Mountain Bike Followers, what's up?
Last Post 08/03/2013 04:09 PM by Mike Shea. 7 Replies.
Author Messages


08/01/2013 12:51 AM


08/01/2013 08:17 AM
Glad to see someone making a stand for bike racing.


08/01/2013 09:25 AM
USAC and the USCF killed Mtb racing in the us. The courses suck, the fields suck and the $ sucks. The non sanctioned events like the transsylvania epic and the Michaux endurance series are far superior to anything that they do for a "national" level event. NAtionals are missing something and it shows in attendance. Nobody cares. The norba scene ran circles around the the product they put out today.


08/01/2013 10:03 AM
Grass roots can be the salvation of the sport.


08/01/2013 01:31 PM
I almost posted about this yesterday but I can't summarize my feelings and thoughts about the subject. I could ramble on for hours about the "state of mountain biking". Yes, USAC, with help from the UCI, has hurt dirt racing in the US but I don't see 'grass roots' races saving it. They are a temporary patch at best.

I feel fortunate that I started racing just before the dirt boom ('90) and my best years were during the boom. Many of the regional events that still exist were 1,000-1,500 racers in the '90s are 100-150 racers now. Certainly you can blame USAC and promoters but maybe there aren't 1,000 people who want to suffer. The slight increase in 'endurance' participation will drop off once people kill themselves for six hours. Since mountain biking isn't 'cool' now there aren't a lot of young guys filling in.

We'll see if these events get better without the USAC strings attached. If I had to bet money, I would bet that they don't.


08/01/2013 07:13 PM
I think the crap started in the sports infancy when "they" decided that the sport needed TV to grow. Courses became shorter multi lap things which made it cheaper for broadcasting and easier to spectate. Problem is, off road racing, like marathon running or marathon cross country skiing events are really participation events. Look at the numbers in a local 10k or marathon running event. Locally Isee events like the Test Of Metal and former Cheakamus challenge, both marathon off road races that do not meet UCI XC course rules (AFAIK) are hugely popular. The TOM limits entry to about 1000 and sells out on line on January 1 in minutes. That is the only race that has been going on in these parts for a long time.

Then we have the UCI allowing pits and changing the true nature of the sport. I suppose they want to make it more of an athlete competition and eliminate the "unfairness" of a puncture or mechanical. I can't help but feel those changes were Eurocentric. I recall a Canadian UCI official that was dead set against those changes but was not successful in opposing them. So many times in sports, the organization required to administer it seems to take on a life of its own and the "authorities" forget that the sport is first and foremost for the atheletes.
Gonzo Cyclist


08/03/2013 06:08 AM
I think the all mountain enduro stuff is the future, like the Rocky Mtn Enduro Series, the local races here in NM is attracting all of the pros


08/03/2013 04:09 PM
I agree it started at the outset but the problem in the US started a lot earlier. The UCI rulebook has always been built on the European race model. The US did not have many riders in Europe and American pros raced crits, more crits and shorter amateur distance road races. The US rulebook was very American. As the road scene in the US developed and the style of racing got more like the Euro model. Americans were represented in the pros and had brought the ideology home. The US rulebook is a lot closer to the UCI model than it ever was.
Now MTB is an American sport, so naturally they like to have it work for them and I think it is true that a lot of the racing was more participatory than competitive. Once it became an Olympic sport the power moved out of the US and this rule was tossed out but for the most part the Americans do what they wanted and the UCI failed to enforce these rules in MTB or much outside of Europe. But they didn't need to do anything because it is only English speaking countries that have federations structured differently than the Euro model. Canada has generally followed the UCI model.
USA cycling was not very powerful in the 1980s as they only had the Olympic programmed athletes to legitimize their function as a federation. The domestic scene was off the radar. The few state federations that had large memberships rebelled and USCF could not force the issue. They had no power to do anything and switzerland was not paying much attention.
So USA Cycling has an improved calendar and Pro ranks to lord over as well as Olympics are open to pros too. On the road they have consolidated their power but MTB is weak for a sport with so many participants. Maybe Gran Fondo is the best model? The rule has been there a very long time but in the US the national federation never had control of the sport. It may never get it either? By and large most of the 175 federations run the sport the same way.

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