The shit winds of war blow before every conflict……
I race bikes in Oregon. Poorly, mind you, but I race them nonetheless. I’m usually tacked on the back of crits, road races, TT’s, and some Cyclocross races just for shits and giggles, in the 3′s and Masters events. I race under the sanctioning body known as OBRA – Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (clever, I know.) I had lived in the Chicago area and the city of Milwaukee before coming out here 6 years ago, racing under USAC (then known as the USCF) and the grassroots organization ABR – which I liked much better, for the record.
Back in the 90′s, OBRA told the USCF to go piss up a rope, as huge sums of money were being sent to Colorado Springs for no return. Read about the origins here.
When I came here I found the racing organization to be top notch, and I still do. You name the amenity and it’s provided – from fantastic officials to expedient results, great courses, great attitude, easy event promoting, great everything across all disciplines. Really, if you want to have a blueprint for a sanctioning organization that knows what it’s doing, and provides the ground floor to be wide open to attract new people to the sport, simply follow OBRA’s plan. It works.
To stress the main factor: OBRA is committed to the sport on all levels, particularly junior membership to continue to propagate the sport, and their grassroots, all-for-one approach resonates through all teams of all disciplines.
So now, USAC wants back in. They just folded the poor Colorado based ACA in a somewhat hostile and contentious takeover, sending riders back to USAC like so many beaten slave laborers, back to the salt mines with their backs broken, handing over fistfuls of money to to mothership. It’s like a mafia shakedown.
Now those dickhammers, seeing OBRA’s success, have come around like neighborhood goombahs, looking for their piece of the OBRA pie.
Now, USAC does good things at the elite level. Can’t deny it. But their methods completely fuck up the pot up here. For instance: Cascade Classic, last year, when USAC originally started dropping nuclear grade farts in the elevator: a bunch of OBRA female Cat 2′s went to contest the matter. Being a UCI event, it needed dual licensing from USAC as well as OBRA. Not a big deal in and of itself, but USAC being USAC had to be complete fucktards about it. Their first move was to not recognize via reciprocity that our Cat 2′s were indeed Cat 2′s, so instead their solution was to make the OBRA Cat 2 ladies ride with the USAC Cat 4 field.
Pick your tongues up, put them back in your mouth holes, and keep reading.
Yeah, good idea USAC. Smart. That’s fair. Idiots.
So that was got smoothed out after executive directors, team managers, and every other manner of muckity muck made a stink about it, and the 2′s raced where they belonged in their right field.
That was sort of the first grenade of what was coming. ACA now back in the fold, it seems the lead dispshit Steve Johnson is taking a bunch of swings at OBRA. Now, rather than encapsulate the whole thing, I ask you to read these two excellent pieces by Josh Libereles (an OBRA racer himself)
Now, let your blood pressures settle a minute. I know you’re asking yourself “just who the fuck does USAC think they are?”, and I am too. We all are. I note a couple of things about this “response”. Firstly, Steve Johnson doesn’t have the nuts to come out of his ivory tower and confront this shit head on. Maybe because he came off like a complete prick during the ACA meetings. Or maybe he’s a coward. Instead, they send this puppy out, who cries foul and basically calls OBRA’s opinions and the people they came from lies and liars. When you boil it down it read quite plainly as a money grab, plain and simple. A fucking hold-em-upside-down-by-the-ankles and shake all their money out of their pockets.
Who gets fucked? Riders. Promoters. You know, the lifeblood of any racing organization.
I understand USAC has to play ball with the Olympic committees as well as the UCI. I get that. And I get that this effects upper categories from a rider standpoint. And I get their good deeds on the elite level. But if they move in on the grassroots organizations and jack up fees to basically have the lower cats subsidize the upper cats with little or no return, then you, USAC, are pissing directly on the fire of grassroots. You’re shutting the door on the grassroots side of things, pricing people out of the game to do some of the marquee regional races. Also, you’re turning off promoters because (and I know first hand) your sanctioning paperwork is a complete and total clusterfuck, your fees outrageous. OBRA makes these things easy.You’re lining your own pockets firstly, then turning off countless thousands that under an OBRA approach might say “yeah, sure, I’ll try bike racing.” And you’re doing all of this while shoving a knife into one side, and removing the wallet from the other.
What would OBRA get? Higher fees, lots more hassle. What does USAC get? A lot more money. For doing what in the best interests for the sport as a whole? Nothing.
The whole thing fucking reeks of war. And I sure as shit know which side I’m fighting for.
The first battle lines are drawn at Cyclocross, it seems. And as is pointed out in the articles linked above “THEY’LL RUIN IT JUST LIKE THEY RUINED MOUNTAIN BIKING.”
Take heed, people. War is in the winds.