Save the Masters track 30-34 age group
I am a masters athlete in the now defunct 30-34 year old category, and am circulating this petition with the intention of reversing USA Cycling’s decision to remove the 30-34 age group from Masters National competition. This change in policy not only limits participation in the highest revenue- generating segment of our sport, but also mitigates, for many of us, the only opportunity to compete, with our peers, on a National level. By reducing the number of athletes able to compete at Masters National Championships, while actually adding another day of competition in the case of track, USAC officials are creating two problems in terms of positive fiscal adjustment. The first and obvious issue is that less people means a bigger financial burden on the promoters of these events. The people who organize these championships have to obtain permitting through local authorities, secure venues, pay USAC officials and coordinate road closures with municipalities, as well as supply medical staff for the events themselves. All of this must be done with a minimum of return of investment, and, in many cases, a deficit. Local businesses, (i.e. hotels, restaurants and stores) are harmed as well by the reduction in potential income. The second and less obvious issue is that by excluding this age group, it is reducing the revenue to the programs that fund such things as junior development and our National Team. In many areas around the country, masters riders will simply compete only at a local level, reducing the benefit to these programs. It should be recognized that masters-level racing is somewhat unique in that it comprises several levels of expertise, and a multitude of backgrounds. Many of the riders who compete in age- graded championships started out in different sports while in high school or college, and gave up competing in favor of starting a family and a career. It is extremely difficult in any case to reach the highest levels of open competition. When a family, mortgage and a full time job are factored in, with the inherent reduction in training and development time, this becomes near-impossible for all but the most naturally gifted of us. Elite level competition is not a realistic option for most of us, or we wouldn’t need Masters Nationals at all-we would all be competing at open championships instead. This is our one chance every year to test ourselves against our peers. This is our pro contract/World Cup/Tour de France/Olympics, and we would very much like to keep it. Thank you for your support.