Colorado Springs, Colo. (Nov. 16, 2011) – The fourth annual USA Cycling Race Director Summit offered a new twist for the more than 70 attendees who converged to discuss the 2012 season and growth of the sport domestically; the increased participation of more than a dozen of the nation’s top team directors.
Held for the first time in Salt Lake City due largely to the support of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, the annual summit saw not only race directors but 13 Pro Continental, Continental and Domestic Elite Team directors in attendance as well as several mountain bike stakeholders.
“The race directors really wanted to bring the team owners and directors into the conversation and it was one of the things that we heard as feedback from last year’s summit,” said Tara McCarthy, USA Cycling’s race director certification manager. “The discussion was very positive and everyone came away super happy they attended.”
The group discussed a variety of topics throughout the three-day event hosted by the Salt Lake City Sheraton, including: sponsorship, head injuries, risk management, televising cycling and governance & rule changes. Small constituent groups also broke out to discuss scheduling, applications, team branding and on-site activation. The group also capitalized on networking opportunities over meals sponsored by Visit Salt Lake, Backcountry.com, DNA Cycling and PSA Sports.
“I feel like we all put on these events in a vacuum, so the most important thing to me is the opportunity to meet ‘colleagues,” said Mike Weiss, director of the Tour de Grove, the sixth stop on the 2012 National Criterium Calendar (NCC). “I’m a fairly new race director at this level and so I find the opportunity to tap into all the experience in that room quite worthy. I also thought the panel discussions were so valuable. Hearing from people who are really immersed in different facets of the business is beneficial as we as race directors can’t be experts on every side. I also thought the break-out sessions really got people talking and thinking outside the box. I left with a lot of great takeaways.”
Following USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson’s State of the Sport address, a detailed discussion of USA Cycling’s new results & rankings program was led by Tom Mahoney, results & rankings manager. An insurance and risk management presentation was aimed at race directors while a UCI team break-out session ran simultaneously. Friday’s afternoon session was dominated by sponsorship panel led by Matt Wikstrom, V.P. of Wasserman Media Group and Steve Miller, Senior V.P of the Larry H. Miller Group. Dr. Anna Abramson, founder of the Medicine of Cycling group, also offered a moving presentation on prevention, warning signs and consequences of head injuries in cyclists.
“I think having input from so many men's and women's cycling teams this year was vital as a shared forum with event organizers to strengthen the business of cycling,” said Jackie Tyson, who works as the director of public relations for the Tour of Utah. “The team directors provided valuable feedback for these events to continue to improve as viable entertainment properties, as well as earning opportunities and development platforms for the athletes.”
Saturday morning’s focus turned toward media as USA Cycling Communication Director Andrea Smith moderated a panel of experts on the topic of new media. Jackie Tyson, president of Peloton Sports, Allan Padgett, CEO of Tour Tracker and Jesse Hammond, USA Cycling’s new media manager offered tips on how to capitalize on social media, the emergence of mobile applications, reaching out to the ‘new’ media and more. Medalist Sports’ Jim Birrell then joined forces with Dave Chauner of the TD Bank International to lead discussion on cycling and television. After lunch and a brief break-out session, participants heard from USA Cycling staff on branding and bidding for national events. A panel on moving from a national to a UCI-level event including Karen Weiss, executive director of the Tour of Utah; Don Edberg, director of the Wisconsin Off-Road Series (WORS) and Sean Petty, COO of USA Cycling wrapped up the event on Saturday afternoon.
For USA Cycling the summit marked the completion of its annual ‘summit season’ http://www.usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=7143 which included face-to-face dialogue with Local Associations, Sport Committees, junior and high school racing stakeholders and race directors.