Well, 2020 was a year none of us will forget! First, allow me to share the condolences of all at WUCA, including all of our membership, with those who lost loved ones to the pandemic. As much as we all love cycling, the joy that it brings is no substitute for the family and friends who fill our lives.
We all adapted to the unexpected surprise of the pandemic in our own ways. From a WUCA perspective, there were two standout elements that filled the void left by cancelled races. Of those who trained hard preparing for the 2020 season, a large percentage looked to personal record attempts as a substitute goal. Some reached for world records, while others set their sights on personal bests. WUCA logged nearly 100 registered record attempts; many locally with point-to-point records and many with absolute world records ranging from 100 km to 1,000 miles. WUCA also extended the current Highest Annual Mileage Record format down to the most miles ridden in a week (outside of a competitive event).
The second standout activity was the formulation of an all-new website. Many of you contributed your own stories to make the site more about the people of WUCA and less about the numbers. The new site is now live and additional functionality will be rolled out over the coming months. If you’ve arrived at this letter from outside the site, simply click on the logo at the top left of your screen to visit the site (www.ultracycling.com); you’re certain to discover a very different look and feel from that of our prior pages. While you’re here, consider renewing your annual membership. It’s a small price to pay (less than most of us would spend on a single tire) and those dues are how we pay for the services that enable our sport to grow.
As we ramp up for the year ahead, I’d like to thank those who have served on our Board in 2020 and welcome new Directors for 2021. In particular, Nancy Guth will leave after six years of service. We wish her well and hope that the time she saves from Board activities will be spent on the bike, training for her sixth Team RAAM. Notable new additions include Katie Ford and Justin Too. You may recognize them as two who have already made large contributions to our sport. They will add both diversity and energy that helps WUCA move forward. I am already encouraged by Justin’s extensive work on The UltraCycling Show and by Katie’s accepting the Board’s election to the Vice President role. She is the first woman in WUCA’s history to take this leadership position, reflecting the ever-growing female presence in our community. You’ve likely also seen WUCA’s initiative celebrating women who are already performing at the highest level and welcoming other women to join in. Kudos to Katie and Amanda Coker for getting that off to a great start, with several more events planned over the coming weeks.
The number of WUCA-sanctioned events around the world continues to grow, with the coming season bringing more opportunities than ever for ultra-distance racing. If you’re a participant in any of WUCA’s Challenge Series, be sure to explore the website as many of these challenges, including the Year-Rounder and World Cup, have changed substantially from 2020. Also on the new website is a totally revamped presentation of the event calendar. Be sure to check that for the continental championship events in 2021. On the records front, WUCA is proud to announce an agreement with the Guinness Book of World Records (GWR). Going forward, WUCA will be the one organization world-wide that the GWR recognizes as having the consistency of rules and officiating to certify a variety of ultracycling records. All “Ultimate” (non-age group) timed, distance, and longest country-crossing records for solo, gender, bike type, and team categories qualify. All past and future WUCA certified records that meet the above criteria will be entered into the GWR database by our Records Team. You, as the rider don’t have to submit an application with GWR – we do it for you for no additional charge.
In summary, 2020 was a year of frustrated competition, but much progress nonetheless for WUCA and its members. I hope you’ll join me in looking forward to a 2021 that is full of progress, on and off the bike. Please keep an eye out for the new initiatives and let me know if we’re on the right track. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to our board at email@example.com. If you are passionate about ultra-cycling, please let us know we’re pointing in the right direction by joining or by renewing your membership at www.ultracycling.com.