One the lousiest things I’ve had to do this year as President is to become the “bad guy” in certain situations. Unfortunately, with regard to the Cross Labs that will be starting on Tuesday evening, this is one of them.
Cross Labs are a great idea, developed many years ago by Gary Sewell. In these sessions, MCA members can learn the skills needed to successfully participate in the Cross season. With the help of many skilled riders, they’ve worked very well to grow the discipline – sort of like KOM for adults who like to play in mud. Any club can host a Cross Lab, although FGBC is the host club for Tuesday night.
However, the recent posts about the upcoming Cross Lab sessions invite non-MCA members to participate in the sessions, including non-KOM kids. The posts hold out to the reader that “everyone” is invited.
As much as I hate to say it, that’s a problem for all of us because when a club event or race is open to non-insured people, the insurance provided by CCC becomes null and void. It’s a basic principle of CCC’s insurance contract with Marsh Canada (which MCA and its individual and club members are under) that non-insured people cannot take part in a ride, practice, event or race unless they partcipate in the contract (= pay the premium).
Frankly I hate that last statement and I suspect you do too. It severely limits our ability to attract new riders and grow the sport. We need to develop our sport by attracting more riders, not impose a financial barrier to participation. We’ve been arguing with CCC about another solution, and CCC has in turn has been arguing with Marsh Canada about it. But the fact is that right now that’s the contract, and we can’t unilaterally change it.
So if you’re planning on attending the Cross Lab on Tuesday night, or any other session, event, ride or race that is open to non-insured riders,you need to realize this: you are not insured as a participant, the organizers are not insured, the club is not insured, and the MCA is not associated with the event.
Are there more positive alternatives?
Well, the most obvious is to help new riders to become MCA members so that they too are insured – they don’t need race licenses for club events or labs, and can upgrade if they decide to race.
As an organizer of club events, you should
1. Make it absolutely clear in all your communications, blogs, or posts that the event is only open to MCA insured members, and help new riders to become an insured MCA member through the website (many will be doing this anyway in order to race Cross – so why not do it now?); or
2. Take out event insurance with Twila if you want to do something special to invite non-members to the session (BMX is doing this for its clinics);