Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Okay...the guy from Granny Gear Productions is not the devil...the fact is that he's pretty cool and well hez a good guy...and maybe I was wrong to...

Recently, I have enjoyed a compelling dialogue with the director of Granny Gear Productions and I have come away impressed with him, coupled with a change in my thinking regarding his endurance series. I now see this enterprise in a new, more positive light. Furthermore, Granny Gear Production events will not be removed from future LIST considerations. Below is a sampling of our exchanges...

Dear Liard: Again I am impressed with your willingness to address my concerns and I would be a hypocrite if I did not approach your ideas with rationality and open-mindedness. To be honest, you seem like a top notch fellow, and I am fascinated by our dialogue and I might just pony up the “big cash” and head out to Moab just to prove it! Plus, we obviously share a love of mountain bike racing and too me that is a significant point of agreement. Yes, you are bringing me around to your way of thinking on several points with a significant exception that I will address below. Also, I find nothing inconsistent about the points you make, especially the reference to the mismanagement of NORBA or itz off-spring of which the name escapes me. Finally, to make myself clear, my central point in my previous communiqué was that while I do not in anyway disallow you the opportunity to promote and profit from organizing endurance cycling events, I am of the opinion that the organization and structure of a 24 Hour National Championship event that is seemingly just sort-of willy-nilly held out there for the highest (or sole) bidder is inappropriate and counter to what I believe the USA Cycling governing body should represent.

Therefore, here is where we may differ: I am of the belief that, in practice, regarding the relatively new sport of endurance racing (at this point-in-time) where there is but a very select class of racers that are truly professionals—"professionals" as defined as their primary jobs are racing bicycles in endurance mtb events, the classification of "professional" is a misnomer and inconsistent with the facts. Certainly, in 24 hour-endurance mountain bike racing, where there are what maybe eight guys at the most that are getting by financially racing, and probably five true “professionals”, the “governing body” should hold a national 24 hour competition that is affordable and representative of the competitive, albeit nonprofessional bike rider that still constitutes the vast majority of slots for such an event. I am talking about guyz like myself; an old guy pushing 50 that finished 12th and 11th respectively in the last two 24 Hours Nats. I am a committed enduro-bike racer, but I have a full time job, a kid, a wife, a cat, a gecko, etc. and I am not an anomaly, I am the face of the average racer that shows up to enter a USA Cycling-sanctioned 24 Hour National Championship event. The average guy, the average USA Cycling license holder is not looking for a significant pay-out or big prizes; the average guy just wants to see how he stacks up against the rest of the field in this relatively obscure and fringe subculture of cycling. Therefore, in theory, I believe that an affordable, not-for-profit USA Cycling 24 Hour National Event is what WE should get for buying a license from USA Cycling. I don’t know if USA Cycling is a non-profit, but it should be… Instead what WE get, in my view, or what is happening is that your event in Moab (which you have every right to promote and profit from) has agreed (perhaps generously and with the potential for financial loss) to let USA Cycling piggyback onto your event, because presumably they will not, or more likely, are incapable to act on their own. So, WE, the competitors, due to "the luck of the draw" are left with an event that is significantly more expensive than the last two USA Cycling 24 Hour National Championship events and thus for many of us, simply out of reach financially (a reasonable and in your words "unsustainable" $90 dollars last year at 9 Mile, versus $340 this year in Moab). So based on a nebulous or ill-defined decision by USA Cycling (which I suspect was an act of desperation), one either needs to pony up an entry fee that represents a %265 increase over the last two previous events or stay home... and watch the three professionals and the rich guyz battle it out...
Thanks again for your insights,


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