Voting for USA Cycling’s Cyclocross Sport Committee is open through August 15. USAC license holders are eligible to vote for candidates depending on which type of license they hold. Cyclocross Magazine reached out to each of the candidates and offered them the opportunity to fill out a candidate questionnaire to give our readers a better understanding of what they want to do on the Cyclocross Committee.
Today we will be providing responses from the At Large candidates, whom a majority of our readership will be eligible to vote for. We will have responses from the three candidates, posted throughout the day in alphabetical order. Up first is John Haley of Monument, Colorado.
Name: John Haley
Residence: Monument, CO
Local Cyclocross Scene: Colorado Front Range
Cyclocross Magazine: How long have you been participating in cyclocross?
John Haley: 11 years
CXM: Why are you running for the ‘Cyclocross Sport Committee?
JH: For as long as I have been involved with USAC, there has always been talk of “grass roots,” but in practice, most positions are filled with people who are far removed from the local scene. I have a unique position in Colorado to reach across the spectrum and bring some local input into national cclocross.
CXM: What makes you a strong candidate for this position?
JH: Being a local racer and promoter in the Colorado area, I can access input from the local beginners, Masters, Pros and National and World champions. Colorado also has large junior development teams that provide direct input on how the future racers connect with the Cyclocross scene. Some of this input is localized for sure, but often applies to Crossers throughout the country.
CXM: We have seen your bio, but what’s your vision for the sport?
JM: The growth of our sport is paramount to future successes. I would like to see USAC take a more direct role in helping local associations with marketing, and support aimed at growth of local racing.
CXM: What are the most important issues USA Cycling needs to address right now?
JM: Cyclocross attendance is stagnant or down some in a lot of areas. There are some outliers for sure, but the pro scene can only last so long if beginners turn to fidget spinners. Dedicated parents can only go so far, and USAC needs to address retention at the lower levels of racing. USAC also needs to increase marketing support for cyclocross as a whole, and not just the elite scene.
CXM: What changes would you like to help make as a member of the Cyclocross Committee?
JH: For one, I would push for more USA Cycling visibility at local races. For example, I have built a permanent cyclocross course in Castle Rock, CO. I have put on the Colorado State Championships three times. Not once has a USAC representative even came to a race in official capacity, much less a race where a lot of national champions are competing. Readers should understand that this venue is 20 miles away from USAC headquarters. Racers need to see the governing body take an active interest in their success and back it up with help and support.
CXM: Limited resources force tough choices between elite talent development and grassroots growth. What are your opinions on how USAC currently splits resources between these two priorities?
JH: Tough one for sure. Everything comes down to funding. Last year I contributed to a couple of GoFundMe campaigns so juniors could go race in Europe. They needed a lot of money. I do still feel that the elite members get more attention. USAC should bring the elite scene back to the USA, and slow down the world focus. Our young racers need heroes and role models. Elites that are accessible. Enable the local associations to reach out to a greater community and help build that community.
CXM: What are the biggest success and failures of the current ’Cross Committee?
JH: In speaking with some existing committee members, I’ve learned that the committee isn’t empowered to be proactive regarding nurturing and growing the sport. Instead they are mostly used in a reactive manner to approve rule and policy changes. I hope to help them be more proactive, especially regarding the grassroots, and making sure U.S. Cyclocross remains healthy.
See all of our candidate questionnaires:
Cover photo: flickr user justgrimes