"Conditions for Reintegration" with USAC meeting Nov 18th

Is Colorado getting closer to having a combined USAC/ACA association? This Friday your ACA club is encouraged to attend a special meeting with the CEO of USAC, Steve Johnson. Attached is the Full Agenda for the Meeting and below is a snippet of it

6:00 Welcome, Introductions, and Roll Call of Club Presidents

6:30 Presentation Steve Johnson, President & CEO of USACycling

6:45 Presentation Bill Barr, President, ACA Board of Directors
Clint Bickmore, Vice President, ACA Board of Directors
Chris McGee, Executive Director, ACA

7:00 Statement of Conditions for Reintegration

1- For the first three years in which the ACA serves as a Local Association of USAC, the USA Cycling
Development Foundation’s Center of Excellence of Award will provide $20,000 per year to the ACA for the
ACA’s Junior Development Program.

2- As per the LA Agreement, USAC will rebate the ACA $10 for each full price license sold in the ACA’s LA
area (Section 2.2) during the Term of this agreement. As all ACA license members who join USAC as a result
of the ACA becoming the Local Association are in excess to the 2011 licenses sold, the ACA is due an
additional $5 for each license sold during the 2012 Term of this agreement (Section 2.3).

3- The Local Association can set local policy regarding race points points series, upgrades, various LA fees,
including but not limited to: calendar fees, surcharges, race kit fees, officials’ fees and race day duties,
calendar date request fees, required EMT on site for all races, and the continuation of existing programs and
continuation of existing staff.

4- The ACA will work with USAC personnel on providing transaction process flow from the USAC license web
application to include ACA local association process flow. Additionally, the ACA will provide USAC web
personnel local association information to include with license purchase confirmation.

News Item: 


honestly - yes

I'm not just getting into the sport; however I do have to budget for my entire race season from my yearly budget. The increase in license fee will mean at least one less race. If the race entries go up, that means even less races that I can do. If I can only afford a couple races, then the cost benefit ratio is pretty low and I'll probably look elsewhere for my recreation.

Cost to "enter" the sport

I would hazard that 99% of the people who start racing have already bought the bike and other hardware needed, and are just contemplating changing from riding around on weekends or doing Charity rides to doing races.
My comment was that less riders would find buying an annual license to make sense at double the cost. $90 is TEN one day fees. Not that many people REALLY race that much, road or cross. I think this will bring down the number of members who fork out and get the annual.

A Promoters Position

Someone has asked for a promoters position, and there's been quite a few comments about events in general so I'd just like to toss out my 2 cents for what it's worth. With our list of events, LV Crit, Koppenberg, Mike Horgan HC, Boulder CX Series, Cyclo X, and the soon to be announced 3 day event you can imagine that we are going through all the details with a fine comb this week and last. While there are many pro's and con's to re-integration we have not yet decided on which way we'll vote.
1)The extra money for the development of JR cycling is great, but I wouldn't like to see this dry up after a few years. Nor would I like to see this become an elite thing. The ACA camps do a great job and hopefully this would continue so that all the riders out there whether they just learned to ride a bike or they are crushing cat 4's should all be given the same attention.
2) CX & other national races. While the number of racers that participate in these events is low, I would hate to see anyone be unable to participate in these because of what I would say is a cheap blocking tactic by USAC.
3) Pro's - I'm a big believer that having pro's at your race is nice, but shouldn't be the focus. Racing is for everyone whether you're a 35+ cat 4 (like myself) or a pro. The race and quality of the experience should be the same. As a promoter, having pro's at a race doesn't really boost participation numbers that much, having a great race that is well marketed and carrying on a good reputation year to year is what drives participation #'s. I know there are some that'll disagree with that, but history has shown that this to be true. Just ask yourself why the oldest and longest running race series in the country aren't pro focused.
4) Association Races - I'm also a big believer that governing bodies should NOT be in the business of running their own races, especially in direct competition of other events. They should be in the business of governing the sport and improving the sport, not putting on races.
5) Increased Costs - I'm a racer, but I'm also a promoter and lesson one in business school was that the cost of your product should be of fair value. The ACA does an impressive job of this and I have no doubt will continue to do a great job (=Fair Value). The question that I can't answer is why would I pay extra fees to promote a race under the USAC banner? I get the same service, but pay more $$$. It won't get me more "pro's" at events because I'll have to increase prize purses and in turn pay USAC more. So what's going to happen most likely with races around the state is that prize purses will shrink. Sponsorship dollars aren't easy these days, and the cost of putting on races is increasing outside of USAC. USAC fees will just compound this, but to continue on so that races are financially stable alterations will have to be made under the USAC banner. There will also be less races, which is terrible for the sport from a growth perspective. I also see the potential for the club #'s to deteriorate due to the costs.

So from the promoters side of things I vote NO, it's bad business sense. From the viewpoint that a NO vote will limit both amateur and pro's from racing then my vote it yes. We'll keep plugging through the pro-con list we have going, but would like to see more responses from people of all categories on your thoughts. However, rest assured of which ever way the vote goes we'll be here busting our a**es to put on great events for a fair cost. If the vote goes in favor of USAC then we'll be sure to get creative as we always have to give you great prizes in lieu of cash. I think the overall business model of USAC needs to be revamped. As a cycling promoter, tri promoter, and running promoter I see huge differences in these sports governing bodies. USAC is by far the most expensive, and does the same if not less for a race and racer than USAT or USATF. Maybe that's why the annual membership of USAC is less than half of other organizations. I think there should be more focus on the amateur level of the sport than just the pro's, as the amateurs are the ones funding their governing organization. I'm an optimist, but I hope progress will be made and a good balance between junior development, amateur racing, and professional development is in the cards. As a promoter and racer why doesn't USAC simply develop a viable platform that the independent organizations, promoters, and racers would want to join so everyone thrives, instead of using the current blocking tactic of the national & pro card? Now that would be real progress and not divide the sport they are supposedly trying to bring together.

Thank you

Thank you for a positive, refreshing, and professionally written opinion based on facts and business sense. This is why Colorado cyclocross and road racing is strong. We have first class promoters who look out for all levels (elite through 35+4's), but will never sacrifice the good of the majority for the needs of a few. Say we don't go back. How long can USAC keep up the bullying tactics? When will the pro's stand up to USAC for what's right. I heard a rumor that some UCI road pro's are racing ACA cross events and there's been no punishment delivered. Say we do go back; how long until we hear the "maybe we should have stayed independent talk".

Opinions of a cat 3 looking to race 5-6 times each road and cross season.

Promoter perspective

Few thoughts from promoter perspective, please correct me if I am mistaken on anything...

- Insurance surcharge will drop from $3.19 under ACA to $3 with USAC
- USAC has no operational surcharge per rider/per day, instead getting it through 7% of total prize purse. This would be beneficial for multi-day events? If you do a 10,000 prize purse over two days your 7% fee is $700, while the fee for 400 riders racing two days would be $800. 400 riders racing four days is $1600. Am I correct on this or missing any other fees?
- Under USAC you would no longer get a kick back from one day licenses, but if everything is USAC all USAC riders will not need to shell out extra $10 for one day license. Especially important for multi-day events and any event looking to grow beyond a local race. Currently a 4 day event will cost any non ACA rider an additional $40. Would being on the USAC calendar/license help bring more racers from out of state? Not sure, but I think this is important.
- Racers who are semi pro and racing in that cat 1-2 level will no longer need to worry about getting upgrade points at Colorado events that do not have any value outside of Colorado. Do others see a black hole at this level of racing in Colorado?
- And I think having pro competitors at a race is being underestimated - Even if you only have 10 professional level riders, it goes very far in helping gain sponsors, spectators, and media. This is huge for any event to grow. They might not even pay entries if you comp their entries, but the value is tangible. I would also argue that they can be a huge motivator for those who are considering getting into bike racing. No one can deny how exciting watching a pro field is at a big pro-am event.
- Role of the sanctioning body: They should not be in the business of promoting races, but they should be working to support sustainable growth with colorado racing and helping develop a well rounded calendar of races. BAR/BAT in my opinion has either helped some events or devastated others(non bar/bat).
- Collegiate cycling: Read Spencer's note, which has some valid points of how collegiate cycling should be a feeder for the ACA yet there does not seem to be any connection between the two.

Undecided, great discussion from others.

Thank you Corey for trying to

Thank you Corey for trying to see things from both sides. While I'm a small time promoter of one event you're almost correct on most points. The insurance will drop .19, but you'll still be responsible for a $2/rider operational charge to the LA. One day fees will all go to USAC and it doesn't matter if your ACA or USAC, you'll always have 20-30 one-day licenses. So overall cost drops .19/rider but jumps 7% of your prize purse. Having pro's is exciting and opens new doors for sponsors, but it's not a main factor for sponsors jumping on board. Sponsors want high spectator and participation numbers. Why the 7% fee? To me that comes off as penalizing an event for trying to attract pro's.

I'm for whatever dynamic allows for more epic races.

"having a great race that is well marketed and carrying on a good reputation year to year is what drives participation #'s."

Thanks Tony. I've had to ask myself why I, as an "old" Cat 4, give a rat's A about any of this. Your statement above pretty much sums it for me. I'm ultimately for whatever dynamic between sanctioning bodies/promotors/racers that allows for more quality races.

I don't trust the USAC and really don't trust the UCI

After all the information that has been coming out the past 7 years and learning more and more about how much the USAC goes to extraordinary lengths to "protect" it's elite; I'm not a fan of it. The organization is around money and cultivating the best of the elite. Lip service is paid to general masses, but there is honestly no care for the weekend racer that has no aspirations of being PRO, but honestly loves the sport of cycling.
Colorado has an awesome racing scene - yes, it needs some work, but compared to other areas, we are doing pretty well. The road area does need work as the road race scene is rather lacking unless you like crits. Off the road, we are the envy of many many areas. We have more CX races in a single month than most areas have in their entire season. I've grown to respect those at BCS etc, but I am really wondering if personal ambition is clouding a greater picture here. Though being in the position of supporting the local association and having to give up on national and/or international ambitions or push for integration and hope for the best is not a position I would want to be in.

Beyond the USAC, being one step closer to being associated with the UCI makes me cringe and want to take a shower...

My Two Cents

I want to thank everyone who is contributing to this conversation in a civil, rational manner. Please know that the comments here on 303 are a perfect mirror of ACA board meetings, and have been for more than two years.

I'd like to share a couple comments to put some long-term perspective on this situation.

In the late 90s, Beth, Yvonne, Rogene, and many others created a non-profit racing organization which focuses on Colorado racing and has a unwavering dedication to junior development. Jon became the Executive Director four years ago, and the ACA is currently in its strongest ever position (financially, membership numbers, loyalty from members, and impact on cycling in Colorado).

Since 2007, the ACA board has held the following position:
1- that cycling in the United States is too small a sport to be fractured into separate sanctioning bodies, and
2- that ACA reintegration with USAC is a matter of 'when', not 'if'.

When I read the results of the 2011 Club Survey, two underlying themes strike me.
1- Our membership has a great deal of respect for the work we do for racing in Colorado.
2- Our membership is not opposed to the idea of reintegration. Our members have issues with the details of a reintegration, but not the idea of rejoining. I think that is an important distinction, and one that is very different from the situation 10 years ago.

The question we are facing is: Why should the ACA consider reintegrating with USAC for 2012? My answer to that is: Right now the ACA is at our best and strongest, and we are having real conversations and dialogue with USAC for the first time in 15 years. This is a time of opportunity that may not happen again.

My goal for the ACA in the future, whether as an LA or an independent, is to be an efficient, professional organization that is responsive to its members, sets high local racing standards, structures the racing calendar in a way that supports promoters, clubs, officials and racers, and helps grow cycling in Colorado and Southeast Wyoming. This is what we have done in the past, and I believe that with proper planning and a strong board, staff and membership, we can achieve these goals in the future and remain one of the best grassroots organizations in the country.

Reintegration with USAC is based on a fundamental change in the ACA's income model. Currently we keep $45 from every senior & master license sold. As an LA, we keep $10 from that license sale. With 3,000 members, that is a difference of $105,000. There are other fees and details, but this is the single most significant financial impact. Clearly, this is an important part of the conversation.

Some comments have focused on the additional cost per racer, and this is true as well. Currently, our members pay $45 for an annual membership. As an LA, our members would pay $60 to USAC and $25 as a LA membership fee (juniors $15). Is $85 for your annual racing too expensive?

What do we get for these higher costs? Pete Webber and Clint have spelled out many benefits. Many 303 comments seem to think that these benefits are not relevant to the majority of ACA members. In the short term that may be so. In my mind, we need to think about where do we want to be in five years. This is what the vote is about. We can function as a model local association as part of the national structure of cycling, or an independent organization that caters to young juniors and age group racers. These are very different outcomes, and as we all know, there are benefits and negatives to either choice. This is real life!

I think that we are involved in an important conversation for the future of cycling in Colorado, and because I believe that the ACA is relevant and a great model for other racing associations, this conversation is also important to cycling in the country.

These are the questions for our clubs to decide and the vote is Friday.

Thanks for reading.