USA Cycling annual LA summit - Tad's recap
Bill Nicely and I were in Colorado Springs this past weekend for the annual Local Association summit run by USA Cycling. I found it really informative and it was good to meet and swap info with people from the other LAs across the country. Bill said that he'll be posting a summary, here are some things I picked up that might be of interest:
Tom Simonson posted about this before and I'll leave out details in case he plans to post a summary. One modified rule that we might be looking at in NCNCA is the new distinction between "active" clubs that help put on races, and inactive ones that don't - rather than the old sponsored/unsponsored concept. An idea I had that we kicked around a little is resurrecting unattached rider fees to help encourage people to join an active NCNCA member club. It seems fair as if you don't volunteer or race for a club that does, you're more of a "consumer" of racing (while the sport relies on volunteers to keep it cheap). There isn't much downside for NCNCA clubs, it should either result in more members, more staff to help at races, or more revenue from people who aren't on NCNCA clubs. I'll bring this up at the next meeting for discussion, with USAC now calling clubs "active" or not it seems doable.
How to Run an Effective Board & NCNCA presentation
An attorney named Stephen Hess spoke about LA/nonprofit governance and why it's important. It reinforced everything we did this past year, just about every slide he went through we had an example of a question we tackled at some point. This was more of interest for those who serve on the BOD or a related committee, but I picked up a few things that I'll document for them. After lunch, Bill and I did a presentation about the whole saga of the past year's tax/money stuff, and based on feedback from other LAs it was helpful to give some practical info - walking through a Form 990, checking it against the books, etc.
This one I found the most interesting, I got answers to a lot of the legal/risk questions I've had both for NCNCA and promoters. I won't comment specifically here but clubs/promoters - please email me if you want to discuss. They were good about answering questions on liability, pending lawsuits,etc...and as careful as I've been in the past, it reinforced the idea that we have to be very aware of these issues. One key thing I'll broadcast: be sure you get a signed waiver from everyone, including volunteers.
One thing that impressed me is how active some of the other districts are, in terms of number of active racers. Washington specifically - they had 2,600 or so in an area with 6.6 million population. We have about 4,000 in an area with about 14M people. So if NCNCA got above their participation rate, which seems very possible given our better weather, we'd have almost 6,000 licensed racers. They weren't there but OBRA has even higher per-capita numbers (we'd need about 15,000 licensees to match their rate). Something to shoot for?
Also in the other-districts category, we met and talked a lot with a few other LA reps, swapped emails, etc. Obviously we're all working on a lot of the same things and I think we'll be able to share info in the future more easily.
USAC vs grass-roots
This is a big topic but on this, I came away a little mixed. I got the impression everyone there was dedicated to building the sport. USAC and CEO Steven Johnson have a strong message of running things like a business, which is good, and is clearly producing some good results for the sport. But at times it came across a bit too strong - a bit of "what the market will bear" in money discussions, seemingly forgetting that it's fundamentally a nonprofit for an amateur sport. Bill will discuss their new online reg system, which seems a positive thing; all I could think is: "great - way overdue - but why isn't it free as part of the event permit?" The money seems to be there to more than cover the development costs and event permits and licenses will provide continuing revenue to support it.
This isn't a new discussion and is always going to be an issue - the balance among racers, LAs like NCNCA, and USAC, and there's no right answer. Just another thing to keep an eye on, to make sure the balance seems right to us. If it gets too far off, NCNCA and racers can treat it like a business too of course.
That's my summary, please email or call if you want to talk about any of this: email@example.com or 415-284-9790 (w).