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!