April 1, 2009
USA Cycling Inc announced today that in order to keep up with tough economic times, they will be implementing a 12% tax on all race premes. A preme is a mid race contest for token items, be it cash, food, bicycle parts or clothing. Premes are used in bicycle races to take the monotony out of a group of lycra clad people riding around in circles. They are often donated by the crowd or by sponsors.
When asked about the new tax, USA Cycling President Steve Johnson said "We just want our piece of the pie..." He meant this literally as he earlier attended a criterium with several pies donated as premes by a local bakery.
Those in the racing community wonder if this will be the breaking point. After many years of constant price increases for licenses and insurance. People are actually starting to wonder where their money is going. In 2007 the price of a 1 day license increased 200% from 5 to 10 dollars (actually true). In 2009 USA Cycling increased the insurance charge on race promoters by 200% (actually true). Officials who are also racers cannot purchase an "add on" license anymore, forcing them to pay an extra amount for both licenses (actually true).
A local racer interviewed seemed dismayed with the new rule.
"I signed that waiver at the beginning of the race, I thought it was the same thing I had been signing for the last 10 years... I dug so freaking deep for that pie preme. When I went across the line I thought 'this will make up for all the training hours not spent with my family when I bring it home for dessert tonight'.. Then that suit from USA Cycling came over with a pie cutter and took a piece. How can I explain thatp I won seven eighths of a ie to my wife and kids??!?!!"
Johnson was also allegedly seen wrestling a junior racer for a share of a Hammer Gel that was a charity preme, as there was only a single junior in the 4/5 field.