Student leadership keeps all of the ECCC's clubs going. This page collects resources to help club officers successfully develop and grow their teams.


Who's in the ECCC?

The Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC) includes all degree granting schools in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine. Schools in other states are more than welcome to participate in ECCC races and events, but will be officially part of another conference. To figure out which one, use the map on the USAC Collegiate website.


Get Started!

If there isn't a cycling club at your school already, you'll just have to start one! The hardest part is simply getting recognized by your school, but even that's usually not hard. Typically it involves finding some number of people (often 10) to express interest in the club and filling out some short forms. Sometimes you may have to develop a simple club constitution outlining officer roles and the basic rules and conduct of the club, usually based on a template provided by the school. For details, look around your school's main and/or athletic websites for information on general and/or sports clubs. USAC Collegiate also has an excellent starter guide for clubs that outlines some common club officer roles, constitution elements, and typical aspects of getting a club going on your campus.


Once recognized by your school, your team must get a club license from USA Cycling, which must also be renewed every calendar year. Fortunately, this is a very easy and cheap process involving a 2 page form and $100 fee, which is even waived the first year.


If you get stuck at any point in either getting recognized or licensed, feel free to contact the Conference Director or National Manager.


After that, your team is all set. As long as it is a recognized club on campus and your school submits the USAC Collegiate club license paperwork, you're ready to race regardless of whether you have one member or one hundred. Use the resources below and throughout this website to get your team racing and growing. You should have a few people monitoring the main eccc-announce mailing list so they get timely conference updates, as well as attending the annual ECCC meetings. All officers, old and new, are also strongly encouraged to read through the phenomenal USAC Collegiate Team Leader's Guide.


From there, clubs vary enormously and the real hard work begins of recruiting members, getting to races, and building your team. Most clubs receive some financial support from their school, though the range is very wide and many schools do not provide funding in the first year. Some clubs remain just a handful of riders doing a few races. Others have grown into varsity programs with full time coaches and sophisticated, extensive racing and developmental programs. Where your club goes is up to you, so make it happen!


Resources

The following are some good resources for team leaders to use throughout the year.

  • Annual Calendar - Some of the basic tasks of running a club and when they have to happen throughout the year.
  • Get a Club License - Quick notes on getting your USAC Collegiate club license.
  • USAC Collegiate Get Started Guide - An excellent guide to the process of getting a club started on campus, recognized, and licensed to race. This is worth reading even if your club is already started.
  • USAC Collegiate Team Leader's Guide - Extensive notes and tips from experienced team leaders on running and building your club. Every club officer should read this!!!
  • Conference Mailing List - Every team should have several people following the eccc-announce mailing list and staying up to date on conference events.
  • ECCC Racers' Guide - Point your riders to the ECCC Racers' Guide to help them get licenses, determine their categories, and so on.
  • Team Clothing - ECCC racing isn't just about being fast, it's about looking fast. Rock out your own custom team clothing to win the style race.
  • Host Housing - Many race promoters organize a large amount of host housing for teams to use and reduce their travel costs.
  • Race Promotion - Putting on an event is the ultimate challenge in club leadership, but also by far one of the most rewarding.


If you have any questions or need some guidance on running your club, don't hesitate to contact conference leadership or put it out there on the mailing list. We're all in this together and there are a lot of experienced team leaders and coaches on the listserv that would be happy to help.

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Annual Calendar

The following is a rough outline of the basic tasks that must get done by most clubs throughout the academic year. A more detailed guide is available in the USAC Collegiate Team Leader's Guide.


Note that if you're starting a new club and going to race any of the fall seasons, you must get a USA Cycling club license once your club is recognized, before you start racing. Existing teams generally renew their licenses over the winter, as listed below.

 

Late Summer

  • Get Recognized
    Make sure your club is officially recognized by your school for the year and ready to go. Typically this means submitting a list of officers, club constitution, roster, and club sports/recreation waivers for all racers.


Fall

  • Mountain Bike Race - Where we're going, we don't need roads! ECCC MTB racing runs throughout September and October. Find races, race flyers, and pre-registration links on the calendar.
  • Cyclocross Race - Mo' mud, mo' betta'! Cyclocross currently starts up in late October and runs through November/early December. Find races, race flyers, and pre-registration links on the calendar.
  • Order Team Kits - Custom team cycling clothing is feasible and affordable for teams of all sizes, but has to be done well in advance of racing; place your order by November to have it for the spring season.
  • Attend ECCC Fall Meeting - The conference meets every year in early-November to go over general issues, hold team building workshops, and establish the road season schedule. Your team should have someone there.


Winter

  • Keep Riders Motivated - It's hard to keep team members engaged over the winter; organize off-the-bike social events and fun rides to keep things happening.
  • Renew Club License - Existing clubs should renew their USAC Collegiate club license for the coming year in December or January.
  • Get Rider Licenses - Once the club license is set, teams should have riders purchase or renew their individual licenses in January or February, or a few weeks before whatever season they will be racing in (they should be doing all of them!).
  • Attend ECCC Winter Meeting - Mid-February, the conference holds another meeting to check up on the road season and schedule cyclocross, track, and MTB. Your team should have someone there.


Spring

  • Road Race - Showtime! ECCC Road racers throw down all of March and April, come rain, shine, or hurricane. Find races, race flyers, and pre-registration links on the calendar.
  • Propose New Budget - Most schools require clubs to submit budget proposals for next year's funding during the spring term.
  • Hold Elections - Prepare to hit the ground running next year by deciding who will be the club officers before breaking for the summer. Some teams instead do this over the winter so that the outgoing officers can coach the new leaders.


After all that, take a (short) break and celebrate, you just lead your team through a full year of racing!

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Race Promotion

Putting on a race is simultaneously one of the most challenging and most rewarding activities in the Eastern Conference. It takes an intense amount of personal effort, teamwork, patience, and luck, but having the entire conference come race on your home ground in an event you created is an incomparable feeling. 

 

Requirements

Hosting an ECCC race is serious, hard business. Hundreds of people are counting on you to do a good job, and failure is not an option. It is not something just any person or team should attempt. That said, neither is it an impossible task, and many teams and club officers could successfully put on a race. These are some of the basic requirements.

  • You must race in the Eastern Conference. This has two meanings. All of our road and MTB events are put on by ECCC clubs. Many of them are helped by alumni and local non-collegiate clubs, but ultimately student leadership and teams organize the events. Further, we don't accept promoters or teams that don't actively race in the conference. You need to be doing more than a race or two in order to really understand expectations and standard processes.
  • You must have enough people power. You alone cannot put on a race. No matter how good and how dedicated you are, you need people to help you organize and you need people to help you actually run it. Even the simplest course requires a couple dozen volunteers to set up and tear down the event, run registration, marshal the course, and so on. Similarly, it can be an almost overwhelming job to put on a race, let alone run a club at the same time. Your team needs to have a solid leadership core that can divvy up all the required tasks to ensure both efforts proceed smoothly.
  • Your team must have some financial resources. Most promoters put on ECCC races hoping to break even. Although more stable and predictable than many cycling races, they are definitely not guaranteed money making proposition. Before proposing a race, you need to look into the basic costs for the venues you're considering and make sure they're feasible given ECCC participation numbers, registration fee limits, and your ability to raise sponsorship or other funding. Beyond that, if your club cannot absorb some financial loss in case of poor attendance, e.g., for bad weather; unexpected charges, e.g., damaging or losing equipment; or other problem, you should not propose a race.
  • Most importantly, you must be able to commit to the effort. Promoting an ECCC race takes a considerable amount of organization. It is difficult enough to balance that alongside school, work, and life, let alone running your club or your own personal training, both of which come second to making sure the race happens. Before proposing to host a race, you need to be sure you can allocate whatever hours and effort may be necessary to make sure it is a success.


Fortunately, there are also many things you do not need to have or do in order to put on a race:

  • Neither you nor your teammates need to be very experienced or capable racers. Many of our best promoters are lower category riders and some have had little previous racing experience. Designing courses and associated safety plans requires really understanding bicycle racing and its physics. However, these are easy, fun tasks that many people will be willing to help with. The real heart of race promotion is project management---staying on top of deadlines; working with police, townships, and the conference; documenting and communicating plans; and shepherding your team to get the work done. None of that has anything to do with being fast or having raced your whole life.
  • You don't need to have a huge team. Many smaller teams have put on very successful races through some combination of drawing on the local cycling and school communities, and teaming up with other collegiate clubs. Even relatively large teams have to join up with other ECCC clubs as well as the local community to form coalitions for the more logistically complex and ambitious projects, such as the Philly Phlyer and Boston Beanpot.
  • You don't need to drop out of school, dump your boyfriend, or stop training. Putting on a race is a huge task, but definitely a manageable one as long as you properly delegate sub-tasks and steadily work toward the event over time, rather than letting everything stack up to the last minute.


In sum, hosting an ECCC race is an enormous challenge not to be underestimated, but it is also one that almost every team can meet given care and effort. If you are interested in putting on a race but unsure of what's required and your ability to meet it, you should read through the resources linked below and talk with the Season Coordinator and Conference Director as early as possible.


Host Housing

Particularly for the road season, the ECCC puts significant effort into coordinating host housing at most events. Over the years this has greatly reduced travel costs for many teams, and brought many people together across the extended ECCC community.


Every race is asked to get some kind of host housing, whether it's local racers or alumni for the road race season, or setting up a camping ground during MTB season.  The conference has a Host Housing Coordinator that works will all Race Directors, tabulates the available space, and distributes it to those that request it on a first come, first serve basis.  


The 2nd most important part of Host Housing, besides fulfilling a need for racers, is during the road season all host housing recipients must volunteer for the races; so the more host housing you have, the more helpers you have for putting on the race.   


Timeline

The following are very rough outlines of major promotion deadlines. Many more details are in the resources linked below.

Road

  • August--October: Talk to potential venues, determining interest and support, costs, and feasible dates.
  • November: Develop sketch of plans and present race proposal at ECCC Fall Meeting, submit race deposit to conference.
  • December: Finalize venue arrangements, submit draft flyer to conference.
  • January: Finalize flyer, submit USAC permit applications.
  • February: Begin recruiting and organizing day-of volunteers (course marshals, registration, etc.).
  • March/April: Put on a bike race!

Mountain

  • December--January: Talk to potential venues, determining interest and support, costs, and feasible dates.
  • February: Develop sketch of plans and present race proposal at ECCC Winter Meeting, submit race deposit to conference.
  • June: Finalize venue arrangements, submit draft flyer to conference.
  • July: Finalize flyer, submit USAC permit applications.
  • August: Conduct trail work, begin recruiting and organizing day-of volunteers (course marshals, registration, etc.).
  • September/October: Put on a bike race!

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For School Administrators

The following are resources that may be of use to school administrators, either directly or as pointers for the students you oversee:

  • Club Licenses
    All teams must maintain a USA Cycling club license in order to race, which is actually a very simple process. If students have come to you about doing so, this page explains how. If you or other faculty/staff are interested in jump starting a team, you should begin with the Get Started portion of the Club Officers' Guide below.
  • Season Calendars
    Listings of upcoming and previous conference events with detailed race flyers, results, and season standings are all maintained on the calendar. This is the place to look for information on your club's upcoming travel as well as to check in on how the team and individual riders are doing.
  • Club Officers' Guide
    One of the great struggles in collegiate cycling is developing successful club officers and ensuring they pass on those leadership abilities as they graduate. These resources will help officers run their teams and prepare for the future.
  • Women's Cycling
    One of the core missions of the ECCC is developing women's cycling, merging competition, positivity, athleticism, and sociality to create an awesome community for female athletes. This section of the website is a home for all our women racers to help connect with other women, learn faster, and become fully engaged in the sport.
  • New Racers' Guide
    Competitive cycling can have a fairly steep learning curve, but the ECCC puts substantial emphasis on smoothing that process and creating an accessible, engaging environment for new racers. This page collects notes on getting started, our Introduction to Bicycle Racing categories, and other material for newcomers.
  • ECCC Contacts
    Finally, ECCC personnel may of course always be contacted with particular problems or questions.

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Team Clothing

Having custom team kits is one of the key ways to establish a club identity to build a community around. Plus, you'll look awesome.


Design

Essentially all custom clothing companies will help you design a team kit, usually for a fee but increasingly as a free service to get you to contract with them. Either way, they'll generally work with anything from a napkin sketch to a complete and finalized design. If no one on your team is comfortable with graphic design, talk to your sales representative about having the manufacturer do it. Usually they can whip up something pretty good based around logos and rough ideas you send them.


To get a truly custom design, however, usually takes a little bit of graphic design skills. All companies provide templates of their fabric patterns which you can edit and draw on to develop a genuinely unique style---for better or worse. Typical vector art software packages used, such as Adobe Illustrator, are generally fairly expensive but often available on campus computers. Another possible option is Inkscape, a free, open source graphics design tool. Note that all these tools have fairly substantial learning curves, so don't expect to just dive in and produce masterpieces on a time crunch.


Regardless, three primary points to keep in mind are:

  • Your school must be the most prominent entity on your kit. Sponsor logos are perfectly fine, but cannot overwhelm or overshadow the school logo(s).
  • Teammates within a race must wear identifiably similar kits. Some change is usually workable, but if you completely redesign your outfit, everybody will have to buy new clothes.
  • Depending on the manufacturing process used, designs may be limited to a small number of solid colors, often with a per-color fee, or unlimited and full color. Talk to your sales representative for details before investing a lot of effort on a final design.


Technically the conference director has to approve your design. In practice they almost invariably don't want to hear about it unless you have many or prominent sponsor logos, or are hoping to significantly change the design but keep it compatible with previous outfits. Look around the photos on this site and other online photo albums for examples of what's generally accepted and a good idea. If you have doubts, don't hesitate to get in touch.


In general it's probably best for teams to try and maintain the same basic outfit for a few years running. Otherwise current racers won't be able to use their stockpile of previous clothes, and alumni will be slightly more alienated from the team.


Also note that some institutions require that clubs get approval before printing clothing, so check with your club sports administration's requirements before beginning the process.


ECCC Logos

Teams are encouraged but not required to include the ECCC logo in their designs. Vector artwork for the conference logo and regional map are available by contacting the Conference Director.


Ordering and Printing

The three most critical parts of the ordering process are:

  • Do not underestimate the time it will take! You should conservatively budget a few weeks to get the artwork and order squared away, and as much as twelve weeks for the order to actually be printed and shipped to you. That means if you're placing an order for the spring road season, you should aim to have it in by November.
  • Most manufacturers have minimum order thresholds. The quantity and structure of these varies widely, e.g., per piece or total dollar amount, so talk to your sales representative for details. A common strategy to help meet minimums is to branch out and spread the order beyond the team. There are often many alumni and faculty and staff who don't have a strong relationship with the team that would be very happy to order a school kit.
  • Most manufacturers require a 50% payment before beginning the printing process. If your team budget can cover this then the club might pay up front. However, it's generally a good idea to collect full payments from all your riders before beginning the process. Similarly, make sure none of the club officers are left footing any part of the bill and forced to chase down people for payment or holding onto a bunch of unclaimed orders.


Finally, if the team budget and school rules permit, it's a very good idea to have the team purchase a small stock of extra kits. This way new club members can buy one from the team right away rather than waiting for the next order.

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