editor’s note: I don’t simply copy/paste existing content, but this recent post by LA’s Don Ward, Organizer of the Marathon Crash Race (which I recently participated in and LOVED) a leader in LA’s bicycling movement as an advocate and instigator of things like Wolfpack Hustle and Midnight Ridazz, says it all perfectly.
Open letter to
Steve Johnson, President of USA Cycling
210 USA Cycling Point, Suite 100
Colorado Springs, CO 80919
Recently, it has come to my attention that the UCI and it’s subsidiaries (including USA cycling) have decided to enforce UCI rule 1.2.019 which states:
“No licence holder may participate in an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognised by a national federation, a continental confederation or the UCI. A national federation may grant special exceptions for races or particular events run in its own country.”
Sadly, this reaction by sanctioned racing bodies appears to be aimed directly at promoters such as myself and hugely popular unsanctioned races and events such as our Marathon Crash Race and Trimble Racing’s Red Hood Crit. Both are races that are doing something sanctioned racing argue-ably hadn’t done in years… draw new riders and new audiences to cycling. That fact makes this move to bar participation in our events come off as arrogant and fearful. Declaring the ability to levy fines on sanctioned riders who participate in our races, read: making money off events that other’s organize?
As the organizer of one of the largest unsanctioned bike races in the world, I admit, I personally have never raced in a sanctioned event and probably never will, the process seems a bit too cumbersome for me the casual racer. Yet this certainly doesn’t merit dismissal by your organization. In fact, I have spent the last 9 years of my life riding week after week with riders of all ages backgrounds and abilities through group bike rides and especially through our Monday night fast paced “Hustle Ride,” learning, teaching, coaching and encouraging literally thousands of riders to get better at navigating the dangers of live traffic – and having a blast doing it. I’ve seen completely new riders come to rides – often on frankensteined co-op built bikes – get dropped, come back, get strong, race our races and get completely hyped on bikes.
Lucky for you and USA Cycling this is only the beginning.
I would like to introduce you to Wolves like Beatriz Rodriguez, a rider who cut her riding teeth with our ride, developed her skills, won Dog Tags (our most coveted prize) in our races and then went on to score a national championship in your races. Nothing got the people talking like when she returned last summer to claim another set of Dog Tags in our Midnight Drag Race and then again returned to compete in the Marathon Crash Race to battle it out with 4000 other riders.
And now, your organizations are threatening to bar her and others like her from continued participation in the community?
She was our hero before she was yours.
Furthermore, I want you to consider guys like John “the Roadie” Gabriel, a cocky SOB who actually came from sanctioned racing to ride with us every week, in traffic, and push our crew to new limits. People see him show up to rides in his 3 time CA state champion kit and get inspired. If you had the ability to enforce your rules 3-4 years ago, would he be riding and racing with us? Knowing JTR the answer is
an emphatic fuck yes, but still… Thankfully, that was never a question and looking forward, it shouldn’t ever be a question. Riders are already talking about pseudonyms and other methods of hiding from your view – we will do what we can to make sure they escape fines or penalties until USA Cycling comes to it’s senses and embraces what we are doing.
Indeed, as our East Coast brother David Trimble voiced earlier, the fall of pro-cycling was one of the best things to happen for us… but if you think about it, it was good for everyone including you and your organization. As David extended an invitation, so do I… Ignore the UCI rules and realize what grass roots race events like ours are doing for the sport as a whole – growing it.
Wolfpack Hustle: The Unified Title Series