Saturday, December 23, 2006


Why Don't We All Just Get Along

(This Post was written on Feb 8th 2007 and "filed" back here just because it didn't deserve the front page)

The Ultradistance Board at Topica has been on fire of late. Seems many are using it to voice opinions, threats, accusations, and feelings about how the UMCA has or has not been doing things of late. People are particularly taking issue with the purchase of RAAM by the UMCA. Secondarily some have issues with the way the UMCA has been run, specifically with regard to transparency (from what I've heard a budget/financial statement hasn't been made public since 2004), and delayed elections. Third, there is debate about the international nature and/or vision of the UMCA.

The UMCA went on to explain the whole RAAM transaction both on their website and in the latest UMCA magazine, which was delayed for over a month while the facts were written down.

Now my opinions, for what they're worth (not a whole lot):

1.) I don't have a problem with the UMCA owning RAAM, nor with the terms of the deal. It seems it could've been disclosed in a more timely manner. I glad RAAM was "saved". It hasn't ever made money and was in serious danger of not happening at all. That would've been, in my opinion, a tragic loss. Thanks to all those that had a part in making sure it goes on.

Although the chances of me ever doing RAAM, are nearly non-existent. I still remain hopelessly enthralled by the drama, dedication, emotion and perseverance necessary to both participate in the event AND to run the thing. It IS the premier ultra-distance cycling event in the world.

2.) By very nature I'm non-confrontational, so when I see people "going to war" about something I love (Ultra cycling), I tend to just sit on the sidelines and wait for the dust settle. There ARE issues that the UMCA needs to address, and the sooner they do the better, because there is a swell of disillusion and budding malcontent that seems to be driving people apart. That isn't good. I've met many many people involved with all aspects of cycling in the past few years. Many of whom I've gotten to know and consideration my friends. I would hate to see these issues grow into something that would endanger the relationships we all hold dear.

I hope that all these organizational issues are addressed and the sport continues to grow with leaps and bounds. Transplant athlete Lou (you'll need to scroll down the link to see the relevent posts) has jumped into the "fray" and voiced many valid concerns about the issues at hand. We need this. Open forums are just that. A place to air out ideas and concerns that SHOULD be addressed and remedied. The Topica board is the only "real-time" place to do this, but does not represent the entire UMCA membership. Maybe we need a board that does.

3) On the whole interanational thing. It doesn't really matter to me. We (the international community) DO need standards by which records are set and verified.

Unfortunately internet communication does have it's limitations. Innuendo is oft misconstrued or wrongly inferred. Tone of the written word is really nonexistent and mostly misinterpreted, subject to our own preconceived bias and agenda. It IS all we have, and hopefully can serve a purpose if we all just concentrate on what is important. Our common love of the ride, the friendships and culture shared, and the joy of the experience.

Blah Blah Blah,

Thanks for reading, now go get your



We all need to focus on the goals of what UMCA or any organized group wants to achieve and then work from there. Figure out what it takes to get to that point. And along the way, preserve and nurture just the things you said, the friendships, culture, the shared experiences, and most importantly, the love of the ride.
Very very true Kurt. I hope we can get all this worked out.
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