I hope the start of the Collegiate Road season is treating you all well. Don't forget about our two other membership contests this year: Biggest New Team and Team with the Most Growth in 2010. Both will be awarded in December, with a prize that has not been determined yet, but will be significantly awesome.
If you ever have any questions or comments about Collegiate Cycling or this newsletter, feel free to contact me at any time. Thanks everyone, and enjoy the Road season!
-Jeffrey Hansen, USA Cycling Collegiate Program Manager
University of Pennsylvania Wins Gatorade Contest
You may have read in last month's Update about the 2010 Collegiate Membership Contest: the first team to surpass its 2009 membership by at least 15 members would win an absurd amount of Gatorade products, courtesy of USA Cycling. Well, the University of Pennsylvania cycling team managed to jump from 2009's 31 members to 49 within a few weeks, and we caught up with club officer Matthew Furlow, who spearheaded the effort to recruit the new members, to ask him a few questions about just how they grew the team so much so quickly.
Give us a little bit of background and history for your team. Penn Cycling has a long standing history as a club sport here at The University of Pennsylvania. The team has always been successful at nurturing a great group of racers in all categories. There was only a very small group of dedicated racers two years ago, yet there were many members of the team who participated in training and recreational rides. Our previous president made a conscious effort to shift the focus of the club towards fielding a competitive, race-oriented team. Last year we improved dramatically in terms of the number of active racers, which contributed to our success in the ECCC. The increase in membership as well as a boost in general enthusiasm for racing left us well prepared for this year's season.
What level of support do you receive from your school? We receive limited funding from the undergraduate student activities organization (SAC), as well as the graduate and professional student organization (GAPSA). Total school funding comprises about 25% of our total budget. For the rest, we rely heavily on sponsorship, clothing sales to alumni, and membership dues.
Was your membership growing already before you heard about the contest, or did the spurt not begin until you began actively recruiting? This year the club nearly doubled in size. We are now at over 115 members, and we have maintained our focus on racing. We currently have nearly 50 people prepped for road racing season. When we found out about the contest, we stepped up our efforts to get people interested in racing, and to get them licensed. For those people who were on the fence about racing, the contest was certainly a shove in the right direction.
Read the rest of Matthew's insights here.
Is Your Club on This Map? It Better Be!
As of March 1, only the clubs on this map have renewed their club licenses. That means that if your club isn't on this map, you can't race! With the road season already underway it is time to renew and then some.
Team Tip: Ensuring a Smooth Transition
A consistent difficulty for collegiate teams is, well, a lack of consistency. Presidents graduate, course loads ebb and flow, and while some clubs have graduate students that have been around for as long as the bicycle itself, and are able to control and monitor teams for years, other teams are not so "fortunate."
Solutions to this problem are few and far between; to a certain extent, it is inevitable. The options that teams do have to prevent their disintegration upon the president's graduation are somewhat simplistic and based in common-sense, but as anyone who's run a team knows, team presidents have no extra time for anything as superfluous as "common sense." So here are some things you can do to make sure all your work as Team President isn't lost once you leave:
1. Underclassman Recruitment: This may be the most obvious solution, but it's also the most difficult to find time and energy for, as it's oftentimes a somewhat peripheral priority. As Matthew points out in the interview above, a team's future success inherently depends on its ability to recruit new members, and more importantly, keep them on board. For the latter, showing them a good time at one race is usually all it takes before a scared freshman is stoked beyond belief and hooked on cycling for life.
2. Junior-Year Transfer: It's not always the easiest plan to implement, as finding someone to take on the role of Team President can be akin to pulling teeth, and you have to take what you can get, but if at all possible, the best practice for a transfer of leadership is to implement it in the junior-year of the president at the time, to someone a year younger. By ensuring that the previous year's president is still on campus another year as a senior and able/somewhat willing to help, the wheel doesn't have to be reinvented year after year, just refined. This tip came from Robert Winnett, Team President at Boston University, who also said, "Keeping back-ups of all of our forms from the previous years made it much easier this year; membership forms, clothing order form, ideas for deadlines, organizing our money issues, etc." The hardest job of a Team President is figuring things out from scratch, and this helps eliminate those stresses.
3. Club Contacts: This is a small one, but can make a big difference. When filling out your club renewal paperwork every year with USA Cycling, be sure that at least one of the club contacts will still be around the next academic year. As USAC membership operates on the calendar year, at least one club contact will need to be around in the fall to renew the club when the time comes.
4. Team Leadership Bible: The most stressful, but also the most valuable solution, is to construct a living document for the team as a guide to all things necessary for the team president to accomplish in a year. Tips on local sponsors, race promotion, who to talk to for what and how to deal with the school business office (generally, a universal headache no matter where you matriculate), are all good things to include, and it can be edited year after year by each outgoing president. We'll have a sample version up by the Fall Semester on the USA Cycling Collegiate website.
This is a space to learn from each other and get a peek into the operations of teams you might not otherwise encounter. So start sharing. Submit stories to email@example.com.
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Velonews Provides Weekly Collegiate Coverage
Since the Collegiate Road season began at the end of January, our friends at Velonews have been providing some wonderful weekly race reports highlighting the collegiate racing scene around the country. You can read all the reports and look at the results here, and if you use RSS, you can also subscribe to the feed!
Current Conference Standings
The 2010 USA Cycling Collegiate Road season is under way in 8 of the 11 conferences, and we have the team standings so far. There are going to be some tough fights for the top honors out there!
1. US Naval Academy
2. North Carolina State University
3. Virginia Tech
4. University of Maryland
5. West Virginia University
1. Pfeiffer University
2. Duke University
3. George Washington University
4. Appalachian State Univeristy
5. College of William & Mary
1. University of Florida
2. Clemson University
3. University of Georgia
4. Florida State University
5. Lees McRae College
1. Mars Hill College
2. King College
3. Furman University
4. College of Charleston
5. University of Central Florida
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2. Dartmouth College
3. University of Pennsylvania
4. Pennsylvania State University
5. University of Vermont
1. Lindsey Wilson College
2. Marian University
3. University of Wisconsin - Madison
4. Northwestern University
5. Indiana University
1. Midwestern State University
2. Texas A&M University
3. University of Texas - Austin
4. Southern Methodist University
*These SCCCC rankings contain only Nationals Qualifier (Category A) Points
1. Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo
2. University of California - Davis
3. University of California - Los Angeles
4. University of California - Santa Barbara
5. Stanford University
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New Era for Collegiate National Omnium
A few months ago we posted a story explaining the complexities of the Team Omnium and how it is calculated. Mathematically, at least. Some of you wondered, however, who actually figures this mess out, and how is it all done? Is an abacus involved? A supercomputer? Well up to this point it has been the latter: a supercomputer named Gabe Moy.
Gabe attended and rode for UC Berkeley, and had been calculating WCCC omnium results for a year when, in 2006, he developed an automated spreadsheet program with the help of then-Board member Nathan Drake and ECCC Director Joe Kopena. To give you an idea of how complicated this whole process was, it took Gabe 6 months of work to finally arrive at a self-contained set of spreadsheets. Still, computing the results generally took up to 2 hours for each race, and tie-breakers were calculated by hand.
There were also the inevitable nightmare scenarios that come with technology (and Microsoft Excel in particular...). Gabe remembers one year when two teams' trips to Nationals were on the line. "At the end of one road season, there was a scoring mistake (transcription error of a misplaced rider from the posted results at the race to the results I
got [ed. note: What? -JH]) from the last race of the season. The scoring mistake was resolved after the conference weekend was over and resulted in a tie between the two schools. After a conference call between the conference director and USA Cycling, it was deemed that there were enough spots to let both schools attend. It was a painful two weeks."
But now, the chance of such errors has been greatly reduced. USA Cycling has developed an online Collegiate National Championships Omnium program that works cohesively with the USA Cycling results system, its rider database, and the forthcoming National Championship Online Registration system. As soon as National Championship results are submitted to the website, Omnium calculations are performed automatically, and no one has to lose sleep over tie-breakers or points scales or differences in school names (now that everything will be done on the USA Cycling website, one rider won't be earning points for "CU Boulder" and another for "University of Colorado-Boulder").
"It's been a great run but I'm ready to hand off the baton," Gabe recently said. "It's been great to help out behind the scenes and meet the conference directors, collegiate managers, and other higher ups on my trips to Nationals. It's been an honor to be able to give back to the WCCC since what I remember most about my time in graduate school at Berkeley is the cycling team and racing in the WCCC... I never made it to Nationals as a rider, but was happy to make it as a behind-the-scenes helper!"
Thanks Gabe, for all your hard work. And congratulations on your new baby boy!
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Collegiate Rules Cliff-Notes
Collegiate Cycling is a bit notorious for having its own set of somewhat complicated rules, categories, and scoring systems. It's hard to keep up with at times. So to help you prepare for Collegiate racing, we've broken down some key rules into quick read versions:
Only have 5 minutes? Here's a super-fast breakdown of some Road Rules you need to know.
Have 20 minutes and want to learn the essentials of Collegiate Cycling rules? Here you go.
Gonna be a while? Grab a USA Cycling Collegiate 2010 Rulebook.
Where Does My $30 Go?
Every year you pay USA Cycling $30 for a collegiate cycling license ($60 if you purchase a Road or Mountain Bike license, as well), your club pays a $50 renewal fee, and you pay to promote a race through USA Cycling, as well. So where does this money go? What do we do with it? First and foremost, every USA Cycling staff member is issued a company Porsche and a Learjet on his or her first day.
Obviously this isn’t the case, but there are always running assumptions that USA Cycling is a for-profit company, when in fact, it is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and it is an extremely efficient one. To be as transparent as possible, we have broken down exactly where your license money goes in the world of collegiate cycling. You can find a similar breakdown of other USA Cycling financials on the last page of our 2008 Annual Report (the 2009 Report will be released soon).
To find out exactly how Collegiate Cycling license fees are spent, read more here.
So What Is Mass-Start Legal and What Isn't?
Ever tried to read the UCI rulebook cover to cover? USAC Technical Director Shawn Farrell could recite it to you from memory, but that might take a while. So how does one figure out exactly what the new collegiate aero rule means for his or her equipment? Even the UCI "Practical Guide to Implementation" is a bit dense.
Fortunately for us, collegiate cyclist and official Raymond Junkins has compiled a handy guide to what's legal and what's not. Find it here. Thanks Ray!
For the most up-t0-date list of non-standard wheels that are approved for mass-start use, check here.
Submit any questions you have about collegiate cycling to firstname.lastname@example.org
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University of Utah
Essay by Joel Hsia, Team President
The University of Utah Cycling Club is the classic story of a developing group that has overcome long odds to firmly establish itself in collegiate cycling. Founded in late 2004, Utah Cycling started out as a group of students who paid out of their own pockets to travel, race, and ride. Fond stories are still told about the early years of racing in jerseys with a block “U” duct-taped on, and even resorting to wearing jerseys belonging to campus parking enforcement. -- Utah Cycling is now self-supported and is able to assist riders in the costs of racing.
Like any club-level organization, Utah Cycling owes its survival to the dedication of its members and officers. It is labor and love from committed individuals that allows Utah Cycling to continue. One particular 2006-2007 school year marks a time of great struggle, when the team nearly fell apart from lack of a governing body. Utah Cycling's advice to other small clubs or teams is that above all else, a solid group of leaders is the most important thing to have.
Beyond racing, Utah Cycling places value in supporting local community and organizations. Throughout 2009, on top of participating in charity rides, the club spent time promoting bicycle safety with young children of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Utah Cycling is also an active supporter for Bikes for Kids Utah, an organization that provides children with free bicycles to help them play, exercise, get to school, and develop hobbies. One of Utah Cycling's top highlights is currently laying claim to being faster than rival-school BYU at the annual Red vs Blue charity hill climb. Proceeds from this community-involved event benefit the Bikes for Kids Utah group.
Utah Cycling's major race accomplishments include consistent qualification for road and mountain nationals. The club is home to and has turned out globally ranked riders such as Mitchell Peterson, Rob Squire, and former MTB national champion Heather Holmes. Utah Cycling had spectacular results at 2009 RMCCC road conference finals, with multiple podium wins in all categories and disciplines. With a great group of riders, and transition into the new Inter-Mountain conference, Utah Cycling looks forward to 2010 and beyond.
Utah would like to recognize and thank the following organizations for their continued support throughout many years: Mass Mutual, Blackbottoms Cyclewear, CycleSmith SLC, and Ritchey Design.
Photo credits, top to bottom: Gina Duncan, Katie Gasser, and SOAR Communications
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Nathan Haslick, SECCC Director
How did you first get involved with cycling? I got involved with cycling while I was in middle school. It was during that period where you are old enough to want to go places on your own, but not yet old enough to drive. So, to get some freedom, I purchased a GT Ricochet mountain bike. A few months after that, a friend to took me to a mountain bike race and I was quickly sold on competitive cycling.
What about collegiate cycling? I joined the cycling team when I was a freshman at Michigan State University. I had already been riding and racing for years, but I was drawn in very quickly by the relationships and the overall atmosphere of collegiate cycling.
How long have you been conference director? I took on the conference director role in May of 2008. However, I was only initially the mountain bike and cyclocross director. I have recently added the road side to my overall duties.
Describe a typical race weekend; what do you do? In order to minimize costs of the promoting school, I try to be as involved as possible. I typically hand out numbers, check licenses, act as the chief official, and sort out results.
Do you ride very often? I typically ride 10-15 hours a week, although not as much in the past year due to my travel schedule with work. Race? I race primarily year to year in the SERC series as a cat 1 mountain biker, and I also mix in a few road events in either the TBRA series or the Georgia Cup series. Road or mountain? I am more partial to the mountain bike, though I spend a lot more time on my road bikes. The road riding in the Southeast is incredible.
What kind of bike(s) do you have? I have a handful of mountain bikes, and two road bikes. My current ride for mountain biking is my dream bike, a bass-boat blue Schwinn Homegrown. My current ride for road is a carbon Felt F5C.
What’s your favorite part of the job? My favorite part of the job is going to Nationals at the end of the season and watching SECCC riders do well on a national scale. Least favorite? Waking up for those early-morning weekend races. I would think that college kids would want to schedule their events later in the day and sleep in!
What are some of the unique challenges of running the Southeast conference? One unique challenge the Southeast faces is that there's a huge span of road between Macon and Gainesville where there just aren’t any schools. This area adds significantly to driving times and makes it difficult for Florida schools to be as active in events, and vice versa for some of the North Carolina schools.
Another unique challenge is that the SECCC has so many competitive schools and riders, that the fight for those Nationals qualifications spots is quite intense.
Why do you keep doing it? I have always loved collegiate cycling, and I want to promote it as well as I can. I have so many great memories of the sport, from selling beer at the county fair to raise money for our team, to taking Amtrak from Michigan to Idaho in order to race at Nationals, there are so many stories to be told. The more I can promote that, the more I will.
What is special about collegiate cycling? The atmosphere is so unique. Everyone at the races is in the virtually the same position; poor, dealing with school pressures, etc. That really creates a nice environment for all the riders. Also, it is a very good environment to introduce new riders into. With costs so low and the emphasis on teams so high, it is very special to see all the newcomers to the sport.
Do you have any good stories (funny, heartwarming, dramatic) from being a conference director? I think the best stories I hear relate to the lengths that some of the riders go to in order to get to races. There is no shortage of stories involving riders arriving in the wee hours of the morning to go out to race for just a few extra points.
What is your paying job? I have held various Finance/Accounting jobs with Hyatt Hotels over the past 6 years. However, I just recently took a job with Intercontinental Hotels Group as an analyst here in Atlanta.
Tell me three things about yourself that don’t involve cycling. 1) I have been married almost 5 years to my wife, whom I met at Michigan State. She’s proof that there may be more important things than school! 2) I am about to graduate in May from Duke University with a master’s in business administration. After I finish, I think I am going to be done with school for a very, very long time… 3) I am a pretty big nut when it comes to college basketball. I have been to a couple of Final Fours, and my crowning achievement was being a Cameron Crazy this past January.
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Mark Abramson, Collegiate Trustee and USA Cycling Board of Directors President
How did you first get involved with cycling? I have been fortunate to always have had bikes growing up and have always enjoyed the freedom of the bicycle. In my teenage years I attended a few bike touring camps such as the Student Hosteling Program out of Conway, MA. Once in college I kept riding and started mountain bike racing, but didn’t join the cycling team until sophomore year.
What about collegiate cycling? The coach of the Tufts Cycling Team, Forest Reid, originally convinced me to come out for some rides with the team, I enjoyed those and started racing with the team shortly thereafter. I was hooked immediately despite my first collegiate road race being a 40-degree, soaking wet experience at Cornell one year. Since then I promoted some road and cyclocross events and ran the ECCC for almost ten years.
How long have you been on the Board? I have been on the board since its formation in 2004. Before we created the Board of Trustees, I was part of the Collegiate Committee for a few years which was part of the USCF.
What motivated you to run for the Board? My experiences with Collegiate Cycling have always returned at least as much as I’ve put into them. Being a trustee is often hard work done on a volunteer basis, but it has always been rewarding to know that we are serving our collegiate membership and doing our best to make the sport better. And of course the great friendships and camaraderie of Collegiate Cycling always keep me coming back.
How does your role as president of the USA Cycling Board of Directors affect you as a Trustee? What kind of perspective does it add? The Trustee Boards are focused on the rules and competition of each discipline while The USA Cycling Board of Directors is the body that governs the organization as a whole. Being on the USAC Board adds important perspective to the Trustee boards because you get the “big picture” and understand how Collegiate Cycling benefits from other parts of USAC and how other parts of USAC benefit from Collegiate Cycling. USA Cycling is a complex organization with a number of moving parts, and it is great to know that all of those parts are aligned and moving towards the same goals.
Over the years as a CD, Trustee and now on the USAC Board, I have gotten to know most of the USA Cycling staff. It has been rewarding to work with and know such a great group of professionals. Although there are often tough discussions and complex issues to resolve, the staff makes working on initiatives and legislation for our sport a distinct pleasure.
Do you ride very often? We are fortunate because we live in the Bay Area of California and the riding here is spectacular. After 15 years of winter training in Boston, the daily commute to the office is that much sweeter. Race? We used to ride the 30 miles down and back to the Wompatuck training criterium from Boston every Tuesday. It is the infamous Tuesday Night Century. Sadly, my last Wompatuck was in 2008. Other career highlights include winning the B race at Cyclocross Nationals in 2001 and racing cyclocross as an elite in Belgium. Road or mountain? Yes. And let’s not forget cyclo-cross and track.
What kind of bike(s) do you have? I have a few road, mountain, and cross bikes and a fixed gear commuter. But the bike I’m most proud of is the Boo bamboo and carbon road frame constructed by ECCC and Princeton grad Nick Frey. He engineered the frames on the ECCC circuit and built them in his engineer lab at school.
What’s your favorite part of being on the board? Getting to know all of the athletes, coaches and team leaders is one of my favorite parts of being on the board. I also enjoy working with everyone at our meetings (usually at Nationals) to craft the future of Collegiate Cycling. The riders, coaches and conference directors have great insights and ideas, and many of these have made their way into the rulebook and policies for Collegiate Cycling over the years.
What do you hope to change and/or accomplish while on the board of trustees? I would like to continue to make our processes as a Board of Trustees as robust and transparent as possible. The sport has changed a lot over the past ten years and keeping the discipline evolving is an ongoing challenge, and making sure that our members’ experience is a positive one is at the top of the list.
What is special about collegiate cycling? It’s all about the team. The teamwork, camaraderie and fun-loving nature of our sport is amazing.
What is your real job? I am President and CEO of Forward Thought, Inc., a software company based in Sausalito, CA.
Tell me three things about yourself that don’t involve cycling. 1. I am an unapologetic foodie. Love food. Love cooking. 2. Before I discovered cycling, I used to go fishing almost every day. 3. My wife and I just returned from a lengthy trip to Macha, Zambia to work in a rural medical facility.
Unfortunately I have run out of room to tell you about the time we sewed 100 musette bags for the ECCC athletes at Road Nationals.
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Please see the complete Spring 2010 Collegiate Race Calendar here.
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