Transplant Athlete
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
  Why Does The UMCA Matter?

The UMCA sanctions most ultra-distance events (mostly the long events), what that means to me as a racer is if I want to participate in the races, I am required to be a member. The US Cycling Federation has a similar policy that anyone participating in a sanctioned race must be a member. The organizer of the race gets access to low cost insurance and free advertising space in the UMCA newsletter.

A yearly membership gives me access to the races and a magazine that looks like it was printed on a fax machine. The information is usually good, but I've been a member so long that some articles seem to be recycled versions of older articles. I could buy a race day membership that would give me access to that particular race. So, you can see, I have limited options if I want to race.

There is one other long distance group Randonneurs USA (RUSA), but they sanction randonneuring events which are not races.

The UMCA has been decidedly America-centric up until recently, so there has been some talk of creating a world governing body for ultracycling, after all, why should someone in England or France or Slovenia join a US organization (taxation without representation issues, lack of UMCA sanctioned events in their home country, and an english language magazine - basically they don't get anything they can use for their 25 Euros). The organization stalled and most likely has died on the drawing board.

A friend of mine recently asked, "Why not create an alternative organization?" While it would be possible to create an alternate organization, I'd like to see if the UMCA can be saved first. A new organization would need to put out a better quality magazine, recruit members fast, and would need to recruit the 12 race directors for RAAM Qualifiers to switch their races to the new organization. This is not an easy task and is best used as a weapon of last resort.


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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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