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Zach Maino: Down the UCI Rabbit Hole

Zach Maino - UCI Track Commissaire

Episode 46

“For the love of the sport, honestly is why I do it. It’s a way to stay involved and contribute to the sport.”

If you found yourself in T-Town this summer for Nationals or UCI racing, chances are you ran into this week’s guest: Zach Maino. Zach is a UCI Track Commissaire, an avid cyclist, and he works in clinical research management. Joan and Zach dive deep into the UCI rule rabbit hole, as there are some new changes occurring.

Zach Maino - UCI Track Commissaire
Zach Maino – UCI Track Commissaire

UCI Website – How to become an official

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zachmaino/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zack.maino

Email: trackcommzach@gmail.com

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Thanks to B Braun Medical Inc. for sponsoring the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. BBraun is a global leader in infusion therapy and pain management, B Braun develops, manufactures and markets innovative medical products to the healthcare community. They are also strong believers in supporting the quality of life in the communities where their employees work and live.

Transcript

Joan Hanscom:

Welcome to The Talk of the T-Town podcast, where we discuss all things track cycling. Broadcasting from the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, I’m your host and executive director, Joan Hanscom.

Joan Hanscom:

Welcome to The Talk of the T-Town podcast. I’m your host, Joan Hanscom, flying solo this week without Maura Beuttel. We are recording live on the West Coast. So it is just our guest and me today. And I am absolutely delighted to bring this next guest to us. His name is Zach Maino. If you were at T-Town over the summer for our UCI events or national championships, you most likely ran into Zach. And we are thrilled to have him on the podcast today to talk about some UCI stuff, because there are changes that are coming my friends, and we want to make sure everybody’s prepared for it. So Zach, welcome to the podcast. Delighted, delighted to have you with us.

Zach Maino:

Thank you very much, Joan. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’ve actually started listening to the podcast a little bit recently, and I’m going to have to go back through the catalog and listen to all the other interviews. There’s some fantastic interviews that have been on here. But I’d also say, welcome to the West Coast.

Joan Hanscom:

Wow! Thank you. It’s delightful to be here. Do not currently miss the 33 degrees in snow that was happening in the Lehigh Valley yesterday. So, yes.

Zach Maino:

I don’t imagine you would.

Joan Hanscom:

It is nice to be here. So Zach, before we jump into all of the UCI rule changes, I’d love to take this opportunity to let our listeners know a little bit more about you. I mean, they surely saw a lot of you at the track over the summer. We started off at the top of this session by saying you are UCI international commissar, but in real life, because you don’t just do commissar things, you yourself are an avid cyclist and you are in clinical research management. So you have a day job in addition to this officiating thing that takes you all over the world. Tell us a little bit about that, Zach? What does clinical research management mean?

Zach Maino:

Yeah. If you were at T-Town, you definitely saw me. I was out there for every single race this year, every single UCI race. I just spent a whole like, I think four or five weeks out in Pennsylvania, which was fun because you and I got to go ride bikes together a few times, which was nice. I am an avid cyclist and ride out here in, I live in Seattle, Washington, and I ride out here fairly regularly. I just, actually, did start a new job. So I’m going to start commuting to and from work on my bike, which would just be nice. The irony of my real life job is that I actually got my master’s in epidemiology in the middle of a pandemic. So that’s-

Joan Hanscom:

Timely.

Zach Maino:

That one was fun. Yeah. I graduated in May 2020. So the last couple of months of school where everything just shut down, that one was interesting. But I no longer had to explain what my degree was in, because it’s become a very common word.

Joan Hanscom:

Because we’re all amateur epidemiology now as well.

Zach Maino:

I may have made the joke that I was annoyed that I spent all the time and money on a degree that everybody got on Facebook last year.

Joan Hanscom:

Right. We all got our Google degrees. We’re all Dr. Google now.

Zach Maino:

For the past year, I’ve actually been working for Seattle Children’s Research Institute here in Seattle. And I was working on managing clinical trials for leukemia and lymphoma for very, very young patients. Though I was happy with that position, I was afforded an opportunity that’s much more in line with my professional goals. And now I work for a young biotech startup here that’s trying to look at gut microbiome and all the bacteria and viruses in all the different entities in your gut, in your stomach, and trying to associate those with chronic diseases or cancers, and see if we can develop earlier ways to detect these conditions and earlier ways to treat them, and different ways to treat them.

Zach Maino:

I’ve been there about three weeks, so I’m still just going through HR and all of that, but it’s very promising. And the best part of it is that it affords me the ability to work remotely and travel. So I’ll still be able to go to all of my bike races.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, that’s very cool. I got to say like the whole gut mic microbiome thing is absolutely fascinating. While you were a T-Town, actually, you may have noticed I was wearing a continuous glucose monitor on my arm. That was all part of a gut microbiome test that I was going through just to look at it from a performance and health management perspective. So I did the two weeks with the glucose monitoring. I ate all sorts of weird like test foods. They had these, I’ll say it, really gross muffins, but they’re-

Zach Maino:

I remember the muffin conversation now. I remember you talking about that.

Joan Hanscom:

Yes. Because they wanted everybody who goes through the testing to have the control meal, and then do the regular diet stuff. And it was actually super interesting to get the report back on my own gut microbiome and discover what foods I needed and how I could make my gut respond better to the meals I was eating. It was fascinating.

Zach Maino:

The gut microbiome, the science is in its infancy. If you take two different tests and send them to two different groups, you’re going to get two different responses right now, because everything’s still being developed and curtailed as we gain more and more information. And honestly, until relatively recently, we didn’t even have the computing power for the billions of data points that are required for AI to really help us dig into this whole thing.

Zach Maino:

When people come to me and I see all these articles about like, “Oh, is the science sound?” I was like, “No, the science is barely found. Ask again in a year, ask again in five years, it’ll be remarkable what we discover and what we are able to put together.” And I’m excited to play a very small part of it.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. It’s super cool. Well, good for you for landing somewhere. I mean, you were doing good work before, obviously, because who’s going to say kids cancer’s not a worthy thing to focus on, because it’s most certainly is, but to be pioneering-

Zach Maino:

I was happy there, but I did have to negotiate with them, for me to go spend a month in T-Town and work remotely. I didn’t see the career path that I wanted there, but I gave them, I think six or seven weeks heads up before I left. So I was able to wrap everything up and do a good handoff and leave their research still pushing along headstrong without my departure hindering it at all. And so I wish them all the best of luck.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. And now you’re getting to focus on something incredibly cutting edge, which is super cool. Yeah, that’s awesome news. In your spare time then, when you’re not researching or part of the research projects that look at the gut microbiome, you are a UCI commissar. You are an international level official, which sounds very, very formal. For those who are listening, it’s a very formal title, UCI commissar. I am told that you are, did you say 26 years younger than the other next most UCI commissar person?

Zach Maino:

Yeah. And I’ll dig into all this in a minute, but for track racing specifically, there are currently only six international commissars for track racing in the United States. Hopefully seven soon. I think we have one more coming along here. And between me and the next youngest international commissar for track racing, there is a 26 year gap. So I am surprisingly young for my level.

Joan Hanscom:

And of bit of a unicorn.

Zach Maino:

Sure.

Joan Hanscom:

I mean, you’re rare. Yeah. So what does it involve, Zach? First of all, why? Because you’re still young bike rider guy yourself, so why?

Zach Maino:

So, why? I got into officiating the same reason all of us do, to destroy the sport of bike racing.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, good. I thought I was the only one.

Zach Maino:

No. This has been a couple year long running joke that has gone around to the international community. And it’s like, why do we do what we do? To destroy the sport of bike racing and to make people cry. We all know that’s not true. For the love of the sport, honestly is why I do it. It’s a way to stay involved and contribute to the sport. I am an avid cyclist, but I also used to race. I never raced track, but I did start racing when I was, I think 17, in Michigan. And I was actually coming up at the same time as Larry Warbasse in Michigan, who is a world tour pro. So him and I actually were living in the same area at the same time. We were category three riders together. We were category two riders together. And then he got really good, and I didn’t.

Zach Maino:

I always said the day that ride my bike becomes a chore, I was done with it. So anyway, I do know Larry. And the other person I know fairly well is Alexey Vermeulen who also raced at the world tour level for a little while. Most of our listeners would probably know him through the mountain bike gravel community. I remember I was one of his early coaches back when he was like 10 or 11 years old, coming up through the ranks in Michigan. It was cool to see where those guys are now. And so I started racing back then, and I actually got to participate in the national development camp for USA cycling. I was selected as an alternate for the, well, we say Tour of l’Abitibi. I know that’s not how it’s supposed to be pronounced. I know if Andrew’s listening, he’s cringing at the moment.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, I was going to say, Andrew is cursing you from the great white north.

Zach Maino:

I had a little success early on, and I raced as a cat two for a long time. Started my own team and ran that for a couple of years in Michigan. And actually because of cycling, I got my degree in exercise physiology, and worked with Dr. Steven McGregor, who a lot of the coaches listening will probably know that name. He’s done a lot of work with cycling, a lot of work with Andy Coggan and Hunter Allen.

Zach Maino:

And then after I graduated, I was working in Aspen as a cycling coach, Aspen, Colorado. So I was living in training altitude. I was in great shape. It was wonderful. And I moved to Seattle, kind of haphazardly, at the bequest of my brothers. I got out here and started working as an EMT, which I had been doing in Michigan for about a year at that point. And I started working 12 hour night shifts, and lost all of my training time.

Joan Hanscom:

CTL tanked.

Zach Maino:

I had to make a living, had to survive. Was no longer living off of the student loans and I couldn’t train. I tried a few races, but my fitness quickly diminished and I wanted to stay involved in the sport. There was an intro officials class offered literally down the street from my house, and I took that, and that set the course of the last eight years for me.

Joan Hanscom:

I think it’s interesting. I think I’ve been guilty of this as a bike racer myself, where you look at the people in the blue shirts and the khaki pants, and you think that they are just there to ruin all your fun and spoil your day at the bike race. I think it’s important to recognize that y’all, not everybody, but a lot of y’all raced bikes too. You do know the sport from both sides. And so you do have the appreciation for the rider’s perspective, the team perspective, the athlete perspective, and that’s important, because I don’t think you always get credit for that.

Zach Maino:

I agree. I mean, it does seem to be a little rare that that riders that raced at a higher level jump over to officiating, but it does happen. And those are the type of people that, they just so intuitively understand the sport and understand rider behavior that it sets us up for success. We’re able to talk with riders because we’ve been there, we get it. We know what’s going through your head.

Zach Maino:

But a lot of people, and I’m going to use this as a plug because we always need more officials, a lot of people also came to my side of the sport because one of their family members, their husband, wife, son, daughter, boyfriend, girlfriend, brother, sister, best friend, someone close to them was racing, and they happened to be at races and found out they could make a little bit of money hanging out at bike races, and that’s how they got involved.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. I got dragged to enough bike races where I decided I wanted to do something while I was there is not an unheard of phenomenon at all. You started with the class down the street from your house and you learn to officiate, and that would’ve been a USA cycling level officiating role.

Zach Maino:

Yes. Yes.

Joan Hanscom:

So folks understand there are USA cycling officials that would work your local bike race. And then there are international officials that literally go all over the globe to work at bike races and make the most elite level of the sport happen in a lot of ways. So talk about that journey.

Zach Maino:

Yes, that is true. One of the other famous quotes that goes around is without officials, you’re just playing. And so if you have a bunch of people on bikes or a bunch of people kicking a ball around without officials, it’s not a real organized sport. That’s our purpose as officials is to be out there and make sure that rules are adhered too, so that the sport is safe. And that it’s fair, so that the results matter. Like you were saying, there are different levels. I will say that at all levels, I actually am a USA cycling official. USA cycling issue is my license, all the way to the top, including my international license.

Zach Maino:

But if you, Joan, tomorrow you wanted to start officiating and you picked up your official license, I don’t know if we still have the online class, but I believe we’re trying to get one posted. If you picked up your license, you would be a level C official. You would be able to work across any discipline that you would like. And you would know the very, very, very basics about each of the disciplines and how to score, how to judge a finish, and the very basics of the sport.

Zach Maino:

And you’d likely work just local races. As you gain experience and advanced, you move up to a level B official. At level B, you’ll start kind of specializing. You can do level B on track or level B on road. And road and cyclo-cross track, they move up together up until the international level. So if you’re an A on road, you’re an A in cyclo-cross. As you gain more experience you move up to go B and then A. With that experience, with that licensure level, as a B, you would get to work a little more regional, maybe get a chance at a national race. As an A you’re able to work national races. Maybe even some of the big ones like Utah or California, unfortunately that’s gone.

Joan Hanscom:

Back when they existed. Yeah.

Zach Maino:

Back when they existed. At that level, you’d work likely as an assistant judge where you’re out there for crucial role, but you’re not going to have any significant decision making capacity. Once you go above A is where the UCI levels come in. The next level is Elite National Commissar and then International Commissar. And both of those level, both of those classes are taught by the UCI. Elite National is typically taught within a region.

Zach Maino:

So the last one we had for track racing was, I think three or four years ago. And we partnered with Canada to see if anyone from Canada or Mexico or in the Americas wanted to come to that class, because it might be offered here in the United States, but it’s taught by the UCI. It’s a UCI designation. They dictate whether you’re at that level or not. The international class is you have to go to Switzerland. You have to go to UCI headquarters in Aigle to take that class. There’s a whole bunch of eligibility rules that go along with it that I’m not going to dig into here. But you need to have put a quite a bit of time and effort behind you to even be selected for that class.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Again, I think it’s easy for us as bike racers to look and just be like, guy in blue shirt. It’s not just as simple as CBA. There’s work that goes into it. There’s experience. There is, at some levels, testing, to show your knowledge and your qualification and your thought processes and how you would address the situation. So it’s not like you just like win a bike race and move up a category.

Zach Maino:

Correct. Yeah. I think over the six years leading up to between me picking up my officiating license and sitting in the international class, I think I averaged 70 to 80 days a year at bike races. Some of that on my own dime. Some of those I was sent to work. Some of those I paid my own travel and housing just to go get the experience. And that’s another aspect of it. If I wasn’t able to get the experience in my area, I sought it out. I went and found it. Found mentors, reviewed race footage, always asking questions. Yeah.

Zach Maino:

It’s more than just showing up to each of the races. There’s a considerable component of wanting to develop and wanting the best for the sport and making sure you’re wanting to do the right thing for all the coaches and riders and directors and for event managers and promoters, and you just want, like us, like everyone else, we just want the best for the sport. When you get to the Elite National and International level, a lot of us are dedicating a pretty significant chunk of our time to the sport.

Joan Hanscom:

I think what was so great about working with you this past summer, and this has always been the case, working with officials at high level race production is when it’s collaborative. Because the last thing I want as the customer, in a sense, I’m hiring you to come in and work at my event. And as a customer, I appreciate when it can be collaborative. When we can say, hey, look, here’s the goals of the event. Here’s what we’re hoping to achieve.

Joan Hanscom:

Yes, we have to work it within the parameters of the UCI rule book, because that’s why we’re doing the UCI level event, but please understand the broader context in which we operate. So that it’s a good, productive working environment for the official to come into, so that they feel like they’re contributing and collaborating. And that the event feels like their needs are being heard by the official.

Joan Hanscom:

And I felt like we certainly had that with you over the summer in T-Town, where you understood the context in which we were operating our season. You were very collaborative. You provided great feedback. Welcomed feedback. So it wasn’t just like you came in and said, do it this way. You came in and you had, I thought a great working relationship with Andrew. I think we did face some edge cases in certain areas that guys put a lot of good thought too, to make sure that everything we were doing fell with than the parameters of the UCI rule book.

Joan Hanscom:

And that as a race director is what you want from a UCI official. You want that collaborative partnership where we say, look, we value all of that race experience that you have and your knowledge of the rules. And you in turn say, I value your experience as a race promoter. And I understand that your event doesn’t exist in this like pristine UCI bubble. It exists in the context of your business. So let’s find the best way to make this all operate as it should. And I thought you were really outstanding at that this summer. And it’s important. It’s important for the sport to survive that we take that approach.

Zach Maino:

Man, it really is. I mean, our sport is suffering as a whole, and track racing is just a footnote in that sport unfortunately, which is the reality. I know we all like to hope and wish that it was a much bigger aspect of cycling in general. It was a fun summer working hand in hand with you and Andrew. And yes, Andrew and I do get along really, really well. We’ve been friends for a couple of years actually, because he himself is an international commissar for track racing in Canada. Him and I actually took our track elite national commissar class together. And then we were in Switzerland and we took our international class together.

Zach Maino:

And actually like, I think two weeks ago, we were taking our road elite national commissar class together, which was offered virtually for the first time, which was fun because we were both up at like four o’clock in the morning because it was based in Switzerland. It was nice because he actually works as a race promoter in Canada. So he knows both sides of the sport from officiated and promoting.

Zach Maino:

I know the rule book as well as he does. It was really fun working just with both of you and working with him. And we’d come up with these edge cases that we were anticipating. Him and I would like, because we were staying together, out there in [Kise 00:25:13] town together, we’d like pull the rule book and like dig through it in the evenings just to be like, how would we interpret this?

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, you guys were nerding out on a lot of scenarios, let’s just say, which seem to be fun for you guys.

Zach Maino:

Every time there’s an update to the rule book, we probably sit on the phone together for two or three hours and hashing out like every little nuance and playing out every rule change to its extreme, which is very, very nerdy. I will admit that. That also makes us pretty well prepared for facing a lot of things at races and being able to make those knee jerk calls and reactions. That’s honestly the best call for the sporting aspect of the race.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, you actually just teed up quite nicely, the topic du jour, which is the looming rule changes for track racing in the coming season. I know that some are major, some are minor, and there aren’t that many of them, but as we talked about before we started the show, there is one that is of particular concern and potentially a particular opportunity for us. With that said, Zach, let’s talk about rule changes to the UCI rule book for the 2022 track season.

Zach Maino:

Let’s talk about rule changes. Do you know the reach of your podcast? Do you know like how many different countries, how many different people listen to it? I’m mostly curious how many people from Canada. I’m hoping a lot of our Canadian friends are listening right now.

Joan Hanscom:

So we do have high Canadian listenership. If I’m remembering off the top of my head, U.S. is obviously number one, Australia is number two, Canada’s number three.

Zach Maino:

That actually doesn’t surprise me.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Australia number two, Canada third, and then the UK is fourth, if I’m not mistaken. That’s guessing. New Zealand maybe in there somewhere as well, but yes, we do have a good solid Canadian listenership.

Zach Maino:

Okay. So I’m going to split into two parts. I’m actually going to jump back a little bit and start with, they’re not new rules for the upcoming season, but they were a few things that were implemented last year because they were actually rule changes that happened in October of 2019. But thanks to the pandemic, we didn’t race in 2020. And so there were a few things that changed that weren’t actually seen until we raced last year.

Zach Maino:

And it did create a little bit of friction on one of the first UCI nights out there in T-Town. Some of these are things that races should have been operating, but they change them in the rule book to make sure that they are truly operating in this manner. And some of these are things that actually T-Town already does, but I’m actually putting it out here to try and get it out to some of the other velodromes around.

Zach Maino:

And one of those is there’s only one bell. Every time there’s a sprint for the last lap, there’s just one bell, and it’s for the leaders. Just for those who are eligible, on the last lap, you do it for every rider. Nope. Whenever there’s a bell, it’s just one bell, and it’s only for the leaders. And so if you’re in the Peloton on the other side of the track, keep your ears open. The new fun one is the lap board is always correct.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, okay. Say that again for the people in the back because-

Zach Maino:

Let me go look at the exact wording of the rule, but the lab board is always correct. Even if it’s wrong, it’s correct. That’s one of those fun ones. I actually got into an argument over what the lab board said last year. And that was, again, some of those fun fringe cases. Oh, I have it right here. That’s the bell. Once the race has started, the remaining distance to be raced shall be indicated by the lap counter, even if the total distance raced is not the same as indicated in the regulations for the event. Means no matter what the regulations say, the lap counter is correct. So that’s a fun one.

Joan Hanscom:

But pay attention riders. Pay attention to those lap cards.

Zach Maino:

And then here’s the last one I’ll say on this end for old rules. This is one of the things that affected one of the sprints. I thank John Croom for coming and talking with me afterwards, and then going and disseminating that information to the riders. I did really appreciate that he did that. And that is if the leaders catch the field on a sprint lap, how is that scored? This is one of those things that does cause some confusion. The rule now for gaining and losing laps is that a rider shall be considered to have gained a lap when they’ve caught the back end of the largest group. We know that.

Zach Maino:

So this becomes important for the starter to point, because let’s take the situation, you have a solo rider and a field. That’s all you have on the track. If that solo rider crosses the line and gets the bell and then catches the field, the field is now sprinting for the finish or for the sprint. So if that happens when they catch the field going into one and two, it’s pretty obvious, and people seem to understand that. If they catch the field going into four, yeah, the field’s sprinting to the line.

Zach Maino:

And I think that’s the situation we had if I’m not mistaken. I think we had the leaders catch like going into three, so the field was sprinting to the line. And some people knew that and some thought they were going to go … Essentially they were coming into the bell, and got another sprint. But, nope, it is designated at the next time the leader crosses the line. Yeah. If you ever have questions on that one, feel free to ask any of the officials ahead of time, and we’ll try to clarify that. Those are old rules that were changed back in 2019 that we hadn’t seen until the start of last season. And I hope most people have an idea of how those work.

Zach Maino:

Jumping over to rules that just changed in October after the world championships that will be instituted this next year. Most of the rule changes were actually on the new definition of what a UCI track team is and all the administrative requirements and rules around that. They also added in the fun new champions league and all the rules and regulations that go along with those races. And that’s largely what’s changed. So I’m going to dig in on, here we go. Here’s the big one. How we classify class one and class two events. All of our T-Town races. The fun part is that now both UCI race, this wasn’t a problem for T-Town, but now to be considered a class one and class two event, they must hold events for both men and women.

Joan Hanscom:

Which we have always done.

Zach Maino:

Both elite men and elite women. The old rule was that it only had to be for elite men. So I’m happy to see a little bit of parity coming out of the UCI with that. They must have both elite men and both elite women. This didn’t change, we know about this, but we still need to meet the minimum rider and distance rider count and distance for each of the specific events. Let me see what else. For class one events, we used to have to have five nations participating. Now we only need four, however, here’s-

Joan Hanscom:

And it’s a big however.

Zach Maino:

Here’s the big, big, big however, for class one events, no nation can represent more than 50% of the Peloton. So think about that for a second.

Joan Hanscom:

We actually spoke with the UCI, USA Cycling facilitated a phone call for us with the UCI about this rule change, because it is deeply concerning to both our Canadian brethren and the U.S. I mean, think about if you’re racing in Ghent or if you’re racing in Berlin or any of the European tracks, having more than your field comprised of 50% of foreign riders is not a stretch. It’s easy for multiple nationalities to be represented in a European race because of the ease of access and travel. It is not easy for-

Zach Maino:

I believe this is one of those rules that’s written specifically for European countries.

Joan Hanscom:

That we will have to live with. Yes.

Zach Maino:

Yeah. It’s very difficult for both us and Canada. It’s also very difficult for, I assume it’d be very difficult for our Australian friends, for Japan. Are there any track races in China? I’m trying to think Hong Kong. Pretty isolated velodromes from other countries. I guess the hope is that this rule builds a little bit of partnership with neighboring countries, which is why I was asking if our Canadian friends are listening because this is the easiest way for us to get as many people on the track as we can. Yeah. What that rule means is for our class one UCI races at T-Town and here in the U.S. is that the United States can’t represent more than 50 per percent of the field. It’ll be interesting to see how this goes this year.

Joan Hanscom:

So if we say that T-Town’s track capacity is 36, we say. So 36 divided by two is 18, right?

Zach Maino:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joan Hanscom:

So think about that for our T-Town folks on a given Friday night if we are at capacity with 36 athletes in the field, only 18 of those riders can be from the U.S. Now, certainly in 2019, that was not a problem for us. We had 28 countries represented and over 200 athletes, but not every year is a 2019. If you don’t have 36 athletes in your field, if you haven’t reached max capacity, if you have 20 athletes racing in a field on a Friday night for UCI, only 10 can be from America to have-

Zach Maino:

It’s a scalable rule.

Joan Hanscom:

It is a scalable rule.

Zach Maino:

We look at the best case scenarios if we’re at the track maximum capacity. If we have a smaller, the normal field reach more than max capacity field, it diminishes the number of rider that, likely from the U.S. that would be able to ride. This will be interesting. There will be far more discussion about this and all the nuance of this rule. I’m assuming with me and Joan and whoever takes over for her position at T-Town and USA cycling, I have thoughts that I’m not going to go into here about how we’re going to be able to work with this.

Zach Maino:

But there is also another rule for class one events that will also matter is that in order to participate, a rider needs 10 UCI track points in order to register for an event. And that can be in any category, any race, any category, but they have to have 10 track UCI points.

Joan Hanscom:

So that our listeners are aware of how we at T-Town intended to address that, understanding that most of our riders, well, race locally, but I mean, most of the athletes at T-Town who are domestic, the only place they have the opportunity, if you’re a domestic U.S. rider, unless you want to travel to earn those UCI points is at T-Town. We’re the only ones doing international racing.

Joan Hanscom:

So we did put in, before the cat one events, we added category two races to the schedule in June to give folks the opportunity then to come out and race and hopefully earn those points that they need in order to be eligible to compete in the category one events if that is their intention to do, because we were game planning for that, saying, okay, well, you can earn those UCI points at the C2 races if you intend to race in the C1 races. Mark your calendars kids, if you want to race the C1s, you better be planning on either racing internationally and scoring some points, or coming to T-Town a little bit early in June to get the points that you’ll need to be eligible to compete.

Zach Maino:

Correct. Are the class one events occurring before or after national championships? Do we know yet?

Joan Hanscom:

We don’t know yet. I think they haven’t necessarily announced those national championship dates yet.

Zach Maino:

No idea either. Because natural championships would be, if those happen in LA or T-Town or wherever those might happen this year, that’s another way to get UCI points for the elites and the juniors.

Joan Hanscom:

The challenge we faced quite honestly, Zach, with those date selections was that the UCI used to require your inscriptions to be December. So we would have to get our inscriptions, our dates in to USA Cycling in November to be submitted to the UCI in December. They changed that rule. And now we’re required to have our dates into the UCI by May 1st, which we were planning a year and a half out then.

Joan Hanscom:

We were planning dates for the 22 season before the 21 season even started. We were planning dates for the 22 season before the UCI announced their nation’s cup events. It’s conceivable that they’ll run a nation’s cup event, I don’t know, in Japan, the same day that we’ve inscribed for events in T-Town. And that would have a negative impact on our ability to attract riders.

Zach Maino:

Yes, it would.

Joan Hanscom:

These are discussions we’ve had with the UCI and said like, “Look, you haven’t published your schedule, but you’re asking us to pick dates. Can you assure us that if you plunk a nation’s cup down on top of RC1s, you’re going to let us move our dates without a penalty?” And they said we would be able to discuss it.

Joan Hanscom:

There was an enormous amount of complexity that went into the date selection for the 22 season that I don’t know that people are necessarily aware of, which is why I wanted to talk to you, so that people have this understanding of like, look, we had to put these C2s first so that people could get points. There’s a lot to those date selections. And it was a little bit of a stab in the dark because of the accelerated timeline for submitting inscriptions.

Zach Maino:

Yeah. With the pandemic and Olympic years, the international track schedule is all kind of up in the air at the moment.

Joan Hanscom:

It is a bit of a jumble.

Zach Maino:

Because typically as most of us know are the international track seasons, typically, like September to February, it’s usually through the winter. But when we have an Olympic year, we shift around those world cups or nation cup races to help make selections for the Olympics. There’s the big world’s competition, like world championships where they’re doing all the disciplines in one place, I think, in the near future, right? In the next couple of years.

Joan Hanscom:

Isn’t that ’23? I think that’s ’23, right? Glasgow?

Zach Maino:

I didn’t look ahead of time, but I … I know it’s coming up soon. So that’s going to wreak havoc on the calendar as well.

Joan Hanscom:

Yep. Yep. I think it’s Glasgow ’23, if I’m not mistaken. But yeah, it is a whole big jumble right now, the track calendar. And so, yeah, it’s going to be interesting to see how it all pans out. I mean, on the other hand, they did something that they hadn’t done in the past, which was have a mandatory prize list for UCI races.

Zach Maino:

Yes, I saw that.

Joan Hanscom:

Which has not existed in the past. Obviously we paid out prize money at T-Town regardless, but, yeah, it was interesting to see that they’ve stepped into mandating a mandatory prize list for track as well now.

Zach Maino:

Yeah. That is my question. Again, rules I haven’t actually looked up is, is it equal between men and women? Because it should be.

Joan Hanscom:

I don’t even remember because at T-Town, we already pay equal for men and women. And so we would continue to do so. Off the top of my head, I can’t remember if they did mandate a prize equity. I think so, but I can’t say for certain, but regardless-

Zach Maino:

Well, I’ll go look it up and I’ll stay out of politics. Not my job. I’ll stick to the rules.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. But regardless at T-Town, we will have equity in price payout regardless of what they say.

Zach Maino:

So looping back to the rules for those listening. So what this means is for the class one, the higher class events worth four points. We will have to work with our fellow countries to work on making sure we don’t have more than 50% of the field. But if you need those 10 points to raise a class one, I believe you need to finish, I believe it’s 24th or better in any ranking that is being awarded to UCI points in one of the class two events. And then you will meet the minimum requirements to register for the class one events.

Zach Maino:

Let’s see here. Any other significant rules on those? We know minimum number of riders for sprint events, we need at least eight people for Keirin. We need 10 riders for bunch races, at least 15 riders. And for the Madison, at least 10 teams. And that’s for class one events, those numbers are slightly smaller for class two events, eight riders for the sprint, 10 riders for the Keirin, 12 riders for bunch races, and eight teams for the Madison. What I will say is that-

Joan Hanscom:

Which makes the Madison challenging.

Zach Maino:

Well, the Madison actually has an additional challenge in that if you have two riders from different countries racing together, they actually won’t count as one of the nations, because in team events, if a team is composed of riders from different countries, the nation of the majority of riders will prevail. So in like a team sprint or a team pursuit where you might have like two Americans and a Canadian, it would be an American team, or two Canadians and an American, it would be a Canadian team.

Zach Maino:

But in a Madison, we only have two teams or two riders. If the majority’s not possible, the nation of the participating riders will not count. And so if you have two riders from different countries on a Madison team, you don’t score points for … I don’t know how point scoring is going to work, but you will not be counted as a nation for the nation minimum. So that’s another fun one-

Joan Hanscom:

Which is a lot of not helpful. So we can’t make the composite of Barbados and Trinidad because that essentially negates both countries?

Zach Maino:

Correct. This will be based on the country code of your UCI license, whatever your UCI license says. It’s not where you live, it’s not where you’re born, it’s whatever the code is on that UCI license, whatever I’m looking at in data ride, that’s what I have to use to calculate these numbers when I’m dealing with results. But if you want to do time events, there’s no point minimum.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. There you go. The thing that I always say to athletes and have said since I was running road and cyclo-cross events, is it behooves you to know the rule book for the game you play. This year in particular, because it is actually a pretty significant change, even though there aren’t many changes, the change is a reasonably significant one. So please make sure you are familiar.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s why I thought it was so important to have you on the podcast, Zach, is that I do think that that need to have points before you’re eligible for C1 is really a big thing to be aware of. And I also think that that country count balance, 50% balance, is going to be a hard one to strike. And so I ask that people who are contemplating racing at T-Town think about, A, when you register, because it’s possible that we will, if we’re looking at a preregistration of 20 athletes only, we will have to be capping U.S. participation. These are the things. Be aware of how these rules impact-

Zach Maino:

I’m sure it’s going to be a very interesting year working with these new regulations and how that’s going to … I’m sure there’ll be a lot of cases and fringe cases popping up this year, that I have no idea how to address yet, but we’ll figure it out. And for those-

Joan Hanscom:

Also I want to say, if you’re listening from Australia, New Zealand, UK, Germany, the Netherlands, come race at T-Town so that we eliminate this country count problem. Come spend your summer in the beautiful Lehigh Valley, so that we don’t even have to worry about it. And if you want to race at T-Town, tell your friends to bring your foreign friends so that we don’t have to worry about country counts and everybody gets to race bikes. That’s my plea.

Zach Maino:

I agree. It’s one of the reasons I love cycling is being able to experience other cultures and seeing how … We all have a common love in how everyone can gather around that sport. It’s fantastic. Just very quick side note for anyone that’s interested and they’re super nerdy like me, if you’re curious about the classification regulations for class events, it’s on page 108, 108 of the current rule book for track racing.

Joan Hanscom:

We will link to that in the show notes. I’ll get Maura to link to that in the show notes, because I think that’s important. Yeah.

Zach Maino:

Yeah. And if you read to the rule book and you have any questions or curious, always feel free to reach out. I’m happy to chat with anyone about bike racing at any time for any amount of time. I do it way too much as is.

Joan Hanscom:

How should people reach you if they do have questions?

Zach Maino:

I do have an email specific for officiating that I’ll put in the show notes. I’m fine to send that one out. It’s a public one that I don’t care if you guys scare me with.

Joan Hanscom:

So y’all, if you have questions for Zach after you listen to this podcast and start to read through the rule book, we will put that email in the show notes, and you can reach out to Zach with your specific questions, and you will be in excellent hands getting those questions answered.

Zach Maino:

And if I can’t answer it, I will try to direct you to someone that can.

Joan Hanscom:

Right on. Well, Zach, this has been terrific. And I really appreciate you making the time after a busy work. Didn’t you get your booster today?

Zach Maino:

Starting to feel a little tired and have a little bit of a headache. That was a couple of hours ago.

Joan Hanscom:

So I appreciate you making the time to do that. With the booster today, the possibility of not feeling your best was reality. So we’re very appreciative of you taking the time to join us.

Zach Maino:

And I did it today because I was planning on spending Christmas in Europe. I was going to go to Copenhagen and in the Netherlands and catch up with some of my cycling friends that we were in like the international class together. But with everything going the way it’s going, I decided to cancel all of that this winter, this Christmas. And so I’m going to spend Christmas down in Las Vegas with my parents and my brothers.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, right on. It’s still good to be boosted.

Zach Maino:

I can take my bike and get out of the rain and go enjoy some sun.

Joan Hanscom:

Yes, enjoy some sun, enjoy the holiday, be safe. And thank you so much again for making time to chat with us today. It’s been terrific. And again, I encourage everybody listening to reach out to Zach with questions because he is a wealth of good knowledge for the sport we all love.

Joan Hanscom:

And with that, I will say this has been The Talk of the T-Town podcast with our guest, Zach Maino. If you like the podcast, please give us stars, the thumbs up, the hearts, wherever you choose to consume your pod, so that we can continue to grow our listenership and continue to bring you the show week in and week out. Thanks for listening.

Joan Hanscom:

Thank you for listening. This has been The Talk of the T-Town podcast. I’m your host, Joan Hanscom. Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. Head over to our website at thevelodrome.com where you can check out the show notes and subscribe, so you’ll never miss an episode.