The Twitter medium was established as a service for people to put their opinions out into the internet ether. One person who has never been shy about offering his opinions is two-time U.S. national champion Ryan Trebon. After his retirement, Trebon has continued to be a fan of American cyclocross and has been an advocate for a true U.S. cyclocross series. Most tweets come and go in a flash, but one conversation in Trebon’s mentions caught the attention of Scott Tedro from Sho-Air International, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Tedro reached out to Trebon for his help, and together, the two established the new seven-race USCup-CX cyclocross series.
Scott Tedro has a strong history of promoting mountain bike events, so after learning about the new U.S. Cup series, we were interested to hear what drew him to supporting cyclocross. Please read on for an in-depth conversation between Andrew Yee and Tedro about how the U.S. Cup came to be, how Ryan Trebon assisted with the idea, and what fans can expect from the four-weekend series this Fall. Oh, and apparently there is going to be a championship belt.
— R Scott Tedro (@ScottTedro) March 14, 2017
Preview of what the championship belts may look like?
Cyclocross Magazine Interview with Scott Tedro
Cyclocross Magazine: Was this your idea or Ryan’s idea?
Scott Tedro: It was my idea. That’s why I approached Ryan. I love cycling and I primarily started out mountain biking but I spend an awful lot of time on the road training. I wanted to try and incorporate the road somehow to what we do. However, the road doesn’t need any help. There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of events. It’s highly financed by established people and so it was a natural, I said I thought cyclocross goes a lot better with mountain biking than road biking. I mean it’s a road bike or a hybrid road bike on a small mountain basically. It incorporates the best of both worlds I thought.
I also would have heard some things over the years that cyclocross, years ago had a lot of support and they were getting a lot of assistance from the UCI, big establishment UCI racing. They did really well but then kind of went without warning, it all went away. There is a good infrastructure there and there are some very good events but I think there’s something around 20-25 UCIs ranked events.
CXM: Actually 42 UCI race days this year.
ST: Oh my god, wow!
CXM: Just in the US.
ST: I thought, you know, there really needs to be a series, something that all of the top racers know, “Hey, at all these events, we have to be at these four or these seven. These four weekends, we have to be there or five weekends.” Because this will establish USA Cycling, number one pro male and female rider in the US in the series.
Most of the top level riders are using these races for call-ups in Worlds and call-ups in competition in Europe. But there’s a lot of great racers in the U.S. and a lot of people who are dedicated, who will go to as many of these events as possible. I thought that we needed some type of a series that people who don’t have World Cup aspirations and that are local. I wanted to create something high level that people can race for and try and find out truly the number one U.S. rider.
I called Ryan and I’ve known Ryan for years. Ryan is a passionate guy and my friendship with him is based around, I don’t ask him something unless I truly want to know the answer cause he has no filter. Plus, I have tremendous respect for Ryan. I mean, Ryan is very successful. He’s raced everywhere, so I just called him and said, “Ryan, what do you think of this? You think this is viable?” And it all happened because of the post. I had been thinking about this, and I saw a post where people were discussing it and Ryan was discussing the fact that it’s bad that we don’t have a clear-cut series. I wish someone could figure this out.
“It all happened because of the post. I had been thinking about this, and I saw a post where people were discussing it and Ryan was discussing the fact that it’s bad that we don’t have a clear-cut series.”
I replied to Ryan on the post and said, “Ryan, I’m calling you. I’ll call you in an hour.” So when I talked to him and said, “What do you think of this concept?” And he said, “Why? I think it would be great.” I said, “Do you think you could get people together to do it because I don’t know very much about cyclocross, I don’t know any of the infrastructure.” And I know he does.
CXM: What is up for grabs for the racers?
ST: Well, the series. Once Ryan educated me that [weekends consist of] two races and that one of the biggest problems for the promoters is a lot of times, people will race the main day then not stay for the second day. You know, that’s a problem. They want the best guys there and the best girls there. They want the best riders there all weekend. I guess, one is maybe a C2 event and then the second one the C1. Well, he explained to me that it’s very important to create a series where the top female and male riders would stay for both events and both events count equally in points for the overall championship.
CXM: Great. So racers are incentivized to do both days?
ST: That’s why we decided, let’s do four events because that’s actually seven or eight races. What’s up for grabs is the winner take all, the number one pro female at the end of the series. The number one points would be awarded, the USA Cycling USCX Cup championship belt, and $10,000, cash. Same thing for the top pro male. So it’s winner take all. The number one points, male and female get a big beautiful belt. We’re going to do a crown and cape. They get the designated of the year as the pro plate. We’re talking about doing a manufacturer’s cup, so we’re probably, at least a team cup, we’ll have a cup that’s like the Stanley Cup that goes around. For the winning team, their head sponsor.
The whole goal is to add legitimacy to USA Cycling to a series event where these people can earn. That’s a substantial amount of money for a cyclist, a ‘cross cyclist. Hopefully, they have contracts that are matching, so hopefully their sponsors will match that and if they do, now you’re talking about a potential 20,000 dollar payout. Some people may say, “Well, that’s not fair cause it’s not paying down so riders that are 5th, 6th, and 7th, they work hard too.” They get the regular prize money from each individual event. This is just an overall, Elite payday and I’ll tell you what, for that rider, that goes to all seven events and scores at all seven events, it’s quite possible that a Jeremy Powers or the people that are at the top, they may not be able to stay the weekend. They may also have mechanical. To me, there’s probably 20 men and 20 women who could win. It’s going to reward consistency and commitment.
CXM: Can you tell us a little bit about how those events were selected? Did you start with a broader pool or you knew which events you exactly wanted to target and just hit them up and it was a no-brainer for those promoters?
ST: Most important thing is that we have the meeting with USA Cycling. We had the meeting with them and Ryan can give you all the names because there are some new people. My primary contact is Micah Rice, and Michael is involved. But there were two ladies that were also involved and they should be mentioned. We sat down, we met with USA Cycling, we discussed how many. We first got criteria from them. How many is too little and how many is too much. They initially said how about eight events. Well, when we looked at it, that’s 16 races, that could put a hardship on the riders.
CXM: That’s a lot of races for most racers.
ST: Yeah, exactly. So USA Cycling said, “Look, we’d love to have eight.” We said, “Look, let’s start realistically, let’s take it four and if it becomes very successful and we can put more money into it. Maybe year two it’s five, maybe we work eight.”
The ultimate goal, I’m hoping we can build this series to where we develop enough funds from sponsors, that would be sponsors directly of the prize winners. On record, [this is] very important, we will take payments. We don’t steal sponsorships. We do not compete against the promoters or against the owners of the event. But if individual companies want to donate and be named as a prize first sponsor, we would love to build prize first to 20, 30, 40 thousand dollars and anything I would get above the $10,000 that Sho-Air is putting in, we could start creating a second and third place prize as well.
CXM: The interesting thing to me from hearing what you said about the background of this idea, is that you were not inspired or influenced at all from the past USGP or Saturn Super Cup series. So this came about from your own ideas, right?
ST: I’m sorry to admit that I don’t even know much about those past series. I really love to ride my bike. It helped me in my life. To me, I love what it does for our community and I’ve seen first hand, a family that gets into cycling and all of a sudden the dad lost weight, is healthy. The mom lost weight and is healthy. The kids. It turns into a family thing and I love that aspect. I’ve also seen there are some amazing, talented, dedicated athletes. They’ve sacrificed so much to get at this highest level fitness. They deserve to have a series where they can showcase their efforts and their style and their skill.
“They deserve to have a series where they can showcase their efforts and their style and their skill.”
CXM: Is USA Cycling putting anything into this?
ST: They are giving us support with the media. They’re going to put together a lot of support in the media. They’re going to support us through their social media. Next year, and I can say this, we just have to be generic. They are creating a budget, next year, which you’ll be very happy about. They’re creating a media budget. So they are going to create a budget for advertising and for media.
CXM: Now that you’re getting into cyclocross, will we see you racing at these events?
ST: You know what, I actually might. I love cyclocross. I’ve gone out and had been riding it a little bit. I gotta tell you, I’m extremely excited because I’m a big time road biker. I love the mountain bike. But you know, training and convenience, I’m on the road so much. I’m super excited about the fact that we’re blending the road and mountain together in cyclocross. It’s a natural marriage.
This is the most excited I’ve been in years about what we’re doing. Really excited. Really, really excited. And I’m looking forward to bringing high-level opportunities for these riders. My goal is not to be one and done, I will be very unhappy if, by the second or third year, we’re not up to a 50 thousand dollar overall prize first, and maybe 5 events. So at 10 weekends, I’ll feel like I’ve failed.
“This is the most excited I’ve been in years about what we’re doing. Really excited. Really, really excited.”
CXM: I hope this is a partnership that will last a long time.
ST: Me too, me too. And it will be, I know it will be. I know that cyclocross fans are extremely passionate and I think if we put on a great event with our partners and we bring a lot of good media, I think they’ll reward us with a lot of loyalty and attendance.
CXM: I sure hope so. Thanks so much.