Press Release: USECF & Grinder Nationals

United States Endurance Cycling Association – USECF

The USECF has been sanctioning endurance cycling events since 2016 and our goal is to support the continued growth of endurance cycling at the grass roots level. We provide inexpensive event insurance with no membership or license fees, free race director resources & free consulting for race directors to help them produce successful endurance cycling events.

The USECF will also produce the USECF gravel grinder national championship in 2017 to celebrate off road endurance cyclist’s hard work, dedication and love of grinding. Grinder nationals will provide the opportunity for endurance cyclist to compete against other racers from around the country and will recognize & reward the top competitor’s efforts with national champion jerseys.

Date for the event is June 24, 2017 at Clinton Lake State Park, Lawrence, Kansas.

Grinder Nationals Overview

The United States Endurance Cycling Federation is proud to present the USECF Gravel Grinder National Championship. Racers do not need to qualify and any rider 16 years of age or older may register for the USECF Gravel Grinder National Championship. Racers will push the boundaries of human endurance as they grind for 112 miles and winning will require extreme willpower, skillful riding and possibly a little luck. When the dust settles the winning riders in each category will be crowned as 2017 USECF Gravel Grinder National Champions and presented with USECF National Championship Jerseys. The USECF Gravel Grinder National Championship will be part of the weekend festivities which include a challenging course, great food and a fun & festive award ceremony. The awesome course and time in the saddle with the gravel tribe will make this an epic event to remember. Join us as we celebrate these cyclists’ hard work and love of gravel riding at the USECF Grinder Nationals.

Another goal of the USECF is to bring back the 24 mountain bike national championship which has not been produced since 2014.

www.USECF.com
www.GrinderNationals.com

26 comments on “Press Release: USECF & Grinder Nationals

  1. This is a nice effort to get another race going. However, placing the Nationals a few weeks after the DIrty Kanza seems just a bit short sighted. Kanza is already the premiere gravel event, it draws all the serious contenders and has been the virtual nationals for some time already.

    Three weeks recovery from DK200 is not enough to prepare for a National level event for those looking to win. It’s doubtful many would willingly choose to compete for the “coveted nationals jersey” over racing the DK. If they want to legitimately host a National caliber event it should be either much earlier or later than DK. This schedule will force the event to become just another gravel race because no serious competitor will recognize it as the National Championship because the big names will never show up.

  2. Is it an “association” or “federation”?
    United States Endurance Cycling Association – USECF
    Honestly, when I see those words together I start to get a little nauseous. That’s one of the reasons why I started riding gravel…to get away from USAC, which was previously USCF.

  3. good comments TimG.
    my thoughts include “beware of USA Cycling (or its related affiliates)”. i recall NORBA, then observed the devolution & regulatory overreach when USA Cycling decided to entrench themselves into off-road racing at which point i divorced them. let Gravel Cycling evolve as it has thus far: on it’s own–organically. a national oversight committee/agency isn’t needed & will only add rules, complexity, & fees. just one person’s experience,..

  4. +1 on concerns expressed by others. The problem with all of the “CF’s” is that no one elected them. They are self selected, very prone to cronyism, and not in any way accountable to anyone- especially to the members. Once big money get involved — sponsors, promoters etc – watch out: money talks and BS walks. Also, do I hear rider “licenses” lurking here? As a many year USCF license holder, I can tell you, I will never hold a cycling “license” again!

  5. USECF claims to have done some good work helping individual race directors the organization certainly has some experienced race directors and racers on staff but this is far from a “National Championship” event. For one thing, it lacks qualifying events. The concerns of the other here are legitimate. The members of the USECF have elected themselves as the sanctioning body for gravel events and the word “Sanction” itself is antithetical to what attracts people to grave racing in the first place. Once such a structure is erected over any sport you can bet that abuses are not far behind. Throwing around the phrase “Grass roots” doesn’t make it any more palatable.

    1. Tim, completely with you on the sanctioning body thing, we don’t need them in gravel. I do appreciate everyone’s feedback in this thread; knowledge is power, and why it was important for me to share this article.

  6. Yep, I’m not much of a hunter…but when does DUCK season open.
    Need to shoot that bird before it starts laying eggs or dropping poo.

  7. Seriously, wtf? I stopped racing 15+ years ago because I didn’t like the politics. I’ve been riding in local gravel race for a couple of years and digging it. But a sanctioning body? No. Have fun, I’m out.

  8. I think there are some legitimate questions here and hopefully I can answer them in this post. The USECF launched in 2016 and is focused on supporting grass roots off road endurance cycling events which includes grinders, 12 & 24 hour mountain bike races and point to point off road endurance races. We have built a board that is passionate and has experience in all types of off road endurance cycling events and our goal is to support both the race directors and the riders who compete in these events.

    The USECF board is composed of the following members:

    Mike Kuhn – Director Pennsylvania NICA, race director for the Transylvania Epic, Iron Cross, Rattling Creek MTB Marathon, IIGO MTB Relay and avid racer.

    Matt Battiston – Off road endurance racer who has completed Triple Bypass, Dirty Kanza 200, 2 Eco Challenges and just about any other event that has the word endurance in the name.

    Andrea Cohen – Salsa Cycles ultra-endurance cyclist, completed Trans Iowa, Dirty Kanza 200, and countless gravel centuries over the years.

    Phil Schweizer – Race director for the Pony Xpress Gravel 160, the Encierro Velo and owner of Koobi saddles. Completed 20 Leadville 100s, Dirty Kanza 200 and countless other endurance cycling events.

    Troy Farrar – Former race director for 24 Hours of Rocky Hill, 12 Hours of Dirt & Dirty Dozen, produced over 250 off road events, endurance mountain bike racer & adventure racer.

    A basic overview is that the USECF will support off road endurance cycling race directors by providing inexpensive event insurance without requiring the participants to purchase memberships or racing licenses, providing free resources such as sample rules, event planning check lists, discounts on race supplies & providing free consulting. We will support the riders by providing some of the best insurance coverage available, providing minimum safety standards & celebrating their accomplishments with a national championship.

    For the past 20 years I have had the honor of overseeing the United States Adventure Racing Association and hope to bring some of the success we have had in that arena to another sport that I am passionate about which is off road endurance cycling. We have been able to guide new race directors to produce successful events right out of the gate through free consulting, eliminating a lot of the common first timer mistakes that can ruin the event for both the participants & the race directors. We have also produced a national championship that celebrates the hard work of the grass roots racer. Most racers compete against the same guys who live in their region throughout the year. A national championship provides an opportunity for racers from all over the country to gather & compete and then rewards the top competitor’s accomplishments. The USARA national championship is an awesome grass roots event and it has been a blessing to see how the competitors all look forward to returning each year to see friends they have made throughout the years and to compete at the highest level against racers from around the country. No big prize money but instead the recognition and appreciation of their peers for all of the hard work they have put into a sport they love.

    Thanks Troy

  9. USECF is so close to the old abbreviation for USA-Cycling USCF that it
    sends up warning flags for my suspicious old arse.
    None the less, I wonder how soon USECF will begin collecting membership fees
    and drafting a plethora of silly rules.
    Keeping gravel cycling grassroots is its own reward. You accomplish this by
    keeping race money and sponsorships to a minimum or risk that happened
    among the euro-pros across the pond.

    Personally the only group I would trust with hosting something like “Gravel Nationals”
    is the Pirate Cycling League who, with obvious tongue in cheek, created “Gravel Worlds.”
    Their response to me for any rule clarification was always the same…”We don’t care…’cause we’re pirates! Argg!”
    They are my heroes.

    The other alternative is to call all gravel races (in America) ” Gravel Nationals.”

    Gravel Nationals of Florida, Gravel Nationals of Utah, Gravel Nationals of Minot…etc..

    Florida already has a World Championship of Tallahasse, Gainesville and Ocala…wink wink, nudge nudge!

    K-Dogg

  10. OK now I see the above post answering my question. The main goal then is to provide insurance without requiring membership etc?

  11. I think the biggest hint that this “a rotten egg” has already been stated, “Why would you want to hold Nationals so close to the D.K 200?
    Even though I’m way over here in Oz, I can smell a rotten egg…..might not be a duck, probably a goose….HONK!!

    PS: Love K Dogg’s pirate reference,
    AND….how many times did you guys and gals laughed til your sides hurt when you road raced? Betcha the fun of gravel riding and racing is a big part of why we ride the gravel!

  12. We realized that we were closer to DK than was ideal but when we looked at available weekends in the Lawrence Kansas area June 24 was the one that did not already have events in the area. Part of the decision making process was we did not want to put the event on top of another existing event.

    1. OK — so I’m one of the alarmists. I did listen to troy and Guitar Ted on the podcast. It was somewhat reassuring in that these guys have their hearts in the right place. I do suggest you listen to the podcast that Troy suggested, and form your own opinion. My take is that they are sincere in their efforts. They fear “Big Brother” – or as they call it “the 800 pound gorilla in the closet- as much as we do. Also, Troy’s track record, and the CV of the committee who runs this organization, show that they have their hearts in the right place. As I’ve posted elsewhere, while my age and lifestyle don’t fit too well with the upcoming “National Championship” event, I believe that many of the other regular readers of this site, might enjoy participating in this event. Even if the title “National Championship” is a little questionable.

  13. i completely agree w/K-Dogg: “USECF is so close to the old abbreviation for USA-Cycling USCF that it sends up warning flags for my suspicious old arse.
    Nonetheless, I wonder how soon USECF will begin collecting membership fees
    and drafting a plethora of silly rules….”.
    for myself:
    1. as a rider, i’m not asking for “insurance”–if i hit the deck, or a car hits me, i have insurance (lucky for me, i know).
    2. for the race directors, if so desired, have the riders sign a release/waiver and/or keep the ride (not race) free or as “donation”, or clearly state: “self-supported–ride at your own risk”.
    3. that’s nice USECF wants to help “grow the sport”, but never forget: Follow the Dollar! (to begin with, insurance dollars). at this time, USECF insurance fees are minimal at approx $5/rider: https://www.usecf.com/Content/Resources/USECF-Insurance-Packet.pdf (page 4).
    4. let USECF offer their experiences & helpful advice “gratis” via a web-site (otherwise,

  14. There are some legitimate questions here that I would like to address & hopefully clear some things up for all the event directors that are reading this string..

    The USECF does provide help for race directors gratis – there are race director resources are on the website and anyone can download them for free. We have no desire to enforce standardized rules – for example we provide a sample set of rules on the website, if a race director wants to use or edit them great – if not that is OK too. We are just trying to provide some of the standard materials a race director might need so they do not have to reinvent everything from scratch. We also provide free consulting for race directors without requiring any fee or commitment. All of these things can help endurance cycling event directors put on better events and the result is that the sport thrives when this is happening. When someone puts on an event with problems many riders go away disappointed or mad, and a first time participant may assume that all events have these issues and decide to not participate again. The result is that endurance cycling is hurt. We are all passionate about endurance cycling and want to see it thrive.

    It is important to understand that all event coverage is not equal and the event coverage we provide is some of the best available – which helps me sleep well at night as a race director. I have seen all types of terrible coverage through the years including event coverage that excepts the participants – in layman’s terms does not cover the event director from suits arising from the event participants or cover participants medical expenses – its more common than you would think. We pass the coverage on at cost – FYI adding to the insurance cost is actually illegal unless you are an insurance agent (which we are not). We also have no plans to have licenses or collect membership fees now or in the future.

    I have been involved with event liability for a long time so I also want to address a sometimes misunderstood concept. There is no difference between a race director of a free event or an event that charges entry fees, neither one can have participants sign away your liability. I repeat, free entry is inconsequential with regards to your liability as an event organizer. Understand I’m not talking about a couple of guys meeting at the end of the block on Saturday morning and going for a ride. But once you start adding in the pieces of an organized event such as naming the event, having a website or face book site, entry forms, pre race meeting, etc you have just taken on the liability for the event.

    There are several possible outcomes when there is equipment damage, an injury or death at an event and if the event organizers do not have event coverage they will have to bear the cost of responding to actions taken by participants and they also may be found liable for damages arising from the event. An important thing to understand is that If one of the above situations happens, even if the event organizer was not negligent he may incur severe cost in defending a lawsuit if he did not have event insurance.

    Let me jump to the next questions that usually appears in this string. You may know all of your participants and feel confident that none of them would ever hold you responsible for something that happened at your event. Well you should know that the majority of losses come from suits brought by the family of the participant. When a participant is severely injured or killed the family may not feel the same towards you as the participant does and they may have no problem naming you in a lawsuit.

    I have been through this line of thinking a couple of times during the evolution of sports that I was involved with and I just want all of the race directors out there to understand the liability they are taking on when they organize an event so they are not caught by surprise if something unforeseen happens at their event. Also understand that all waivers are not created equal and that each state may have their own requirements for waivers.

    Unfortunately we live in a litigious society and as an event organizer we must understand that when we organize an event we automatically take on the liability for that event.

    Is anyone is still awake 🙂

    Sorry if I was too wordy I just feel it is important for event organizers & participants to understand the legal implications of an event.

    Hope that helps answer some of the questions.

    Troy

    1. Thanks Troy.
      it appears you have a good heart and know the issues Gravel riders worry about.
      I don’t think it will be you that takes us to that dark place. 🙂
      K-Dogg

  15. Troy: appreciate your thorough, plain-language comments. Moreover, after reading them, and as a rider with *zero* experience organizing an event, it appears USECF is offering significant wisdom & advice from learned experience over many events/years to help make any event better, so I thank you for that. I also better understand some of risks involved. Great comments & very helpful.
    Steve Welsh, Tallahassee, FL

  16. Thanks for the encouragement & understanding and for not killing the messenger. I wish all of this were simpler but that is not where we are in our society right now. But thankfully we can all still jump on our bikes and ride whenever we want!

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