Coffee Talk Tuesday - Velonews Analysis of USAC on grassroots growth

This week's Coffee Talk deals with probably one of the most commented stories of 2011, the integration of ACA with USA Cycling. Velonews takes a look at this affect of assimilation of local associations and their affect on grassroots cycling

A few weeks ago VeloNews did and amazing spread on USAC titled, Analysis: Is USAC feeding grass roots, or trampling them?. Now, over a year into the USAC/ACA integration how do we feel? Below are some clips from the VeloNews story

In early June 2012, Tom Danielson, Georgia Gould and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski were among thousands of competitors at Vail’s Teva Mountain Games, a multi-sport event that includes bike racing, kayaking, rock climbing and trail running.

All three cyclists made the most of their trip to the Colorado high country, winning their respective races and collecting the accompanying $3,000 first-place prize checks.

A few days later, fellow pro cyclist Danny Pate penned what appeared to be a semi-sarcastic tweet, asking: “Hey @tomdanielson does @usacycling or @UCI_cycling know you raced the Teva Games this year, I don’t think it’s a UCI race?”


Fifteen days later, in what appears to have been a response at least in part prompted by Pate’s tweet, USA Cycling technical director Shawn Farrell sent an email to Horgan-Kobelski, Gould and several other pro-level mountain bikers who had competed in Vail. (Danielson was not part of this group, but presumably received a separate email.) VeloNews obtained a copy of the correspondence, which read in part:

“Dear Pro Mountain Bikers: It has come to our attention that you participated in the 2012 Teva Games in a MTB discipline. This event is not sanctioned by USA Cycling. As such, a professional rider on a UCI team may not participate in it, according to UCI rule 1.2.019. The penalty for not following that rule is a fine of 50-100 Swiss francs and a one-month suspension. As this is the first documented and reported case of this in your collective instances, we will not be proceeding with any suspensions, and are choosing the low end of the fine spectrum. Therefore, please consider this your notice that you were fined. I shall leave it up to you and your teams to decide who wants to pay.”


Whatever the motivations were, the ACA rejoined USAC in 2012 under its old name, the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado, overseeing a successful, albeit more expensive, calendar of amateur bike racing in Colorado. In 2011, the cost of an ACA license, good for road, mountain, and cyclocross, was $45. In 2012, a USAC road license ($60), plus a mountain bike add-on ($30), and membership in BRAC ($25) totaled $115.

While not mandatory, the BRAC membership was necessary if a rider wanted to avoid a $5-per-race surcharge required of non-members racing BRAC races (which include nearly all the popular Colorado cyclocross races).

Make sure you read all at VeloNews

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Grass Roots vs USAC

Our club still thinks it was a mistake to go back to USAC. If we are lucky, Change Cycling Now will clean out UCI and dispose of McQuaid and Verbruggen. Next to go should be Steve Johnson from USAC since he knew about doping and did nothing.

its not a seperate agency,

its not a seperate agency, its a local association of the USAC.

a decade ago, colorado racers decided that USAC wasnt meeting thier needs or representing them, taking money out of colorado and not giving back, so they splintered and formed BRAC/ACA.

for a long time USAC had very little amateur presence in CO, and most of our races were sanctioned solely by ACA. USAC saw the growth in CO cycling as lost revenue and started to put pressure on CO racers to reintegrate, using a lot of strong arm tactics that left ACA/BRAC with very little choice but to reintegrate, so there was a vote and we reintegrated.

Now we are dealing with the reprocussions of that. I havent seen much benefit to the reintegration, but its hard to say where we'd be without it, since we dont know how much more pressure USAC would have applied. They likely would have established an alternate, competing Local Association and started a race by race, promoter by promoter turf war that could have been really disasterous (or on the other hand might have actually led to come market inspired cost cutting. its hard to say which.

But, races are about the same price, licenses are much more expensive, purses and sponsor support seem basically static to me, and now we have dope control showing up at our cross races.

Its very difficult to see any benefit USAC has brought, but the willingness to bully suggests without reintegration we'd be in worse shape. and i am still not convinced that an all volunteer LA could provide the kind of quality support we are accustomed to.

USAC is applying pressure to

USAC is applying pressure to the Oregon Bicycle Racing Assn. to join USAC as an LA. It will be interesting to see how all that ends up in a year or so. OBRA has done pretty good on its own though, not to mention that USAC held past cross nats and current masters nats in the state. Since we are an LA now, for better or worse, personally I don't mind paying the BRAC fees in order to have more autonomy, do things ourselves, and to help keep our distance from the mothership.

I don't understand the

I don't understand the comment about how paying the BRAC fees gives us more autonomy. It doesn't help keep our distance as the mothership doesn't want to be close other than when picking our pockets. Now we have both the mothership and the drone picking our pockets.

I love how arguments about

I love how arguments about cost always come down to "well a tire costs more" or "carbon bike this" or "carbon wheels that". Not everyone buys the idea that just because a license now costs $85+/year as opposed to $50 (or whatever it used to be under ACA) that it's okay because my tires cost me $100/pair or because I have a carbon bike that I'm fine throwing my money around for extra license fees. There should be some sort of benefit for the extra money we're paying.

Another club for going back to ACA

We fought against the merger, we voted against it, now I KNOW it was a mistake. USAC is ruining cycling in Colorado for pros, amateurs, and juniors. Our club would leave tomorrow is there was another option. Our club racer participation has dwindled. Our riders are pissed and turned off with all the BS and expenses. We know of several, many, other teams that would leave to well organized second option racing league for amateurs. Let the pros race at BRAC events sanctioned by USAC with 40 participants and see how long that lasts....

Have not seen much that would improve my racing experience.

Although I've been USAC licensed for the previous years, I don't race much more than two or three USAC races a year as there haven't been many sanctioned mountain bike races. I'd like to see it stay that way.

My observation mainly through the local CX races has been an increase in entry fees. So, especially since I am not a die hard CX racer, I just didn't care to pay the extra cost for races. So I didn't even bother to race CX just for fun, I didn't see the value.

From my mountain biking experience, the 2-3 USAC races I have done each season, I've noticed no difference in quality of the experience. In fact, since I'm paying extra to be in a USAC race I would think in the bare minimum my results would get posted to my USAC profile, but the _only_ result I have posted is a DNF where I broke my collarbone... so for the money I have spent over the years I don't even get my results posted.

Being the weekend warrior racer, where I think many if not most Colorado racers fall into this category, I would not tolerate any entry fee increase for the races I do to become USAC races (license requirements, increase in entry fees). This means RME, Winter Park, Breck Epic, Growler....

Where is the benefit of USAC to the weekend racer? I may be missing the understanding of this...