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Monday’s mail: On safety, freedom of speech and GB Shaw

Editor:I must agree with Mike McCormack of Maverick Sport Promotions. ForMr. Vaughters to declare that "race promoters very rarely take into accountanything other than pleasing sponsors when putting a race on" is absurdand offensive (see "Vaughters'view: Safety first!").Think about it. Most race promoters across the United States work full-timeand consider race promotion a "labor of love."They are not putting on a Sea Otter or Tour de Georgia, but a city-parkcriterium or county road race. I would guess most do not turn any sortof profit for their hard work. And yes, it is hard work. If you

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Promoter says Vaughters wrong about promoters

Editor:
I must agree with Mike McCormack of Maverick Sport Promotions. ForMr. Vaughters to declare that “race promoters very rarely take into accountanything other than pleasing sponsors when putting a race on” is absurdand offensive (see “Vaughters’view: Safety first!“).Think about it. Most race promoters across the United States work full-timeand consider race promotion a “labor of love.”They are not putting on a Sea Otter or Tour de Georgia, but a city-parkcriterium or county road race. I would guess most do not turn any sortof profit for their hard work. And yes, it is hard work. If you are unsure,just try putting on a race.Enough of my ranting, I have a road race to put on tomorrow.John M. Lefler, Jr.
Junior’s Cycling Productions
Lincoln, NEOfficial got it wrong, too
Editor:
I was very pleased to read Charles Mathews’ letter (see “Whydid officials approve this course?“), in which he wrote “I willnot hesitate to tell a promoter that a race may not be held unless whatI see as safety issues are addressed and corrected to my satisfaction.Promoters don’t see the problems or are too quick to brush off concerns.”What made me happy wasn’t the letter, which was arrogant, pompous, andappeared to tar all promoters with the same broad brush. What Iliked was the fact that he lives 1500 miles away and so won’t showup as an official at one of my races.A successful event is the result of a partnership between the promoter,officials, riders and sponsors. This partnership has to be built on mutualrespect and open communication. These folks all have a major stake in makingthe event safe, fair and exciting, and they need to work together to makethat happen.An event can sour in a hurry if any one of these groups starts to seethe others as adversaries rather than partners. Lines get drawn, hostilitiesgrow, and pretty soon the partnership become fictionalized. When that happens,everyone loses.The best way to build those partnerships is to treat others with respect.Listening more and talking less is often a good start. In my experience,people who are treated with respect return the favor.David LaPorte
Nature Valley Grand PrixAmerican courses need more traffic controls
Editor:
I completely agree with Jonathan Vaughters’ take on the men’s decisionnot to ride the Redwood City stage of the Sea Otter. Narrow roads, coupledwith a residential population that knows (probably) next to nothing aboutprofessional cycling, and we would have had ugly film at 11. I want tosee the guys race, not see them get squashed by someone’s SUV.
I think the race organizers need to take into account that many Americanshaven’t watched that much competitive cycling and put more traffic controlsin place than they would in a European event.Jean BrubeckNo excuse for risking racers’ lives
Editor:
I couldn’t agree more with Jonathan Vaughters’ “safety first” position.I road-raced motorcycles for 10 years and never rode on the street withoutmy helmet. One of the first full-coverage helmets I saw used by a roadracer had a large gash in the lower front at the end of the first day therider used it, but it saved his chin and face. Motorsports venues are nowstarting to use airbag technology as a means of crash protection on theperimeter of the racing circuits.Why does it take the death of Andrei Kivilev from a fatal head injuryfor the UCI to mandate the use of helmets for road events? The Snell Foundationwas formed almost 40 years ago to prevent such a tragedy, and good bicyclehelmet technology has been available for at least 20 years.Life has its dangers; sport just raises the bar. When safety measuresare available in life (“look both ways before you cross the street”) ormandated due to proven benefits, there is no excuse for any sport governingbody to ignore the safety of its participants. Without those participants,alive, the sport has no meaning.John Boxall
Toronto, Ontario, CanadaMoto’ man wants the rant kept rolling
Editor:
Stay the course, VeloNews and Patrick O’Grady (see “Friday’sfoaming rant: A tale told by an idiot”).I just returned from four days of motor duty at the Sea Otter road events.I held all of the pro TT competitors for their start, lead-motored threeamateur road races, and drove the time-board motor in three of the UCIevents, including the two at Redwood City, and finally, the men’s eliteroad race.I will be back to do it all again next year, if invited, and trust thatthe Foaming Rant, which is always read first, will still be spinning.Thanks, as well, for trying to keep us current with all of your other’net features.Steve NorbeckGlad to see O’Grady back
Editor:
After reading VeloNews for years and never writing in, I findmyself sending off my second letter of the week. Oh well. I am extremelypleased to see Patrick O’Grady’s column on the web this week. Ihad intended to write you a letter the other day castigating your spinelessand stupid behavior in firing him (see “VeloNews,O’Grady part ways“) merely because a few of your readers and sponsorstook offense at his column. Offending our fellow citizens (and non-citizens)without fear of retribution is what being American is all about.If we don’t have that, what is it exactly that we do have? Aside fromugly architecture, suburban sprawl and mindless television, that is.Okay, so now I can commend you for seeing the light and reversing yourearlier decision. It takes real class to do that. Thanks for keeping O’Gradyon board and for producing such a kick-ass magazine.Kevin McLin
Davis, CAUh, we never actually sacked him – it was an April Fool gag. Butsome folks find it even funnier that we bother to keep such a cantankerousMick on the payroll. – EditorHe’s enjoyable even when he’s wrong
Editor:
Dear Patrick O’: In an oppressive regime situation, the opportunityto get away for a pleasant ride is diminished by the day-to-day controlexacted over the populace. Enjoy those nice rides. Did you feel reasonablysafe, secure, and at liberty? So do I (especially with that helmet). Yourwriting is top notch, and I laugh and enjoy even when I disagree. Keepthinking, brother, and enjoy those rides.Glenn Bryant
VirginiaIraqis would have used those guns
Editor:
If O’Grady had been working under the former Iraqi government, thepeople behind him with guns would have had bullets, and most likely usedthem.Jim Mitchell
Sacramento, CAP.S.: Although the people behind O’Grady should have bullets, I am gladthey do not. He would not last long.Dumb and dumber
Editor:
That’s the single most mindless and self-absorbed babble about absolutelynothing I have ever wasted my time reading.
 
Charles Manantan
Phoenix, AZMust be the the first O’Grady rant you’ve taken on, Chuck. He’s moretaken with himself than a parakeet staring into a mirror.– EditorShaw-ly you jest
Editor:

“The Irish, the Irish
The race that God made mad
for all their wars are happy
and all their songs are sad”
– George Bernard Shaw

O’Grady go bragh!!Pat MurphySláinte, Paddy me boyo. – O’Grady


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