BQ 2022 in Review Hero 1130x600

2022: A Year In Review

By: Brendan Quirk  March 02, 2023

Dear USA Cycling Member:

Thanks to your support, USA Cycling is heading into 2023 with more organizational momentum than we’ve had in a decade. With the race season right around the corner, it seems like the perfect moment to communicate with you about where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

More than ever before, we’re focusing on serving our mission to grow grassroots bike racing across America, while working to achieve sustained international racing success by the U.S. National Team. Our performance as an organization should be measured by our progress against both objectives.

So how did we fare in 2022?

Grassroots Racing

The leading indicators of the health of American bike racing are promising:

  • In 2022, we hit 95% of our goal of 400,000 racer days. While this is less than what we saw in 2019 (our last full year of pre-COVID racing), we forecast this number growing by nearly 10% in 2023. We’re projecting 445,000 racer days in 2023, which will give us our first year-over-year positive growth in racer days since 2012.

  • In 2022, our overall membership totals matched 2019, and Adult Race memberships were up 7% compared with 2021. In 2023, we forecast overall membership increasing 4% and Adult Race memberships growing another 13% when compared to 2022. This will give us our first year-over-year positive growth in overall membership since 2015.

We saw participation strength in all disciplines except road. While the escalating cost and complexity of hosting road races and stage races continues to be a challenge, we’re encouraged by what we saw with the criterium scene.

The American Criterium Cup encompassed nine races, offered a total of $500,000 in prize money, and put road cycling front and center in the middle of some of America’s biggest cities, including NYC, Chicago, Indy, Salt Lake City and St. Louis. Add to this the joint efforts between USA Cycling and local race organizers to host learn-to-race clinics, our expectation is for continued healthy growth in criterium participation in 2023.

Road is still the most visible discipline on a worldwide basis. No doubt, this is a key motivator behind the ongoing innovation in American road. This includes the resumption of UCI road racing in the U.S. with the inaugural 2022 Maryland Cycling Classic and the launch of the NCL, and the heightened investment and broad-based social reach of the L39ion of Los Angeles program.

The strength of U.S. presence for both men and women in the UCI World Tour peloton is stronger than it’s been in decades. Add to this the emerging trend of gravel cyclists dipping their toes into road events. History shows that participation in road is always cyclical, and we’re optimistic that growth will return.

And speaking of optimism, the state of the U.S. mountain bike scene is nothing short of amazing. NICA continues to experience record-breaking growth in both ridership and overall team count, and the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships are having similar all-time highs in participation.

This quintessentially American discipline is entering a new golden era. Junior and U23 participation is exploding in a way unmatched by any other nation. At the same time, Elite American athletes are grabbing more international podiums than we’ve seen in ages. The pieces are coming together for the U.S. to dominate mountain biking again – both in terms of mass participation and at the highest levels of the sport.

Team USA

Our primary benchmark for National Team success is our medal count at World Championships. We went into the year aiming for 15 medals, but only achieved 11. Our “excuse” list for this performance might have some merit if we believed in excuses. But at this level, excuses don’t matter. We fell short, and it still stings.

That said, there were some incredible World Championship performances worth calling out:

  • Haley Batten breaking through for her first-ever Worlds medal in Women’s Cross-Country MTB.

  • Gwendalyn Gibson taking the Bronze in the Women’s Short Track.

  • Hannah Roberts winning her fourth World Title in BMX Freestyle.

  • Jennifer Valente winning her first-ever individual Elite Gold after having won 16 previous Worlds Team and Junior world medals.

  • Felicia Stancil winning the Elite Women’s BMX title a decade after winning the Junior title.

Even though we didn’t hit 15 medals, we did achieve one major victory: After a complete shutdown of our U23 and Junior development programs during COVID, we brought these programs back to life in 2022. By giving younger riders the chance to have elevated training and racing opportunities, we’re preparing them to be competitive in the future on the international stage. When it comes to creating future World Champions, nothing is more important than this development work. It feels great to see it back in effect.

Beyond this, 2022 was the year that we made our first major investment in our track program in nearly a decade. Since the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, funding for track waned, and we primarily focused on Women’s Endurance Track alone. Now we’re back in full effect with both Men’s and Women’s programs in both Endurance Track and Sprint Track. Remember, 60% of the Olympic cycling medals are on the track. Being great on the velodrome is essential for the long-term performance ambitions of Team USA.

2023 – Our Path Forward

Grassroots Growth Plan

Our effort to support your local racing scene will boil down to three areas of focus:

  • Clubs: We will expand upon our clinics to develop a nationwide Race Readiness Clinic program to provide clubs with turn-key curricula across all disciplines. We will assist clubs in building, planning and marketing these programs to maximize participation to drive club growth.

    In addition, we’ll expand upon our club rewards and recognition programs, provide grant funding for clubs with unique growth aspirations, and enhance our club communication and education.

  • Events: We will continue to add to the benefits that come to event organizers by sanctioning with USA Cycling. This means a comprehensive and ever-growing suite of how-to guides, media kits, communication templates, and other support for executing high-quality, safe events. In short, sanctioning will mean more than just getting insurance.

    And we’ll drive event participation by investing in targeted digital campaigns to drive traffic and interest to event organizer websites, while providing elevated recognition and rewards by achieving benchmark participation goals.

  • Juniors: How do we get more kids racing bikes?

    Trying to answer this became a quest for USA Cycling in 2022. We spoke to NICA, team managers, racers, parents, and the bike industry as a whole. The feedback surprised us, but what encouraged us was the fact that it was so consistent.

    If USA Cycling wants to make maximum impact in growing Junior cycling, then grow Collegiate cycling. Right now, we have incredible programs at a handful of schools, but why not transform it into a nationwide phenomenon, and make it magical for both club and varsity programs?

    In February of 2023, we hired a National Collegiate Director who will enhance conference-level programs to support colleges and the student-athletes who race there. Whether these kids are pursing dreams of going pro, or just looking for a joyful way to hang out with their friends, we want to make bike racing as special in their college lives as it is for high school kids who race NICA.

Team USA Support Plan

Our National Team objectives have both near-term and a long-term aims. Looking at 2023, our target is 15 World Championship medals. And further out we’re focused on the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games where our goal is 12-15 medals.

Nothing is more critical to these ambitions than growing our investment in our U23 and Junior programs. This encompasses all levels of rider development – from growing the number of camps, expanding talent identification opportunities, leveraging technology to find promising athletes, and then getting our best riders maximum opportunities to race in the belly of the beast: Europe. That’s where up-and-coming riders must spend the bulk of their time if they want to become world class.

While this work will mainly focus on road and mountain, we’ll continue to put increasing resources towards track. In addition, Team USA is still a powerhouse at BMX Racing, and our close collaboration with USA BMX will only reinforce this strength. The up-and-coming American talent in BMX Freestyle is exciting to see, and the team will only get stronger from here. Lastly, for the first time ever, we’ll create a long-term strategic plan for our cyclocross program.

2023 also marks the start of the Paris 2024 Olympic qualifications. In preparation for this, we are wrapping up a significant update to our athlete selection process, documentation, and communication related to the naming athletes across the board for protected events including the Olympics, World Championships, Pan American Continental Championships, and others.


We’re inspired by the diverse ridership we’re seeing from programs like the Lexus Velodrome in Detroit and the Star Track program in New York City. On a total participation level, these programs are doing breakthrough work in growing ridership from groups traditionally underrepresented in American bike racing. But what’s really amazing is seeing the impact already on our National Championships podiums.

America’s best diversity work in bike racing is happening on the track, and we’re working to expand that trend with the Search for Speed. The new talent identification program is designed to introduce track cycling to diverse and underrepresented communities in Los Angeles, providing youth and young adults with a dedicated pathway to the U.S. National Team. Funded by a generous grant from the Rapha Foundation and support from LOOK Cycle and Wattbike, Search for Speed is actively identifying talent with the goal of introducing a new generation of talent onto the world stage.

Diversifying our governance was also a top priority. For the first time ever, the Board of Directors now has a woman, Cari Higgins, as its Chair. Seven of our 11 Board members are women, making the majority of the board women for the first time in the organization’s history.

In addition, our Athlete’s Advisory Council – the main conduit of communication between our athletes, USA Cycling, and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee – is composed of 10 members, nine of whom are women. This group includes: Kate Courtney, Clara Honsinger, Lily Williams, Cory Coffey, Andrea Dvorak, and Connor Fields.


The explosive growth of gravel has been the defining story of the American bike industry over the last five years. Our involvement in the sport has increased rapidly, particularly over the last 18 months, and in 2023 we will expand our efforts to support the ongoing rise of gravel.

Up to this point, the bulk of our work has been in supporting event organizers. The majority of gravel events are relatively new, and many of them are owned and operated by newcomers to the event business. Our event services team has done substantial work in assisting these entrepreneurs with guidance on the technical operations of putting on safe, high-quality, well-promoted events. We offer a host of resources for event execution, while also providing affordable, highly-tailored liability insurance. It's not well known, but some of the most loved gravel events in America are sanctioned by USA Cycling. This includes the Grasshopper Adventure Series, the Rule of Three, and Rasputista.

2023 will also be the year of the inaugural USA Cycling Gravel National Championships. For the first time ever, the coveted stars-and-stripes jersey will be on the line, and we feel confident that this will serve as another iconic event to complement the other bucket list races out there, such as Unbound, Big Sugar, and SBT GRVL.

We’ll also provide enhanced support to Team USA at the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships, giving our best riders the highest possible chance to earn a rainbow jersey. Our efforts here in 2022 were admittedly less than ideal, and we used the experience to re-focus on what we hope to achieve in 2023 with the American team.

Finally, as popular as gravel is, the sport has struggled to attract a younger demographic. A risk to the ongoing popularity of gravel is the possibility that its ridership ages out. This, to some degree, has proven to be a big challenge for road cycling to overcome. Many of the bigger gravel event promoters recognize this risk, which is why they’ve been supportive of coming together to create a Junior and Collegiate national gravel series to encourage younger riders to dive into the sport. These won’t be new races – but rather a unified series across a number of existing races. We’re excited to coordinate this effort, and our hope is to launch this for the 2024 season.

Thanks again for your support of USA Cycling. Our efforts to grow the sport of bike racing wouldn’t be possible without your generous support.


Brendan Quirk
CEO & President