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Talk me off the ledge (Race Promotion)

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Talk me off the ledge (Race Promotion)

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Old 01-10-19, 11:53 AM
  #126  
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
You guys hit on some stuff I feel as though I can provide some clarification for. The one thing to keep in mind is that the charter/purpose of USA cycling is as a NGB - National Governing Body for Olympic sports. Because of this there is this weird dual service that occurs.

A gross amount of money that is used by USA Cycling is actually provided by the US Olympic Committee. This has always been in exchange for our NGB setting up systems that lead to providing athletes that can compete for medals in the Olympics. For the most part this means track. Yet our track infrastructure and management in this country is weird. Everyone i have met is super rigid in their own belief in what works and what doesn't. The internal politics are super paralyzing. Get 4 leaders together and you get 4 completely different directions that everyone must run in now or the sport will die.

Most of the other money comes from the trustees/board of directors. It is also almost always earmarked for track programs.

All of this and track is one of the least populated disciplines we have in the sport. Not to mention that I know personally of at least 2 that have had to do serious fund raising in order to support their Olympic track plans. One actually went to the Olympics too.

DBH said all of this in a presentation he gave us a few months before he left USAC. He then went on to say that "we are a road cycling organization at our core though. The pinnacle of our sport is the Tour/Pro Tour level racing." He then went on to show license numbers and how the tend follows 100% our performance in Europe/pro. The LeMond bumps. The Lance peaks, etc. As I mention in our podcast on this - there is nowhere on that chart that shows the effect that race prices have had. payout eliminations, etc. There just isn't any other factor that truly impacts license numbers on a macro level other than performance in road in Europe.

This is illustrated to a great extent right now. We are in a big trough. In the spring at Paris-Roubaix we had 1 American who took the start. Granted it was Taylor Phinney but still. Taylor is one of the best genetic racers our country will ever produce yet he'll never reach his potential. We can say it's because of the leg accident (his version of his father going through he rear window), lack of a team to fully support, or his seeming reluctance to dope (all just a guess). While he was top 10 at Paris Roubaix, his finish doesn't necessarily inspire throngs of would be racers to take to the streets to pretend they are Taylor as they tackle their local climb.

On the NICA front - I really wish they would get out of their own way and make it about cyclocross as well as mtb. They will never gain full traction throughout the country until they do. The mtb areas will always support them but the vast flat prairies of the country will never go full mtb while cross will always be feasible and will make sense regardless of the location.
I really don't think the US will have a big ProTour presence until we in some form displace cycling in Europe. Our model for developing talent is basically making them Europeans (by having them race in Europe). The Phinneys, LeMonds, and McNulty's will always get a spot because they're gods. However, there isn't enough spots for guys that show potential; we have a few teams but really to find the talent we need a wider net and a racing scene that is somewhat close to the ProTour. The only place that comes close is in NorCal and Colorado and even then the talent level isn't high enough to push kids to the level they need to get to. I don't care how many times a kid laps the field in a crit, no one in Europe is going to care.

The other big issue is recruitment. I read an article years back about baseball in Europe. There was a kid there that threw in the low 90's and was ignored, and a scout justified it by saying, 'Why should we waste so many resources on a kid way out there when there are 100 like him in our backyard?' Its the same issue we have with soccer, and the same issue the rest of the world has trying to break in to our sports leagues.
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Old 01-10-19, 02:17 PM
  #127  
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The track in the DFW area was very underutilized. And now it is dismantled and in storage and hoping for a resurrection. Just the presence of a track does not guarantee a scene.
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Old 01-10-19, 02:57 PM
  #128  
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
The other big issue is recruitment.
Well yeah, totally agree. I think the junior racer population is so vanishingly small due to a number of factors. The support system - friends, family and funds - and number of participants is a rounding error on even regionalized sports like lacrosse, let alone traditional mass participation sports like football, basketball and baseball (soccer too). In the USA, what young person is going to get into road cycling unless a parent participates or participated in it with all the associated risks (crashing, auto collision, etc)?

Back to the mission of vision of USA cycling, I don't see why we have a program drawing resources to help a few kids turn pro. I think the age is past where enough US kids will see their countryman riding a bike in spandex in Europe and say "me too!".
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Old 01-10-19, 03:28 PM
  #129  
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Rob, one of the other issues with track racing is the number and location of tracks -- There just are not that many of them.

Many of the older, established ones have very strong communities and junior development programs. Some of the newer ones have struggled in that regard. Without the infrastructure, it is kind of hard to commit to building a large track program, like Britain has done. And while track remains a small niche in cycling, it has the potential to be very spectator friendly - European Six Day events are an example of that.

But you are right, track racing does have its issues, and many of the tracks use ATRA and not USAC.
Yup - that was one of my first points - the infrastructure just doesn't exist. I really believe that can change. Add up all the soccer fields and baseball diamonds and tennis courts and basketball courts around a populated area and you can start to see that a velodrome is the same kind of investment when you consider the total geographic area it can serve.

I also believe there is real potential in taking creating useful velodromes that are standard in size - olympic length 250 inside of now abandoned big box retail locations all over the country. Give the developer a tax break - donate the facility to city or parks dept, establish a maintenance fund. Leverage costs by having a concerted organization whose purpose is to make and install the velodromes all over and establish the club system to maintain and race, etc.

USA Cycling has demonstrated on multiple occasions it just can't really do anything even remotely that effective and has always been a "well....first let's make full use of what we have and let's take baby steps" kind of an organization so I don't see how they could ever feasibly do it....

But I honestly feel it has the potential to be a thing. It worked in the UK. Track really has the potential to serve so many in such a small footprint and in such a cost effective and safe way. Riding indoors year round. Not having to ride on open roads for young kids. School leagues around a central facility. It's an Olympic sport. Standardized bikes where higher technology is truly meaningless and not even really wanted at the lower levels (spec bike racing). Multiple instances to race in one evening, events aren't too long, etc.

It can't be done in the way that Dale is trying to do it in Detroit. I love that facility and I think he has nailed some stuff but the track is a toy and while it makes for fun to watch Madisons (which I have been told is all he cares about) it really just doesn't make sense. make them 250 - the Olympic standard. Not to mention he's the kind of polarizing individual that has historically divided the track world.

A few of us have been kind of talking about putting in an indoor track in Chicago. There is more support than I was initially thinking. We have cautionary tales - like the waning support from the park district in Northbrook that could dissolve the existing velodrome in as little as one or two bad years of interaction with the city. The toy track in South Chicago. The best intentions for the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid that went all shades of wrong for so many reasons and so much finger pointing. The crew of people I have been talking to though are professional, have the commercial real estate shops to get it done as well as the noble patron connections to make the $Millons happen.

Track was the fastest growing segment last year and the year before. Road is dead. Cross is steady (luckily). It's just that track is the smallest segment (roughly 2% of licenses by primary discipline in Illinois) so it's really a non-thing. I honestly think there is more potential in track than in the others. The infrastructure is the largest apparent obstacle though. it would definitely have to be addressed.
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Old 01-10-19, 03:32 PM
  #130  
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Originally Posted by Matt2.8NJ View Post
Back to the mission of vision of USA cycling, I don't see why we have a program drawing resources to help a few kids turn pro. I think the age is past where enough US kids will see their countryman riding a bike in spandex in Europe and say "me too!".
For the exact reasons I stated. I did a podcast about how our beliefs in why things do or don't happen in this sport are always anecdotally accurate to us because of our own arc in the sport but in reality there is no correlation. The only direct correlation between licenses and participation in racing is performance in Europe.

So while you think the age has passed where that would matter to people the data in fact says it's the only thing that creates a correlation. So if you want to save road in the US you have to get kids racing as pros in Europe. It's almost freeing when you realize that is in fact what time and the data has shown. It cuts through all of the after race BS every racer has about what's wrong with the sport.
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Old 01-10-19, 03:48 PM
  #131  
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
So while you think the age has passed where that would matter to people the data in fact says it's the only thing that creates a correlation. So if you want to save road in the US you have to get kids racing as pros in Europe. It's almost freeing when you realize that is in fact what time and the data has shown. It cuts through all of the after race BS every racer has about what's wrong with the sport.
I can appreciate your thoughts here. I might call the relationship to our kids racing professionally overseas and license sales somewhat spurious correlation and a paradigm that's past it's prime. Sure, when the US had more folks racing overseas, popularity went up as mainstream news media covered it... yes, more licenses sold.

Especially during the Lance era. Although it's not likely a stretch to call him a once in a lifetime event for US cycling. If the data says a bunch of our kids racing around Europe is the answer for improved numbers at the Paducah crit series , I frankly wouldn't trust the data going forward as Lance 2.0 isn't likely to happen. Would you bank the successful future of our local, domestic, amateur version of the sport on finding a bunch of our kids to race in Europe? I wouldn't, and I hope that isn't the core focus of USA Cycling.

It's Rob, right? Rob, if that is indeed the focus of USA Cycling, I genuinely hope they (and you!) prove me wrong and sometime soon license numbers and fiscal investment in the sport improve.
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Old 01-10-19, 03:55 PM
  #132  
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Originally Posted by Matt2.8NJ View Post
I can appreciate your thoughts here. I might call the relationship to our kids racing professionally overseas and license sales somewhat spurious correlation and a paradigm that's past it's prime. Sure, when the US had more folks racing overseas, popularity went up as mainstream news media covered it... yes, more licenses sold.

Especially during the Lance era. Although it's not likely a stretch to call him a once in a lifetime event for US cycling. If the data says a bunch of our kids racing around Europe is the answer for improved numbers at the Paducah crit series , I frankly wouldn't trust the data going forward as Lance 2.0 isn't likely to happen. Would you bank the successful future of our local, domestic, amateur version of the sport on finding a bunch of our kids to race in Europe? I wouldn't, and I hope that isn't the core focus of USA Cycling.

It's Rob, right? Rob, if that is indeed the focus of USA Cycling, I genuinely hope they (and you!) prove me wrong and sometime soon license numbers and fiscal investment in the sport improve.
We all hope it goes that way. The trend goes back before lance as well. 7-Eleven bumps, Hampsten Bumps, LeMond bumps, etc.

There's no effect from price changes, payouts, heavy junior participation or programs, etc. It's actually quite disheartening when you realize that we need to keep doing the things we feel we need to do but the most effective thing to do is still to have success in the European peleton.
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Old 01-11-19, 07:32 AM
  #133  
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Yes, but do we just need people racing in Europe or winning in Europe. It seems to me that when Americans are winning is what matters.
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Old 01-11-19, 10:20 AM
  #134  
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IMO, USADA wrecked USA pro cycling. Maybe it deserved to be wrecked but USADA destroyed 10 years of USA success in Euro racing. And now the media is licking their chops for more doping scandal and sponsors want no part of cycling. Europe seems less or not affected by doping scandals. Valverde is world champion.

The next USADA target...masters who make up most of the racing peloton and pay the bills.

I am not advocating doping or not doping just stating the facts.
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Old 01-11-19, 03:07 PM
  #135  
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
IMO, USADA wrecked USA pro cycling. Maybe it deserved to be wrecked but USADA destroyed 10 years of USA success in Euro racing. And now the media is licking their chops for more doping scandal and sponsors want no part of cycling. Europe seems less or not affected by doping scandals. Valverde is world champion.

The next USADA target...masters who make up most of the racing peloton and pay the bills.

I am not advocating doping or not doping just stating the facts.
Very good points and I agree 100% with the first point. The Master's stuff is a mixed bag; I will say though being a Master's racer becomes less appealing each year.
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Old 01-12-19, 08:37 AM
  #136  
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
The next USADA target...masters who make up most of the racing peloton and pay the bills.
I aspire to be a good enough master's racer to have someone at USADA say "we better test that guy". Joke's on them, all they would discover is elevated levels of gummy bears in my bloodstream.
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Old 01-12-19, 11:21 AM
  #137  
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Originally Posted by Matt2.8NJ View Post
I aspire to be a good enough master's racer to have someone at USADA say "we better test that guy". Joke's on them, all they would discover is elevated levels of gummy bears in my bloodstream.

problem is everyone who gets caught has a similar line

i.e. I do this for my health...I would never take anything like that.
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Old 01-12-19, 02:31 PM
  #138  
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Meh - have gone around in circles on this one.

Being in the industry I decided to draw a line int he sand on doping. Hard stop - against it. Don't care about the anecdotes about how everyone is doing it, etc. I only have test results to go on and if someone is not only found positive and receives sanctions after arbitration then I have decided to take it at face value.

It's not a perfect position but it's a position and arguably a defend-able one.

That being said I was sitting around getting ready for a trainer ride and saw in youtube a "Bob Roll Interview" that was roughly 40 minutes or so. I figure that it would be fun to watch so I cue it up. Im riding when I look up and realize it's Lance interviewing Roll on his podcast.

I don't care about your politics on this one. Let's just say that because of the line I have drawn I have been in the solidly "No Lance" camp for a while. To the point I believe he still owes his prize money back to all he has stolen it from while racing when cheating. That being said I listened to him for a few minutes and after not having heard from him in a long time - he had me back. Back to the times I was jumping up and down in my living room cheering him on. I f'n despise the guy.....but he still has the power to save the sport. Even now. We have no one else currently who would even stand a chance at doing so.

I've been thinking a lot about that. The average American couldn't care less about what he has done. We (those of us against him) are the only ones who still have an axe to grind. I question if I am ready to bury the hatchet if it means helping save the sport I love.
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Old 01-12-19, 09:17 PM
  #139  
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
The average American couldn't care less about what he has done. We (those of us against him) are the only ones who still have an axe to grind. I question if I am ready to bury the hatchet if it means helping save the sport I love.
I'd add that plenty. even most, of the very experienced racers I know don't hold ill will towards Lance. They recognized the unprecedented swell of attention and cash that it brought to the sport in the USA. The commonality that long time racers have is tons of miles out on the open road. After 1999 and 2000's TDF results made the broskis in NYC sit up and grab a bike and make cycling temporarily "the new golf", it demarginalized the sport for millions and made the folks out riding in spandex less "freaks to scream at to get off the road". Lance helped mainstream it for the general USA public - and for that, I appreciate his rise and fall..

And the doping thing, well, if you've been around cycling, and nearly any elite sport, drugs are a part of life. I walked away from my sport for a number of reasons, one of which was steroids. In the late 1990's when I was at college playing hockey, my team was made up of a bunch of meatsacks taking d-bol and deca, and after my sophomore year I didn't feel I could keep up since I wasn't on the good stuff (creatine was wildly popular back then and didn't do a damn thing). In retrospect, I was a chickensh!t and wouldn't take the good stuff. but at the time it made my decision to stop easier.
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Old 01-13-19, 08:48 AM
  #140  
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US hill climb series!!!
@DieterDrake

Here’s your chance for devil’s kitchen

https://www.ushillclimbseries.com/?f...-D3vxnEh694gIE

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Old 01-13-19, 09:21 AM
  #141  
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
US hill climb series!!!
@DieterDrake

Hereís your chance for devilís kitchen

https://www.ushillclimbseries.com/?f...-D3vxnEh694gIE
Yeah, tough one. No infrastructure at the top or bottom. I think DK will have to remain cycling lore as a standalone climb. Still available at the Tour of the Catskills, though... I also live in CO now, so...

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Old 01-13-19, 09:57 AM
  #142  
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
IMO, USADA wrecked USA pro cycling. Maybe it deserved to be wrecked but USADA destroyed 10 years of USA success in Euro racing. And now the media is licking their chops for more doping scandal and sponsors want no part of cycling. Europe seems less or not affected by doping scandals. Valverde is world champion.

The next USADA target...masters who make up most of the racing peloton and pay the bills.

I am not advocating doping or not doping just stating the facts.
Yes. This. USADA is ultimately measured by how many positives they get per year, not the testing volume. With fewer higher profile pros to go after, they'll continue to ramp up testing of amateurs and masters . It's coming. I wouldn't be surprised if they start doing "random" (there are no random tests at USADA...) out of competition testing of gravel stars who happen to have a license.

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Old 01-13-19, 12:36 PM
  #143  
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Originally Posted by DieterDrake View Post
Yeah, tough one. No infrastructure at the top or bottom. I think DK will have to remain cycling lore as a standalone climb. Still available at the Tour of the Catskills, though... I also live in CO now, so...
wow, cool. when did you move?
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Old 01-13-19, 12:50 PM
  #144  
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
wow, cool. when did you move?
2016. We're still doing events & tours, though mostly on the side.

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Old 01-14-19, 05:59 PM
  #145  
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Originally Posted by DieterDrake View Post
Yes. This. USADA is ultimately measured by how many positives they get per year, not the testing volume. With fewer higher profile pros to go after, they'll continue to ramp up testing of amateurs and masters . It's coming. I wouldn't be surprised if they start doing "random" (there are no random tests at USADA...) out of competition testing of gravel stars who happen to have a license.

You're giving too much credit towards actual strategy.

In general they could care less about top pros. In the meeting I was in at USA Cycling where USADA gave a 2-3 hour talk about what they have been doing and what they will be doing there was nothing nefarious about it. Their goal is to test more and more every year. That won't ever change or decrease.

D B-Hall was still there and said, "doping in the US has a face and that is one of a masters racer taking steroids". They were very specific about how they use the tip line, investigate every single tip using detectives who are well versed in weeding out the BS and how they utilize those tips to directly target masters racers who they have very good reason and indication to believe are doping. It's focused testing, on dopers, and it's not going away.
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Old 01-14-19, 06:15 PM
  #146  
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
You're giving too much credit towards actual strategy.

In general they could care less about top pros. In the meeting I was in at USA Cycling where USADA gave a 2-3 hour talk about what they have been doing and what they will be doing there was nothing nefarious about it. Their goal is to test more and more every year. That won't ever change or decrease.

D B-Hall was still there and said, "doping in the US has a face and that is one of a masters racer taking steroids". They were very specific about how they use the tip line, investigate every single tip using detectives who are well versed in weeding out the BS and how they utilize those tips to directly target masters racers who they have very good reason and indication to believe are doping. It's focused testing, on dopers, and it's not going away.
That sounds a lot like a strategy...

I've been in on lots of those meetings too and have had dealings with the leadership on both a personal and professional basis. You absolutely do not want to trust them.

Anyway, anyone thinking about organizing a sanctioned amateur cycling race in the USA should have their head examined. Contributing to the problem is not the answer here.

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Old 01-14-19, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by DieterDrake View Post
That sounds a lot like a strategy...

I've been in on lots of those meetings too and have had dealings with the leadership on both a personal and professional basis. You absolutely do not want to trust them.

Anyway, anyone thinking about organizing a sanctioned amateur cycling race in the USA should have their head examined. Contributing to the problem is not the answer here.

​​​​​​
Yes the old days before DBH were dark times. Everyone in the main office was suing everyone else for sexual misconduct or harassment, embezzling funds, etc. I get it. It's not the same anymore.

It's still a tiny organization and people will continue to blame them for all of the trouble of the world for many years to come but I for one will miss the races and the racing. It really was fun. Too bad too many egos had to get in the way. Promoters, racers, officials, etc. Everyone is to blame on this.
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Old 01-14-19, 06:27 PM
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DieterDrake
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
Yes the old days before DBH were dark times. Everyone in the main office was suing everyone else for sexual misconduct or harassment, embezzling funds, etc. I get it. It's not the same anymore.

It's still a tiny organization and people will continue to blame them for all of the trouble of the world for many years to come but I for one will miss the races and the racing. It really was fun. Too bad too many egos had to get in the way. Promoters, racers, officials, etc. Everyone is to blame on this.
Agree.

The problem is that there just isn't enough money in cycling. Everybody is competing for the same resources, all the time, and everyone hates each other for it.
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Old 01-14-19, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by DieterDrake View Post
Agree.

The problem is that there just isn't enough money in cycling. Everybody is competing for the same resources, all the time, and everyone hates each other for it.
Yup.... and there's absolutely zero market value to anyone who bothers to ask a remotely probing question about what they are getting in return for sponsorship. I can't even ask for it anymore unless it's done as, "hey we like bikes. you like bikes. you like us. your money will help us like bikes more. you in?"

I sent around a team sponsorship form for people and got a ton of questions back from one who is trying to secure a sponsorship.

"Do you have a file or link to race and podium pictures you can share with me to show examples of the possible exposure a sponsor including any statistics of how many podiums, 1st place finishes, state or other championships Psimet has won in the last 3-5 years. I would also appreciate more information regarding what events Psimet will be hosting or participating in around the chicagoland area (The closer to Chicago the better). Also is there any cross promoting to Psimet Master team, jersey, etc? How is that working this year? Are you open to taking a bike shop on as a sponsor like ____ as well?"

These would be normal questions and a seemingly fun endeavor when I thought there was return. Instead it's "don't have photos. I am busy working on bikes and moving trainers and working pits, etc when podiums are done. You can look for podium shots but then you're going to have to secure permission from every person who shot them before you can use them. Most will want to be paid for their effort. That makes sense but when the $ spent starts to approach the $ we are trying to get I start to question the value of a bunch of podium shots of local people doing amateur races. We have 69 licensed racers across like 8 disciplines. I don't know who finished in the top 10 of cat 4 field in the backwater crit 8 months ago. I also don't have a patience to cull all the data for every one of the 69 racers from USA Cycling or Crossresults and Roadresults. State championships - in order to figure that out I have to pull up flyers and figure out which category championship was awarded in which race then cull the results and figure out who was what category at the time and where they live to see if they qualify. What events we're hositng? Good question. Which ones are we participating in? All of them. How many is that? Who knows we on't have a good calendar and the ones we do have list races that I know are going to fold this year. As for the bike shop - I am a bike shop. You've been on the team for 2 years. I'm obviously doing a great job of letting that be known."

.......all of that for $1k that will disappear on portapotties and lunch for volunteers in less than half a day.

Well time to go program in a ride for people to ride inside....
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Old 01-14-19, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
Yup.... and there's absolutely zero market value to anyone who bothers to ask a remotely probing question about what they are getting in return for sponsorship. I can't even ask for it anymore unless it's done as, "hey we like bikes. you like bikes. you like us. your money will help us like bikes more. you in?"

I sent around a team sponsorship form for people and got a ton of questions back from one who is trying to secure a sponsorship.

"Do you have a file or link to race and podium pictures you can share with me to show examples of the possible exposure a sponsor including any statistics of how many podiums, 1st place finishes, state or other championships Psimet has won in the last 3-5 years. I would also appreciate more information regarding what events Psimet will be hosting or participating in around the chicagoland area (The closer to Chicago the better). Also is there any cross promoting to Psimet Master team, jersey, etc? How is that working this year? Are you open to taking a bike shop on as a sponsor like ____ as well?"

These would be normal questions and a seemingly fun endeavor when I thought there was return. Instead it's "don't have photos. I am busy working on bikes and moving trainers and working pits, etc when podiums are done. You can look for podium shots but then you're going to have to secure permission from every person who shot them before you can use them. Most will want to be paid for their effort. That makes sense but when the $ spent starts to approach the $ we are trying to get I start to question the value of a bunch of podium shots of local people doing amateur races. We have 69 licensed racers across like 8 disciplines. I don't know who finished in the top 10 of cat 4 field in the backwater crit 8 months ago. I also don't have a patience to cull all the data for every one of the 69 racers from USA Cycling or Crossresults and Roadresults. State championships - in order to figure that out I have to pull up flyers and figure out which category championship was awarded in which race then cull the results and figure out who was what category at the time and where they live to see if they qualify. What events we're hositng? Good question. Which ones are we participating in? All of them. How many is that? Who knows we on't have a good calendar and the ones we do have list races that I know are going to fold this year. As for the bike shop - I am a bike shop. You've been on the team for 2 years. I'm obviously doing a great job of letting that be known."

.......all of that for $1k that will disappear on portapotties and lunch for volunteers in less than half a day.

Well time to go program in a ride for people to ride inside....
Haha. Yes. I stopped looking for sponsors in 2015. Usually a complete waste of time.

The title of this thread is appropriately named...
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