2020 Trans-Cascadia Riders

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2020 Trans-Cascadia Riders
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Posted: Jun 24, 2020 at 10:34 Quote
This is a thread for racers of the now-canceled Trans-Cascadia race to discuss the cancellation, as well as options for refunds, advocacy, and other remedies.

A Brief History of Events


February 25, 2020 - Trans-Cascadia Opens for Registration
March 23, 2020 - Washington Governor Jay Inslee Issues Stay at Home Order
June 22, 2020 - Trans Cascadia sends an email to registered racers letting them know that the race is canceled, and the organization will be keeping 1/2 of their $2,300 registration fee ($1,150). There is no option to apply registration fees to future races, beyond a $300 discount (the same as alumni get) for the 2021 edition.


Obviously, plenty of racers feel that this is unacceptable.

A few points on why this is so egregious:

The Trans-Cascadia is one of the most expensive (per-day) stage MTB races in existence. Keeping $1,150 from every rider (a total of $115,000 with 100 registered riders) in exchange for nothing, is inexcusable. The registration fee represents a significant expense for many riders.

It was clear that COVID could pose an issue to the race less than 3-weeks after registration opened. And yet the organization claims to have spent half of all registration fees, primarily on trail-work, prior to making the decision to cancel the race.

If the money was spent on trail work as the organizers claim, that trail-work should be largely applicable to the 2021 race. It's not like they need to create an entirely new blind-race for 2021. They can use what they apparently already spend $115k on for the 2020 trails that won't be run.

Similar canceled stage-races, like the BCBR, handled the same situation much better by allowing 2020 racers to apply 100% of their registration fees to the 2021, 2022 or 2023 races.

I certainly don't speak for other riders. But, the way I feel is that while we all recognize that the Trans-Cascadia is a nonprofit organization that's done tons of good work, none of us were making a $1,150 donation to trail work when we entered the race. We were paying for to enter a race.

We understand that the organization likely doesn't have deep pockets, and this is a difficult place for them to be in. HOWEVER, if they truly can't offer refunds, they have a duty to at the very least let 2020 riders credit any non-refunded $$s towards a future edition of the race.

That would hopefully allow the organization to continue (and keep an additional $1,150 to fund ongoing costs), while allowing 2020 riders to get as close to what they signed up for as possible.

What Can We Do?

Tell Trans-Cascadia's Organizers this is Unacceptable
Reach out directly to Trans-Cascadia. Let them know you, as a racer, find this totally unacceptable. They've taken $1,150 from you. Let them know what you feel would be fair (partial refund + future credit, 100% future credit, etc.), and what remedies you'll pursue if they don't offer a better solution (chargeback on your credit card, contacting sponsors, social media posting, possible legal action - it's up to you. Just be realistic and honest. Don't make threats, but let them know that you're not willing to just roll over).

Be nice, and remember that these are people who have put on an event we're all excited to participate in, in a tough situation, making short-sighted decisions. Our goal isn't to unload steam, but to find a solution that lets this race continue without stealing $115K from 2020 riders.


If you want to ride future editions of the race, let them know that. I know I do. My personal ideal resolution would to just let me apply 100% of my 2020 registration fees towards a future race. They can keep my money, and use it to keep things going. So long as I can apply it towards a future race.

Reach Out to Sponsors

The race has several large sponsors. They likely don't want to be associated with a series that's taking $1,150 from 100 dedicated mountain bike riders.

Contact them, let them know what happened, and ask them to use their influence as a sponsor to work for a better solution. Again, be nice. None of the sponsors want this, but they may be in a position to encourage Trans-Cascadia to find a better solution. If you have a personal connection with their brand, let them know. If you plan to boycott any sponsors who support a future Trans-Cascadia race if they don't find a better solution, let them know. Thank them for their time, and thank them for being willing to sponsor events like the Trans-Cascadia.

Those sponsors are:

Shimano - http://bike.shimano.com/
Santa Cruz - http://www.santacruzbicycles.com/
Modus Sporgroup - http://modussportgroup.com/
Patagonia - http://patagonia.com/
Schwalbe - https://www.schwalbetires.com/
New Belgium - https://www.newbelgium.com/fat-tire/
Clif Bar - http://www.clifbar.com/
Salzburger Stiegl - https://www.stiegl.at/en
Oakley - http://oakley.com/
Lolo Racks - https://www.loloracks.com/

Remember to BE NICE here especially.

Issue a Chargeback on your Credit Card
This one's going to be tricky, because it's been several months since registration, and most cards only allow disputes within 60-days.

However, it still may be possible to get them to grant an exception to this policy with extenuating circumstances. Personally, I'd prefer a different solution since this I expect $200k+ in chargebacks would probably be the end of the Trans-Cascadia, but I certainly would understand if any racers felt this was their best option.

Reach out to CCN Bikes
CCN Bikes is the company that actually handled the registration and payment for the race. Email them at info@ccnbikes.com - and let them know what's going on, ask for a refund or credit towards a future race, and let them know what other remedies you plan to pursue if you don't receive that.

Reach Out to the MTB Press
This story has received very little coverage so far. Vital MTB posted about it, PinkBike added it to their COVID coverage thread, and that's about it. I've heard from NSMB and Bike magazine that they plan to cover it. While many races have been canceled with differing refund policies, this is far and away the biggest non-refunded cancellation so far, and taking more money from individual riders on a huge scale.

Email editorial contacts at any MTB and cycling publications you read, let them know what's going on and how it affected you.

Take Legal Action
I'm not a lawyer, and I haven't looked into this yet. I don't have much to say beyond that this is an option some people may want to pursue. I'd guess that unless a group of riders wants to join together in a class, small claims court is probably your best bet as an individual.

Post and Let us Know What You're Doing
There's not really another place for affected riders to talk, so please let us know what you're doing, and what progress you're making. What responses you get, etc.. Also, let any other registered riders you know of, about this thread. I have no doubt that we can all find a better solution working together.

Finally, I hope to see you all in the woods of Washington or Oregon, sometime in 2021.

O+
Posted: Jun 24, 2020 at 10:55 Quote
Thanks for doing this.

I would also socialize the issue with your local riding group. Ironically my group has several paid/unpaid volunteers from last years event and they are also frankly appalled at the decision.

Re. a class legal suit. We would need only a few of us to get together and rally the other riders, 100 riders losing a grand each puts a healthy win on the table for a lawyer to begin with.

I also want to race in another year and applaud what they have done in the past, but with this as a precedent, will I be willing to throw another 2 grand at them knowing they could withhold another $1000 if something goes wrong for them next time. No sir! And I think thats the concern here. By allowing this to happen, for it to be brushed under the carpet we are letting them get away with it. And the COVID excuse is valid, but next time it could be something else. Im sorry but its a gamble that we shouldnt have to make.

O+
Posted: Jun 24, 2020 at 11:18 Quote
Thanks for putting this together. I appreciate all the info! I definitely don't want to put the T-C in undue hardship, especially in these tough times, but I just don't understand how they're justifying taking THAT much of each racer's money. Isn't the state of WA offering small business loans or similar to help them make it through? I too would prefer a 100% rollover of my entry fee to the 2021 race. If they already dug a bunch of trail for this year, then they don't need to take a bunch more money from us next year.

Posted: Jun 24, 2020 at 11:31 Quote
noplacelikeloam wrote:
I also want to race in another year and applaud what they have done in the past, but with this as a precedent, will I be willing to throw another 2 grand at them knowing they could withhold another $1000 if something goes wrong for them next time. No sir! And I think thats the concern here. By allowing this to happen, for it to be brushed under the carpet we are letting them get away with it. And the COVID excuse is valid, but next time it could be something else. Im sorry but its a gamble that we shouldnt have to make.

That's exactly the way I feel.

I'd love to ride the race in the future, and hope they can continue on. But if that happens based on the $115K they took from all of us, involuntarily, that's deeply unfair and speaks to the trust the future riders can put in the event.

Just a few specifics on what I've done:

I reached out to editorial staff at:

* Pinkbike - they posted it in their COVID cancellation thread.
* VitalMTB - they posted it on their homepage.
* Bike Mag - Said they'd be interested in covering it.
* NSMB - Said it deserved to be looked into.

I've reached out to the following sponsors:

* Schwalbe - Got a really nice, personal reply that shows that whatever the outcome, they're taking this seriously.
* Patagonia - Nothing.
* Santa Cruz - Got a nice personal reply that they've been advocating on behalf of riders.
* Other Sponsors - I still need to reach out to them.

I also replied to Trans-Cascadia to let them know this was unacceptable, and didn't get any kind of a reply.

I inquired with my credit card about a chargeback. It's outside their normal 90-day period, so I asked about an exception. Haven't heard anything.

My next steps are going to be reaching out to CCN, and the rest of the sponsors.

Posted: Jun 24, 2020 at 14:00 Quote
I won't go into details of how/what I know, I certainly don't know the inner financial workings of the race, but what I can say is this is a crappy situation for all involved, TC crew included. I know some of the guys personally, knowing what they stand for, knowing why they do what they do gives me more context and a more sympathetic big picture view, but certainly doesn't make it any less frustrating....frustration and less anger I suppose.

I rode TC a couple years back and had a stellar time and also put in several hours of work on the trails leading up to that. After seeing the time, effort and passion that goes into it, frankly I'm surprised it's not MORE money. I raced the BCBR which is more expensive, more days too, but a fraction of the value IMO and certainly not the same vibe.

With all that said, $1150 is a tough pill to swallow, TC crew knows it, I've voiced it and frankly based on what I know of the situation, it doesn't make sense, but I don't know many of the details so am holding off until we get some more info.

I don't think lawyering up is the right call, frankly. Hoping that there is a creative solution, it's what I am expecting.

The race does a lot of good, it was a nice symbiotic relationship between local trail crews, MTB trail advocacy groups, multi-user groups, am racers, pro racers, TC crew....it was cool seeing it in action behind the scenes, not at all what I had originally expected, hoping that that continues strong into the future but this certainly going to test that!

O+
Posted: Jun 24, 2020 at 14:49 Quote
Thanks for sharing this. I have also heard the TC crew are great guys by people I trust, but with that said there is poor management here. Maybe it needs a more experienced event operator, I don't know. But its management has lost the trust of its core riders at this point and they need to react quickly to correct this.

Every day that goes by leaves fewer alternative but to create more pressure, and that will unfortunately end with legal..

Posted: Jun 24, 2020 at 15:38 Quote
RadBartTaylor wrote:
I won't go into details of how/what I know, I certainly don't know the inner financial workings of the race, but what I can say is this is a crappy situation for all involved, TC crew included. $1150 is a tough pill to swallow, TC crew knows it, I've voiced it and frankly based on what I know of the situation, it doesn't make sense, but I don't know many of the details so am holding off until we get some more info.

Knowing even less than you do about the financials, I have a really hard time believing that this is the only possible option to keep the race going.

With the current option, they're going to lose credibility with a large group of riders willing to pony up to race the Trans Cascadia, who I imagine will be vocal and spread that opinion to the rest of the MTB community.

They also have to refund $115K of "cash on hand".

I expect that if they offered a BCBR-like 'use your 2020 entry fee towards a future race', many of us would take it, and they could keep a good chunk of that $115k on hand, to fund operations between now and their next race.

I also know that while COVID sucks, there are programs they could take advantage of. I work with a local nonprofit that was able to get funding from the PPP, as well as some specialized programs just for nonprofits.

I have a hard time believing this is their only/best option, and if it is, it's because the TC is so badly run that it wouldn't be able to continue on COVID or no.

O+
Posted: Jun 24, 2020 at 22:42 Quote
You've probably all seen the email by now, but to keep this thread current: tonight they offered another option — deferring your race entry until 2021, which I think is a great turnaround by them. I am definitely content to choose that option, and I'm satisfied with the outcome. Looking forward to seeing some (or all) of you there next year!

Posted: Jun 25, 2020 at 8:26 Quote
Yep. Struggling a bit with the fact that this wasn’t their initial response, but it’s definitely an outcome I’m happy with apart from that.

Here’s the full text of the email:

Dear NAME,

We issued a statement on Monday about the cancellation of the 2020 Trans-Cascadia and it only offered one option for this year's registered racers. We have since taken in the feedback that was provided by some of you and realized our error.

These are unprecedented times and we admittedly don’t have all the answers. As the only multi-day event that is created solely as the result of a non-profit advocacy group and the work of volunteers, we are unable to look to other events to pave the way for these decisions. Our situation is therefore incredibly unique and especially challenging. That said, we will always listen to our racer's concerns as we continue to learn and evolve as an organization.

After further review, we will offer an alternative solution; you can defer your entry to 2021.

Thank you for your support of Trans-Cascadia and for signing up for our 2020 race. This event and advocacy work protecting our backcountry riding areas couldn't happen without you - our community of racers - and we are extremely grateful for your support, patience, and feedback.

Best,

Alex, Nick, and Tommy


If you have already completed the form and don't want to defer, you have nothing left to do. If you still need to make or revise your selection, please do so before July 15, 2020.

O+
Posted: Jun 25, 2020 at 9:13 Quote
In the end, they are doing the right thing, owning up to their mistakes and trying to make it right. I am still confused why they would have presumed the previous attempt was acceptable to riders. That in itself begs more questions than answers. I get what they are saying in their email, but common sense should have prevailed here and should have been more in line with the ethics of the sponsors they are representing.

I am guessing they are reading this forum, and if you are then first and foremost thank you for what you guys do, we all really enjoy and applaud the event, but and its a big but, you need leadership here in whatever form that takes. Trust doesn't come for free, doesn't return because of an email and right now, the brand of TC has a tarnish to it. You'll need to work hard to build that back up again. So instead of leaving it on the table as it is, start by engaging all the riders as a community on 2021 and what it could look like, get them involved, make it ours, make it better than ever before and you can turn 100 disenchanted riders into your advocates for years. So now its up to you. You have an opportunity here, and you need to work fast and hard. You can do this.

Posted: Jun 25, 2020 at 11:24 Quote
noplacelikeloam wrote:
I am guessing they are reading this forum, and if you are then first and foremost thank you for what you guys do, we all really enjoy and applaud the event, but and its a big but, you need leadership here in whatever form that takes. Trust doesn't come for free, doesn't return because of an email and right now, the brand of TC has a tarnish to it. You'll need to work hard to build that back up again. So instead of leaving it on the table as it is, start by engaging all the riders as a community on 2021 and what it could look like, get them involved, make it ours, make it better than ever before and you can turn 100 disenchanted riders into your advocates for years. So now its up to you. You have an opportunity here, and you need to work fast and hard. You can do this.

Exactly this.

This is the ultimate resolution I was hoping for, but I'm concerned why this was an option all along, but one that the TC organizers didn't present?

Even the tone of the email makes it sound like the only reason they're offering the entry deferment is because the BCBR decided to do it.

Like you say, this is a great first step. Hopefully it doesn't' stop there, and the TC organizers are more transparent about how we got here, what made them change their minds, and more open about the development of the 2021 race going forward.

Additionally, it would be great if we could get at least an approximate date for the 2021 race. Lots of us are moving other summer travel plans from 2020 to 2021, and if they're moving the 2021 race from the end of September, it'd be good to know.

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