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Re: [NCNCA] Patents, your proposed race registration system, and USAC

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  • John F Gerling
    What struck me about how SBO did business was the lack of a contract. Promoters would set up their event on the SBO website and then rely purely on faith that
    Message 1 of 15 , Oct 5, 2011
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      What struck me about how SBO did business was the lack of a contract. Promoters would set up their event on the SBO website and then rely purely on faith that the reg fees would be paid to them. I'm no legal expert, but seems to me that this will make collecting the amounts owed rather difficult. Criminal fraud, or just a civil matter? I wonder what their local AG would think about it.
       
      JohnG


      From: Steven L. Sheffield <steven.l.sheffield@...>
      To: Shawn Mehaffey <spmehaffey@...>
      Cc: Jon Stevens <latchkey@...>; "NCNCA@yahoogroups.com" <NCNCA@yahoogroups.com>; "latchkey@..." <latchkey@...>
      Sent: Wed, October 5, 2011 5:11:51 AM
      Subject: Re: [NCNCA] Patents, your proposed race registration system, and USAC





      The theory in Utah, where SBO is based, is that SBO was being operated like a Ponzi scheme. 

      Several promoters of bike races in Utah have never been paid the registration monies that SBO took in (which should have been segregated from SBO revenue and held in escrow) months ago. In many cases, these losses are in the $10-20K range for each event. It is likely that a number of these events will no longer be able to be held in the future because of these losses. 

      The only real explanation for the complete disappearance of money collected is either a) monies collected from race A were being used to pay the promoters of previously held race B, whose registration fees had been used to pay the promoters of race C, and so on; or b) outright theft. 

      No one locally has been able to contact the owner of SBO for nearly a month, and yet until the announcement of SBO's demise fame out on Monday, SBO was still taking in registration fees. 

      If this were a legal/intellectual property issue, someone within the Utah cycling community would know about it, considering the number of lawyers we have who race ... and I'm sure the announcement of SBO's dissolution would have made mention of that as a reason and indicated that every effort would be made to pay promoters monies owed, rather than just a terse "there are no assets" claim. 

      Whether intentional or not, it appears that SBO was perpetrating a fraud. 



      --
      Steven L. Sheffield

      Sent from my iPhone ... ack!



      On Oct 5, 2011, at 12:13 AM, Shawn Mehaffey <spmehaffey@...> wrote:

       

      Jon,

      This kind of enthusiasm is exactly what the idea of American Enterprise is all about. Unfortunately, patent lawsuits are what the reality of American business on the Internet is today.

      Legal firms, known pejoratively as patent trolls, buy patents of things as simple as program designs, interfaces, etc. that have been around since the days of the first Apple Macintosh.  They use this collection of intellectual property to sue almost any business functioning on the Internet; in fact I would not be surprised if a patent lawsuit is part of the reason for SBO's demise.

      Here's are two links to more info about patent trolls:

          1) The ubiquitous Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_troll

          2) The web page for an episode of This American Life, an excellent public radio show that in this case discusses patent trolls and how they are stifling business and innovation (note both audio and the transcript are available): 



      Finally, promoters may want to take a look at the new offering from USA Cycling.  USAC recently improved its website and now offers an end-to-end system for setting up events, from requesting a permit to managing registrations.  I used the old version for my spring clinic and am sure the new system offers more functionality.


      Shawn Mehaffey
      USAC Level II Coach
      (and in the daytime an Information Risk Management Analyst)



      From: Jon Stevens <latchkey@...>
      To: NCNCA@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 5:59 PM
      Subject: [NCNCA] Help develop the next race registration system

       
      Hello, fellow racers! I'd like your input.

      My cofounder Jeff and I have been quietly working for the last few months on a registration system designed for bicycle race promoters and athletes.  It will be live in time for the 2012 season.  Ron Castia has graciously helped guide our initial development.  Now we're ready to get some additional feedback from members of this group.

      If you are willing to spend 10-15 minutes talking to us about what features are most important to you, please contact me off-list at latchkey@....

      About us:  We are 15+ year software veterans who decided to start a company together.  Jon has been racing bikes for 7 seasons and is a board member of Dolce Vita Cycling.  Jeff runs the occasional 10k and loves everything with two wheels.

      Thanks,

      Jon Stevens





    • Gordon Ong
      SBO is sports base on line registration? They are out of business? Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android
      Message 2 of 15 , Oct 5, 2011
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        SBO is sports base on line registration? They are out of business?


        Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android



        From: John F Gerling <jgerling@...>;
        To: NCNCA <NCNCA@yahoogroups.com>;
        Subject: Re: [NCNCA] Patents, your proposed race registration system, and USAC
        Sent: Wed, Oct 5, 2011 1:51:01 PM

         

        What struck me about how SBO did business was the lack of a contract. Promoters would set up their event on the SBO website and then rely purely on faith that the reg fees would be paid to them. I'm no legal expert, but seems to me that this will make collecting the amounts owed rather difficult. Criminal fraud, or just a civil matter? I wonder what their local AG would think about it.
         
        JohnG


        From: Steven L. Sheffield <steven.l.sheffield@...>
        To: Shawn Mehaffey <spmehaffey@...>
        Cc: Jon Stevens <latchkey@...>; "NCNCA@yahoogroups.com" <NCNCA@yahoogroups.com>; "latchkey@..." <latchkey@...>
        Sent: Wed, October 5, 2011 5:11:51 AM
        Subject: Re: [NCNCA] Patents, your proposed race registration system, and USAC





        The theory in Utah, where SBO is based, is that SBO was being operated like a Ponzi scheme. 

        Several promoters of bike races in Utah have never been paid the registration monies that SBO took in (which should have been segregated from SBO revenue and held in escrow) months ago. In many cases, these losses are in the $10-20K range for each event. It is likely that a number of these events will no longer be able to be held in the future because of these losses. 

        The only real explanation for the complete disappearance of money collected is either a) monies collected from race A were being used to pay the promoters of previously held race B, whose registration fees had been used to pay the promoters of race C, and so on; or b) outright theft. 

        No one locally has been able to contact the owner of SBO for nearly a month, and yet until the announcement of SBO's demise fame out on Monday, SBO was still taking in registration fees. 

        If this were a legal/intellectual property issue, someone within the Utah cycling community would know about it, considering the number of lawyers we have who race ... and I'm sure the announcement of SBO's dissolution would have made mention of that as a reason and indicated that every effort would be made to pay promoters monies owed, rather than just a terse "there are no assets" claim. 

        Whether intentional or not, it appears that SBO was perpetrating a fraud. 



        --
        Steven L. Sheffield

        Sent from my iPhone ... ack!



        On Oct 5, 2011, at 12:13 AM, Shawn Mehaffey <spmehaffey@...> wrote:

         

        Jon,

        This kind of enthusiasm is exactly what the idea of American Enterprise is all about. Unfortunately, patent lawsuits are what the reality of American business on the Internet is today.

        Legal firms, known pejoratively as patent trolls, buy patents of things as simple as program designs, interfaces, etc. that have been around since the days of the first Apple Macintosh.  They use this collection of intellectual property to sue almost any business functioning on the Internet; in fact I would not be surprised if a patent lawsuit is part of the reason for SBO's demise.

        Here's are two links to more info about patent trolls:

            1) The ubiquitous Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_troll

            2) The web page for an episode of This American Life, an excellent public radio show that in this case discusses patent trolls and how they are stifling business and innovation (note both audio and the transcript are available): 



        Finally, promoters may want to take a look at the new offering from USA Cycling.  USAC recently improved its website and now offers an end-to-end system for setting up events, from requesting a permit to managing registrations.  I used the old version for my spring clinic and am sure the new system offers more functionality.


        Shawn Mehaffey
        USAC Level II Coach
        (and in the daytime an Information Risk Management Analyst)



        From: Jon Stevens <latchkey@...>
        To: NCNCA@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 5:59 PM
        Subject: [NCNCA] Help develop the next race registration system

         
        Hello, fellow racers! I'd like your input.

        My cofounder Jeff and I have been quietly working for the last few months on a registration system designed for bicycle race promoters and athletes.  It will be live in time for the 2012 season.  Ron Castia has graciously helped guide our initial development.  Now we're ready to get some additional feedback from members of this group.

        If you are willing to spend 10-15 minutes talking to us about what features are most important to you, please contact me off-list at latchkey@....

        About us:  We are 15+ year software veterans who decided to start a company together.  Jon has been racing bikes for 7 seasons and is a board member of Dolce Vita Cycling.  Jeff runs the occasional 10k and loves everything with two wheels.

        Thanks,

        Jon Stevens





      • Bill
        Folks, Speculating on the nature of the case concerning SBO is futile, especially on here. While my heart goes out to the promoters effected by this business
        Message 3 of 15 , Oct 5, 2011
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          Folks,

          Speculating on the nature of the case concerning SBO is futile, especially on here. While my heart goes out to the promoters effected by this business failure I cannot sit idly by and watch the vilification of Dirk Cowley and SBO. There is often more than meets the eye and while I would not ask all or anyone to give Dirk the benefit of the doubt, I would ask those viewing from the sidelines to delay judgement until facts are known.

          I have made several hours of phone calls in the last 48 hours attempting to lighten the burden to promoters and assisting their efforts to right their ships. I am grateful to Steve Johnson at USAC and our Board of Directors for their assistance and decisiveness. The good news is that no event is in danger of not returning and each promoter has made financial arrangements to absorb their losses and cover financial obligations.

          I have been contacted by several registration companies vying for local business. It all seems a little too soon. Can you wait a week? We're a little busy here. I would recommend any promoter to strongly consider the financial strength of any organization they entrust their funds to moving forward.

          Cheers,
          Bill
        • Larry Upthegrove
          http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/10/news/sbo-shut-down-may-leave-race-pro motors-empty-handed_194422?utm_source=rss
          Message 4 of 15 , Oct 5, 2011
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            http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/10/news/sbo-shut-down-may-leave-race-promotors-empty-handed_194422?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/10/news/sbo-shut-down-may-leave-race-promotors-empty-handed_194422

             

            Velonews short article.

             

            Larry

             

            From: NCNCA@yahoogroups.com [mailto:NCNCA@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Bill
            Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2011 7:28 AM
            To: NCNCA@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [NCNCA] Re: Patents, your proposed race registration system, and USAC

             

             

            Folks,

            Speculating on the nature of the case concerning SBO is futile, especially on here. While my heart goes out to the promoters effected by this business failure I cannot sit idly by and watch the vilification of Dirk Cowley and SBO. There is often more than meets the eye and while I would not ask all or anyone to give Dirk the benefit of the doubt, I would ask those viewing from the sidelines to delay judgement until facts are known.

            I have made several hours of phone calls in the last 48 hours attempting to lighten the burden to promoters and assisting their efforts to right their ships. I am grateful to Steve Johnson at USAC and our Board of Directors for their assistance and decisiveness. The good news is that no event is in danger of not returning and each promoter has made financial arrangements to absorb their losses and cover financial obligations.

            I have been contacted by several registration companies vying for local business. It all seems a little too soon. Can you wait a week? We're a little busy here. I would recommend any promoter to strongly consider the financial strength of any organization they entrust their funds to moving forward.

            Cheers,
            Bill

          • tb_in_sf
            ... We used the USAC system for Tam this year, in part because SBO had held funds for so long last year - I was floating over $10k in expenses for two months,
            Message 5 of 15 , Oct 5, 2011
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              --- In NCNCA@yahoogroups.com, Shawn Mehaffey <spmehaffey@...> wrote:
              >
              > Finally, promoters may want to take a look at the new offering from USA Cycling.  USAC recently improved its website and now offers an end-to-end system for setting up events, from requesting a permit to managing registrations.  I used the old version for my spring clinic and am sure the new system offers more functionality.
              >


              We used the USAC system for Tam this year, in part because SBO had held funds for so long last year - I was floating over $10k in expenses for two months, with cat-ate-my-homework excuses for the delays.

              And for that I am grateful because with this year's cancellation we would have had to refund over $8k in pre-reg entry fees while getting no revenue from SBO - most certainly, sinking the event. Which would mean I would need to get in the car and drive to Utah and secure my legal rights as best I could and as someone mentioned, drop by the AG and discuss the fact that something well north of $60k in funds, including funds for volunteer-based nonprofit organizations, seems to have disappeared from the SBO merchant account, after being collected within the past 3-4 weeks and where exactly did that money go? (Then, head to slickrock to blow off some steam!)

              We'd use the USAC system again, a nice feature of it is that the licensee data is all accurate, and registration can automatically be limited only to categories each racer qualifies for. The user interface is pretty easy to use, and you can journal pre-reg funds out (weekly I believe) via EFT which is suddenly a very key feature. Plus they were nice enough to handle the hundreds of refunds for us, even though the system doesn't currently deal with it, saving me a case of carpal tunnel syndrome from writing all those refund checks.

              Its only downside frankly is that it isn't free or close to it. Sure, it has a cost to develop it, and maybe that $2-3 per entry rate is that cost. If it is a net revenue generator, I wonder why...and whether it'd make sense for the Local Associations to band together to build their own system for use by member clubs, at-cost. But that's the question, is "at-cost" $0.50 or more like $2 (in which case, not worth the bother/risk). There are merchant-bank fees and "customer service" costs that are unavoidable, and all software needs upkeep. Back to SBO...did they go belly-up because their per-entry fee was set too low, or is there more to the story?

              -Tad
            • Chris Black
              We could always just return to the snail mail system. Unless USPS also goes out of business! Chris Black Morgan Stanley Smith Barney/Specialized Cycling Team
              Message 6 of 15 , Oct 5, 2011
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                We could always just return to the snail mail system. Unless USPS also goes out of business!

                Chris Black
                Morgan Stanley Smith Barney/Specialized Cycling Team
                San Luis Obispo, CA
                Hudson, WI


              • John F Gerling
                Hey Jon, Here s a suggestion for you. Set up your system to allow all registration fees to be deposited into an account which is under the sole control of the
                Message 7 of 15 , Oct 5, 2011
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                  Hey Jon,
                   
                  Here's a suggestion for you. Set up your system to allow all registration fees to be deposited into an account which is under the sole control of the promoter while keeping the service fee for your own account. Not sure about how to do it or the logistics that might be involved, but I'd be very surprised if it can't be done. This should resolve any and all concerns the promoter might have about getting paid. And based on recent events it could be the differentiating factor that wins all the business!
                   
                  JohnG


                  From: Jon Stevens <latchkey@...>
                  To: NCNCA@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Tue, October 4, 2011 5:59:46 PM
                  Subject: [NCNCA] Help develop the next race registration system



                  Hello, fellow racers! I'd like your input.

                  My cofounder Jeff and I have been quietly working for the last few months on a registration system designed for bicycle race promoters and athletes.  It will be live in time for the 2012 season.  Ron Castia has graciously helped guide our initial development.  Now we're ready to get some additional feedback from members of this group.

                  If you are willing to spend 10-15 minutes talking to us about what features are most important to you, please contact me off-list at latchkey@....

                  About us:  We are 15+ year software veterans who decided to start a company together.  Jon has been racing bikes for 7 seasons and is a board member of Dolce Vita Cycling.  Jeff runs the occasional 10k and loves everything with two wheels.

                  Thanks,

                  Jon Stevens



                • Bill
                  Of course the speculation continues in the face of my request to the contrary. This is false bravado by someone not personally affected. Many base
                  Message 8 of 15 , Oct 5, 2011
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                    Of course the speculation continues in the face of my request to the contrary. This is false bravado by someone not personally affected. Many base assumptions have been made by those that have few facts. Less than 48 hours have passed since the first notice.

                    I now have DIRECT information that this will be resolved in the next 24-48 hours (promoters will be paid). Please stop speculating.

                    My focus now goes to the elections which open today, 2012 race scheduling which begins next week and organizing registration options for promoters for their future events. Happy trails everyone.


                    >
                    >
                    > We used the USAC system for Tam this year, in part because SBO had held funds for so long last year - I was floating over $10k in expenses for two months, with cat-ate-my-homework excuses for the delays.
                    >
                    > And for that I am grateful because with this year's cancellation we would have had to refund over $8k in pre-reg entry fees while getting no revenue from SBO - most certainly, sinking the event. Which would mean I would need to get in the car and drive to Utah and secure my legal rights as best I could and as someone mentioned, drop by the AG and discuss the fact that something well north of $60k in funds, including funds for volunteer-based nonprofit organizations, seems to have disappeared from the SBO merchant account, after being collected within the past 3-4 weeks and where exactly did that money go? (Then, head to slickrock to blow off some steam!)
                    >
                    > We'd use the USAC system again, a nice feature of it is that the licensee data is all accurate, and registration can automatically be limited only to categories each racer qualifies for. The user interface is pretty easy to use, and you can journal pre-reg funds out (weekly I believe) via EFT which is suddenly a very key feature. Plus they were nice enough to handle the hundreds of refunds for us, even though the system doesn't currently deal with it, saving me a case of carpal tunnel syndrome from writing all those refund checks.
                    >
                    > Its only downside frankly is that it isn't free or close to it. Sure, it has a cost to develop it, and maybe that $2-3 per entry rate is that cost. If it is a net revenue generator, I wonder why...and whether it'd make sense for the Local Associations to band together to build their own system for use by member clubs, at-cost. But that's the question, is "at-cost" $0.50 or more like $2 (in which case, not worth the bother/risk). There are merchant-bank fees and "customer service" costs that are unavoidable, and all software needs upkeep. Back to SBO...did they go belly-up because their per-entry fee was set too low, or is there more to the story?
                    >
                    > -Tad
                    >
                  • George Meilahn
                    That gets my vote. They do need our business. BikeReg.com and Active.com and Truesport are also bicycle friendly online services. From: Chris Black
                    Message 9 of 15 , Oct 5, 2011
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                      That gets my vote. They do need our business. BikeReg.com and Active.com and Truesport are also bicycle friendly online services.

                      From: Chris Black <cblackride@...>
                      To: NCNCA@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 9:50 AM
                      Subject: Re: [NCNCA] Re: Patents, your proposed race registration system, and USAC

                       
                      We could always just return to the snail mail system. Unless USPS also goes out of business!

                      Chris Black
                      Morgan Stanley Smith Barney/Specialized Cycling Team
                      San Luis Obispo, CA
                      Hudson, WI




                    • shaun bagley
                      I guess my question is, if the business was a database from home, that leaves very little overhead, so how do you mismanage thousands of dollars?
                      Message 10 of 15 , Oct 5, 2011
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                        I guess my question is, if the business was a database from home, that leaves very little overhead, so how do you mismanage thousands of dollars?

                        From: George Meilahn <gfmeilahn@...>
                        To: Chris Black <cblackride@...>; "NCNCA@yahoogroups.com" <NCNCA@yahoogroups.com>
                        Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 10:45 AM
                        Subject: Re: [NCNCA] Re: Patents, your proposed race registration system, and USAC

                         
                        That gets my vote. They do need our business. BikeReg.com and Active.com and Truesport are also bicycle friendly online services.

                        From: Chris Black <cblackride@...>
                        To: NCNCA@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 9:50 AM
                        Subject: Re: [NCNCA] Re: Patents, your proposed race registration system, and USAC

                         
                        We could always just return to the snail mail system. Unless USPS also goes out of business!

                        Chris Black
                        Morgan Stanley Smith Barney/Specialized Cycling Team
                        San Luis Obispo, CA
                        Hudson, WI






                      • John Gerling
                        That’s what my wife keeps asking… From: NCNCA@yahoogroups.com [mailto:NCNCA@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of shaun bagley Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2011
                        Message 11 of 15 , Oct 5, 2011
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                          That’s what my wife keeps asking…

                           

                          From: NCNCA@yahoogroups.com [mailto:NCNCA@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of shaun bagley
                          Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2011 1:33 PM
                          To: NCNCA@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: Re: [NCNCA] Re: Patents, your proposed race registration system, and USAC

                           




                           

                          I guess my question is, if the business was a database from home, that leaves very little overhead, so how do you mismanage thousands of dollars?


                          From: George Meilahn <gfmeilahn@...>
                          To: Chris Black <cblackride@...>; "NCNCA@yahoogroups.com" <NCNCA@yahoogroups.com>
                          Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 10:45 AM
                          Subject: Re: [NCNCA] Re: Patents, your proposed race registration system, and USAC

                           

                          That gets my vote. They do need our business. BikeReg.com and Active.com and Truesport are also bicycle friendly online services.

                           

                          From: Chris Black <cblackride@...>
                          To: NCNCA@yahoogroups.com
                          Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 9:50 AM
                          Subject: Re: [NCNCA] Re: Patents, your proposed race registration system, and USAC

                           

                          We could always just return to the snail mail system. Unless USPS also goes out of business!

                          Chris Black

                          Morgan Stanley Smith Barney/Specialized Cycling Team

                          San Luis Obispo, CA

                          Hudson, WI

                           

                           

                           

                           




                        • Brad House
                          I been happy with the new kid on the block, imAthlete.com  They are responsive and very open to
                          Message 12 of 15 , Oct 9, 2011
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                            I been happy with the new kid on the block, imAthlete.com  They are responsive and very open to improvements http://www.imathlete.com/events/EventOverview.aspx?fEID=11236

                            backontrackproductions.com
                            bikesportradio.us
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                            "I'm not in traffic, I am traffic."

                            --- On Wed, 10/5/11, John Gerling <jgerling@...> wrote:

                            From: John Gerling <jgerling@...>
                            Subject: RE: [NCNCA] Re: Patents, your proposed race registration system, and USAC
                            To: "NCNCA" <NCNCA@yahoogroups.com>
                            Date: Wednesday, October 5, 2011, 2:11 PM

                             

                            That’s what my wife keeps asking…

                             

                            From: NCNCA@yahoogroups.com [mailto:NCNCA@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of shaun bagley
                            Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2011 1:33 PM
                            To: NCNCA@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: Re: [NCNCA] Re: Patents, your proposed race registration system, and USAC

                             




                             

                            I guess my question is, if the business was a database from home, that leaves very little overhead, so how do you mismanage thousands of dollars?


                            From: George Meilahn <gfmeilahn@...>
                            To: Chris Black <cblackride@...>; "NCNCA@yahoogroups.com" <NCNCA@yahoogroups.com>
                            Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 10:45 AM
                            Subject: Re: [NCNCA] Re: Patents, your proposed race registration system, and USAC

                             

                            That gets my vote. They do need our business. BikeReg.com and Active.com and Truesport are also bicycle friendly online services.

                             

                            From: Chris Black <cblackride@...>
                            To: NCNCA@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 9:50 AM
                            Subject: Re: [NCNCA] Re: Patents, your proposed race registration system, and USAC

                             

                            We could always just return to the snail mail system. Unless USPS also goes out of business!

                            Chris Black

                            Morgan Stanley Smith Barney/Specialized Cycling Team

                            San Luis Obispo, CA

                            Hudson, WI

                             

                             

                             

                             




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