by Dave Shishkoff and Members of the BC cyclocross community

There is more money to be won this weekend in South Surrey at the Daryl Evans Racing Canadian National Cyclocross Championship and the UCI C2 Race on Saturday November 17th and 18th this weekend but you won’t be receiving an envelope of money from Cycling BC the organizers of the event.  Instead it will be handed out by a representative of the British Columbia Cyclocross Community on the sidelines after the race director, Kevin MacCuish said, “We’re not accepting the money. If you’d like to spend the day hanging around the finish line handing out cash, go right ahead”.

This recent development started over a month ago when the first technical guide came out for the event.  Normon Thibault from Cross on the Rock explained, “The first technical guide came out and it showed no prize money for Nationals but bigger than that it showed unequal prize money for the UCI C2 race on November 18th.  Developing women’s racing in BC is a big deal to us so discrimination of women or following the UCI protocol does not sit well with our organization or others in the BC Cross community.  We decided to take up a donation bin and collect money to equalize the prize money for the C2 first and then boost the prize money for Nationals if we had enough”.  The Cyclocross group included one of the national championship organizers in the plan and were told, “We will graciously accept any cash prizes that you can put together, however know that there is a lot of work regarding sponsorship going on right now with the organizing committee and we may have a significant sponsor that will completely change the cash prize scenario.”

So the group set out to raise a bit of money.

Through donations from:

Atomic Cycling Club
West Coast Racing
Interior Cross Series
Dwyane Kress
Trail Bikes-Eatmore Sprouts
Pedal Mag
Tara and Mike Pollock
Cross on the Rock #5  Crosstoberfest
Cross on the Rock #6 Binab Property GP
Pumpkin Cross
COTR Series General
Pro City Cycles Club
OrganicAthlete Victoria cyclocrossers
Jak New
and the Escape Velocity/Garneau Evolution crew

They managed to raise $2100 in a short time.

Enough to equalize prize money and give a bit more for National Champs.  Mission accomplished. Until it came time to give the money to the event.

At that time they were told by Kevin MacCuish that the money had to come with, “No strings attached”.  Meaning they would use the cash for what ever they liked.  They said it would all go to prize money….perfect thought Thibault.  But they would not guarantee equal prize money for the paid placings to the women at the C2 event.  Mission not accomplished.

Thibault presented his arguments but the reply was, “I don’t really see the point in having a discussion about this.”

MacCuish furthered with, ‘I’ll also point out that we didn’t ask anyone to take up a collection to contribute to the pot of prize money; you’ve taken it upon yourself to do that, which makes the money your problem – not ours. The fact that you’ve done this doesn’t obligate us to accept it. We’ll only accept it if we get to distribute it as we see fit. So you can either give it to us or not; that’s up to you… we don’t especially care one way or another.”

Thibault said, “I have been a race director since 1994. If someone wanted to donate money to one of our events for prizes …which does happen.  There are always strings attached or conditions.  As long as it is not “unreasonable … like first female carrying a dog across the finish line” we accommodate them.  An investment in anything wants a return.  Our return is that we want to promote women’s racing, we want to encourage them to come back.  We want to give the guys and girls that might be representing us at World Champs in 2013 in Louisville a bit more cash to try and get there and back.  We did not think it was unreasonable”.

Thibault presented three options for the money to the Cycling BC representative:
1) Give you guys the money.  You guys agree to pay out Sunday’s event equal for the paid placing for both women and men and you use the rest of the money for Saturday’s Nationals to boost the prize purse.
2) Give you part of the money which you use to boost Saturday’s Nationals prize purse and we hold some of the money to hand out ourselves on Sunday to the women to equalize the prize purse.
3) Give the money out ourselves on Saturday.  Give the money out ourselves on Sunday.

The final response from MacCuish was, “Ok, whatever. We’re not accepting the money. If you’d like to spend the day hanging around the finish line handing out cash, go right ahead… just don’t get in the way of the photographers.”

Thibault explains his disappointment, “It is sad to see that our governing body in the Province which also represents Canada at a National Championships shows so much disrespect to the female cycling community.  It is not enough that there is only two races for them to race in at the National Champs VS the men’s 6 but they deny them the opportunity to win the same amount of money as the men even when the prize money is available.  This goes against what is happening in all other sports from Triathlon to Tennis where prize money is equal.  It goes against what is happening in at USA Cycling where equal prize money has been mandated.  It goes against the recent UCI athletes commission recommendations in cycling and it most important it goes against what is fair and decent.  The BC cross community wants this to happen but our organizing body is against it … even when the money is there … truly sad.  I think we all hope for a change in attitude at Cycling BC after the AGM on December 2nd”.

The request for event sponsorship still remains on the Cycling BC website asking for sponsors as of today, November 15, 2012.

But the money is not lost.  The athletes will get their additional money at the National Champs and the women will get their additional money at the UCI Cat 2 race.  You might just have to find a man with a bunch of envelopes to get it.

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