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Talk me off the ledge (Race Promotion)

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Talk me off the ledge (Race Promotion)

Old 12-07-18, 10:17 AM
  #101  
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Something else we haven't really touched on in this discussion is injury.

If I go run a marathon, I may sprain an ankle, strain a muscle or tear a ligament. But I'm likely going to do that myself. I am not likely to be injured by the actions of another runner, and even if I do "crash" in a running race, I am only likely to suffer minor scrapes and bruises.

Road racing has a very high level of injury potential, and even death. Broken bones and concussions are common. And each year, my ability to bounce back from injury lessens. That doesn't help keep people involved.

I don’t know what you mean.
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Old 12-07-18, 10:19 AM
  #102  
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Dieter I’m not surprised you don’t know that stuff. I don’t think you should. But people do. And the idea of racing against a guy who routinely won cat 1 races, downgraded to a 4, or a guy who
infanously doped as a 5 is unquestionably part of what has people giving up.

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Old 12-07-18, 11:48 AM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
I'll have to listen to that on my easy ride this weekend.

The winners are the loudest voice in the community, and that creates a problem because they only represent a small amount of the race community as a whole. The promoters don't go to the riders who struggle year after year (aka the majority) they ask the national champs and competitive Cat 1's what they want out of race day.

At Chico, they got rid of the 45+ 4/5's and told the racers to race 35+ 3/4. The next year those riders just didn't show up; attendance dropped in the lower cats but was up for the 1's and 2's. This is the same trend that happened in the SCNCA when they went to that format. The promoters and USAC still don't get it; every time I talk to one they cite external reasons; some of which are true but race day design is a big issue. They don't see a problem with the change because the 30 somethings farming wins rave about it. To be fair, a 35+ year old going from Cat 4 to having to race against Bahati and Monster Media is probably too big a jump as well.

A solution would be to combine races and score more groups separately. Let Women have masters groups, don't clump all Juniors in one group, etc. So what is someone is guaranteed a podium, at least that person feels they have an incentive to race. I'm not sure if that's legal or even viable though.
Combining fields and scoring them separately is HORRIBLE! I've raced in fields like that, and it takes too much energy to keep track of who is in what field. You can't truly race if you don't know you who are racing against.
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Old 12-07-18, 07:06 PM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
You're missing the point from the track forum discussion. ...
No, I got that point. It is about skill and safety although a pro/Cat 1 in one discipline, due to lack of experience or skill crashing others out, I would expect to be rare.

My post was confirming there is an upgrade issue. In my kid's case who has not ever had a USAC race road or track crash he has 8 categories to manage and 12 qualifier races to do to race nationals. The last 5 years there are calls needed to sort this out, get exceptions. It is generally simple, but it is a lot of unneeded effort.

I think it is true that most want to race against similar ability. Riding off the front, or back or sandbagging in the pack are not as fun (for many) as duking it out with similar ability. Those may be a different age, gender or category. USAC groups by a bunch of non-performance

So much of USAC racing is based on grouping other than performance. Age, gender and school. So at collegiate MTB nats both men's Varsity and Club had 6 riders each finish their races. That is just one example. If the collegiates were group by ability I think 4X as many would have finished.
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Old 12-07-18, 07:18 PM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by chicagogal View Post
Combining fields and scoring them separately is HORRIBLE! I've raced in fields like that, and it takes too much energy to keep track of who is in what field. You can't truly race if you don't know you who are racing against.
Truth.

A number of years ago I was in the NYS crit. Actually it was Dieter's race. Shame it went away. Great course in downtown Saratoga Springs. It started to rain while we were on the line. A group of 5 or 6 of us attacked in the first turn and that was the race. Problem was it was a combined 35/45 (I think - could have been 30/40, as I forget the year), and it wasn't evident who was in what race. I was racing to win the race, and one team had two guys. As we got down to the end there were attacks, and counters, and this one guy was just hanging on. I assumed he was shot. These two guys worked me over pretty good, and I ended up getting 5th out of 5. Turned out the guy hanging on was in my age group, and he was simply marking me so he would win the age group. So we were out there quite literally doing different things.

This year's NYS RR was combined with the NJS RR. In one field there were two state titles on the line, and two age groups. All the numbers were the same.
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Old 12-07-18, 08:59 PM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by DieterDrake View Post
If USAC wants to survive (yes, this is a concern - USA Swimming is filing for bankruptcy, for example) they need to send the message that it's ok not to race and to try other formats.
The outgoing CEO of USAC Derek Bouchard-Hall does recognize this issue which is why they now offer non-racing memberships and supporting Gran Fondos. In this podcast he mentions British Cycling, which has more non-racing members than racers.

https://www.velonews.com/2018/11/new...cycling_481556
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Old 12-07-18, 10:16 PM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by gl98115 View Post
The outgoing CEO of USAC Derek Bouchard-Hall does recognize this issue which is why they now offer non-racing memberships and supporting Gran Fondos. In this podcast he mentions British Cycling, which has more non-racing members than racers.

https://www.velonews.com/2018/11/new...cycling_481556
Agreed, but my point is that the message has not been communicated well and Velonews is not exactly in the outlet in which to convey it. That's like yelling in an echo chamber. USA Today or Rolling Stone, yes, VN no.
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Old 12-10-18, 01:48 PM
  #108  
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The message was clear when I was in Colorado a few months ago - future = enthusiasts. That was the message being put out by DBH. Now he's gone. Good luck to whomever replaces him and here's to hoping USA Cycling doesn't fall back into the mess it was.

As for more non-racers than racers - we all have this. I just ran USAC database numbers on team sizes in IL. We are still second with 65 or so. We have 150+ member group on Facebook for the team. At one point xXx Racing in Chicago was a 200+ member club. While still the largest in Illinois they are only 86 members (IIRC) with licenses. To boot - not all of our license holders race in a year. Something between 30-40% actually register for a race in any given year. .
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Old 12-21-18, 04:05 PM
  #109  
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I generally prefer DeManhattans, but I'm hopeful this guy will do a good job: https://www.velonews.com/2018/12/new...martini_482480
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Old 12-31-18, 11:58 AM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by cmh View Post
I generally prefer DeManhattans, but I'm hopeful this guy will do a good job: https://www.velonews.com/2018/12/new...martini_482480
Good stuff. A Related link: https://www.velonews.com/2018/12/new...ability_482465

“Sports like cycling are moving away from elitism if you look at triathlon or even something like a Tough Mudder. USA Cycling needs to get away from elitism.”

Vaughters and other sources pointed to the growth of gravel events as an opportunity for growth.

“Everyone is doing these independent races and they’re blowing up. They’re huge,” Travis McCabe said. “Why isn’t USA Cycling trying to collaborate with these events and these organizers and get those members to come on board and do those races as well?”

Developing young riders

Every pro rider VeloNews spoke with praised USA Cycling’s work in developing young talent. Brent Bookwalter suggested that collegiate racing should be more integrated with the development path for young American riders. Bookwalter raced with Lees-McRae college prior to joining the professional ranks.

“It seems like the collegiate scene is very alive and healthy but it’s still sort of a self-standing thing. It’s still not really utilized or recognized or respected as a development path. I think there’s potential,” he said.

“You could just start with USA Cycling developing a little more formalized talent IDs and feeder opportunities from collegiate cycling. Or even trying to put together composite squads at some American races.”

Once riders reach the elite ranks, their interactions with USA Cycling become less frequent as trade teams and the UCI become more relevant in their day-to-day lives. For many pros, direct communication with USA Cycling is often limited to national championship events and national team selection for world championships and the Olympics.
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Old 12-31-18, 11:20 PM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
Good stuff. A Related link: https://www.velonews.com/2018/12/new...ability_482465

“Sports like cycling are moving away from elitism if you look at triathlon or even something like a Tough Mudder. USA Cycling needs to get away from elitism.”

Vaughters and other sources pointed to the growth of gravel events as an opportunity for growth.

“Everyone is doing these independent races and they’re blowing up. They’re huge,” Travis McCabe said. “Why isn’t USA Cycling trying to collaborate with these events and these organizers and get those members to come on board and do those races as well?”

Developing young riders

Every pro rider VeloNews spoke with praised USA Cycling’s work in developing young talent. Brent Bookwalter suggested that collegiate racing should be more integrated with the development path for young American riders. Bookwalter raced with Lees-McRae college prior to joining the professional ranks.

“It seems like the collegiate scene is very alive and healthy but it’s still sort of a self-standing thing. It’s still not really utilized or recognized or respected as a development path. I think there’s potential,” he said.

“You could just start with USA Cycling developing a little more formalized talent IDs and feeder opportunities from collegiate cycling. Or even trying to put together composite squads at some American races.”

Once riders reach the elite ranks, their interactions with USA Cycling become less frequent as trade teams and the UCI become more relevant in their day-to-day lives. For many pros, direct communication with USA Cycling is often limited to national championship events and national team selection for world championships and the Olympics.
Seems like they're going in the right direction. I listened to @psimet s podcast a few weeks back and the points made were pretty spot on.
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Old 01-01-19, 01:01 AM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
Seems like they're going in the right direction. I listened to @psimet s podcast a few weeks back and the points made were pretty spot on.
At the time (3-4 years ago) my kid was in it, USAC selection was much based on focus of the riders (vs talent and winning). So a kid that said he wanted to row for college, got huge push back. The idea was that these 15-17 year old kids were supposed to be all-in. Thing is, that is just to young.

The drop-off rate post 18 is huge too.

I doubt the attitude about youth has changed at all.

Last edited by Doge; 01-01-19 at 01:04 AM.
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Old 01-06-19, 12:36 PM
  #113  
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Maybe there's some hope. NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association ) seems to be doing well. In some parts of the country doing very well with yoy growth. Looking around the site it seems they offer plenty of support for those that are 'willing to get involved and start teams. I could see possibilities within this league for cyclocross. I could also see possibilities for indoor practices, training, and racing with Zwift and the like for these kids. Road racing, or crit racing may be an issue with insurance unless you could train them indoors and race closed course on the weekend? The visibility of local crits and the promotion of races seems to be to underground, you either need to be looking for them or already interested in cycling to find them. With programs like NICA you can go directly to the schools and get kids going that may not want to sit the bench for he "standard" school sports. Looks like they also have middle school programs going.. Seems like most kids would prefer starting with MTB and the way I see it that's the start of an interest in cycling.

https://www.nationalmtb.org/nica-leagues/

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Old 01-06-19, 07:37 PM
  #114  
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Originally Posted by Hapsmo911 View Post
Maybe there's some hope. NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association ) seems to be doing well. In some parts of the country doing very well with yoy growth. Looking around the site it seems they offer plenty of support for those that are 'willing to get involved and start teams. I could see possibilities within this league for cyclocross. I could also see possibilities for indoor practices, training, and racing with Zwift and the like for these kids. Road racing, or crit racing may be an issue with insurance unless you could train them indoors and race closed course on the weekend? The visibility of local crits and the promotion of races seems to be to underground, you either need to be looking for them or already interested in cycling to find them. With programs like NICA you can go directly to the schools and get kids going that may not want to sit the bench for he "standard" school sports. Looks like they also have middle school programs going.. Seems like most kids would prefer starting with MTB and the way I see it that's the start of an interest in cycling.

https://www.nationalmtb.org/nica-leagues/
Collegiate is doing well as far as participation. As a funnel to USAC not so much. USAC is looking for the kids that want to go Tour pro. Those that will, will find a way to do it without USAC help and many USA kids that can - don't want to. USAC putting hopes on its riders doing well as adults on the world stage is a big stretch. Very few can, and fewer want to. Having a domestic semi-pro scene might be a pretty good farm league thing. But if the goal of USAC remains creating world tour pros, they will have little success.

As you point out the NICA schools seem to be doing well. The NCAA schools, esp DI, DII have to fund the NCAA sports, which cycling is not one. Many of the big name academic schools are NCAA DI, so if you go there, cycling is a club. But you get a more prestigious (usually) degree. It can be a difficult choice.
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Old 01-07-19, 07:38 AM
  #115  
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i'm not sure

~10 years ago, the C & D fields each had two sub-fields, as a combined 80-90 field would be quite a bit at the cat 4/5 and cat 5 levels. B fields routinely had more then 50 riders, and there were 8-9 race weekends.
Now each of the C & D fields would be lucky to have more than 50 riders, and B fields would be lucky to have more than 35. Race weekends are down to 5-6. Definitely not doing well
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Old 01-07-19, 12:13 PM
  #116  
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When I rode less than 2,000 miles per year, I considered myself a cyclist. But I thought there was no way I could race. Not good enough. And to a large extent that is true. A person who dedicates a LOT of time to cycling will not be good enough to even stay in the field. You have to be extraordinarily dedicated. Not just a minor side hobby. Most cyclists never get to the point where they are among the local elites. That's what cat 4 racers are. Compared to the overall number of cyclists out there, they are elite. And then you factor in all the other downsides of racing--cost, time, and injuries. The market is tiny.
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Old 01-07-19, 06:08 PM
  #117  
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We just lost our State Crit Championship. So far that's 3 official crits gone for this year and mine still being an un-official loss. Yay bikes!
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Old 01-08-19, 01:20 PM
  #118  
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
USAC is looking for the kids that want to go Tour pro.
I was thinking about this when going through the license renewal process this year. TBH, I know our national organization can have multiple objectives and support multiple tasks - like sanctioning racing as well as running a process to help kids succeed at a professional level.

My thoughts lie in the area of "why would getting kids to turn 'Tour Pro' (as you called it) be a continuing objective in an era of mass decline of participation?"

I'd like USAC to focus on increasing participation in racing, cost reduction for sanctioning, and effective member retention instead of funneling resources and time towards helping a few kids turn pro. Although I hope a lot of the funding for that elite level program comes from private donations.

I also think that the Ride Clean surcharge is pointless and the money would be spent elsewhere promoting participation across a variety of disciplines, but that's a different thread.
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Old 01-08-19, 02:07 PM
  #119  
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Originally Posted by Matt2.8NJ View Post
I was thinking about this when going through the license renewal process this year. TBH, I know our national organization can have multiple objectives and support multiple tasks - like sanctioning racing as well as running a process to help kids succeed at a professional level.

My thoughts lie in the area of "why would getting kids to turn 'Tour Pro' (as you called it) be a continuing objective in an era of mass decline of participation?"

I'd like USAC to focus on increasing participation in racing, cost reduction for sanctioning, and effective member retention instead of funneling resources and time towards helping a few kids turn pro. Although I hope a lot of the funding for that elite level program comes from private donations.

I also think that the Ride Clean surcharge is pointless and the money would be spent elsewhere promoting participation across a variety of disciplines, but that's a different thread.
One answer to your question: Having top ProTour riders does more for increasing participation than anything else. More kids to the Pro Tour means more chance of hitting on the next Greg L. or Lance A.

A counter argument is that to hit on the next American superstar racer we should build the biggest base of participation possible, not just focus on the top few riders. To some extent you need to do both.
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Old 01-08-19, 02:34 PM
  #120  
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Originally Posted by cmh View Post
. More kids to the Pro Tour means more chance of hitting on the next Greg L. or Lance A.
Does though in the USA? I'd wager that especially since 2012 the next generation of kids who would be likely to start racing as a junior don't give a crap about the Pro Tour.

Let's be honest, the next generation of road cycling juniors by and large are kids who have seen their parents bike race or have participated in bike-related activities with their parents.

The NICA and like organizations are able to recruit mountain bikers from a more general population of kids who play traditional sports. Which is awesome!

But for road racing? I think the USAC should focus on mass participation, not funding a few juniors. Road racing in the USA is a tiny fringe sport. And track? Fringe sport within a fringe sport.

To be fair, I don't know the financials of the elite USAC training programs, they could be funded from private donors, in which case... go nuts.
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Old 01-08-19, 06:33 PM
  #121  
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If you all really cared about cycling you'd find the next Lance and dope him to the gills so we can get the sport back into the american consciousness.
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Old 01-09-19, 07:41 AM
  #122  
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Someone commented to me once that he wouldn't work with junior riders because he didn't want to take on the responsibility of having juniors riding on the road - whether by themselves or with others - and risk being hit by a car. It's a comment that has stuck with me.

Cyclocross, track and MTB all offer much safer (relatively speaking) opportunities for bicycling. And some of those are family friendly - our local cross series is scheduled so that dads race in the morning, juniors next, then after a short break, moms go. They can all be done by noon. At the same time, they also do not require shutting roads, police, or really town support to put on a race.

If we really want to see cycling grow, that is probably where the most effort should be placed.
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Old 01-09-19, 08:32 AM
  #123  
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SDVA (San Diego Velodrome) has a lot of support, participation and development for juniors. We just put one one the Olympic Development team - Ian Oelrich. Kid spanks me regularly in the ATRA Tuesday night series.
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Old 01-09-19, 03:44 PM
  #124  
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You guys hit on some stuff I feel as though I can provide some clarification for. The one thing to keep in mind is that the charter/purpose of USA cycling is as a NGB - National Governing Body for Olympic sports. Because of this there is this weird dual service that occurs.

A gross amount of money that is used by USA Cycling is actually provided by the US Olympic Committee. This has always been in exchange for our NGB setting up systems that lead to providing athletes that can compete for medals in the Olympics. For the most part this means track. Yet our track infrastructure and management in this country is weird. Everyone i have met is super rigid in their own belief in what works and what doesn't. The internal politics are super paralyzing. Get 4 leaders together and you get 4 completely different directions that everyone must run in now or the sport will die.

Most of the other money comes from the trustees/board of directors. It is also almost always earmarked for track programs.

All of this and track is one of the least populated disciplines we have in the sport. Not to mention that I know personally of at least 2 that have had to do serious fund raising in order to support their Olympic track plans. One actually went to the Olympics too.

DBH said all of this in a presentation he gave us a few months before he left USAC. He then went on to say that "we are a road cycling organization at our core though. The pinnacle of our sport is the Tour/Pro Tour level racing." He then went on to show license numbers and how the tend follows 100% our performance in Europe/pro. The LeMond bumps. The Lance peaks, etc. As I mention in our podcast on this - there is nowhere on that chart that shows the effect that race prices have had. payout eliminations, etc. There just isn't any other factor that truly impacts license numbers on a macro level other than performance in road in Europe.

This is illustrated to a great extent right now. We are in a big trough. In the spring at Paris-Roubaix we had 1 American who took the start. Granted it was Taylor Phinney but still. Taylor is one of the best genetic racers our country will ever produce yet he'll never reach his potential. We can say it's because of the leg accident (his version of his father going through he rear window), lack of a team to fully support, or his seeming reluctance to dope (all just a guess). While he was top 10 at Paris Roubaix, his finish doesn't necessarily inspire throngs of would be racers to take to the streets to pretend they are Taylor as they tackle their local climb.

On the NICA front - I really wish they would get out of their own way and make it about cyclocross as well as mtb. They will never gain full traction throughout the country until they do. The mtb areas will always support them but the vast flat prairies of the country will never go full mtb while cross will always be feasible and will make sense regardless of the location.
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Old 01-10-19, 06:31 AM
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Rob, one of the other issues with track racing is the number and location of tracks -- There just are not that many of them.

Many of the older, established ones have very strong communities and junior development programs. Some of the newer ones have struggled in that regard. Without the infrastructure, it is kind of hard to commit to building a large track program, like Britain has done. And while track remains a small niche in cycling, it has the potential to be very spectator friendly - European Six Day events are an example of that.

But you are right, track racing does have its issues, and many of the tracks use ATRA and not USAC.
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