Monday, April 08, 2013

Why we need USAC

You might find the following surprising. I doubt it.

We need USAC. They are the National Governing Body in the US, and as such, hold the cards in terms of our International Cycling future. They are responsible for National Team projects, World Championships, National Championships, Olympics, etc for the United States. No one else can do what they do. Not to mention that they saved the Cyclocross World Champs this year when nothing else could. USAC does good work.

They also fuck up. But really, everyone does. One of the major issues in the past decade is the slow loss of their understanding of what their true currency is.

USAC seems to have had a culture shift recently, in that the underlying driving force in its practices and policy’s has been to only look at the bottom line, in the sense of $.

This is the mistake, albeit an easy one to make, especially when you look the situation from a traditional business perspective. But USAC should really be in the business of serving its membership.

I would like to argue that USAC needs to refocus on its true currency, which is a total membership numbers and total race days. This is their real job.

It seems apparent that USAC wants to get more races under its umbrella. Recent rule enforcement announcements indicate this. They seem to have focused on their ability to make $, rather than their ability to server their membership and this has caused the route taken to be the incorrect one.

If we can refocus the goal of USAC away from $, and onto increased membership numbers and race days, an easy solution emerges.

Race promoters want to put on events. They also need to have insurance to do so in a responsible manner. USAC provides insurance. But, so do other people.

If USAC wants to be the product of choice for a race promoter, they need to make a product that race promoters want.

I do not know what that product looks like, as I am not a race promoter. However, it seems fairly obvious to me that USAC is not currently providing that product; hence race promoters are going elsewhere to get it.
All USAC has to do, is provide that product.

We need to tell USAC what the product is, and USAC needs to listen.

If USAC becomes the simple, inexpensive, go to choice for a race promoter when they go out and shop for this product, then all the consequential problems that arise from USAC not being utilized go away.

So, if you are a race promoter, tell USAC what you look for in a competitive product. They already know they messed up, so maybe skip that step. No one likes to be reminded of why they are jerks.  Just tell them what they can do to bring you back.  If they actually listen, we may all be able to go back to riding in circles and having a rad time with our friends, and leave all this bullshit behind. That’s what we really all want to do anyways.


Anonymous said...

Yep, pretty much it. But instead of going out there and working hard to figure out how to provide that superior product that people will pay for, they rely on "rules" that force. For an organization called USA Cycling, this seems pretty un-American..

brad ross said...

Barry, I'm done trying to tell them anything. I've been coming to them with potential solutions since before there was a problem. They're not interested.

Brad Ross

Tim said...

Barry- in principle you're correct, but in practice this kind of dialogue with USAC hasn't been successful in the past, and there's not much reason to think that it will be successful in the future.

The path that USAC is on started many years ago when a few successful business people overran the board of USCF for their own benefit and leveraged the apathy of the membership at large to get what they wanted. Thanks to techniques not uncommon to the greater business world, we now have an organization that has transitioned from its charter as a 'charitable nonprofit corporation' that served to benefit all, into an organization that pursues profits to benefit a few.

USAC knows that we need them, and this is being used as a leveraging instrument. But as you and others have stated, it's two-way street-- no membership equals no profits equals no authority. The stance you've taken and have advocated this year-- to call their bluff-- is the best way out of this situation (never mind a painful one). I'd suggest that competitors and promoters alike take the leads of JHK, Brad Ross, Kenji Sugahara, and others like them who have decided to forego a membership and/or USAC's support. It's the only leverage any of us have or will have.

Mike Murray said...

I have been telling that they need to improve their product for probably as long as Barry has been racing. For a while Candi and I had weekly telephone calls with their staff. I have provided them with specific information and explained how they could get OBRA out of the non-USAC business. All this has fallen on deaf ears.

We do need to have an NGB for cycling but we do not need USAC to be that NGB. It is time that they get replaced as the NGB and an alternatively structured organization be put in place that recognizes the member's needs.

Anonymous said...

Barry, my lad.

Sit down and let me tell you a little tell of USAC.

Many moons ago, a Wiesel in the night by the name of Thom Weisel came in to save a sinking USCF. A stonch business man he placed several of his cronies on the board with one goal in mind! To win the Tour De France at all costs. He did so, but you know how that fairy tell ended with Sir Lance Alot.
Bottom line is, USAC is not the non profit organization that it should be. Many promoters have tried to work along side them, however its clear they only want to do things there way.

Unknown said...

I agree whole heartedly with all the comments on this page. However, the bottom line is, if USAC will actually listen to input, and make meaningful changes, they are in the perfect position to make a massive shift in the entire culture at USAC, and set things on the correct path. If not, I think they and we all realize that thier demise is imminent. My intent is to present them with the path to their own success. Weather or not they choose that is up to them.

forbidden_from_racing said...

Bottom line is, USAC is not the non profit organization that it should be. Many promoters have tried to work along side them, however its clear they only want to do things there way.


USAC/UCI is making you as an elite dirt rider substantially poorer because of their obsession with road development and the UCI's focus on having all money enter and exit dirt riding at the World Cup level.

Not kidding.