treated like Cat 5 elsewhere, with many guys upgrading to Cat 3 within their first season/few months. 10 events does not make you a reliable bike handler at an intermediate level, especially if you upgrade on the basis of a few CSP training races or whatever. You can basically be a reasonably strong solo / tri guy or a fast junior or whatever and just ride off the front of the Cat 4 pack, never have to understand group skill or tactics, and have your upgrade in less than 2 months, at which point you become a liability in the 3s field. This happens a lot. The 3s here have appalling handling skills and poor strategical skills compared to the 3s in other highly competitive areas of the U.S. Which very few who don't travel outside the area care about, but if you want go to Superweek, it matters, a lot.