Possible Dark Season ahead for USAC and MTB in Colorado


Photo Credit: 303Photo

It’s just 1 small rule and it really only applies to the pros... or does it. As it stands rule 1.2.019 will bar UCI-licensed riders from competing in unsanctioned UCI events.

"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.”

Doesn’t this sound familiar? Isn’t this the same rule that was used to convince Colorado to join USAC. For those not familiar with this history here, local pros were being threaten to be fined if any UCI holding racer were to sign up for any Colorado road race, like North Boulder Park, Mt Evans, Boulder Roubaix or even something as basic as a training race like Stazio. In the end Colorado races voted to join USAC and now that is all history. Now the spotlight is being shown on the mountain biking community.

Like how Colorado road scene was a few years ago, Colorado Mountain Biking community is full of many great unsanctioned USAC events, like all of the RME races, Winter Park races, the Growler, Breck Epic etc. Do big successful events like the Winter Park Series care that they will lose some pros this year? Probably not, but that’s not going to be true for all events. When some events lose big names they also lose attention and with that they lose attendance, sponsorship and vitality.

References for this topic

- USAC Clarifies their take on the rule

- Colorado racer Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski gives his take on the rule. He has publicily state that he will not be getting a UCI license this year.

- Veteran racer Steve Tilford gives his 2 cents

- cyclingnews.com Talks with USAC about the rule

- Mountain Bike Radio talks with racers, promoters and leaders about this rule and a discussion with JHK on this

- Sho Air Cannadale team ignores the rule

- The Breck Epic was one of the first in Colorado to raise their voice about this rule a couple of months ago.

Colorado Pro racers also lose the ability to train and improve at their local convenience so when they do go to those real big UCI events they can perform at the best.

Colorado rising juniors can also lose out because it becomes an all or nothing... either get the UCI license and test the waters at the big event and forfeit many local races or never make the jump to do a UCI event.

There are a lot of losers at the moment. Who wins? Well the intent of the rule is to protect grass roots races and not have the pros come in and cherry pick the smaller events or the devils advocate would say it levels the playing field for local elites... But in all our years of cover cycling this is one complaint that is rarely heard.

What will happen in Colorado? It’s too early to say. Some riders have already been fined for racing at the Teva games in Vail but what could be a bigger change is many Colorado Mountain bikers are opting to not get a UCI license this year. There are still plenty of great national Mountain Biking events that are unsanctioned that can keep a sponsor happy and a paycheck coming to the ride. And some are just going to ignore the UCI and USAC and continue racing just as they had and see how those cards fall out. What will be very interesting is how USAC plays this out... will they enforce or look away. Very difficult times for USAC. NORBA is long since dead and this could put a stake in mountain biking that could take many many years to undo for USAC. Good Luck USAC

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22 Comments

Free market

(I am writing this after the *temporary solution.... assuming in 8 months it's gonna be ugly again.)

It is irrelevant if it costs more or less for a promoter to promote a race thru USAC. I keep hearing arguments about how it is more expensive or less expensive. Whether or not the USAC offers a competitive insurance/scoring/judging/promotion package is irrelevant. They should not use racers to leverage promoters into falling in line with them. Period.

I don't care if USAC gets a screamin deal on insurance, or if they are a rip off. Same for all other associated fees/costs. It should be the promoter's choice how to sanction and insure their race. Likewise, unless the UCI/USAC claim ownership of the racers, they should be able to race in any race anywhere.

The USAC exists to grow cycling and foster competitive US riders. Regardless of how great or crappy it is to put on a USAC race, this rule does not support cycling in the US....certainly not cyclocross or mountain biking.

Incidentally, this recording from Mountain Bike Radio few day ago sheds quite a bit of light on the costs and "benefits" of promoting a USAC or even UCI race.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mountain-bike-radio/2013/04/10/the-dirt-fol...

At 24:00 minutes one of the

At 24:00 minutes one of the guys says the only reason he can see supporting USAC is to be "patriotic". Classic! Really interesting perspective and dialogue between these guys. With this rule negatively affecting top level HS athletes clearly something has to be done. Let's not take away the chance for a kid to be a kid and race with their friends and for their school. Thanks for sharing.

USAC Race

Andy Bohlmann, Sand Creek Sports here.

Disclaimer, sort of:
1. Just so you all know, I was the first USCF Technical Director from
1984-August 1990. I was part of the "team" that worked with the NORBA
people on the USCF purchase of NORBA in 1988. And, no I never
suspended any USCF rider who raced a NORBA race.
2. I also do the Colorado Mountain Bike Race Calendar with the help of
all Colorado MTB race organizers. http://www.sandcreeksports.com/rcs.htm
Most mtb races in CO are not USAC sanctioned and some are not as well
organized as you may be lead to believe.

Its been a busy few weeks on the mtb race end of things and everyone has an opinion. For the most part I've been quiet.

While I don't always see eye to eye with the NGB here in Colorado Springs, it was basically them who got the UCI to back off on that UCI rule with all of those numbers. There is still work to do but they are working on it. So, we'll see. Let's be constructive on this one. It matters to all of us.

And, FYI, I am organizing the June 16 KMC Classic p/b Rotor USA Colorado Men's (Junior, Senior and Masters) State XC Championship race in Palmer Park here in Colorado Springs. After MSC's great run, I thought long and hard about doing a USAC Championship race. I decided in favor in order to help qualify our great CO riders for Nationals and to help develop our juniors through the American Mountain Bike Challenge races and the Alison Dunlap Junior Race Series. Alison will be at the race.

The USAC fees were very reasonable and I didn't have to pay a dime up front as I'm using the USAC online registration service which seems to be working out very nicely. Race info at http://www.sandcreeksports.com/kmc.htm

In the meantime, this weekend starts our 2014 mtb race season in Fruita. Lets all have a great year.

Andy Bohlmann

A guy making a joke about you

A guy making a joke about you posting a reasonable, well thought out comment on a grossly over-hyper topic, that you apparently missed. You know, everybody is USAC bashing, except you, so... blah,blah... Sorry, didn't realize you were so humor impaired you wouldn't recognize when someone was actually saying something in support of your post.

come on Andy

Is that the best you have, the same old "You are whom" this site does not require a person to sign their name, you have made it very clear you feel they should, fine, have your opinion. Opinions are no better, or worse, for posting a name, give the arrogance a break. If your moral compass requires you to sign your name to a social media site, continue to do so, please remember you are not in control of anything but your races, which I have done 8 of them, and will continue to race your events, just sick of "and you are whom" every year.

You are a rare person if you

You are a rare person if you have done 8 of the Sand Creek races. They are usually so disorganized and uninspiring that not too many attend, Usually about 2-5 racers in each standard category/age group. Woo hoo.

And, just an FYI, even though he posted a pro-USAC comment (to drum up interest in his June USAC MTB race), in other years his races have been unsanctioned. Seems like he has some bad history with the USAC folks but now is toting the line.

BTW, thanks Andy for your persistence in promoting MTB races in the Springs and all that you have contributed to the sport. Good luck with this year's edition.

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