Coffee Talk - Time for unsanctioned races?

Nothing was better in my early years of being a bike racer than the Wednesday night TT's we did. About 20ish riders would roll up to one of the only roads that had a shoulder in town and we'd go 5 miles out, look for the painted arrows turn around and race back. No permits, no, cops, no volunteers at the corners stopping traffic (you had to time it right with cars) and no "posted results or points". Cost was $0. Best experience I ever had in my early days of racing, you learn so much about how much pain the body can take in those early years that is valuable for the training or racing coming up that weekend.

Where did those Wednesday TT's of my youth go? Some of the races today are getting pricey, I'm not complaining, big races like Boulder Cup takes big investments and lot of expenses and risks but some riders just can't do it anymore, especially if they don't get the royal treatment.

While reading the Daily Camera today I was for a moment returned to the 90's racing those Wednesday night TT's for no prizes, results or points, just for pain and knowledge, unsanctioned racing. Their article was about a new ad campaign by Pearl Izumi to forget about those big events and go rouge, underground. Why not? Permits are nearly impossible to get these days from local governments and the police force you need to have on had can get pretty pricey and there are plenty of nice parks around. Of course unsanctioned races have no insurance if you crash but you learned from Megan Hottman, The CyclistsLawyer that race insurance isn't going to cover a whole lot if you are hurt. What's stopping you besides very illegal and you could get sued to death?

Thanks Pearl Izumi for taking me back to those days and remembering what it is like to race for nothing but glory.

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16 Comments

unsanctioned does not mean unpermitted

A race can be fully permitted and legit even though it is not "sanctioned." The Winter Park MB series is a perfect example. It is not sanctioned by USAC, ACA, or any other sanctioning body, but it is still a perfectly legit race series.

Hard competitive group rides will always be around. The more interesting question, in my view, is whether unsanctioned series could thrive here in disciplines other than MTB. For example, if Boulder Racing pulled their seven races out of the USAC/ACA and put them on as an independent series, would people still show? How would it impact the cost? People who want call ups at nationals would need to compete in other races to get a ranking, but it seems there's a lot of room to draw the folks that don't race other disciplines and would jump at the chance to save the license and chip fees, surcharges, etc.

Colorado MTB race mostly unsanctioned but permitted

With the ending of the Mountain States Cup, most of the mountain bike races in Colorado are not sanctioned through USAC. Very easy to get Liability Insurance outside of USAC.

Road/Cross - Just a few masters care about sanctioning to get points so they can get a better call up for Nationals. The vast majority don't care if the race is USAC or independent. They just want a good safe race course with good results. Colorado had "unsanctioned" races for 10+ years with great success!

In looking at the comments

In looking at the comments below, it seems like this video has caused a bit of friction. I do not want to be nasty or generalize-y but I think this kind of defines the differences in the CO and MN scenes. I was a messenger and all around rider in MN for a few years and moved to Colorado. The different attitudes make it really difficult to get involved in the Colorado riding scene if you are a casual rider/racer. It just seems that casual is defined in an entirely different way in CO. I respect the hell out of the racers here. Super intense and strong. That intensity is the problem though. For a (now) dumpy, sort of out-of-shape guy it is even worse - terribly intimidating. I am not whining as much as I know I will not be the sort of guy that can compete on a level with the riders I see around here. In MN, casual rides are a bit more fun without the competition leading to a lack of camaraderie. Anyway, just my two cents and since I am now starting to crack the egg on cross riding, maybe I will be pleasantly surprised by the community.

On that note, where should I go to start getting my cross-legs? Any trail suggestions or places that have a course that is permanent?

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