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Talk me off the ledge (Race Promotion)

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Talk me off the ledge (Race Promotion)

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Old 11-24-18, 02:32 PM
  #1  
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Talk me off the ledge (Race Promotion)

It's the time of year where I have finally finished up putting on all of the races I put on in a year. The last race of the season is next week (unless I make my way to nationals the following week in louisville). In general I have 1 race of the year that "makes" enough money to cover the shortfalls of all of the other races of the year that I put on. This year, while pre-registration was high enough (read: equal to last year) the day of attendance was the lowest I have ever had at any of the races i have put on in the last 8 or 9 years with this series.

People aren't coming to races. Road or Cyclocross. You bring it up and you're instantly the ******* in the room. Make a tongue in cheek podcast to talk about stuff like this and there's no end to the people that rank you up there with the most vile humans you can imagine. I've listened to riders/racers, support staff, promoters, national organizers come up with lists and lists of "why"s for years. "Entries are too high", "Not enough payouts", "There's too many payouts", "The Payouts aren't equal", "They payouts are equal", "bikes are too expensive", "training on the roads is getting more dangerous", "There's not enough mentor based support in clubs anymore", "there aren't enough races", "There are too many races",

I've seen people make changes one way and no one comes. I see them make it the other way and no one comes. I have watched people put on clinics for years - no impact.

It's no secret that by being active in racing and having an industry based company I have taken a vow of perpetual poverty. I get that it's my own fault. but never fail - at this time of year when the tents get put away and the all of the support gear is cleaned and fixed and replaced I start reflecting on why the f I still continue to do it.

I wouldn't be the first to fold it all up. I know I wouldn't be thought less of for walking away. In fact I would simply become another in a long line of people that gave everything, got used up and burned out and then walked away. I've effectively got the second largest team in the state. Last year I hosted 3/5 of the races in our Illinois Cup (this year 3/7). Every year we put on 4-5 days of racing. I'm currently on the board for our USA Cycling Local Association.

Is there still any value or purpose to continuing the struggle even knowing the futility of it? Are we better off just letting it all come crashing down driving the point home for everyone in hopes that maybe they'll start getting that attendance is near mandatory if events are to continue?

There's no solution here - just discussion. I know I will just get back to doing it again this next year because that's what I do. Is there any meaningful change that can truly be made that hasn't already been tried?
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Old 11-24-18, 04:23 PM
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It's really too bad USAC no longer requires every club to put on a race. While it wasn't really enforced, it seems that a lot more teams put on races when it was required. Also, few people know how difficult it is to actually put on a race, so they are not appreciative of your efforts.
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Old 11-24-18, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
It's really too bad USAC no longer requires every club to put on a race. While it wasn't really enforced, it seems that a lot more teams put on races when it was required. Also, few people know how difficult it is to actually put on a race, so they are not appreciative of your efforts.
In fairness, to psimet's point if every club put on a race who would go to them? It sucks there are less races, but if the demand were there they might not go away with such regularity. One of the issues in the northeast has been that there are too many conflicting events, simply compounding the problem of low turn out. Ten-fifteen years ago people would travel to bigger races. These days not so much.

Still no answer to the question, but taking the long view unless someone finds a way to jazz up juniors to get into cycling there's really no future for the sport.
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Old 11-24-18, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
In fairness, to psimet's point if every club put on a race who would go to them? It sucks there are less races, but if the demand were there they might not go away with such regularity. One of the issues in the northeast has been that there are too many conflicting events, simply compounding the problem of low turn out. Ten-fifteen years ago people would travel to bigger races. These days not so much.

Still no answer to the question, but taking the long view unless someone finds a way to jazz up juniors to get into cycling there's really no future for the sport.
Illinois Licensed Road - (don't hold me to the numbers but roughly what I remember from the last handouts at Colorado Springs) - 84% male. 58% masters.

Then again - currently the largest team in illinois is now the Pony Shop and it is mostly because of the HUGE juniors team they have. They are single handedly responsible for us having starting fields of 60-70 juniors aged 9-14 .....in cyclocross (still a part of the road license)
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Old 11-24-18, 06:58 PM
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Do what is best for you - not the sport.
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Old 11-24-18, 10:15 PM
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Old 11-24-18, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
Are we better off just letting it all come crashing down driving the point home for everyone in hopes that maybe they'll start getting that attendance is near mandatory if events are to continue?
Yes.

But not so that bike racers have a come-to-Jesus moment about their obligation to attend races. Because if the bike racing model isnít working, then it needs to be rebuilt with serious changes in how the sport is organized.

People who put on bike races can stand on their heads and spit wooden nickels from here to eternity but putting on races is not enough. You need to have a cycling scene which creates a desire to race in as many people as possible. Every time someone is written off as unimportant to bike racing because theyíre not part of that male masters demographic that shows up at crits, thatís one less person who is interested in USAC-style bike racing. And one more person who gets involved with some other aspect of cycling besides USAC-style bike racing and feeds the success of that.

If the entire system collapsed, there would be a better chance for substantive change which ultimately would be a good thing.
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Old 11-24-18, 11:37 PM
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I want to race more but I cant afford it , north east cyclocross has a lot of over lapping races and its almost impossible for a self supported amature rider to make to every race and work to pay for all the fees . plus bike cost.

Maybe get the bike companies to put up rent a bikes at the event and do a fun race / pre ride for everyone .

They had a few a non usac races that where 36 bucks , thats a bit too much for a 4/5 .45 minute race with no chance of winning getting stared 50 back from the front.
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Old 11-25-18, 10:32 AM
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Bicycle racing is cheaper than many hobbies which are much bigger. Golf, for instance. I don't buy cost being a singular factor.
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Old 11-25-18, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
In fairness, to psimet's point if every club put on a race who would go to them? It sucks there are less races, but if the demand were there they might not go away with such regularity. One of the issues in the northeast has been that there are too many conflicting events, simply compounding the problem of low turn out. Ten-fifteen years ago people would travel to bigger races. These days not so much.

Still no answer to the question, but taking the long view unless someone finds a way to jazz up juniors to get into cycling there's really no future for the sport.
Could it also be that demand is down because supply is down?

You have lots of races in New England. Down here, we went from having races just about every weekend from March through August to having three races all year. The races didn't go away because of lack of participation, but really because of cost and community opposition. It became increasingly difficult to shut down streets for crits. RRs were always a challenge as well.

With USAC removing the team race requirement, a lot of teams said "screw it. It's too expensive and difficult, we don't need to put on a race." Then once the race calendar declined, people just stopped going to races. Once racing stops being part of the routine, it become easier to just stop doing it.

At the same time, cross participation seems to be steady, if not growing, particularly among junior racers.
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Old 11-25-18, 12:14 PM
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I am in a club (Southern California) with about 300+ members.

Of that membership, only about 30 people race.

Of those 30, most race CX and MTB races with a few doing gravel events (the non-sanctioned fun/beer tent ones).

Of the 30, 6 people race road consistently (myself included).

From my vantage point, it's not the promoters fault, it's simply that people DON'T want to race road. I often hear "it's too fast", "it's too dangerous", "I don't have the fitness", "I have no interest in road racing".

I don't know how promoters or even those of us that are trying to recruit to our teams fight against that? Our club even gives reimbursement for races (partial) and we cover your kit as long as you meet certain requirements and volunteer a certain # of hours. Still, little to no interest.
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Old 11-25-18, 12:42 PM
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I've popped in on this elsewhere several times. The OP blocks me, ironically for my posting on this very topic a few years ago.
This race grouping by age and gender (or school) thing is causing the collapse. There are also too many disciplines getting equal billing. They are not equal in commitment, or money generated. Promoters are expected to serve all groups. In the late 70s/early 80s when I raced the bike, it was pretty much just road racing, or business park circles on the same bike and then just a very few groups. Now there are nats jerseys in cx, MTB, crits, RR, hill climbs, track in 2 genders, collegiate/cat and many age splits. There are ~100 national jerseys given.

In local racing some folks have 3-4 races in a day they qualify for, while the most elite may have 1 race - or none. The motivator to be the most elite is to say you are, and you may race less without travel.

If racing were done more like a fondo, where everyone just races together based on ability until a group was "full" cost would go way down, see other pages of arguments on it.

But yea, it will collapse.
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Old 11-25-18, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Could it also be that demand is down because supply is down?
Could be. I don't think so, but could be. Seemed to me things tipped way down when gas prices went nuts a number of years back. I never saw it pick up again. Rather than drive to some big NE RR people stay in NYC and do the park race for $35 that has them done by 8am. Those races sell out weekly. There's a lot of factors to this. But racing isn't doing great in the northeast, and we have as many or more races than any other region. Yet every year more races go away due to a variety of factors including community push back.

I'm a club of one racing member basically at this point. The primary reason we keep going is my son is going to work for our sponsor and we've been around for nearly 25 years. If we had to put on a race we'd pack it in. I'm only going to do one USAC race next year. Everything else is unsanctioned.

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Old 11-26-18, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
Could be. I don't think so, but could be. Seemed to me things tipped way down when gas prices went nuts a number of years back. I never saw it pick up again. Rather than drive to some big NE RR people stay in NYC and do the park race for $35 that has them done by 8am. Those races sell out weekly. There's a lot of factors to this. But racing isn't doing great in the northeast, and we have as many or more races than any other region. Yet every year more races go away due to a variety of factors including community push back.

I'm a club of one racing member basically at this point. The primary reason we keep going is my son is going to work for our sponsor and we've been around for nearly 25 years. If we had to put on a race we'd pack it in. I'm only going to do one USAC race next year. Everything else is unsanctioned.
does this mean you'll no longer do ITTs?
Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post


Yes.

But not so that bike racers have a come-to-Jesus moment about their obligation to attend races. Because if the bike racing model isn’t working, then it needs to be rebuilt with serious changes in how the sport is organized.

People who put on bike races can stand on their heads and spit wooden nickels from here to eternity but putting on races is not enough. You need to have a cycling scene which creates a desire to race in as many people as possible. Every time someone is written off as unimportant to bike racing because they’re not part of that male masters demographic that shows up at crits, that’s one less person who is interested in USAC-style bike racing. And one more person who gets involved with some other aspect of cycling besides USAC-style bike racing and feeds the success of that.

If the entire system collapsed, there would be a better chance for substantive change which ultimately would be a good thing.
who is the "you" to which you refer? promoters or cycling population in general?
and how exactly do you propose that the racing needs of everyone be met, and more to the point, who picks up the tabs so that the racing needs of every racer be met?
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Old 11-26-18, 10:08 AM
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For me there were two issues with TTs. First, I’m historically finicky about my positioning. The slightest deviation gives me issues. It’s probsbly just in my head, but it’s akways been this way. Going from an aero position to a climbing position was making me insane.

The other issue was the realization that in order to ride a TT bike well I’d need to spend prodigious amounts of time outside on it. That was a deal breaker. I know too many people who have gotten broken or dead. I did two fit sessions on my TT bike and hung it up. Been trying to sell it. I might jump into eddy stuff, but the vision my wife and I have cobbledbtogether is ten hill climbs and the other weekends in the Adirondacks at our house where I can train on the mountain. Driving south down 95 to some flat TT just doesn’t hold the same allure.
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Old 11-26-18, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by echappist View Post
does this mean you'll no longer do ITTs?

who is the "you" to which you refer? promoters or cycling population in general?
and how exactly do you propose that the racing needs of everyone be met, and more to the point, who picks up the tabs so that the racing needs of every racer be met?
The cycling population in general. Itís not something that costs money. Itís imbuing the sport with a culture that racing is fun, not serious business worth doping over. That the ďhavesĒ in any endeavor have an obligation to the ďhave notsĒ if you want your interest to remain viable. Itís cycling belonging to local clubs comprised of individuals who think part of their obligation to the sport is to introduce new people to it, to mentor people through the process, and to participate at a level beyond racing- volunteering at races, leading non-hammerfest group rides, partnering with local communities. Itís developing a sense that anyone who wants to race is important to the sport, not just men who race crits. And then acting like it- not having different masters age brackets for women than men at a track competition, for example, when doing so make zero difference to the administration of the event or the bottom line dollars and cents.

I have been trained professionally at the highest level in my field. Part of that training is being told you are a ďhaveĒ. Your obligation is to provide opportunity for the have nots. Probably 75% of people with my training lecture gratis locally about once a year. Fewer of us take on major time commitments. Iíve personally spent 5 years on a committee that organized and administered our certifying exam, and 4 years on a committee to develop an international course in neuroscience (which we took from zero resources to the biggest source of income for our college and now funds research projects for people in training programs). You are always going to have people who will volunteer and complete their tasks well, if they are given the structure and opportunity and you expect it culturally. And I certainly have taken on big endeavors that were thankless tasks, the thankless aspect comes with the territory.

Mostly in bike racing though, my experience is if I suggest something and Iím told: 1. Stop complaining, 2. You donít understand how it works, 3. <Or I am literally talked over as if I am not speaking at all>. Iím told as a ďhave notĒ in the sport to fix whatever problems I see myself, if I think things should be done differently. I donít get a sense of being part of the sport- ďgreat points, *we* should see if we can incorporate them into racingĒ but ďyou have no idea what itís like to be a promoter and if you have such great ideas why donít *you* promote a raceĒ. Not universally, actually- at our local non-USAC TT, I made a suggestion to the promoter in regards to the organization of the new race series, which were initially rejected but upon reflection were later incorporated and I was publically given credit for the change I suggested.

Am I still racing TTs? Yep, for the time being. Iím drawn pretty strongly to mountain biking these days which has way less cultural frustration for me. But the main races I do- Piru and Fiesta Island TTs are run by awesome racing people who really do have such a great vibe, I enjoy those scenes a lot. I didnít re-up with my race team because they made USAC membership mandatory this year and Iím not sure there will be a USAC-sanctioned TT on our LA schedule this year. I did stay a member of the (race-oriented) club and convinced my employer to sponsor the club (again, last year it was the team), to the tune of $1000. But I literally do nothing with the club (because even the easy club social century turns into a hammerfest on the way back home, you learn there is never an fun social easy ride, ever, no matter how the event is advertised). The club/team organizer, who I am friends with and who is a good guy, has mentioned he wants to organize 3 flat club TTs this year. If he does, Iíll probably stay with the club. Otherwise, Iíll talk my boss into sponsoring the local womenís mtb group in 2020 instead. Not sure if that will draw me away from time trialing or not.
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Old 11-26-18, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
For me there were two issues with TTs. First, I’m historically finicky about my positioning. The slightest deviation gives me issues. It’s probsbly just in my head, but it’s akways been this way. Going from an aero position to a climbing position was making me insane.

The other issue was the realization that in order to ride a TT bike well I’d need to spend prodigious amounts of time outside on it. That was a deal breaker. I know too many people who have gotten broken or dead. I did two fit sessions on my TT bike and hung it up. Been trying to sell it. I might jump into eddy stuff, but the vision my wife and I have cobbledbtogether is ten hill climbs and the other weekends in the Adirondacks at our house where I can train on the mountain. Driving south down 95 to some flat TT just doesn’t hold the same allure.
got it; good luck with whatever path you choose.

fwiw, TT bike is finicky. Ben may or may not have mentioned how I injured myself by raising the saddle on my TT bike by 1 cm. I've been dealing with the aftermath of that for the past 20 months and haven't really ridden my TT bike for an year. Whenever I do get to ride it, I will most likely be doing miles on my smart trainer though, for the exact reason you mentioned. It'll most likely be EMX stuff for me for most of next year, unless i have some significant breakthroughs with the knee issue.

Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post


The cycling population in general. It’s not something that costs money. It’s imbuing the sport with a culture that racing is fun, not serious business worth doping over. That the “haves” in any endeavor have an obligation to the “have nots” if you want your interest to remain viable. It’s cycling belonging to local clubs comprised of individuals who think part of their obligation to the sport is to introduce new people to it, to mentor people through the process, and to participate at a level beyond racing- volunteering at races, leading non-hammerfest group rides, partnering with local communities. It’s developing a sense that anyone who wants to race is important to the sport, not just men who race crits. And then acting like it- not having different masters age brackets for women than men at a track competition, for example, when doing so make zero difference to the administration of the event or the bottom line dollars and cents.

I have been trained professionally at the highest level in my field. Part of that training is being told you are a “have”. Your obligation is to provide opportunity for the have nots. Probably 75% of people with my training lecture gratis locally about once a year. Fewer of us take on major time commitments. I’ve personally spent 5 years on a committee that organized and administered our certifying exam, and 4 years on a committee to develop an international course in neuroscience (which we took from zero resources to the biggest source of income for our college and now funds research projects for people in training programs). You are always going to have people who will volunteer and complete their tasks well, if they are given the structure and opportunity and you expect it culturally. And I certainly have taken on big endeavors that were thankless tasks, the thankless aspect comes with the territory.

Mostly in bike racing though, my experience is if I suggest something and I’m told: 1. Stop complaining, 2. You don’t understand how it works, 3. <Or I am literally talked over as if I am not speaking at all>. I’m told as a “have not” in the sport to fix whatever problems I see myself, if I think things should be done differently. I don’t get a sense of being part of the sport- “great points, *we* should see if we can incorporate them into racing” but “you have no idea what it’s like to be a promoter and if you have such great ideas why don’t *you* promote a race”. Not universally, actually- at our local non-USAC TT, I made a suggestion to the promoter in regards to the organization of the new race series, which were initially rejected but upon reflection were later incorporated and I was publically given credit for the change I suggested.

Am I still racing TTs? Yep, for the time being. I’m drawn pretty strongly to mountain biking these days which has way less cultural frustration for me. But the main races I do- Piru and Fiesta Island TTs are run by awesome racing people who really do have such a great vibe, I enjoy those scenes a lot. I didn’t re-up with my race team because they made USAC membership mandatory this year and I’m not sure there will be a USAC-sanctioned TT on our LA schedule this year. I did stay a member of the (race-oriented) club and convinced my employer to sponsor the club (again, last year it was the team), to the tune of $1000. But I literally do nothing with the club (because even the easy club social century turns into a hammerfest on the way back home, you learn there is never an fun social easy ride, ever, no matter how the event is advertised). The club/team organizer, who I am friends with and who is a good guy, has mentioned he wants to organize 3 flat club TTs this year. If he does, I’ll probably stay with the club. Otherwise, I’ll talk my boss into sponsoring the local women’s mtb group in 2020 instead. Not sure if that will draw me away from time trialing or not.
while i agree with the bolded sections of your first paragraph, but if the "you" to which you refer is the cycling population at large, then much of what you wrote is irrelevant to what promoters could do. Btw, there is a very good reason why people tell you to make comments only after you promote a race. It's the old "don't judge others unless you've walked a mile in their shoes" principle. I mentioned before how my collegiate team once hosted a very lucrative crit in NYC. For a few years, the head organizer was a young lady. She was quite sympathetic to the demands of female racers before she needed to do the heavy lifting herself, but that changed when she took charge. This is what she wrote to two other female teammates of mine, when the latter (who just by coincidence didn't have that big a role in promoting the event) complained about scarcity of races; emphases added.

While we can say that "if you don't have races, women won't race," it's not quite as simple as that. Because regional races aren't under one umbrella, pulling finances from and making profit for one entity. It is each promoter for him/herself. And while over the long term it might promote more women in racing to have women's races, each individual event promoter sees a women's 3/4 field as a time and money suck. So while it continues to be the individual promoter's choice, they will continue to cut the lower women's fields because that is the economically logical thing to do. We can complain about it, but it's not going to change anything until we show up to a race with a solid 50 women ready to jump in the field. It may be unfair, but the fact is that we have to bring the women before they put on the races. Think about [the race my collegiate club hosted]; the last wave of the race. It was freezing, raining, and windy. Some of us had been there in those conditions for 10 hours already, and we had to sit there for an extra hour so that 6 women could race. There were more marshals standing outside getting soaked to the bone than there were women out on the course. During the men's pro field, there was an actual race, including 10 day-of registrants who paid $40 each for us to be there in the rain. I didn't really understand that until I had to be there for so many hours in the rain for nothing.
I don't like it either, but that's just where women's racing is right now.
as a threshold matter, I find it somewhat disingenuous for you to reference to scheduling of track events in the conversation when discussing the issue of cost. The highest outlay for a road race promoter, by far, is the police presence and closure of roads. Of course they could add additional master's races at little additional cost at a velodrome, b/c the promoters just need to pay for another hour or two of rental, but this math simply doesn't carry over onto road racing.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______

Lastly to Rob, thanks for all that you have done and contributed. You have given much to the community and should not feel obligated to stay another year to deal with the headaches.

Last edited by echappist; 11-26-18 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 11-26-18, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by echappist View Post
got it; good luck with whatever path you choose.

fwiw, TT bike is finicky. Ben may or may not have mentioned how I injured myself by raising the saddle on my TT bike by 1 cm. I've been dealing with the aftermath of that for the past 20 months and haven't really ridden my TT bike for an year. Whenever I do get to ride it, I will most likely be doing miles on my smart trainer though, for the exact reason you mentioned. It'll most likely be EMX stuff for me for most of next year, unless i have some significant breakthroughs with the knee issue.
Funny, because I did the same thing. I rode an easy hour with the seat about a CM too high, hurt my wee-wee and as a result got a UTI. The aftermath of that infection screwed me up for at least a month and tanked my Mt Washington effort.
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Old 11-26-18, 11:41 AM
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Reduction in numbers of people road racing and inclusion of all groups is a long problem in bike racing and cycling in general. I see people in the Oregon bike racing community doing a lot of the right things - junior development clinics, novice clinics, and women specific clinics for beginners in both road racing and cx are frequent. My club/sponsoring bike shop had a well attended, no drop beginners ride weekly through the summer that taught drafting , pace lines as well as other group ride etiquette and I occasionally see adverts for similar rides from other clubs. I see our local promoters talking to racers and trying to satisfy everyone as far as field combinations at races. Still, road racing numbers are way down over the last few years (I think CX is still quite strong). I think if we looked at it historically, what we need to boost bike racing is an American TdF winner. All I do is thank our promoters and officials whenever I'm at an event, race when I can (which isn't all that often), and help my team promote our team race each year.

As an aside, I also see plenty of social/charity rides in the area, although I don't know anything about participation. Also bike commuting is at an all time high where I live and in many areas of the US. So bike riding is strong, road bike racing is declining.
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Old 11-26-18, 11:48 AM
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I think part of the problem is we want to look at race promoters as business people with social skills and a vested interest in customer service. In actuality they're doing the racers a favor, and usually get a ration of **** in the process. There's little to no money to be be made. The things they could do to promote the sport in general won't give them any sort of even nearby payback and would simply add to their work load and take them from their paying jobs and families. To give to one group of racers always means taking away from another, whether it's prize money, laps, or race fields. I can't think of a more thankless thing to do, and it's the reason why most northeast promoters have moved on. @DieterDrake always had great insight into the life and aggravations of a promoter.
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Old 11-26-18, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
Funny, because I did the same thing. I rode an easy hour with the seat about a CM too high, hurt my wee-wee and as a result got a UTI. The aftermath of that infection screwed me up for at least a month and tanked my Mt Washington effort.
oh yikes...

in my case, it's my knee, and it's still not done. i'm now buying physio tape by the yards (~40, to be exact), b/c i've been doing anything i could to help the muscles fire properly...

Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
I think part of the problem is we want to look at race promoters as business people with social skills and a vested interest in customer service. In actuality they're doing the racers a favor, and usually get a ration of **** in the process. There's little to no money to be be made. The things they could do to promote the sport in general won't give them any sort of even nearby payback and would simply add to their work load and take them from their paying jobs and families. To give to one group of racers always means taking away from another, whether it's prize money, laps, or race fields. I can't think of a more thankless thing to do, and it's the reason why most northeast promoters have moved on. @DieterDrake always had great insight into the life and aggravations of a promoter.
indeed; well said
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Old 11-26-18, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by echappist View Post
got it; good luck with whatever path you choose.

fwiw, TT bike is finicky. Ben may or may not have mentioned how I injured myself by raising the saddle on my TT bike by 1 cm. I've been dealing with the aftermath of that for the past 20 months and haven't really ridden my TT bike for an year. Whenever I do get to ride it, I will most likely be doing miles on my smart trainer though, for the exact reason you mentioned. It'll most likely be EMX stuff for me for most of next year, unless i have some significant breakthroughs with the knee issue.



while i agree with the bolded sections of your first paragraph, but if the "you" to which you refer is the cycling population at large, then much of what you wrote is irrelevant to what promoters could do. Btw, there is a very good reason why people tell you to make comments only after you promote a race. It's the old "don't judge others unless you've walked a mile in their shoes" principle. I mentioned before how my collegiate team once hosted a very lucrative crit in NYC. For a few years, the head organizer was a young lady. She was quite sympathetic to the demands of female racers before she needed to do the heavy lifting herself, but that changed when she took charge. This is what she wrote to two other female teammates of mine, when the latter (who just by coincidence didn't have that big a role in promoting the event) complained about scarcity of races; emphases added.



as a threshold matter, I find it somewhat disingenuous for you to reference to scheduling of track events in the conversation when discussing the issue of cost. The highest outlay for a road race promoter, by far, is the police presence and closure of roads. Of course they could add additional master's races at little additional cost at a velodrome, b/c the promoters just need to pay for another hour or two of rental, but this math simply doesn't carry over onto road racing.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______

Lastly to Rob, thanks for all that you have done and contributed. You have given much to the community and should not feel obligated to stay another year to deal with the headaches.
I donít think this is a problem for promoters to solve. They have a role to play for sure, read my original post in this thread again. Promoters donít create racers. They create a venue. They can make it a good experience and thereís counterproductive things they can do like create illogical racing categories. Just getting a promoter to offer a race is insufficient, as important as it is.

And it is in no way disingenuous to bring up the track racing- if you think it is, you completely missed my point. Even when it doesnít matter administratively or financially, men and women are often treated differently in how racing categories are organized. The point is: thereís ZERO reason to set it up to discourage women from racing in TTs and a lot of track events- it literally takes no extra money or work. But stil, women will be placed in much broader categories than men will be- why? Because, I guess. And then it becomes a non-race. It would actually be understandable if you needed extra expense of police presence etc.
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Old 11-26-18, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post


And it is in no way disingenuous to bring up the track racing- if you think it is, you completely missed my point. Even when it doesnít matter administratively or financially, men and women are often treated differently in how racing categories are organized. The point is: thereís ZERO reason to set it up to discourage women from racing in TTs and a lot of track events- it literally takes no extra money or work. But stil, women will be placed in much broader categories than men will be- why? Because, I guess. And then it becomes a non-race. It would actually be understandable if you needed extra expense of police presence etc.
you actually missed my point. My point being, the finances of running a velodrome event is in no way comparable to the finances of running a road-race event (the topic of this thread). As velodrome financing is the only place where you mentioned the topics of financial bottom line, I thought it disingenuous for you to reference to something wholly non-comparable in making your point. Specifically, ERO charges $700 for a single-person two-hour reservation at the velodrome; given that ERO needs to make a profit off of this as well, one can conclude that the actual track charges will be less than $350/hr. $350/hr doesn't get one very far on the road when the police is involved.
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Old 11-26-18, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
I think part of the problem is we want to look at race promoters as business people with social skills and a vested interest in customer service. In actuality they're doing the racers a favor, and usually get a ration of **** in the process. There's little to no money to be be made. The things they could do to promote the sport in general won't give them any sort of even nearby payback and would simply add to their work load and take them from their paying jobs and families. To give to one group of racers always means taking away from another, whether it's prize money, laps, or race fields. I can't think of a more thankless thing to do, and it's the reason why most northeast promoters have moved on. @DieterDrake always had great insight into the life and aggravations of a promoter.
Thanks, Gary. Great discussion and thoughts, above.We moved on from sanctioned road racing in 2015-16 or so because of the diminishing returns on that style of racing that were/are obvious. There's just no (financial, liability) upside to it anymore, except in some rare cases. That said, I'd organize sanctioned races again if I thought there were a long term opportunity. I'm not optimistic about that, though.

I'm not sure anyone here has mentioned the demographic shifts in cycling since 2011 or so. That is, there's really no lasting recruitment into the road side of the sport that occurred in the 2000s among the 15-23 year olds (this is not true for CX, however, where it's doing quite well). This is the main reason road racing is not doing well in its traditional form. There are separate reasons as to why kids aren't racing bicycles on the road, but the demographic changes are worth noting in any case. We can point fingers and assign blame for this, but it's something that probably would have happened regardless. The "Lance Years" were quite obviously a bubble for racing from which many promoters (including me) benefitted.

While all the above has and is happening, non-sanctioned mass-start riding and racing is thriving everywhere. Everywhere. To the average cycling consumer (sanctioned road racers don't even register on this scale) - but more importantly the general public (sponsors, spectators, municipalities) - there's no difference between the two. Mass-start is the future of road racing...
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Old 11-26-18, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
Bicycle racing is cheaper than many hobbies which are much bigger. Golf, for instance. I don't buy cost being a singular factor.
I am of the opinion that without a "Lance" the sport will continue to dwindle. It doesn't get media attention at all, at any level in this country. We are car-centric and without an american hero out there beating up on the twiggy Euro boys, there's no story. No story means fewer people ever see it and think "that looks like fun!"
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