Jan 6, 2003 2:44 PM
|Not that I'm biased in any way towards this guy's opinion, of course... he merely took the same coaching program I did and was a partner in running our Ohio Valley Spring Series. (Copied from VeloNews Letters to the Editor):
Backbone with a future
I'm writing from the perspective of someone who raced his first race at 37, realized what I had been missing for 30 years, and have devoted my spare time ever since to creating racing opportunities for kids.
Regarding "Masters are the backbone of the sport", and Dave Stedje's comment that "The only way we will ever have a solid base of junior riders will be through promotion in our schools and that does not mean teaching kids just how to put on a helmet." He says USA cycling needs to do it with money.
I say that "BACKBONE," the Masters racers, if they indeed are the BACKBONE need to skip one training ride a week. Maybe 2. In that spare time they need to print up some flyers, get permission from the school board, drive around and distribute them in the schools. Then they need to organize a youth league, gather a group of kids together, and teach them what they know. Not of course how to change the bolt kit on their Colnago C-40 to Ti: But how to rub elbows in a sprint and feel comfortable- how to make a killer start that humiliates half the field; how to bunny hop over a pothole without losing a second or steer with their hips around it, etc.... They need to offer quality junior racing opportunities in the races their clubs promote, not token B.S.
I got news for them. The folks in Colorado Springs ain't gonna' do it. They will facilitate, cheer for you, sell you cheap insurance, teach you to coach, give you a well written program you can implement, let you use Lance's name for your juniors race; some of them will sit up late with you at night and drink a beer and tell you great stories about when they were juniors racing against Greg and thereby just deepen your own love, etc.... But you, the BACKBONE you gotta' decide whether you really love the sport enough to pass it on - to recruit kids, teach 'em, and create opportunities for them to race. Money, from USAC or anywhere, is not the answer.
Come on BACKBONE - do you love the sport? Do you love it enough to sacrifice some of your own riding time to create quality opportunities for kids? You gotta decide.
Either you love it enough to suffer and sacrifice some of yourself to pass it on, or you really don't love it, you're just using it to get you through your mid-life crisis and will soon cast it off to whither away, broken and used. If you love it then prove it. Do something that will nurture it, give it life long after you're sitting in an OCLV wheelchair watching the 2023 TdF while sucking beef broth through a straw.
If you do the sport will give back to you. No race result, no podium finish or schwag won in an old guys category can compare to the satisfaction of watching a 9-year-old spin beautiful, perfect circles at 130 rpm high up on the banking at the velodrome; or listening to stories from parents about 8- and 10-year-old brothers pursuit racing in their underwear in the basement before bed, or stories of orange flags and tape in the garden and giddy-fun cyclo-cross races around 1/2 acre suburban lots.
Are you a lover or a user? If you're a lover then do something. If you're a user then pay your money, race your races, take your 7th place schwag home and quit complaining that someone else isn't doing what you ought to be. If Masters want to be called the backbone they've got some "steppin' up to the plate" to do.
I have faith that if WE build it THEY will come.
Vice President and Director of Youth Programs
Queen City Wheels Bicycle Racing Club
|re: Hear! Hear!||weiwentg|
Jan 6, 2003 5:53 PM
|just before I read your post, I read that same letter ... could it be a sign?
accordingly, I promise to, when I am old, flabby and slow, do something for the juniors. even if I get old but remain reasonably trim and not terribly slow, I will do something for the juniors.