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Old 01-04-11, 01:26 PM   #1
Sawtooth
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Starting a club/team: how do I minimize red tape

EDIT: I have contaced USA cycling and will update with what I learn. This may be useful information for others out there.

Hey guys, I am looking for some resources to learn more about the red tape regarding starting a club. I recently quit my racing team here in Boise to focus on building more of a citizens level club that may or may not race (but some certainly will). We will primarily be doing charity rides but I want to stay out of trouble with USA cycling/UCI in the event that we want to show up and race occasionally.

I am looking for more info or resources to learn from on how to make sure we do this right. NOTE: all reference to registering in this post are relating to TEAM registration, not individual racer registration.

Here are the facts:
1) Mostly just a large group of riders (about 30) who want to ride hard, race only occasionally and wear the same kit but don't want to have to put on our own races

2) We do have a club name but it is not the name of a sponsor

3) We have allowed sponsors on kits but they are just the businesses of club members

4) We have accepted money from one sponsor but would gladly give it back if it means we don't have to register with USA cycling and promote races

5) We would like to participate in local racing wearing our kits but don't want to get fined for not being registered.

6) Our primarly aversion to registering is simply to avoid complexity...remember this is just a bunch of guys who like to ride hard and race only occasionally. These guys want low commitment.

7) When we do race, we just want to show up, pay up, and race; not even necessarily register as part of a team at the event, but still wear our kits if we can.

From what I have outlined, does it sound like I have to register with USA cycling?

Am I wanting to have my cake and eat it too?

We don't mind pulling our weight but we would prefer to do it by paying money to other clubs to race in their races rather than sponsoring one ourselves.


Any advice or references to rules is appreciated.
Thanks.

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Old 01-04-11, 02:14 PM   #2
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If you want to wear your kit it's best to register as a club. Some officials will make you wear a plain kit if you're officially unattached. I've seen a lot of racers that have raced with their jersey turned inside out because of this.

There's a workaround to registering a team. You can register using a different person, different address, and different club name each year. Since many race rider lists whatever you put as the team, the club name can be just remotely related from one year to another. For example I belonged to a team based in the Silvermine area of... Norwalk? New Canaan? Because we effed up for a few years we were Racing Team Silvermine one year, RTS another. We would screw up a year, change names, then be okay for a year, then we'd have to change our name again, etc. One year we weren't a team at all - I raced in a plain blue jersey that year.

Nowadays, with USAC you have one year grace period to hold your race. So you can register as a team and then not hold a race. You cannot renew the club license the following year without proof that you held a race (permit#).

Most clubs "ride" on permits for races they do not hold. For example you could offer some help to a local promoter in exchange for being listed as a (co-)promoting club. USAC limits the number of clubs per permit to two for this reason - it used to be 5? I don't remember, but the two is recent. In the old days it wasn't unusual to see 6 or 8 clubs on one permit.

Having said all that, the whole reason for requiring clubs to hold a race is so that there are races for racers to enter. If everyone acted in a similar way (race but not promote) there would be very few races. Promoters tend to promote races because of the love of the sport, not because it makes money. I know a local promoter that spends upwards of $15-25,000 to have racers yell at him, complain about his hard work, and ask for more money or lower entry fees. I don't spend that kind of money - it's closer to $2-3k a year for me to get yelled at. (I say that facetiously - people seem to understand and appreciate what I do so I rarely get yelled at and I really appreciate it.)

I promoted my first race because someone else did a lot of work to create it and I felt like I owed him the effort to keep his race going. He was also my first leadout man, my boss at the shop, and he taught me a lot about what I know about bike racing. When he moved away he asked me to hold the races. I've done so since that year (1993). Carpe Diem Racing has been in existence for a long time because I promoted races for a long time (that's the name of the club/promotion-group that promotes the race officially).

So, yes, you can just register a club and race in your kit. It'll cost just $150 a year to register your club. You'll be listed as your club, not unlisted. You can wear your kit. And you can just do some finagling to get a new club name next year.

But it's not really the best way to approach racing. I'm not saying that no one does it. I'm just saying that if you give a little to the sport (by helping an existing promoter, for example) you won't have to worry about the name changing game thing. And you'll get an appreciation for what it takes to hold a race.

If you don't hold a race or help hold a race, then one thing I'd suggest - if you have any complaints about a race, any at all, I'd keep them to yourself until you've promoted a race. Most "problems" races have are due to compromises the promoter had to make to fit budget and demand into a workable box. The day of race problems can often be traced to a lack of help (i.e. organization). So if you realize when you're in the portapottie that there's no TP left, the promoter probably forgot because they had to focus on other things. If a promoter has 30 extra helpers (like, say, your club), one could easily keep an eye out on the TP situation, including buying more if, say, the coffee in the area is stronger than expected With no helpers it's a lot tougher. I know I send people to buy things I forgot or ran out of, and I've been doing this a while.

A benefit is that helpers usually get free entry and some level of "VIP". So for helpers at my race that means parking in the reserved spots close to registration, a place to sit/hang-out, indoor bathroom, free food, etc.

A promoter who has the luxury of actually turning down help sometimes,
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Old 01-04-11, 04:26 PM   #3
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Thanks for the very complete response, Carpediemracing!

This gives us a lot to think about. I think the problem is that there are only 5-6 of the 30 who actually want to race at all. For this reason, I think promoting our own event is not realistic. BUT, I was not aware that co-promoting was an option. I will look further into this.

BTW, I completely hear you on the difficulties of promoting a race. I am coming from a very active club in the valley and have helped with quite a few races. They are a TON of work! That is one major reason why we don't want to have to do one of our own with only 5-6 guys who care enough to show up.

Thanks again. This is very helpful.
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Old 01-04-11, 04:41 PM   #4
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Having the low number of potential helpers would really make it difficult to put your own race on.
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Old 01-04-11, 04:46 PM   #5
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I agree himespau. I just don't think doing our own is possible until we get some sort of critical mass with the racing element in the club. The more I think about it, the more I like the possibility of co-promotion. We have very good relationships with the other teams/clubs in the valley since that core 5-6 racers have come from those teams and left in good standing.
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Old 01-04-11, 05:19 PM   #6
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People who don't race may still be willing to help put one on.

I've been with clubs with less than 10 members that put on successful races. You just have to pick a venue that doesnt' require a lot of people.
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Old 01-04-11, 06:33 PM   #7
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Bottom line though, just fill out the form, pay your $150, and put on 1 race. race logistics aside, it is that simple isnt it?
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Old 01-04-11, 06:53 PM   #8
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People who don't race may still be willing to help put one on.

I've been with clubs with less than 10 members that put on successful races. You just have to pick a venue that doesnt' require a lot of people.
+1
In most clubs, it's NOT the racers who give of their time to help with the event. It's usually the non-racers who step up and do most of the work. In fact, racers are notorious for NOT helping out.

And races really aren't THAT hard to put on. Surely you can find a quiet industrial park out beyond the airport that's got a loop in it. It's not rocket science.
Do the right thing, and help the sport grow.
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Old 01-04-11, 07:08 PM   #9
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With careful choice of venue I was able to put on a crit series with one other guy and maybe 3 race day volunteers. It's not that hard and I'd guess a TT could be even easier.
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Old 01-04-11, 09:17 PM   #10
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+1
In most clubs, it's NOT the racers who give of their time to help with the event. It's usually the non-racers who step up and do most of the work. In fact, racers are notorious for NOT helping out.

And races really aren't THAT hard to put on. Surely you can find a quiet industrial park out beyond the airport that's got a loop in it. It's not rocket science.
Do the right thing, and help the sport grow.
true.

around hear we have two early season crits on auto race tracks. Early in the year they don't have conflicts, as a promoter you won't need too many people keeping an eye on the course at corners (there may only be one or two points that could be a hazard). So you'd be fine with 30 people, or even fewer is very manageable.

And yes, my old team had mostly the club riders supporting that race we were co-promoting...Racers were warming up cooling down, bs'ing or checking their tire pressure. Yes, I was that guy. But I won...so that makes up for it.
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Old 01-04-11, 09:42 PM   #11
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Is there anything preventing the 5 or 6 "racers" from joining another club to join in races. Then your club could just do organized rides. It has been my limited experience that clubs either race or don't. When I was looking for clubs to ride with it was consideration. I belong to both types of clubs and it allows me to do different types of rides.

I think it would be confusing to people looking at your club trying to figure out which way you swing, racing or recreation.
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Old 01-05-11, 12:07 AM   #12
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I had no idea that teams/clubs were required to put on races. We have several teams in Vegas that have been around for years and we only have two races per year (and one of them got cancelled this year).
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Old 01-05-11, 02:09 AM   #13
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AFAIK you don't have to put on a race if you don't have advertising on your kit, but few teams want to do that.

The tracks around here make it easy for clubs to get their race out of the way-- putting on track races is easy, and each track here in LA pretty much just has one promoter but will add a club to the permit if they round up a small number of volunteers and some prize money.
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Old 01-05-11, 06:52 AM   #14
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I just realized I posted in the team requirements instead of the team setup thread the other day. Oops.

For me the hardest part has been the legal requirements in the state to setup a non profit entity so that sponsors can write us checks. I haven't begun to worry about the USAC stuff yet.
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Old 01-05-11, 09:08 AM   #15
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You can make the club a business (LLC or something). As long as the money going in and out is about the same you'll be even steven. This way you don't have to prove non-profit, and the minimal taxes you pay will be painless, maybe the cost of a few tubular tires. The rest of the costs are costs and can be deducted. I think I paid about $400 to set up my LLC, and that was with my very risk-averse-self hiring a lawyer to write up some document for the state (it describes my LLC's business).

I haven't tried to get the business side to help my hobby side (see my post in "is cycling a hobby") but after running a few simple ideas past my wife (the accountant, and she's on the up and up) she says that there are ways I could conceivably write off some of my hobby expenses too. I'd have to do some extra work (promote stuff using my hobby) but it'd be pretty straightforward. Since I'm of the mindset that taxes aren't necessarily bad I haven't started to plan on this aspect of cycling.

Anyway my point is that setting up an LLC would be pretty easy and allow you to receive sponsor checks. If you use all the money, minus some seed money for the following year, you'll be good. You can even sponsor/seed your own LLC - it's where I personally put 3? pairs of HED wheels worth of money (and no I haven't seen it back). With an LLC income is treated like personal income. You file a Schedule A for your expenses. Keep a good record and make sure your income>expenses (for the LLC) so that the IRS doesn't get on your back. It's not a business if it loses money all the time.

The co-promotion of races is very, very standard. I think in 8 years the club I belonged to (1983-1991) promoted 1 unique event. It left such a sour taste in our mouths (police chief commented he ought to ticket every single racer for not riding single file) that we just rode other permits until 1992. After that I've always promoted an event personally.

On the other hand the philosophy of clubs promoting races is the essence of grassroots racing. It's an obligation at some level. A lot of racers complain of the "talent dilution" where teams split into multiple teams due to something. Then each team gets really small. It multiplies the work required to keep a given group of racers racing, but for some reason (usually self promotion) the racers want their "own" team. If the whole "club has to put on a race" thing really worked out, the teams would remain larger, have members whose passion is holding events, and they'd all hold events. When teams start splintering but fail to contribute to the scene (through holding races, especially in race-scarce areas), it hurts racing. The larger club, the one with the promoter, loses a lot of free help and ideas and motivation. The smaller clubs look to other promoters to get a yearly pass on doing an event. So no new events, more stress on existing events... it's not good.

In CT there are a LOT of races that are gone. A lot. It's kind of depressing but the costs and effort aren't worth it. I know a local road race (one day event) has a budget of over $100,000. And that's just a regular road race, not anything special. It takes many clubs to hold that one event, or, like last year, one large club with a lot of available help.

So I think new clubs are okay with "permit passes" for a few years but they really ought to put on an event at some point. Something to contribute to the sport.

Re: help. I pay (substantially less than $600/year which is the 1099 threshold) for my help at the races. Only one races (and he races for free). Three don't have bikes. Four actually. They're mainly family of people who are involved in racing. I also allow volunteers to race for free and I get a LOT of help through that channel, especially on sweep day (we hand sweep the 0.9 mile course, and coming at the end of a Connecticut winter, there's a lot of sand and sometimes ice/snow).

I also grandfather in the folks that helped in the past - co-promoters and very involved helpers. So if you work the race for 5 or 10 years, every week, every race, with the passion befitting a promoter, then you race for free at my races for the rest of my/your/race's life. There are only a few people who qualify for this perk. I also try and let guys who've raced the whole series (meaning from 1992) race for less or free or get their second race gratis or something. I talked to one guy in summer 2010 who has raced every year at my Series since its inception. He actually apologized for not making the 3 hour one way drive more often when the weather was iffy and such (he lives up near Canada).

Promoting is a living, breathing co-existence with the venue folks (tenants in the area), racers, and officials. Things go both ways. Promoters -> racers, racers -> promoters.

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Old 01-05-11, 09:14 AM   #16
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I had no idea that teams/clubs were required to put on races. We have several teams in Vegas that have been around for years and we only have two races per year (and one of them got cancelled this year).
It depends on the district as to how strict they are about it.
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Old 01-05-11, 11:11 AM   #17
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It depends on the district as to how strict they are about it.
Technically a race is a race. One club (the shop I worked for sponsored them) held a roller race on a Monday afternoon in February or something. They paid an official, about 6 guys did it, and it satisfied the requirement. They also held a non-USCF race that started and finished at a top top top national level restaurant with free food after the race. I think your first 3 bites would have used up (at full retail) the $35 entry fee. But the owner and staff were all cyclists and liked hanging out with everyone and cooked up a storm for the riders. I never made it (it was also a weekday I think) but I know my brother and his wife went there for dinner one evening - I think the tab (conservatively speaking) ran them about $600.

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Old 01-05-11, 12:28 PM   #18
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Is there anything preventing the 5 or 6 "racers" from joining another club to join in races. Then your club could just do organized rides. It has been my limited experience that clubs either race or don't. When I was looking for clubs to ride with it was consideration. I belong to both types of clubs and it allows me to do different types of rides.

I think it would be confusing to people looking at your club trying to figure out which way you swing, racing or recreation.
This is a really good idea and I floated it to the other racers last night. We may go this route. The bottom line is that the guys who are just club guys really don't want to do anything but ride and pay for their jerseys. That is why the gravitated to the purely citizen level club.
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Old 01-05-11, 01:20 PM   #19
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Technically a race is a race.
Yea I know. I meant that some districts will let clubs slide on producing races.
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Old 01-05-11, 01:30 PM   #20
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Didn't read all of this so my apologies if what I post isn't as topical as i believe it to be but -

The permitted event part of the requirements for a USAC club are just that - permitted event. This can in fact be a permitted training ride. Read up on them or ask your area Local Permitting Official.

Also - in large areas or with small clubs many associations would rather not have a poorly run first attempt - undermanned event on the calendar and would rather let the team develop to the point where they can help. Most clubs putting on a race may allow another club to help and be titled on the permit as well - satisfying the requirement.

I can tell you for a fact there are a lot of teams in Chicago that do not host races. My team was attacked for it last season. We then helped out on 2 cross races and are title permitting one of them ourselves this year.

This is one area of the rules that I honestly feel needs to change. I can only assume it was put in during a time when it was meant to help foster the development of the sport. Get more events out there and get sponsors that could then be available to USAC.

In this day with 1 off printing availability of kits and it being very difficult to get businesses to derive a return from sponsoring, etc....along with the filled calendars in many areas and the risk that a poorly run event could cause to an area, venue, or sponsors involved....make me believe that all of those rules should be stricken. All that should be required is that the team/club is registered with USAC. If they host races then maybe they pay less to register than those who don't.

FWIW - they lifted the sleeve requirement for kits at least during TT's this year - opening it up to triathletes......the times they are a changing.
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Old 01-05-11, 03:35 PM   #21
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Didn't read all of this so my apologies if what I post isn't as topical as i believe it to be but -

The permitted event part of the requirements for a USAC club are just that - permitted event. This can in fact be a permitted training ride. Read up on them or ask your area Local Permitting Official.

Also - in large areas or with small clubs many associations would rather not have a poorly run first attempt - undermanned event on the calendar and would rather let the team develop to the point where they can help. Most clubs putting on a race may allow another club to help and be titled on the permit as well - satisfying the requirement.

I can tell you for a fact there are a lot of teams in Chicago that do not host races. My team was attacked for it last season. We then helped out on 2 cross races and are title permitting one of them ourselves this year.

This is one area of the rules that I honestly feel needs to change. I can only assume it was put in during a time when it was meant to help foster the development of the sport. Get more events out there and get sponsors that could then be available to USAC.

In this day with 1 off printing availability of kits and it being very difficult to get businesses to derive a return from sponsoring, etc....along with the filled calendars in many areas and the risk that a poorly run event could cause to an area, venue, or sponsors involved....make me believe that all of those rules should be stricken. All that should be required is that the team/club is registered with USAC. If they host races then maybe they pay less to register than those who don't.

FWIW - they lifted the sleeve requirement for kits at least during TT's this year - opening it up to triathletes......the times they are a changing.
yeah...that was an angry thread.

cool! which race are you guys hosting? I better put that on the cal now so I don't get trumped!
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Old 01-10-11, 03:25 PM   #22
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quick question

can you just have a sponsored club (or team) or do you first have to have a club, and then have a sponsored team or sponsored club be a sub-section of that club?

do you have to pay $150 for the club, and then the sponsored club also?

Let me say what im getting at. we'd just have 1 team/club and it will be sponsored by a commercial entity.

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Old 01-10-11, 10:06 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by slim_77 View Post
yeah...that was an angry thread.

cool! which race are you guys hosting? I better put that on the cal now so I don't get trumped!
Woodstock

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Originally Posted by pjcampbell View Post
quick question

can you just have a sponsored club (or team) or do you first have to have a club, and then have a sponsored team or sponsored club be a sub-section of that club?

do you have to pay $150 for the club, and then the sponsored club also?

Let me say what im getting at. we'd just have 1 team/club and it will be sponsored by a commercial entity.
$150 covers the club. You can't have a team until you permit an event and then not until next year.
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Old 01-11-11, 11:12 AM   #24
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Woodstock



$150 covers the club. You can't have a team until you permit an event and then not until next year.
is there no way around this? we have a potential team aka "sponsored club" forming and the name of the club is self titled and is a commercial entity. say for example, joe's bike shop.... what do you do? name it joe's cycling club for a year, put on a race, and then form the team in 2012?
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Old 01-11-11, 11:36 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by pjcampbell View Post
is there no way around this? we have a potential team aka "sponsored club" forming and the name of the club is self titled and is a commercial entity. say for example, joe's bike shop.... what do you do? name it joe's cycling club for a year, put on a race, and then form the team in 2012?
First - no...there is no way around this....

Second...not following you. You can name the club anything you want and for all intents and purposes all of the "teams" you are familiar with or race against are "clubs" not "teams". This is a result of how USA Cycling does things.

In reality - set up the club. Name it anything you want. Whatever you put down as the club name will be how you are listed on race results. Period.

Put whatever name you want on the jersey.

Lather - rinse - repeat.
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