Saturday, June 15, 2013

I'm sorry USA Cycling, but it's time for a divorce

A few months back, I had to make a big decision.  My USA Cycling coaching licence was up and it was time to renew.  I had only held the coaching license for a few years, and yet my frustrations with the organization were mounting.  The straw that broke the camel's back, and made me finally choose not to renew, was their enforcement of the UCI's rules to not allow ANY licenced rider to compete in non-sanctioned races.

If you haven't read about this yet, get ready to be pissed off.  In a nutshell, the UCI President, Pat McQuaid, passed the rule 1.2.019 stating there will now be "forbidden races" for anyone holding a USA Cycling licence.  This doesn't just affect pro racers--or racers at all--this affects everyone from just plain old riders to event organizers and coaches.  I, myself, haven't raced in ages.  I do, however, take part in centuries and gravel events.  Because of this rule, and because I was a licence holder, I was essentially breaking the rules and my licence could be taken away.

So why did this all come about?  Many people guess it's because there has been a huge success in non-sanctioned events in the past few years.  Gravel races like Almanzo, the Dirty Kanza and Trans Iowa and mountain bike races like the NUE series, have proven that people want something different.  The organizers for these events make it about the pure love of cycling, not all the red tape surrounding it.  I think it speaks volumes when the non-sanctioned events are filling up and a lottery needs to take place for the few open spots.  Cyclists are having fun again and I support it 100%.

As I looked over my coaching registration, and contemplated why I got into coaching and training, it all became clear.  I didn't get into it because I wanted fame or recognition.  I didn't get into it because I only wanted to train top athletes.  I got into coaching because I wanted to help people have fun while training and become the cyclist they want to be.  If they want to do a non-sanctioned event, I'm all for it, and for that reason, I decided to "file" my renewal forms somewhere the recycling bin.

Riding Almanzo and happy not to be part of the UCI!
photo by Nathan Vergin


  1. Interesting. Thank you for making us aware.

    1. Thank you Norm for reading it! Looking good on your Sasha by the way!