Ultracycling Strife article disclosed how RAAM sale was done

Below taken from Seana Hogan's website relating the Competitor magazine article.


A journalist from Competitor magazine, Greg Pressler, caught wind of the goings on around the UMCA and started asking questions of his own. Greg is a big fan of RAAM, and on several occasions in recent years has volunteered his time to be the start or finish line announcer. With little knowledge about the UMCA, he approached the subject from an outsider's point of view, and I think he was concerned by what he found. Here is an extract from his article, called "Ultracycling Strife," on competitor.com. There's a link to the full story below.

...Composed of events such as 12- and 24-hour races, 500+ mile races, various state crossings, and the Race Across America (RAAM), the sport is undoubtedly a pimple on the rear of the human-powered, two-wheeled world when compared to shorter-distance bike racing, which is still considered a minor sport by the American public—even in the wake of Lance Armstrong’s success on the roads of France. But that doesn’t mean its devotees are any less passionate than fans of board games, crossword puzzles, or the National Football League. It’s a sport defined by passion, for anyone “crazy” enough to ride in a 500-mile bicycle race needs to bleed a love for the sport....

Although Hughes, an accomplished ultracyclist himself, sits atop the hierarchy of the organization, a growing and vocal group of riders and event promoters who make up the membership of the UMCA wish that weren’t the case.

The list of complaints against Hughes is lengthy, and stems primarily from the UMCA’s handling of the recent sale of RAAM from its previous owners, who included Lon Haldeman, one of the pioneers of the sport, a transcontinental record holder, and the sport’s equivalent to George Washington. Haldeman, along with another RAAM veteran Jim Pitre, managed the race in recent years, and grew weary of its financial burden—and rightly so. No figures have been shared publicly, but Pitre, a successful real estate developer, had dug deep into his pockets to help keep the event afloat. After deciding that they didn’t care to foot the bill for any further losses, Pitre and Haldeman looked for a potential buyer. And they didn’t have to look far. Hughes was waiting in the wings, accompanied by another RAAM veteran, Colorado’s Fred Boethling, who in 2006 broke the record as the oldest person (at age 61) to finish the solo division of the race.

Hughes recalls the conversation he had with Haldeman. “A few weeks after RAAM last year, I told Lon that Fred and I had a few ideas about how the UMCA could buy RAAM,” he said. “Fred has built his career on acquiring companies and turning them around. Fred and I went to Canada [the location of Pitre’s summer home] to talk with Jim for three days. After a few other meetings with them, by early September, Fred and I knew that we had everything in place to move the deal forward, except for a full understanding of the finances. Jim shared all the numbers, and now all we needed was a way to pay for it.”

Using a well-worn strategy of recruiting a handful of financial “angels” to foot the bill for a large purchase, Hughes convinced a group of nine investors to pony up $25,000 to fund the purchase. “These were what we call ‘restrictive gifts’ to the UMCA—the funds could only be used to buy RAAM,” says Hughes. “Fred’s operating company, Race Across America LLC, cut a licensing agreement with the UMCA to run the race. The UMCA isn’t a race organizer—what do we know about that? We thought it was best to separate the two entities as much as possible.”

Link to the full article.

Click on "Older posts" located on lower right corner to see Managing Director's contract, UMCA as an international body, and what we already asked UMCA to do.

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