Don’t renew your USA Cycling license. Do these independently sanctioned races instead.
Editor’s Note: The Angry Singlespeeder is a collection of mercurial musings from contributing editor Kurt Gensheimer. In no way do his maniacal diatribes about all things bike oriented represent the opinions of Mtbr, RoadBikeReview, or any of their employees, contractors, janitorial staff, family members, household pets, or any other creature, living or dead. You can submit questions or comments to Kurt at firstname.lastname@example.org. And make sure to check out Kurt’s previous columns.
I’ve been a cardholding member of USA Cycling since 1996, the year USAC took over NORBA. Is it a coincidence that 1996 also happened to be the year when the popularity of mountain biking went careening off a rocky cliff? I think not.
In the last five years, mountain bike racing has dusted itself off from a long downhill tumble and is once again climbing in popularity. People are coming back, legendary races like the Downieville Classic, Breckenridge Epic and Whiskey Off-Road are selling out and *gasp!* promoters are having huge success putting on races without USA Cycling getting their grubby little hands in the mix. Imagine that. There’s a reason why so many great mountain bike races these days aren’t USAC sanctioned; because USAC no longer adds value to an event.
Of course the folks in Colorado Springs can’t just sit idle on the sidelines and watch the sport they supposedly oversee with exorbitant fees and paralyzing bureaucracy leave them with a roost of dirt on their faces. Therefore, in order to prevent themselves from falling into the chasm of complete and utter irrelevance, USAC is playing the absolute last card they have.
In case you haven’t heard, USAC is suddenly enforcing an arcane UCI rule that has existed for years but has never been enforced. UCI 1.2.019 rule states “No license holder may participate in an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognized by a national federation, a continental confederation or the UCI. Breaches of articles 1.2.019 or 1.2.020 shall render the license holder liable to one month’s suspension and a fine of 50 to 100 Swiss francs.”
Basically, if you are professional mountain biker on a UCI registered team, you are not allowed to race any independently sanctioned races in the US or you will be fined and/or suspended…in Swiss francs no less. Since 99.99999 percent of us mountain bikers are not Pro UCI license holders on a registered team, why should we even care what USAC is doing?