The SaveUMCA Team and Supporters

The co-founders of the UMCA, John Marino and Michael Shermer, support this blog.

NOTE: The team list is incomplete because not all members have given permission to print their names yet.

SaveUMCA Team:

John Marino—UMCA co-founder and RAAM finisher (see December 23rd and October 15th letters to UMCA members)
Michael Shermer--UMCA co-founder, former RAAM Race Director, and RAAM finisher
Mavis Irwin--UMCA member (blog chief editor)
Seana Hogan--Life UMCA member and legend (six-time RAAM first place finisher)
Charlie Liskey--Life UMCA member, founder and president of Ultracycling Association, and RAAM finisher
Chris Kostman--Furnace Creek 508 promoter and RAAM finisher
Guus Moonen--Race Director, RAAM finisher, and UMCA member
Pat Enright--Life UMCA member
James Rosar--former UMCA member
Paul Biron--RAAM time station staff and UMCA member
Catharina "Cat" Berge--RAAM finisher, former UMCA BoD and member
Lou Lamoureux--RAAM rider and former UMCA member
Doug Sloan--former UMCA member
Hugh Murphy--Life UMCA member and RAAM rider
Bill Palmer--RAAM crew, RAAM training partner, and UMCA member
Jack Bochsler--former UMCA member (click for post update relating him)
17 innocent tipsters (number may change)

1 Steve Scheetz
2 Patrick Francois--Raid Provence Extreme (RPE) Race Director, President and Founder of the Ultra Cycling European Association (AECU)
3 David Glasgow
4 Dave Buck--Life UMCA member
5 Anna Noone
6 Reed Finfrock--Life UMCA member
7 Jan Christiansen--Founder of Swedish ultracycling association
8 Dr. Jim Watrous--involved in UMCA and RAAM starting in 1982
9 Jim De Graffenreid--Life UMCA member, RAAM Rider
10 Dr. Jim von Tunglen--former President of Orange County Wheelmen and Bicycle Club of Irvine, RAAM Crew
11 Donald Randolph--Life UMCA member
12 Randy Ice--Life UMCA member
13 Kermit Ganier--President, Los Angeles Wheelmen
14 Bob Paxson
15 Ron ______
16 Rex Reese--FC 508 TS official, FC 508 crewmember for Nick Gnu Gerlich, FC 508 crewchief Team Camel, Team Devil Ray, founder Nancy Dankenbring Award, RAAM crewmember for Seana Hoopoe Hogan, Team Phoenix

To have your name added, please ask Mavis Irwin by commenting anywhere on the blog or e-mailing her:

FAQs and Answers

Q: What is the purpose of this blog?
A: To store information of the UMCA violations in one place for concerned UMCA members to review anytime and use as a reference.

Q: What is the SaveUMCA Team's goal?
A: We currently don't expect much to happen. The current UMCA government chose to ignore the long list of violations, and moved on, which upset hundreds of UMCA members.

Q: Wait a minute, why bring this fight back to the community? We are sick of all the public fighting that happened since December 2006! Why don't the UMCA and its members try to work out things like adults behind the scenes?
A: We were in fact having red flags for nearly three years now. The activists finally brought this to the public's attention after the sale of RAAM, and some very sketchy dealings. We hoped this wouldn’t have to happen this way, but the UMCA members outside the UMCA government were asking us what was going on for a long time now. Then the recent Board of Director’s election resulted in some very deceptive and unethical ploys by the UMCA management in favor of six particular candidates.

Q: It looks like the SaveUMCA Team spent a lot of time putting the blog together. How come the team is doing it even though they expect little or nothing to happen?
A: We strongly feel that the UMCA members have the right to know what is going on. We want to remain optimistic that if members know what is going on, positive changes can be made. The UMCA is a non-profit association, with 501 (c) 3 tax advantages and money raising capabilities, and by law, must behave responsibly as a representative democracy.

Q: Why does SaveUMCA Team care so much about UMCA's non-profit status?
A: For a very long time, the UMCA members were fighting hard to turn UMCA into a non-profit organization and finally obtained it in 2003. These members were hoping that when it became a non-profit organization, with all the formalities, that it would no longer be characterized by dictatorial, secretive management, but that does not appear to have worked and was in fact becoming worse.

Q: We got the September-October 2007 magazine in mail recently and it looks like UMCA's attorney, Steve Larson, has reviewed the actions of the UMCA and found nothing illegal.
A: We suspect that he didn't know everything that has been going on and we would like to chat with him. We will be happy to show him the solid evidence we put together here.

Q: What do you want us to do?
A: All UMCA members are the owners of the UMCA. It's your organization and if you are someone whose cycling records were largely ignored, you will want to put a stop to this dictatorship. (This is why some UMCA members fought to turn the UMCA into a non-profit organization.) The UMCA’s primary income comes from your membership fees along with donors and sponsors. All of the people on the SaveUMCA Team have different ideas on how to approach this problem, but we do have one thing we can agree on and it was letting the other owners have a chance to know. It is entirely up to you to decide what to do about your ownership.

Any questions and comments can either be commented on this blog or send privately to the team's e-mail address:

UMCA member's zone

Noteworth feedbacks/questions with answers

--Added in March: SaveUMCA, you are going at this all wrong!

--Added in March: How about taking formal legal action?

--Added in June: Where can I file my report of UMCA's actions to IRS?

Reference copies of UMCA co-founder and UMCA membership #1's public letters:

--October 2007 letter to UMCA members.

--December 2007 letter to UMCA members.

UMCA's service and predictions

--Some of the questions we need to ask ourselves

--Updated in June: Predictions of what will happen next

List of questionable actions--and growing

Sale of RAAM's title to UMCA.

--Overview of the RAAM sale problems.

--NEW: Managing Director lied to the UMCA Board of Directors, which was what turned the fighting into a public issue.

--The inside circle of RAAM sale and operation in partnership to UMCA.

--Real facts and illegal powers of the RAAM sale to UMCA not publicly discussed by the participants.

--Updated in March: Possible problems with the UMCA/RAAM Contract not publicly addressed and the waiting game. (UMCA chose to not disclose the contract to the UMCA members, which is in violation of the UMCA member's rights to investigate.)

--Ultracycling Strife article disclosed how RAAM sale was done.

--Managing Director is suspected to be being heavily involved in what he was not paid to do based on patterns of volunteers and non-UMCA employees taking on increasing workload of his job.

--Delay of elections said to be due to the RAAM-UMCA partnership development during the election season of 2006. (Thus seven of the Board of Directors were illegally serving through 2007 to the month of the 2007 RAAM.)

UMCA's campaign for six of its chosen candidates.

--Updated in January: Campaigning letter to UMCA members.

--No help for other candidates--deserving or not.

--UMCA broke its own rules in editing two of the candidates' published biographies.

--UMCA silenced a candidate by disallowing to publishing a neutral campaigning advertisement asking the members to come out and vote, which would have run in the UMCA newsletter.

--Not all paying and life members were permitted to vote.

--Updated in March:The UMCA violated private members' personal information.

--Formal complaint lodged by the 12 losing candidates regarding election improprieties should have been reviewed by an independent group of people.

--UMCA refused to re-run the irregular election.

Communication between UMCA and UMCA members

--UMCA ignores neutral offer from highly qualified newslist technician, and then controversially breaks-up ultracycling e-mail group list

--Candidate publicly withdraws from the UMCA Board election, disappears, and then suddenly reappears as an elected member of Board of Directors, weeks later elected as UMCA President.

--Updated in June: Dogpile of things the UMCA members already asked UMCA to do for as long as four years. (Most of the suggestions were ignored.)

--Missing information in the UMCA financial records.

--Added in March: UMCA's election committee

Managing Director's old contract and things related to this contract

--The old UMCA MD contract for 2003-2007 analysed by Seana Hogan and an attorney.

Point of interest:
X. Termination for Cause. "Termination for Cause" shall mean termination of employee's employment by the UMCA by reason of the following: (I) Employee's willful dishonesty towards, fraud upon, crime against, deliberate or attempted injury or bad faith action with respect to the UMCA; or (ii) Employee's conviction for any felony crime (whether in connection with the UMCA's affairs or otherwise). In the event of termination without cause, the UMCA shall pay to Hughes an amount equal to 12 months at the current year's salary. Further, the UMCA will grant to Hughes for a term of three years two full pages (or four half-pages) for advertising in each issue of UltraCycling magazine at no cost to Hughes.

(Instead of being terminated for violations listed below, Hughes was recently given a raise by the UMCA Executive Committee on June/July 2007.)

--(Reposted from above) NEW: Managing Director cut off communication to some, and lied to the UMCA Board of Directors, which was what triggered the public battle.

--John Hughes attacking Joe Gross's work to set up a new ultracycling newslist, instead of thanking him for voluntarily helping. Ultracycling loses a valuable volunteer.

--John Hughes personal attack on UMCA Board member Cindi Staiger.

--E-mail from John Hughes's account to UMCA members, asking them to attack Seana Hogan and Cindi Staiger (This was after one of the battle, which started on May 3rd and can be followed starting here.)

--John Hughes praising people he liked and attacking Mavis Irwin for presenting the case that the UMCA needs to communicate.

--Final update (July 2008): Updates on Managing Director's yet to be renewed contract--the old one presented here orignially expired on December 31st, 2007.

UMCA as an international body

--Overview of UMCA becoming an international body

Mavis's Public Letters to UMCA

Starting on January 1st 2008, Mavis is hosting her own personal public blog containing letters to the UMCA. The UMCA didn’t directly answer any of Mavis questions as of this post, but UMCA now have a Board Liaison, Rick Hays, who is eager to help take down the wall between the members and the Board. Even through he was not elected by the UMCA members, Mavis is happy about the UMCA starting to talk again. You can follow the updates in the links below:

Updated March 8th, 2008:

Rick Hays seemed to be unable to answer all of the questions. Instead of answers to the questions going unanswered since beginning of January, RAAM LLC's attorney mailed Mavis a lawsuit threat letter on Feburary 14th. Click on link for the evidences:

Updated March 19th, 2008:

Mavis tried once again to open up the communicating channels by giving UMCA a set of pointers and they were unanswered as of this post. However, one thing did expose from this ordeal: Chris "Hoppo" Hopkinson, UMCA's endorsement letter's candidate and now UMCA Vice President, acted unprofessionally. A special post was made for reviewing the discussion (and how frustrated some people were.) Click on link for this post:

Outline of Mavis's 2008 Public Letters to UMCA

Unlike the other posts I am in change of managing on this blog, my letters to UMCA is my own personal action. Older letters at bottom, newer ones on top.--Mavis Irwin, UMCA member.

July 29: Managing Director's contract is renewed.

July 20: 21-month old messages summarized.

July 6: Lessons from history: How stable is UMCA-RAAM's partnership?

June 27: Offer of apology still stands.

April 28: Couragous UMCA members then a stirred crowd containing public personal questions and attacks

April 21: UMCA membership went down and election results

March 25: Question about article 3 and not article 12 reportingly reviewed

March 25: Letter asking UMCA why they rejected SaveUMCA's financial assistance and didn't note in the magazine that the assistance was offered. ($8,600 was used for legal advice with the note about certain people--indirectly the SaveUMCA--causing this to happen.)

March 15th: Attendence to open up the communicating channels between UMCA and SaveUMCA, but got personal attacks from UMCA's Vice President instead.

March 8-12th: Response to lawsuit threat from RAAM LLC

February 17-27th: Why UMCA needs an UMCA Managing Director replacement

February 17th (and other dates listed in link): Questions relating Marino's 13-page RAAM Report

February 17th (and other dates listed in link): Questions relating Fred Boethling, the RAAM President/CEO, at UMCA's executive committee meeting

February 6-8th: Discussion with BoD Jerry Segal

January 28th: First wave of questions being answered by Board's Liaison

Hughes lied to UMCA's Board of Directors

Dear UMCA government,

This is my special letter on what catalyzed the fight into a public one.

In the days when I was an innocent candidate interested in carrying UMCA forward in a positive way, I have done a lot of investigation on things from both sides ever since seeing a couple of e-mail, which are both on this topica post:

I talked with more people than I could count. I have hoped to be one of UMCA’s best Board of Director who listens to everybody the best I can and make fair decisions on what really matter for the UMCA organization as a whole. I never foresee myself ending up being an activist fighting for the UMCA members, UMCA event directors, international UMCA members, and even the UMCA Board’s equal rights like I am doing now. I however realized that I am left with the choice of either being quiet or speaking up. I choose to speak up.

Well…I know there will be a day I have to actually unveil the character evidence that brought this fight to the public. This evidence proves the creditity of the protesting former Board of Director, Anna Catharina “Cat” Berge (link is provided above): “I specifically asked about the relationship RAAM- UMCA. I was told that there was nothing that required board approval in the RAAM - UMCA relationship. At the time I received that answer, negotiations to purchase RAAM were already well under way. I would therefore say that the answer I received was a lie.”

Be noted that Cat Berge was careful to question the action and not the people involved. I asked her for the evidence and sure enough it was John Hughes who lied despite his very own words quoted in the article by Greg Pressler: “A few weeks after RAAM last year [2006], I told Lon that Fred and I had a few ideas about how the UMCA could buy RAAM. 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 [2006], 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.”


It is clear that most people on the UMCA Board of Directors were left in the dark about the important change to the UMCA organization as stated in this November 24th 2006 letter of intent from John Hughes, two days after Cat Berge publicly resigned in protest:

Here is the evidence of John Hughes’s key lie to UMCA’s Board of Directors on October 27th, 2006, which at that time is believed (based on UMCA’s scrambled reports) to include:

Anna Catharina Berge
Chuck Bramwell
Tom Buckley
John Lee Ellis
Nancy Guth
Joe Jamison
Lee Mitchell
Don Norvelle
Jim Pitre
Muffy Ritz
Mike Roarke
Cindi Staiger
Jeff Stephens
George Thomas

From: UMCAHQ@aol.comDate: Fri, 27 Oct 2006 12:40:49 -0400Subject: Re: UMCA and RAAMTo: board@ultracycling.comBoard membersIn a message dated 10/26/06 11:05:32 PM, writes:

Board,Several of you are mentioning strengthening the connection between UMCA and RAAM. Could you please explain what part and specific component currently needs strengthening.

I'm thinking of nuts and bolts operational stuff. Here are some examples, none of which require BoD action.

I've been marketing ultracycling as a sport since the 1998. I currently edit the RAAM program in VeloNews and in UltraCycling.

The VN program always includes several articles about the UMCA - and RAAM pays to have 100,000 copies distributed, as well as distribuing copies of the UC RAAM program on the route. This should continue. Currently two hourly workers with no knowledge of cycling edit the rider bios and photos for the program and website. We should recruit a couple of UMCA volunteers to do this - which would save RAAM money *and* result in better quality. (I'm not talking about Carolyn Chandler but two people who work for her.)

The RAAM qualifier directors and I could help RAAM figure out how to market the race better. We have a pretty good understanding of the kinds of riders (age, demographics, etc) who are racing in other ultra events . . . and how to target them.Another example is the Internet. Since RAAM runs non-stop it's the perfect race to webcast. And the RAAM website gets tons of hits in late May and June. How do we get people to come to the website other times of the year? George & Terri did great webcasts of RAO and Ring of Fire. Why not simulcast those as well as other RAAM qualifiers, etc. on the RAAM website.

We wouldn't make any race do this - but it would be to the benefit of all concerned.Currently the RAAM and UMCA websites are managed independently. There's some overlap (e.g., articles on training and nutrition) and there are some gaps (like how to manage saddle sores and other medical issues. We should develop a coordinated plan for who publishes what kind of material and increase the cross-referencing between the sites.I spent a lot of time working with Lon & Jim on the Enduro RAAM concept, and there's more work to be done.

A big issue is recruiting enough TS managers so that the officials don't have to sit in Time Stations. We ran a couple of articles in UC about time stations and encouraged readers to call Robert Giacin - he got very few calls. One TS manager asked me for the names & e-mails of UMCAers in the contiguous states - he had his TS fully staffed in 6-hour shifts! Almost 60 TSs are too much for one person to coordinate - why not appoint multiple coordinators to cover different sections of the route and provide each with a list of UMCAers in their areas?

(We'd only provide info that is already public in the UMCA membership directory).We currently have two handbooks: Preparing for Long Rides and Crewing with Fuzzy. I'd like to put together a third: how to do team events - with a focus on RAAM, but applicable to qualifiers, etc.There are plenty of ways that RAAM, the RAAM qualifiers, and the UMCA can do more together to everyone's benefit - the limiting factor really is staff time (paid & volunteer).

John HughesManaging DirectorUltraMarathon Cycling

Of course, after the letter of intent, the Board of Director's action was required to authorize the UMCA-RAAM partnership on December 3rd, 2006. In the words from this December 3rd, 2006 meeting with the Board of Directors: "Hughes summarized that without UMCA action the 2007 RAAM probably would not take place and that the race might die." Thus, this was more like a take it or lose the event vote informed in late November instead of getting the Board's authorization to proceed with the UMCA-RAAM deal as an important change to the UMCA organization in July. That's right, Hughes's quote in Greg Pressler's article clearly said he had an idea for how UMCA can buy RAAM within weeks after RAAM 2006.

Conclusion: Clearly, either this UMCA leader would say anything to even the Board of Directors to suit what he is doing in the interests of the RAAM business. Or there is a lot of cleaning up to do. Sorry, but based on the evidences here, this observably is the lying and not the miscommunicating.

How much longer will the UMCA government let the lies harm the UMCA organization?

I have hoped to avoid publishing something shoring a light directly on the leader's costly lie, but the time has come. We are at an important time of supporting John Hughes or saying we need a new leader.


SaveUMCA, you are going at this all wrong!

Comment: Why don't you have the Save UMCA group convene a qualified group to draft new by-laws and a new MD employment contract that you think is appropriate. In other words, walk the walk and produce what you think are the correct governance documents. Then send them to the board as drafts, and post them on your blog, and send them directly to all board members with an executive summary of how the new versions address, per current governance standards, the needs of the organization and members. This is then the challenge that the board will have to answer to.

Answer: The contract suggestion is already posted on the blog. It was on Seana's website and it was e-mailed to all UMCA members last year.

We however are currently interested in a MD replacement, not a new contract. If you read my letters to UMCA, as a spokeperson I am urging them to find a replacement. They do know that Lou Lamoureux volunteered, so it's not like fishing in an empty lake. The question relating the contract renewal was because THEY didn't tell the UMCA members anything about this for 2 and 1/2 months now--not even on the UMCA website.

Lou Lamoureux's volunteering:

As for the bylaws, the main problem is that they are not following the bylaws already in place. They made several amendments (with the non-elected RAAM LLC's president and none of the other elected Board of Directors present--a bylaw violation) last Fall concerning only the UMCA members's rights. Not UMCA officals's own rights at all. Once we force them to follow their own bylaws, we then will be able to make healthy, legal changes.

UMCA's election committee

An anonymous person commented on the blog, asking about the UMCA’s election committee and whether we have inputs in this. Mavis told this anonymous person: “We felt like we have a foot of a mile influence on these new election rules.”

If anyone noticed, there are four anonymous people on the SaveUMCA team. These people are working hard and can’t be public yet and the SaveUMCA team have faith in them to do everything they can. In Mavis Irwin's personal case, she was asked to be on the election committee too, but she recognized she have to sign a code to be silence and give up any personal power. Mavis won’t be able to sleep well with this over her head. Mavis's hats are off to the others who are able to handle this.

Those involved did note that they are not having much influence because, like they stated, Hughes clearly wanted to have as much control as possible. If those people had more influence, below would be the election standards as opposed to those on page 26 of the Sept-Oct 2007 UMCA magazine:

1) There are no minimum years of membership. (Mavis Irwin, a member for 2 ½ years couldn’t run in the 2008 election even through she was in last year’s election because under the new rules she had to be a member for three or more years first.)

2) The election is open to all. No committees of any kind to select the candidates to be on the ballots. There are only five candidates this year because most from last year’s election were silenced by the new rules instituted by the UMCA. This was one of the ways to keep qualified people from questioning the UMCA government. The rejected applications could have petitioned at least 30 UMCA members done within four weeks by written letters (not e-mails.). This meant that a UMCA member must pay an annual due of $35.00, then an additional $24.60 in postage stamps in order to appear on a ballot, assuming one can compile all the paper work in time. Of course, the UMCA could state that the mail never arrived on time or the mail could get misplaced in the office. Some of the candidates in the last election are familiar with the stated “clerical” errors.

3) Candidates are allowed to campaign in any methods they want. Has anyone heard of the federal, state, and local’s democratic governments passing laws banning advertising in magazines, mailing endorsement letters, and hosting websites? The UMCA has tried to make the campaign fair to all candidates—as reported in the reference of this blog post:

As stated in another post, Hughes did then take part in creating an endorsement letter for those he wanted—and unquestionably over the other qualified candidates:

We would push for banning UMCA from favoring any particular candidates in their campaigning. If the UMCA gave the resources to one person campaigning for one or more candidates, UMCA must give exactly the same resources to the other candidates.

How about taking formal legal action?

Why we are not taking this to the court house, yet—in answer to one anonymous comment:

I can assume who you are, however will answer the best I can for anyone's interest.

Why not take legal action? Mainly the money. We would need a Colorado lawyer. The costs could be very high and who is going to pay? We’re spread out all over the USA and having sit down meetings and making appearances in Colorado could be very costly for us. We're not talking about $1000 or $2000. The for-profit RAAM, LLC, based in Colorado, who got over $250K from RAAM entry fees alone last year and spent an estimated $100-150K to produce the race, is highly motivated to keep ownership of the race under the non-profit UMCA, while they personally can earn all the money with no “non-profit” financial earning limitations, so they will spend whatever it takes. This deal for them is too good to let it go.

The costs could be 30K or more for this big battle. Who see, the small battle with a UMCA member over the JMC cost the UMCA 18K. Plus, it would take lots of time and drag on and on. I think we are better off slowly influencing members and soon a decent Board may emerge.

Managing Director's contract

Mavis finally found out from the new Board’s Liaison that MD’s old contract was extended to the end of February. The SaveUMCA Team is working around the clock to convince the UMCA directors to realize that our organization needs a new face to be a MD because John Hughes had been a MD for 9 years and the first 5 years was when UMCA was a for-profit organization. The UMCA members of that time fought hard to get the non-profit status, with the goal to put the control of UMCA into the member’s hands instead of a small select group. These UMCA members believe John Hughes and few others are still clinging to the for-profit habits and ways. They are deeply concerned because ever since the IRS recognized the UMCA as a non-profit in April 2005, things have clearly gone downhill. Even through some on the SaveUMCA team were in the governing boards before 2002-2003, we believe a fresh face with healthy non-profit ideas is needed to replace John Hughes.

Our new MD must not have any personal conflicts of interest within the UMCA.

Updated June 22nd, 2008:

There are no further known commuincations of the status. This post will be updated when the information is available.

Final Update (July 29th):

John Hughes's contract was renewed. Please follow this link for more information: