Coffee Talk Tuesday - Measuring Growth in the sport of Cycling

Today's Coffee Talk Tuesday Discussion deals with measuring the growth of the sport of cycling. This is a hot topic these days with all the categories and possible USAC merger.. Give us your 2 or 3 cents on this topic!

This weekend I had an awesome time of not driving 60 minutes to watch the USGP race but instead saw the live streaming from cyclingdirt.com. While watching, one of the commentators (not Peter Webber, but the other guy) mentioned something about how you can see how the sport is really growing when you see riders like Yannick Eckmann be such a successful rider at only the age of 18.

Yannick is a great rider, he finished 5th on Saturday beating big names in the field and coming back on Sunday to also do well. If Yannick continues to improve like he has then I very much believe he could be the next Ryan Trebon, J-Pow or Tim Johnson.

But does Yannick's success = growth?


USAC says yes! Here is a diagram I got from Steve Johnson, the CEO of USAC, a few years ago as he was explaining to me the value of USAC. At the top of the chart you have heroes like Lance Armstrong, Tim Johnson, Levi etc. These heroes inspire younger riders and they grow, compete and become the next set of heroes. These heroes not only get the youth involved but they get all ages and genders inspired to ride and race. I believe their pitch but not all the way

But what about the ever expanding 35+ & 35+ cat 4 fields? Obviously the sport is growing when you have 35+ cat 4 fields over 100 riders. And of the huge cat 4 and 35+ cat 4 fields how many got into the sport because of cycling heros? Or was it just for the love of the competing and the sport?

See where I'm going with this? Which group is more important to cater to, the current and future heroes of cycling or the new riders (regardless of age) who are just entering the sport?

Cast your vote and take our poll

Maybe growth isn't the metric we even need to be measuring, maybe it's that catching phrase everyone is using these days... "sustainability" Which growth can provide a sustainable future in the sport of cycling for say the next 5 years?

Lastly I would like to say Yannick is awesome! For me he does make me proud that some youth of today do value the sport of cycling... wish I had his drive at such a young age. Good Luck Yannick and hope to see you on the podium soon!

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35 Comments

Merger?

Why is it a looming merger? From a journalistic perspective should it not be referred to accurately? It is a discussion to consider integration which really is just a palatable term for subjugation. A merger is typically value oriented for both entities involved.
Those who choose to perpetuate this discussion are among the very slight 1-3% of the ACA membership that would benefit from such a debacle or rather, hostile takeover.
While the ACA is the ire of the USAC, it is the envy of local associations and independent sanctioning bodies the nation over. This is a grassroots organization built on a majority consensus of providing the best possible racing experience for those who choose to participate within the structure that has evolved. Remember: Bicycle racing is for everyone-Not just the elite.

Please do not make up facts

Clearly you want the ACA to stay separate, that is a valid point and I respect it.

But please let’s not make up facts like 1% to 3% of the membership would benefit from going back to USAC, just to support what you think. I have no exact number on what % it really is (and I won't make one up), but it is much higher than your stated number.

The harsh reality of the ACA is that over 50% of the members do not really race, they race less than 5 races a year. If you look at the other 50% of the members, the ones who actually race a lot (and thus pay the ACA a lot more in fees) these members have the majority of the USAC license, so they see some value in having the license and racing USAC events. Personally I raced USAC events in CO last year that were part of colligate races, stand alone USAC events, raced out of state on my USAC license, and did one national championship event. I am not alone.

I also think if we got more high end pro racing back in CO, it would help promote the sport, and help grow it (to USAC's point). Let’s say they had a day full of crits before the finish of the USA Pro Cycling event in Denver, so all the different categories could race on a better course, with more professional things, the fans could get exposed, families could watch dad/mom, and then you get to stay around for the main event. We certainly do not need that every weekend, but a couple of times a year would be nice. So many of the people on here have zero perspective on what racing is like elsewhere. This model is used to have great events all over the county, for the pros, down to the cat 4's, and the masters. Events like Tulsa Tough, Gila, Battenkill, Superweek, Tour de Toona, Killington, Valley Of the Sun, and on. you notice we do not have any events like that in CO?

Pro-Am events

Agree with comments above, a couple of nationally recognized pro-am events that tie in with our local race association would do more for "growth" of the sport in Colorado than anything else and this will not happen under ACA. The Pro challenge was great, but bring in 700+ men, women, juniors, etc from all over the country and you have an event that get's more new people excited about bike racing at a more intimate level. We have a international Pro Challenge and we have some great one day amateur events, but there should be something in between?

USAC ACA members and Facts

If you were at the promoters meeting last week, you would have heard the basic statistics. Of the 3000 ACA members, only approximately 500 also have a USAC license too. Of those who have the USAC liscense, probably 50-100 at least dont race anymore with ACA or USAC.

Did you know that USAC takes a certain percentage from the purse right off the top?

Did you know that for every $60 license fee USAC would charge, only $10-$15 would come back to the ACA and all the current paid positions (5 people working 40hrs plus per week but getting paid minimally and only for 20)would be expected to be filled by volunteers (unrealistic)?

Did you know the ACA insurance is cheaper and better coverage?

It's up to USAC to get their marketing efforts and host/hold these events in CO if they want to put their money where their mouth is and make a valid case for a merger. Right now, from an organizational level, they pretty much take, take, take and give back very little.

You have a firm grasp of the

You have a firm grasp of the obvious, luckily we have people like you here. Yes I know everything you stated and yes I was at the promoters meeting. Apparently you must think anyone who was at the promoters meeting agrees with you? I do agree with you USAC has to come with a better offer that makes sense for us financially. Thank you for laying out a bunch of information that has nothing to do with anything I said. My main point was going back to USAC would benefit more than the 1% to 3% the poster said. I stand by that, even with your well know facts.

Master of the Obvious

You are right, probably more than the 1-3% but realistically 10% at best. The facts I shared are backed by real numbers whether I want USAC or ACA to run things and they serve to make the case that people wont automatically just flock to USAC (given a choice), even if their were more races here for the elite. Outside of that, there is not much of a tangible benefit for most and if out of state people want to come to CO to race, Google does a great job of finding our race calendar.

Honestly, outside of the financials, I think if USAC walked their talk and stepped up and showed us the benefit of coming over and that it would be a better situation for CO, the probability would go up. I would love to see them invest something and start promoting a couple of big events per year in CO and show us how maybe the tradeoffs might be worth it.

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