Austin Heritage Tree Foundation weighs in on ‘cross nationals controversy

Controversy surrounding the postponement of 'cross nationals continues as Austin Heritage Tree Foundation contradicts USA Cycling

The controversy surrounding the postponement of the USA Cycling national cyclocross championships continued today when the Austin Heritage Tree Foundation (AHTF) posted a response on their website to a letter sent by USA Cycling’s vice president of national events, Micah Rice, to riders who had registered for 2015 nationals to address concerns and complaints stemming from the postponed Sunday races.

In its response, the AHTF disputed the accuracy of some of Rice’s claims.

The letter stated:

“In the letter sent recently to all participants to explain what happened, Micah incorrectly [emphasis in original letter – Ed.] claims that AHTF reviewed and walked the course. We did not. The event organizers met with a grounds staff person from the Parks Department (PARD) and a forester from PARD Forestry.”

The letter went on to accuse Rice of further inaccuracies in his account.

“Micah further claims incorrectly [emphasis in original letter – Ed.] that AHTF walked the revised course and was pleased. We did not meet with the event organizer or participate in any walk-through…”

VeloNews reached out to Rice for a response. His reponse appears below, unedited and in its entirety.

“My understanding was that the two arborists that I met on Sunday afternoon before the walkthrough were from this Foundation. They introduced themselves as tree experts that were with a group in town, but it is possible they were with a different group (a misunderstanding on my part) and asked to be there by PARD. Whatever the case, PARD communicated to me that these arborists must be happy with the changes that we were to make to the course in order to run the races on Monday. It is possible that I was mistaken on the group the tree experts were with.

“I think we can continue to beat this to death on a microscopic level, but the main thing is that we did walkthrough’s with tree experts that PARD asked us to do. Per our permit and relationship with the city of Austin, we did our due diligence and made every change asked of us by the landowner — in this case PARD.”