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Friday’s Foaming Rant: O CEO, CEO! Wherefore art thou, CEO?

"A leader who is charismatic, competitive, enthusiastic about thesport of cycling, competitions, athlete development, in addition to beingable to motivate everyone toward excellence and pride in his/her work,including one’s own, is a must."—From the convoluted help-wanted ad on USACycling's Web site, part of its search for a new CEO, which also said the ideal candidate should be “a successful communicator.” With fewer paying members than the Ramallah chapter of the Ariel Sharon Fan Club, and fewer sponsors than Pacifica Radio’s “Democracy Now!” USA Cycling has finally begun looking for a

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By Patrick O’Grady

Help Wanted: A leader who is charismatic, competitive and enthusiastic.

Help Wanted: A leader who is charismatic, competitive and enthusiastic.

Photo:

“A leader who is charismatic, competitive, enthusiastic about thesport of cycling, competitions, athlete development, in addition to beingable to motivate everyone toward excellence and pride in his/her work,including one’s own, is a must.”—From the convoluted help-wanted ad on USACycling’s Web site, part of its search for a new CEO, which also said the ideal candidate should be “a successful communicator.”

With fewer paying members than the Ramallah chapter of the Ariel Sharon Fan Club, and fewer sponsors than Pacifica Radio’s “Democracy Now!” USA Cycling has finally begun looking for a new CEO.

Such hard-boiled business acumen, illuminating the wisdom of lockinga barn door before the horse has bolted, could have shone so brightlyonly at a non-profit organization. Had this combination of ineptitude andhubris afflicted a for-profit enterprise, like Enron, Global Crossing or Schwinn/GT … whoops, bad examples.

Still, whither USA Cycling, now that Lisa Voight plans to yank the silverripcord on that golden parachute and drift lazily away to another never-never-land gig as USAC’s vice president of international and Olympic relations, a couple of doors and even fewer dollars down the hall from her old office at One Olympic Plaza?

Talk about your tough acts to follow. Where can USA Cycling possiblyhope to find another leader with the work ethic of a road-gang convict,the managerial skills of a Wal-Mart greeter and the commanding executivepresence of Col. Henry Blake from “M*A*S*H?”

And for only $170,000 a year, too. Shucks, I got more than that in royalties from the “Fat Guy” bib shorts last year, and you just know the piratesat Velo Catalog are giving the books plenty of the ol’ Arthur Andersentreatment.

Still, there are plenty of people looking for work these days, whatwith the Republicans subletting the White House from Al Gore and the economylimping along worse than the UCI World Cup. So let’s examine a short listof potential candidates to replace Lisa V. as the hood ornament adorningthe 1954 Nash Metropolitan that is American bicycle racing:

Pee Wee Herman, a.k.a Paul Reubens. He’s a noted cyclist (see“Pee Wee’s Big Adventure,” which VN news editor Charles Pelkey calls thebest bicycle film ever made, as if “Breaking Away,” “American Flyers” and “Quicksilver” were what one could term serious competition). And despitea well-publicized addiction to onanism, this shouldn’t be an issue, ashistory indicates it is a prerequisite for aspirants to USA Cycling’s executivesuite.

Robin Williams. Like Lisa, Robin jets over to France to watchLance win the Tour; unlike the current exec’, he actually rides a bike and sets people to laughing on purpose.

Mario Cipollini. Star power, plenty of cycling experience, andsure to be in need of a job before much longer. He’s getting old, and slowing down, and Acqua & Sapone are bound to cut him loose shortly becausehe’ll never win another … what’s that? Milan-San Remo? Uh, never mind.

Tom Ridge. He’s bound to be looking for a new challenge soon;the Office of Homeland Security is clearly too small a canvas for thisartíste to paint upon. Just think, he could color-code all the various associations — say, blue for NORBA, red for USCF, yellow for USPRO, and green for NBL — and that way, when we saw one association or another spiraling down the toilet, we’d know exactly which one it was and thus avoid panic. Or something like that.

Jeff Sinclair. As CEO of Schwinn/GT while the venerable brandskidded into its second Chapter 11 in a decade, Sinclair gained valuableexperience running a non-profit organization.

Steve Johnson. Current chief operating officer of USA Cycling,he’s already in the building, is a button man in the Weisel Mafia, andlogs more miles than half the membership and all the cycling press. Downside: suffers from the double handicap of intelligence and mental health, and thus if he actually wants the job, we should probably have the Vatican check him for stigmata.

That’s about it. I’ve heard through the grapevine that Al Gore mightbe interested in the job, and God knows his selfless, courageous leadershipof the Democratic Party over the past year has been a shining example tous all.

But he won’t be available until after 7 p.m. Pacific time on Tuesday,November 2, 2004. And we might have to look twice before recognizing him,’cause he’ll be sporting a few extra kilos from a barbecue binge and growinganother beard.


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