Another storm a-brewing

Patrick O’Brien notes in comments that Team Sho-Air-Cannondale plans to race Arizona’s Whisky Off-Road despite the threat of fines or suspensions for any UCI-licensed riders who dare take part in events that lack the blessing of that august body and its enforcers at USA Cycling.

Good on Sho-Air president Scott Tedro and his team for having a go here. The issue has been simmering for quite a while now, even getting the attention of the mainstream media, and I’m curious to see whether more licensees will join Sho-Air in taking a stand.

UCI and USAC are spreading the usual fertilizer about growing the sport and professional standards, hinting none too suavely that anyone racing an unsanctioned event is practically begging to get flogged by dopers or hung out to dry by substandard insurance.

But it smells like the same old monopolistic, might-makes-right, fuck-you-we’re-in-charge-here bullshit that led to the American Cycling Association, the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association and other groups going their own way back in the day.

I don’t personally have a dog in this fight. My last race was 10 years ago, when the ACA was still the Rebellion to USA Cycling’s Empire. Today it’s once again a client state of the Empire, reclaiming its old name of the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado, and I have no interest in repatriating in order to spend my weekends getting shelled at parking-lot crits in Denver while USAC and the UCI pass the time hunting new ways to piss off everyone in the sport.

That said, I’m happy to see someone with skin in the game taking a stand against this ridiculous rule. If unsanctioned events pose any threat at all it’s to the governing bodies’ bottom lines. They claim to be offering a superior product. Fine. Let them prove it in the marketplace instead with the rulebook.

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24 Responses to “Another storm a-brewing”

  1. Flahute Says:


  2. Beth Wrenn-Estes Says:

    Well said Patrick.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hey, it’s Princess Leia her own bad self! Who’da thunk we’d be smelling the same old horseshit after all these years, eh? I just took a look back in the Mad Dog archives and it was 1997 when I was drawing filthy cartoons about USAC and its deviltry as regards the district reps. The more things change, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

    • Andy Bohlmann Says:

      Hey Beth,

      I still give ’em trouble….

    • khal spencer Says:

      Couldn’t ACA have sued USA Cycling for a monopolistic practice? Like Patrick, I don’t have a dog in this fight, but like Patrick, I think this is an embarrassment to cycling.

  3. weaksides (@weaksides) Says:

    All I’m saying is 60 bucks a year to race is a bit much when I haven’t had a raise in 5 years.

  4. Larry T. Says:

    I ditched USA Cycling back when they wanted 90 bucks for a license – and I didn’t even want to race anymore. I merely wanted to help them out as a certified race mechanic – and on top of this they forced one to become an official (with yet another license fee) just to show their gratitude. The corporate types who highjacked the thing pretty much lost me forever with that stunning idea…so I have no dog in the current fight either. But based on who is running both shows (UCI and USA) I’d be inclined to support the rebels if for no other reason than to kick a slat or two out from under the thrones of those who have done so little in the anti-doping arena, among other things.

  5. Derek Lenahan Says:

    So yeah good point Larry, I used to pay my mechanic and officials licensing fee mostly so I would be “Authorized” to go work for free at some event when USA cycling beckons. Travel money, no. Housing, no. So what is going to happen if some poor licensed mechanic is volunteering at an unsanctioned event? Fines and suspensions? Is your local kids helmet giveaway a sanctioned event? Lets say we get Tee Jay to throw out the first ball at a Sky Sox game, Baseball is not sanctioned by the UCI, did we just break a rule?

  6. Andy Bohlmann Says:

    UCI not to enforce, for now…

    This will appear in VN maybe tomorrow

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It’s on Cyclingnews right now, Andy.

      Here’s the text of the UCI announcement:

      “The UCI listened to the feedback from the various groups involved and who feel affected by a strict and immediate enforcement of rule 1.2.019 and its associated sanctions. The UCI has decided to postpone strict enforcement of rule 1.2.019 in 2013 with the expectation that all stakeholders (National Federations, race directors, teams and riders) will discuss and do what is necessary to prepare for the rule’s full enforcement in 2014.”

      Mike McCormack of Breck Epic remains unimpressed, tweeting: “Never. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not in 2014.”

      How are you doing as a tool of the capitalist running dogs?

  7. Arnold Stonehouse Says:

    Absolutely right and on the mark Patrick. Now if these iron ass dim bulbs will just listen……..Naaaa what chance of THAT happening anytime soon? They have shown repeatedly by their actions that all they are is a group of bureaucrats, Interested in only what they are interested in….generating reams of paper, not bikes or racing.

  8. John Says:

    I’m reading a lot of comments over at Cyclingnews and elsewhere about this issue from the participants’ and promoters’ perspectives, but I’m not reading much about how this affects the fans. Seems to me that the smaller sanctioning bodies are putting on events that are proving to be popular with the fans also, and with the sport suffering one black eye after another this would seem to be a rare bit of good news for USA Cycling and the UCI even if they aren’t directly making money off of these events.

    Personally, after 20 years following this sport I find my interest badly waning due mostly to the recent revelations concerning the UCI’s corrupt practices. Why should I take an interest in an event in which the sanctioning body has a history of picking winners from countries where their sponsors see a growing market? (And may be doing this still…coughwigginscough.)

    This rule, whether it’s enforced now or in 2014, would seem to be short sighted at best. No, wait, it’s more like “stupid” at best.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, it’s all about the “paperwork,” as in those little green pictures of dead presidents.

      When I was still racing I routinely did unsanctioned events, and surprise surprise — some of them were much more fun than the officially approved contests.

      One such was the Mount Taylor Winter Quadrathlon in Grants, N.M. It was (and I’m guessing remains) a big money-maker for the town, and everyone was made to feel right at home. Fun race, lots of goodies for the competitors, and nary a Suit to be found. Downside? Never found one.

  9. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    Like Patrick and others, I have no dog in this fight. I am on Epic Rides E mail list, but do not know Mr. Sadow or other Epic Rides staff. Epic Rides is unique, at least to my knowledge, in that they pay equal purses to men and women competitors. Their events are a big deal in my home state of Arizona. The Whiskey Off Road will have 2000 riders and 8000 attendees, and having the pros race is a big part of their popularity. I am thinking about riding in the upcoming Epic Rides Tour of the White Mountains event in October. I have never raced before; it will probably be a one time “bucket list” kind of ride for me, but the lure of a weekend around mountain bikers, some professional, with food, beer, camping, and music is strong. I want to experience it as a participant not a spectator.

    The UCI response is ignorant and arrogant. One thing I have learned in life is that unresolved conflict does not get better with age. And, a monopoly is seldom popular or necessary. I just hope that the action by the Sho-Air/Cannondale team doesn’t cause problems for Epic Rides. I assume that the team’s response to the UCI rule was coordinated with Epic Rides. I hope other teams in the pro division join them. One thing is for sure, the UCI and USA cycling had a large part, as Patrick has reported before, in killing the La Vuelta de Bisbee, but allowed Lance and Levi to participate in the nearby Tour of the Gila if they didn’t wear their team kits. WTF? Only answer I can come up with is money.

    • md anderson Says:

      I “raced” three years at the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo put on by Epic Rides. All three times, despite some truly epic weather in one case, the event was well run and a whole lot of fun. Recreational wankers like me mixed it up just fine with serious amateurs and a few pros alike. Why I even had old Tinker in my wheel one lap until the trail opened up and he passed me in a most polite manner.

      I don’t think you can’t go wrong at one of their events. They manage to keep a down home atmosphere (but maybe that’s just the mtn bike crowd in general) and do a great deal for local charities as well.

  10. khal spencer Says:

    We need a second national body. Kinda like the NFL needed the AFL to tweak its nose. Seems that a good lawyer could make an anti-trust case out of this if it was important enough.

  11. bromasi Says:

    I agree with Khal, it’s long overdue

  12. Steve O Says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how, regardless of how smalltime the venue is, the person in charge of said smalltime venue invariably let’s go to his head

    The only possible concern that the UCI and USAC could have is that these kids might be racing on ditch weed instead of the primo stuff.

    • Steve O Says:

      Sorry, lost a paragraph. By venue, I meant the cycling powers that be, who act like they own the keys to the gold executive shitter, and not the little races who are putting on a show just cuz riding a bike fast is fun.

      If USAC were traded on the NYSE, you’d find it somewhere south of How exactly does one flex his muscles when his arms look like pipe cleaners and his neck resembles a #2 Ticonderoga?

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