CRCA Members and Friends,
The 2012 Board met for the first time on January 3rd. We covered a lot of ground in our initial meeting. We discussed our plan for the year and approved a number of changes that we believe will continue to strengthen our club. I want to communicate to you the key decisions we made and provide some additional color on a couple of the items. Among other items, we approved:
- a mission statement for the club
- a set of goals for the Board for 2012 and the medium term for us to action
- a central park 15 race program that includes:
- an additional open race
- a Master’s open race day (which will include the Club Masters Championship)
- both a men’s and women’s race clinic
- better opportunities for category 3 and 4 women
- a stipend program to support rider development for Category 1&2 women, U23 riders and riders looking to attend ‘Elite” level races
- changes to the B field competition
- a budget that aims for a break even position for the year
A schedule of our events is published here. Note we are still in process of planning our time trial events for the year but are anticipating a Floyd Bennett Field Time Trial and an Alpine Hill Time Trial.
2012 Central Park Race Program
The member survey we conducted last year told us members were looking for more open racing opportunities and the ability to earn upgrade points. Club races under USAC rules are not eligible for upgrade points. To accommodate that request, we have added an additional open race to our Central Park calendar. We are also planning on changing our Master’s Championship day to be an open race with separate fields for each Master’s Category.
We have secured a small sponsorship from Deloitte that will allow us to purchase equipment that we will use to improve our finish line camera and results set up. This will add to the quality of races with results determined with increased accuracy and speed. The finish line video will also be published on our website following the race.
We will continue with varied finish locations, similar to last year which we received positive feedback on.
Women’s racing is something we have spent a lot of time considering how we can improve. There are very few opportunities for women to race in separate fields in New York City. To change that long term, we need to grow field sizes by increasing the overall level of participation in the sport. We believe one of the barriers to attracting and retaining new women in the sport is the fact that category new entrants in the sport have to race against much more experienced racers. This can be dangerous for all and demotivating for all but the strongest new rider.
In an effort to change this, our women’s field on three of our dates will be an open race for categories 3 and 4 only. On the Master’s race day, the Women’s field will be an open Category 4 race (not limited to masters). While this reduces the number of available races for our category 1 and 2 women, we believe this trade off is in the long term interest of women’s racing and will help grow the sport. We have also introduced a stipend program that category 1 and 2 women can access to access funding to help them attend races that are more competitive for their level.
As a club, one of goals is development. We have done a great job with the junior development team but we see a need to do more. We occasionally get requests from riders look for financial support to attend events that will aid their development as riders. These requests have been dealt with on an ad hoc basis. We believe a more comprehensive program that is budgeted for in advance and includes published ‘rules’ on how such grants will be made is a better approach. We have put this into place.
The program is aimed at Category 1 & 2 women, Under 23 riders and other riders looking to attend Elite level events such as National or State championships. We will publish the program specifics shortly, but approved grants will be paid on a partial reimbursement basis and may cover race entry fees, transportation and accommodation costs up to set limits. This program will only be available to Racing members of the club. We hope this program will help more of our members attend races in the region that will contribute to their development.
B Field Competition
Based on feedback from our members, the Board has decided to eliminate the Jim Boyd award for the B field. We will retain the Team Cup Competition, but not all our club races will be eligible for points. We view the B field as a development field, and some members felt that the Team Competition was contributing to large teams having a disproportionate impact on races and causing ‘negative racing’. This year some of our B field club races won’t count for the Team Cup Competition (we will clearly communicate this in advance when we publish the race schedule) and we will monitor what impact this has on the racing.
Over the last few years, the club has been run at a deficit. Some of this is a result of losses incurred at the Bear Mountain races due to the required course changes. The club races have been run at a loss (a recent participation levels, it costs approximately $19 per rider the run our race. That includes the cost of the ambulance, rider insurance, permit fees and the fees for the motos and race officials.
We are therefore increasing our cash race day fee to $15 (it has been $10 for as long as anyone can remember, despite rising costs). The prepaid club race (dinosaur) option will remain at $100 (for fewer club races) which continues to offer the best deal for members who plan on racing more than 6 club races.
Last year the membership fee was increased from $59 to $70 and there is no change to that. The ‘early’ renewal fee (for those who renew before February 15th) will increase from $49 to $55. We will publish our budget so you can see how we plan to spend the club’s income.
We will communicate the full details of our race calendar, including open races and other events we have planned for the club shortly. This year’s Board is committed to carrying out our Club’s mission and being a positive contributor to bicycle racing and our community. I expect that some members will be disappointed with aspects of the changes outlined above but I expect the majority will see them as beneficial overall. At the end of the year we will take a close look at how these changes worked out, and in the meantime we welcome your comments and feedback – whether positive or negative. Please feel free to contact me at president[at]crca.net.