By Bill Plock
Some people may wonder why I wanted to join the BRAC board, now known as Coloradocycling.org. After all I am not known as a bike racer or a race promoter or race director. Those have been the typical titles of most board members. I am more known, athletically at least, as a triathlete—hopefully professionally more known as the owner/publisher of 303Endurance—which owns 303Cycling.com and 303Triathlon.com and the 303Endurance Podcast.
So I am not your typical board member. But that’s precisely why I wanted to join the team. The current board has a lot of talent—on and off the bike. They care about cycling first and foremost. They care about racing too. They, like me want to do everything possible to foster the best cycling culture in the country.
I met BRAC President Andy Johnson about a year ago and we shared a beer on my porch and brainstormed ideas on how we could create an environment of more inclusion and getting more people to explore racing or doing group bike events and rides. We talked about ways BRAC could provide more value to cycling. I then interviewed Executive Director Shawn Ferrel and learned more about him and it was clear these guys love bikes and the lifestyle that goes with them, just like I do.
And during all this COVID hit and you all know the negative impact that had on racing—for now. BUT, the positive effect it has had on cycling is incalculable. There are more people riding bikes than ever. The opportunity to not only have a healthy race culture, but a healthy, active bike culture has never been better.
But time is ticking. The opportunity is fragile. Fragile in that all of these people who have bought bikes will at some point decide to make it lifestyle or there will be a huge inventory of used bikes for sale in a couple of years. Now is the time to engage with people new to cycling and wanting to explore all that it has to offer. Maybe it’s racing, maybe it’s exploring back roads, or commuting or just for exercise or whatever combination but they must get engaged.
I believe cycling (or running or triathlon) isn’t about the bike, it’s about the people who ride the bike. It’s about matching up peoples dreams, motivations and happiness with riding a bike and simply moving in nature. Or these days more and more utilizing technology at home to connect with indoor cycling like never before.
In a similar way BRAC, a.k.a Coloradocycling.org is at a bit of crossroads. With a more traditional focus on road racing it is becoming apparent to continue their relevance, they must also provide value to other disciplines of cycling and events. They also want to, and intend to provide value to all cyclists and work with events and advocacy groups to ensure everyone has access to the best possible bike culture possible.
Our mission at 303 is to engage with all cyclists. We were sort of born with an eye towards racing but have morphed from the those days. We have yet to focus much on mountain biking (bandwidth) but we do have a large following of all types of riders (and endurance athletes). With more and more new cyclists we intend to align more content to help them get excited with all the wonderful ways cycling can enrich their lives.
For me, while I have been to many bike races and have supported BRAC for years, I wanted to learn the nuances of bike racing and BRAC and join the team. I also think being closer to their sphere of influence will bring more stories for our audience which hopefully sheds new light on their endeavors and those they support and is good for everyone. I also wanted to bring my vision and exposure of the cycling and endurance lifestyle to BRAC as it begins to shift focus and broaden. Our missions seem to be converging much more than diverging. I figured we could learn from each other and make the world a better place together so to speak.
I look forward to meeting more BRAC constituents and sharing their stories. Whether it’s bikes or other sports, the racing segment of any sport generally sets the bar for equipment performance and provides a path for those desiring to take a sport to its highest level. Aspirational sports often touch the lives of everyone involved and make it a healthier, more viable community.
I’m looking forward to the immediate challenges we all face getting back to some sort of normal, and more so looking forward to the long future of cycling and endurance sports.