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  1. #1
    gmt Grumpy McTrumpy's Avatar
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    masters age group demographics and race registration numbers

    we are running the state TT this season and the numbers are pretty low for pre-reg...


    it occurs to me that there is a noticeable trend in the various masters age groups, specifically certain brackets being much larger in terms of numbers than others.

    Here's our breakdown:

    M30+ 3 riders
    M35+ 6 riders
    M45+ 21 riders
    M55+ 9 riders
    M60+ 9 riders
    M65+ 3 riders


    yes, all the numbers are small, but I am mainly interested in the proportions, and specifically wondering what thoughts you all have as to why the 30+ and 35+ groups seem to generally be smaller than the older groups, and why the 45+ is almost always the largest group by a wide margin. I have seen this almost across the board except for large events that fill up such as Battenkill.

    (I should mention that the 40+ at Bkill is the first to fill though)

    discuss.

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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    I think there's a regional factor that comes into play...35+ in No. California is pretty heavily subscribed, it wasn't in Texas because a lot of the 30-35 guys were racing P1/2, the entry level guys in that age group were doing Category stuff or 35 4/5.

    I really think the 30+ Masters thing should die and all Master's racing start at 40. There's a huge difference between the level of a 35 y/o 1/2 these days vs. a 35 y/o in 1970.

    By 40 it's much harder to find the time to train to 1/2 levels and you do start to slow. That tracks with what you see at the Pro level.

    The decline as you age group up has to do with health and risk issues, though again, there's a regional factor. The 50/55 groups in SoCal are quite big and very strong.

  3. #3
    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    I suspect that life sequencing is a big factor. I'm 45, a lot of my peers are in the same position - kids are old enough that training / racing time and money is now available, etc.
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    I eat carbide. Psimet2001's Avatar
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    It's regional. Our 30+ and 35+ fields are the largest. Followed by 40+. It was enough this year to warrant having a 30+ 4/5 only field AND a 30+ 1/2/3 field as well as a 40+ and 50+ that are run together.

    Big discrepancy here between 30+ 4/5 and 4/5. Guess we are busier at a younger age around here than what you guys experience.

    FWIW - out 30+ 4/5 fields are pretty much the only fields that are almost always sold out. That and Cat 5 obviously.

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    Senior Member graphs's Avatar
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    The 40-49 Masters group is much larger here as well. I think most riders in their 30's are still racing Elite/Senior and don't make the switch until they're into their 40's.

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    You blink and it's gone. rbart4506's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by graphs View Post
    The 40-49 Masters group is much larger here as well. I think most riders in their 30's are still racing Elite/Senior and don't make the switch until they're into their 40's.
    I was going to say that too....They're also still pretty darn competitive!
    "On the other hand riding down a hill at 55 MPH wearing (essentially) women's underwear and a Styrofoam cup on your head is the epitome of rational life-extending decisions." - RacerEx

  7. #7
    awaiting uci approval tombailey's Avatar
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    TTs also seem more popular with the older age groups (safey or cost of equipment maybe?)

  8. #8
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Over the past weekend I raced in the Midwest Regional Master Championship in Ohio/Indiana. My group, 55-59 Cat 1,2,3,4,5 had the largest field. The 2nd largest field was in the 50-54 Cat 4 races. Seperate races were established for those 30-54 in 5 yr spans and offered for Cat 1,2,3, Cat 4 and Cat 5. The largest race field in the 60+ Cat 1,2,3,4,5 guys was the TT which makes sense due to the guys in their 60's -70's not wishing to crash. This year was the first go-round for the event that also included GC, TT, RR and Crit races and will most likely be larger next year if the event is held.
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    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    around here 35+3 is every bit as fast as cat3, and often faster and the only reason i think people like riding the masters cat is the perception that theyre a little safer and smarter. which in my experience (i choose among cat3, 35+3, and 35 elite) is true. it goes out the window when the promoters run 35+3 and 3 together though. then you have 2 fields of the same strength, racing together for different results and its maddeningly stupid. on account of theres 38 yos racing cat3 and beating 38yos who are WINNING the same race in 35+3 and getting money cuz they checked a different box on the entry form.

    totally weird.
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    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    and similarly, we had 20 guys in cat3 at state TT this year and like 15 of them were over 35, AND there was a whole seperate 35+3 category.

    nonsense
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    Actually, I think the problem is the category system. For Master's here in New England, it is largely ignored. Most Masters events are Cat 1-4. This means as a 4 I have a choice: race against Cat 1-3 and have a very tough time even staying with the field, but generally safer and more professional, or race in the Cat 4 open which is an argy-bargy fest, but in which I can consistently get top-20. I don't really have much chance to get upgrade points in the masters, but I want to be in masters because at least I am with guys who make similar risk-aversion decisions. This is what masters was created for. The irony is that I believe that most masters events I am in are mostly Cat 4 guys. It would be justified to have our own race, but the promoters don't set things up that way. For example, the Tokeneke race here in August:
    Cat 4 men
    Masters 50+ (cat 1-4)
    Women 4
    Cat 4/5 men
    Pro/1/2
    Masters 40+ (cat 1-4)
    Cat 3 men
    Women 1/2/3
    Juniors 15-18 (cat 1-5)
    Masters 60+ (cat 1-4)

    I have no less than 3 choices: Cat 4, Masters 1-4, and Cat 4/5. That seems silly.

    Now I know the comeback: Promoters' can't just add fields, there is a limited resource of time. But how silly is it to have several separate Masters 1-4 races? If a guy is a top ***, then it doesn't matter if he is 35, 45, or 55. They should all be in the same race. The category system should be used to group the fields, not the ages. The category system is intended to put the same level of riders together. If a guy gets old and can't hack the Cat 1's any more, he should downgrade, not hope for culling of a higher age category. Whether a separate field should be created or not (Masters 1&2 and a separate Masters 3, or just a Masters 1-3) should be based on the numbers.
    Last edited by jgg3; 07-28-11 at 04:33 PM. Reason: Table was mis-formatted.

  12. #12
    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    Same here in TX: 35+ 4/5 is usually the biggest / sold out field.

    This year some races have offered BOTH 40+ 3/4 AND 35+ 4/5 and BOTH had big turnouts.
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  13. #13
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    The old guy Masters racers don't blink an eye at the penalty for late registration. You will find that the ranks will swell if the weather is OK.
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    I eat carbide. Psimet2001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgg3 View Post
    Actually, I think the problem is the category system. For Master's here in New England, it is largely ignored. Most Masters events are Cat 1-4. This means as a 4 I have a choice: race against Cat 1-3 and have a very tough time even staying with the field, but generally safer and more professional, or race in the Cat 4 open which is an argy-bargy fest, but in which I can consistently get top-20. I don't really have much chance to get upgrade points in the masters, but I want to be in masters because at least I am with guys who make similar risk-aversion decisions. This is what masters was created for. The irony is that I believe that most masters events I am in are mostly Cat 4 guys. It would be justified to have our own race, but the promoters don't set things up that way. For example, the Tokeneke race here in August:
    Cat 4 men
    Masters 50+ (cat 1-4)
    Women 4
    Cat 4/5 men
    Pro/1/2
    Masters 40+ (cat 1-4)
    Cat 3 men
    Women 1/2/3
    Juniors 15-18 (cat 1-5)
    Masters 60+ (cat 1-4)

    I have no less than 3 choices: Cat 4, Masters 1-4, and Cat 4/5. That seems silly.

    Now I know the comeback: Promoters' can't just add fields, there is a limited resource of time. But how silly is it to have several separate Masters 1-4 races? If a guy is a top ***, then it doesn't matter if he is 35, 45, or 55. They should all be in the same race. The category system should be used to group the fields, not the ages. The category system is intended to put the same level of riders together. If a guy gets old and can't hack the Cat 1's any more, he should downgrade, not hope for culling of a higher age category. Whether a separate field should be created or not (Masters 1&2 and a separate Masters 3, or just a Masters 1-3) should be based on the numbers.
    It's funny - I have been on a lot of different sides on that conversation.

    We've done it both ways here. Fact is that most of the masters here (40+ and 50+ 1-4 ...let's face it no 4's race it is only 1-3's) race at least twice a day. Almost all of us 4/5's who are over 30 race at least twice a day and there have been times where I personally could have raced 4 races. That may seem crazy, but that centered on a demographic that just MIGHT race and pay 4 times....whereas we try to have a separate women's cat 4 and a w3 race and 5 people show up. Just is what it is.

    I was asked by a 30+ cat 3 "why do you need a separate M30+ 4/5, a M30+ 1/2/3 and a 4/5? Why can't we just have a 30+ (1-5) and a 4/5?"
    "Because I will never sign up for a 30+ open cat. I get my ass handed to me at the start line and just end up in everyone's way within a lap or two (most of the 30+ racers are 1/2's)."

    "OK then race the 4/5."

    "Those guys have no fear. They are kids without jobs or families and they have nothing to lose. In a 30+ 4/5 we all have work to go to on Monday and we race like it. Sure we suck but at least we try not to kill each other in the process. Oh, and we will pay to hang out and race more times in a day. "

    In this down year of racing we still see tremendous turnout for 30+ 4/5 and 4/5. This is the demographic for racing in this country. This is where growth occurs and this is the set of people willing to show up and fork over money. The other categories either have no interest or they want to show up and get paid not realizing yet that now one shows up who wants to pay to watch them race so how is that supposed to work.

  15. #15
    You blink and it's gone. rbart4506's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgg3 View Post
    Actually, I think the problem is the category system. For Master's here in New England, it is largely ignored. Most Masters events are Cat 1-4. This means as a 4 I have a choice: race against Cat 1-3 and have a very tough time even staying with the field, but generally safer and more professional, or race in the Cat 4 open which is an argy-bargy fest, but in which I can consistently get top-20. I don't really have much chance to get upgrade points in the masters, but I want to be in masters because at least I am with guys who make similar risk-aversion decisions. This is what masters was created for. The irony is that I believe that most masters events I am in are mostly Cat 4 guys. It would be justified to have our own race, but the promoters don't set things up that way. For example, the Tokeneke race here in August:
    Cat 4 men
    Masters 50+ (cat 1-4)
    Women 4
    Cat 4/5 men
    Pro/1/2
    Masters 40+ (cat 1-4)
    Cat 3 men
    Women 1/2/3
    Juniors 15-18 (cat 1-5)
    Masters 60+ (cat 1-4)

    I have no less than 3 choices: Cat 4, Masters 1-4, and Cat 4/5. That seems silly.

    Now I know the comeback: Promoters' can't just add fields, there is a limited resource of time. But how silly is it to have several separate Masters 1-4 races? If a guy is a top ***, then it doesn't matter if he is 35, 45, or 55. They should all be in the same race. The category system should be used to group the fields, not the ages. The category system is intended to put the same level of riders together. If a guy gets old and can't hack the Cat 1's any more, he should downgrade, not hope for culling of a higher age category. Whether a separate field should be created or not (Masters 1&2 and a separate Masters 3, or just a Masters 1-3) should be based on the numbers.
    You've touched on the Ontario Masters system....Master1, Master2, Master3...We went away from age cats and went to ability based to limit the number of dropped and lapped riders...It seems to be working...
    "On the other hand riding down a hill at 55 MPH wearing (essentially) women's underwear and a Styrofoam cup on your head is the epitome of rational life-extending decisions." - RacerEx

  16. #16
    grilled cheesus aham23's Avatar
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    open 30+ masters races around this neck of the woods are stupid fast. stoooopid i say. as a 30+ CAT4 they are kind of a waste of my money. now, this weekend i am racing 30+ 4/5 and CAT 4s. i would do that every event if they offered it. later.

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    I'm an outsider to this, so I can't tell if people are referencing mass start participation numbers or TT, but... maybe 45 is the sweet spot. Any older and it's too old for sports. Any younger and they'd rather the appeal of a mass start.


    So... I went and dug around USAC to find some comparable stuff and they were consistent with your proportions. These first three illustrate it, however the bottom two links suggest a more tapered distribution. But for the most part, it looks like that's a typical distribution from the few I reviewed.

    http://www.usacycling.org/results/?permit=2011-2265
    http://www.usacycling.org/results/?permit=2011-2297
    http://www.usacycling.org/results/?permit=2011-384

    http://www.usacycling.org/results/?y...&info_id=39959
    http://www.billboneproam.com/Event-Results.aspx


    I suspect time trial only events are skewed differently than multi-format events/omniums.

  18. #18
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgg3 View Post

    I have no less than 3 choices: Cat 4, Masters 1-4, and Cat 4/5. That seems silly.

    If a guy gets old and can't hack the Cat 1's any more, he should downgrade, not hope for culling of a higher age category.
    The promoter will be pleased if you exercise ALL those choices.

    There's an enormous difference between a 35 year old guy who might have just stepped off a pro team, and a 55 year old guy who was a pro 20 years ago, both in riding style and in fitness. You will eventually realize this, and how silly the above statement is. And it will become even more apparent if you become strong enough to upgrade to the 1/2.

    The category system is easily played. It's actually ridiculous at times...some people stay in 2nd grade forever so they can be the smartest kid in class.

    And the promoters wouldn't be offering multiple masters races if they weren't financially viable BTW.

    Finally, not to sound harsh, but you haven't earned anything in this sport. The guys that have might want to keep that number on their license, and not lose it just because they can't help the march of time; I can't think of anything worse than a 65 year old former champion shoved in among a bunch of 35 year old 4's and 5's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post

    In this down year of racing we still see tremendous turnout for 30+ 4/5 and 4/5. This is the demographic for racing in this country. This is where growth occurs and this is the set of people willing to show up and fork over money. The other categories either have no interest or they want to show up and get paid not realizing yet that now one shows up who wants to pay to watch them race so how is that supposed to work.
    What's interesting is looking at this over a season...I did that last year when they were trying to kick me and a few other guys into the P1/2.

    While the numbers of 4/5 and master 4/5 racers would seem to be the market, the actual total entries over a season generated by the "upper end" masters is really significant. The top end guys race 4-6 times as many races on average and if you pull them out of the total revenue stream it's a big hit.

    If you do a value added analysis (providing mentoring, sponsorships, and support for juniors Etc) the impact of what would appear to be a smaller segment of the racing population is actually really big.
    Last edited by Racer Ex; 07-28-11 at 09:38 PM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    From what I have seen around here, most of the M35+ guys race the pro race unless they choose to do a multi-race day. The biggest Master's fields are 45+, although 50+ is very close. There's been more than one race this year where the M45+ or M50+ had the largest field. I think this has to do with regional demographics, and the fact that more than a few are getting back into racing after a layoff.

    As for Grumpy's question, pre-registration tends to start very slowly here with a few exceptions (Battenkill, etc.) and build throughout the week before the event. The day of pre-reg closing gets bursts of 20-30 signups an hour. I was watching the Hilltowns pre-reg in the last hour, and it was running about 5 per minute. Everyone waits until the deadline, and as mollusk said, another $5-$10 is peanuts for day-of as long as you are sure that your field won't close. So using pre-reg numbers to predict trends is not that accurate.

    As for forcing downgrades, bad idea. Part of the lure of racing open Masters, for me at least, is riding with the best of the best at all levels.

  20. #20
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    GMT, I think your question pertains to a masters state championship TT event and why the pre-registration is low. This year promoters of NorCal races complained of low pre-registration and several races were canceled due to projected losses if the race were held.

    Our championships events at both road and track have had lower turnout and pre-registration this year. I think a lot of this is racers trying to handicap their chances of getting on the podium based on who enters and waiting to the last moment. If they do not think they can podium, they do not enter.

    With respect to demographics, we see about the same breakdown in championship events with lower turnout in the 30 to 34 and 35 to 39 age categories. Some of the best ITT times come out of the 40 to 55 age demographic.

    For general racing, the largest fields are the 45+ 1,2,3,4 which seem to always fill up with 100 racers.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    gmt Grumpy McTrumpy's Avatar
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    Actually I am not posing any specific question at all. I just wanted to hear people's input on the age brackets and field size topic.

    It is true that we have a poor turnout this year (and I probably should not have mentioned it because it's not really germane to the topic, which is that certain age groups attract higher numbers than others.)

    As far as the pre-reg versus day-of, well, there is no day-of for this event. snoozers are losers. Apparently there was a power failure in a lot of alarm clocks this time around.

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    I never thought of the thing about Masters 1-4 vs 1-3.

    At the Bethel Spring Series I do M45+ because M30+ was way too fast (no one showed up after a few weeks), M40+ was getting too big (lots of Cat 2 M40s wanted to spank each other). M45+ is better.

    Plus next year I can do that race. hahaha.

    I'd keep the 4s at Bethel in the M45+ only because there are Cat 4 50 year olds that don't want to mix it up with the young'uns.

    As a Cat 3 who could do Masters races I normally avoided them. They were too fast. Now as a (weak) Cat 2 the Masters races are the easier one, shorter if nothing else. The P123 races have been quite hard, finished only a couple of them.

    The easiest race I did this year was the Somerville Cat 2 race. Everyone was a sprinter so they all waited for the sprint while cruising around at 27-28 mph. I got caught behind a crash in the last lap but that was because it was easy enough that I totally let my guard down. I figured I could move up on the backstretch.

  23. #23
    I eat carbide. Psimet2001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    I can't think of anything worse than a 65 year old former champion shoved in among a bunch of 35 year old 4's and 5's.
    I know this wasn't directed towards me but I thought I would pop in and add - it happens around here a lot. With Chicago having the largest Polish community outside of Poland we have gotten very used to Polish nationals who were ex pros who show up and pimp the 4/5 and masters 4/5 races. It's crazy but it happens a lot - 3-4 guys a year. They pretty much stay out of the scene and then just show up and destroy everyone/everything until everyone starts complaining. Usually takes about 4 races. Then they get forced upgrades and disappear again.

    It seems to be a different opinion than what most Americans would have. We would like to keep our achievements, etc. These guys have a very Euro attitude about it. It's about paydays. They will do anything to win and get paid. If the system puts them into entry level races then they will tear them apart and get paid.

    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    What's interesting is looking at this over a season...I did that last year when they were trying to kick me and a few other guys into the P1/2.

    While the numbers of 4/5 and master 4/5 racers would seem to be the market, the actual total entries over a season generated by the "upper end" masters is really significant. The top end guys race 4-6 times as many races on average and if you pull them out of the total revenue stream it's a big hit.

    If you do a value added analysis (providing mentoring, sponsorships, and support for juniors Etc) the impact of what would appear to be a smaller segment of the racing population is actually really big.
    I agree to an extent. Our next largest fields are Masters 1/2/3 30+ and 40+. No one around here would ever dream of removing those fields. In reality I was talking more about the P/1/2 fields. No one pays to watch them race and in reality they do little to nothing to help the sponsors.

    Example: I have 3 teams under my club. 1. PSIMET Racing - club riders 4/5 2. PSIMET Elite - CAT 1/2/3 under 30. Enzo's-PSIMET - Masters elite team headed up by past 50+ TT and Road Masters Nat Champ Wayne Simon. That masters team is amazing to watch. Small core of guys but tuned to win and/or podium every race they enter. They have torn apart the Open Masters scene around here but are also all 1/2's.

    So Wayne is talking to me early on and is, I believe, a little upset because I was sponsoring my Elite and the Enzo's squad with free race carbon tubulars. He asked at one point where their wheels wee and I said I was working on the Elite team's wheels. He let his guard down and went on the run with, "Rob we need to have a talk about how 'Elite' your Elite team is." implying it was more important to get the Enzo's squad the wheels because they were the shiz and would be on the podium all the time.

    My response was something akin to, "Wayne - Elite team gets wheels. They are racing with cat 3's for the most part. My target customers and markets are Cat 3/4/5 and Masters 4/5. These are the people who actually buy wheels. You guys getting podiums is nice. It looks good, but it doesn't sell any wheels. What sells wheels is they guys looking at my wheels in their races. They are usually home mowing the lawn by the time you guys race."

    I still stick by this. I have since equipped the Enzo's team with wheels and it looks nice and draws attention:



    but I have told them the benefit I get from it is the perception of "validity" from the M1/2/3 crowd. P 1/2's don't buy anything and honestly don't care what they are riding. That's like the worst group for me to ever spend a dime on for sponsorship.

  24. #24
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
    but I have told them the benefit I get from it is the perception of "validity" from the M1/2/3 crowd. P 1/2's don't buy anything and honestly don't care what they are riding. That's like the worst group for me to ever spend a dime on for sponsorship.
    The other part of that equation is that a lot of P1/2 guys think they deserve free stuff, but have no idea on how to promote the product, or even that they should. Some guys get it (our JRennie for example) but I've heard guy just trash sponsors stuff out loud, then show up on the podium with some "dude" hat and not even mention their primary sponsor when they get interviewed.

    They show up on dirty bikes, a competitor's wheels, Etc. Little or no professionalism.

    I will say I get/got a lot of other masters asking me about equipment I use, and I know I've helped sell product for them. The Master's demographic has (or had depending on if they used their house as an ATM) the disposable income to buy higher end stuff. But I think sponsoring the lower cat elite team is a good go.

  25. #25
    I eat carbide. Psimet2001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    The other part of that equation is that a lot of P1/2 guys think they deserve free stuff, but have no idea on how to promote the product, or even that they should. Some guys get it (our JRennie for example) but I've heard guy just trash sponsors stuff out loud, then show up on the podium with some "dude" hat and not even mention their primary sponsor when they get interviewed.

    They show up on dirty bikes, a competitor's wheels, Etc. Little or no professionalism.

    I will say I get/got a lot of other masters asking me about equipment I use, and I know I've helped sell product for them. The Master's demographic has (or had depending on if they used their house as an ATM) the disposable income to buy higher end stuff. But I think sponsoring the lower cat elite team is a good go.
    Yup. I find that is actually the problem with the M1/2/3 crowd - they have the money so they buy the big names. No sense in wasting time on some little guy from the internet. If they do it's because they want to use them for their training wheels and thought they would get something cheap and local. Doesn't bother me, but it's a different market and a different way to market to them.

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