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Why race?

Old 08-10-09, 07:01 AM
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2skinnywheels
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Why race?

Hello everyone! This is my first year racing. I've done ok so far but I have this nagging question that I can't seem to get answered.

Why race?

I mean, I enjoy going out and fraternizing with my team mates and other racers and I enjoy competing with other people. However, it's expensive and I'm really not sure why. Some races may be $15 - $20 while others are $40+ and if you win or place well you might get that much back but you can't win everytime. Spectators get to watch for free and if any concessions are actually sold it is by third party vendors who reap the profits. This seems so backwards from any other sport out there. Where the athletes bust their arse training then when they perform for the public, the public has to pay a cover charge. Profits from concessions sold, go to the organizing committee and the athletes don't pay a dime.

Just seems to me that the organizers are scamming all of us cyclists who go out and pay to race then put ourselves in danger's path in hopes that we will get our ego stroked.

Thoughts anyone?
*edit* not scamming, more like "being less than totally open" */edit*

Last edited by 2skinnywheels; 08-10-09 at 12:25 PM. Reason: clarified on use of the word scamming
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Old 08-10-09, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by 2skinnywheels View Post
Hello everyone! This is my first year racing. I've done ok so far but I have this nagging question that I can't seem to get answered.

Why race?

I mean, I enjoy going out and fraternizing with my team mates and other racers and I enjoy competing with other people. However, it's expensive and I'm really not sure why. Some races may be $15 - $20 while others are $40+ and if you win or place well you might get that much back but you can't win everytime. Spectators get to watch for free and if any concessions are actually sold it is by third party vendors who reap the profits. This seems so backwards from any other sport out there. Where the athletes bust their arse training then when they perform for the public, the public has to pay a cover charge. Profits from concessions sold, go to the organizing committee and the athletes don't pay a dime.

Just seems to me that the organizers are scamming all of us cyclists who go out and pay to race then put ourselves in danger's path in hopes that we will get our ego stroked.

Thoughts anyone?
join a team that puts on a race and be an active participant in the organizing and execution of race day. then report back how much organizers are scamming racers out of $40.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:21 AM
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Been there done it!

Yes, I worked with an organization who hosted a race in my town. There was one person who was getting paid to do a job the other 25+ of us were volunteers who were asked to solicit sponsors to pay to bring the race to our town and to pad the organizing committee's bank account. Some of us spent time hanging banners and signs, our local paper gave us free advertising. One of the local bars included a blurb about it in his own radio ad to attract more spectators just to bring the business into town. I was asked to do a radio interview as one of the racers (which I did for free).

So, the race officials, the host organization and a few local businesses profited from the sweat and hard work of us volunteers as well as entry fees from racers. My fees were comped since I was a volunteer. $40 for 2 days worth of work and being a part of the show not bad!
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Old 08-10-09, 07:27 AM
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^with your attitude it sounds like you were overcompensated
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Old 08-10-09, 07:30 AM
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You don't 'get it'.

It's okay.

Apparently you didn't really look at the cost of paying the town, the insurance, the officials, the purse, etc.

You know you don't have to race right?
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Old 08-10-09, 07:35 AM
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I'm guessing by your response, that you are not a racer but one of those who profits from organizing races. All I'm saying is that I think races can be held as money making events without requiring payment from the athletes who make it possible in the first place. I'm also questioning my own competence as a racer who has paid the entry fee on a number of occasions to go out and do something I can do for free.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:37 AM
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fyi... I'm not trying to offend anyone. I'm just trying to look at the other side of the coin here.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:38 AM
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Nobody is going to pay to watch a road cycling event live.

It costs a lot because of the size of the course that has to be permitted and the duration of the event with all the different race categories.

If you think a race is over-priced and the organizer is making an undeserved profit, you can just vote with your dollar and get over it. I'm not kept awake at night because people pay $45 for a $3 HDMI cable, you know? I just don't buy the expensive one myself.

Why race? It's a game, and if you enjoy playing it, you do it. I'm having more fun bike racing these days than I've had at any other time in my life. It makes non-cycling time with the family more enjoyable, work more focused, and I'm healthier. I'm frugal enough that the equipment costs are kept at a minimum, so the entry fees don't bother me. All my recent race winnings were just thrown back at the promoter, as a "tip" of sorts.

Oh, and the crushing of souls. That's a good reason too.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post
You don't 'get it'.

It's okay.

Apparently you didn't really look at the cost of paying the town, the insurance, the officials, the purse, etc.

You know you don't have to race right?
The sponsors' donations covered all of that.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by 2skinnywheels View Post
Yes, I worked with an organization who hosted a race in my town. There was one person who was getting paid to do a job the other 25+ of us were volunteers who were asked to solicit sponsors to pay to bring the race to our town and to pad the organizing committee's bank account. Some of us spent time hanging banners and signs, our local paper gave us free advertising. One of the local bars included a blurb about it in his own radio ad to attract more spectators just to bring the business into town. I was asked to do a radio interview as one of the racers (which I did for free).

So, the race officials, the host organization and a few local businesses profited from the sweat and hard work of us volunteers as well as entry fees from racers. My fees were comped since I was a volunteer. $40 for 2 days worth of work and being a part of the show not bad!
this masterpiece deserves some more commentary.

volunteer = volunteer. that means you're not an employee. that you got an entry fee comped is better than most other things folks volunteer for.

the person who got "paid" did alot more than you. spent cash up front for things like insurance, permits, road closures, time and expenses for securing enough sponsors to make it a worthwhile event, time invested in filling out a gazillion forms, community meetings with local business to assure them that having a race was a good thing, not just a traffic/parking/lost business for them event, paying officials (who make the equivalent of about $4/hour all said and told.

I'm sure your free radio interview was scintilating stuff, with all your race experience and insights into the sport and event. you definitely should have gotten a speaking engagement fee for that

dude, if you're a troll, then you did well, congrats, now time to go back to the road forum.

if you're a newb to the sport, then be quiet and learn, when you have sufficient knowledge to complain, then do so. until then stfu and learn before typing.

Last edited by MDcatV; 08-10-09 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by 2skinnywheels View Post
I'm guessing by your response, that you are not a racer but one of those who profits from organizing races. All I'm saying is that I think races can be held as money making events without requiring payment from the athletes who make it possible in the first place. I'm also questioning my own competence as a racer who has paid the entry fee on a number of occasions to go out and do something I can do for free.
lol.

RTC is not a profiteer, or even a race organizer.

Are races even profitable? Seems like I'm always hearing about organizers who put in a lot of their own money into them, and hope they break even.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:42 AM
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All of our race organizers and promoters drive Ferraris and retire at 40.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:42 AM
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I just finished doing 5 events. I got up to go to my job every morning at 5am. Worked til lunch. Went home, packed my stuff, and traveled to each venue - none of which were less than an hour away. I set up each event. Busted my ass every day. Then raced to keep our team on top and my team mate on top in our category. I got home and was in bed by no later than 11pm.

All I got was free drinks, Clif Bars, a sandwich, and race fees comped. But I am so so thankful for it all. It was worth every penny I put in my tank for gas, every bead of sweat, every ounce of energy.

It's what we do because we love what we do. Love it or leave it, man.

Last edited by substructure; 08-10-09 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by 2skinnywheels View Post
This seems so backwards from any other sport out there. Where the athletes bust their arse training then when they perform for the public, the public has to pay a cover charge. Profits from concessions sold, go to the organizing committee and the athletes don't pay a dime.

Just seems to me that the organizers are scamming all of us cyclists who go out and pay to race then put ourselves in danger's path in hopes that we will get our ego stroked.

Thoughts anyone?

1. Name me a sport where people pay to see run of the mill weekend warriors perfrom, and the particpants get paid to play in the event. No one's getting paid to run the local 5k, or play in rec league soccer league soccer matches. Why would you possibly think anyone would pay to watch your CatV race?

It's amazing there are actually sponsors that pay to support our teams and races.

2. If you think there are excess profits being made by promoters, become one. It's a capatilistic system, so if there's money to be made, you can run your own race, and make a peice of that pie your own. The fact that people are not clamoring to put on bike races might tell you something about the ROI.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
Nobody is going to pay to watch a road cycling event live.

It costs a lot because of the size of the course that has to be permitted and the duration of the event with all the different race categories.

If you think a race is over-priced and the organizer is making an undeserved profit, you can just vote with your dollar and get over it. I'm not kept awake at night because people pay $45 for a $3 HDMI cable, you know? I just don't buy the expensive one myself.

Why race? It's a game, and if you enjoy playing it, you do it. I'm having more fun bike racing these days than I've had at any other time in my life. It makes non-cycling time with the family more enjoyable, work more focused, and I'm healthier.

Oh, and the crushing of souls. That's a good reason too.
Why not pay to see a crit? Some people pay to watch NASCAR, basketball, football, etc... I would much rather pay $10-$20 to go see a bike race than watch basketball game for free.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:45 AM
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How would you propose charging spectator fees for an event almost certainly held on public roads? Do you think there would be sufficient attendance to cover the things mentioned by RTC?
paying the town, the insurance, the officials, the purse, etc.
How much would you charge the spectators? $40/adult and $15/children sounds reasonable and inline with some of the ticket prices I see for "other sports." How will you control the venue? Meaning, how will you control access - I mean, if the race occurs in a downtown, will you require businesses paper over their windows?

Good luck! You should give this a whirl and let us know how it goes!
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Old 08-10-09, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
lol.

RTC is not a profiteer, or even a race organizer.

Are races even profitable? Seems like I'm always hearing about organizers who put in a lot of their own money into them, and hope they break even.
Yeah, RTC is a bit of a broke college student. So it goes!

Most organizers who are doing an established race make some money.

That being said, I'm not sure what the incentive is for someone who's spending countless hours getting something to work and then not getting anything to show for it.

The first few times a race is put on, I think it's normally break even.

I think CDR would be better able to answer this question, but I doubt he will in this thread because the OP seems more than a little self righteous.

The money my team 'makes' at our event we put into things for the team, for junior development, and for the training series that we run.

Originally Posted by BDS View Post
How would you propose charging spectator fees for an event almost certainly held on public roads? Do you think there would be sufficient attendance to cover the things mentioned by RTC?

How much would you charge the spectators? $40/adult and $15/children sounds reasonable and inline with some of the ticket prices I see for "other sports." How will you control the venue? Meaning, how will you control access - I mean, if the race occurs in a downtown, will you require businesses paper over their windows?

Good luck! You should give this a whirl and let us know how it goes!
Lmao. Nice!

To the OP. If you read Botto's stuff every now and then. He pays maybe 8-10 bucks to race. That's because things are much more established in Europe, and cycling is more ingrained there and everyone wouldn't freak out if a peloton was coming down 'their' road.

Hopefully the US will head to that direction in the future, but it ain't happening now.

Charging a fee for a spectator is stupid. Most spectators come to crits/circuit races because they're easy to watch and keep track of. Organizers want as many people to show as possible because it makes for a good story, and vendors actually get money from it.

Organizers can ask vendors to pay them a % of their profit, and that's how it should work if at all.

Last edited by ridethecliche; 08-10-09 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by 2skinnywheels View Post
Why not pay to see a crit? Some people pay to watch NASCAR, basketball, football, etc... I would much rather pay $10-$20 to go see a bike race than watch basketball game for free.
More popular sports. Higher levels of competition. Stadiums/arenas.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:47 AM
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Do you know how much it costs to shut down a city for several hours? Not to mention the race officials, cops, emergency crew, the guys who set up the barricades, the announcing booths, etc. etc. etc.

There's not enough fans to comp that. We're the only true fans. So we pay for it.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by 2skinnywheels View Post
Why not pay to see a crit? Some people pay to watch NASCAR, basketball, football, etc... I would much rather pay $10-$20 to go see a bike race than watch basketball game for free.

Pay 10$ to see cat4/5 hacks duke it out? Hilarious. Maybe, maybe the P/1/2 race if it's stacked with pro's.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:55 AM
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Forget it. I thought I was asking a question of like-minded people that would appreciate someone looking for a solution to bring the sport of cycling the respect and reverence it deserves. But instead, I found a bunch of people who seem to just want to be hateful. I'll go ask the question somewhere else and hopefully get more mature and answers from people who are willing to listen to reason.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:57 AM
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Wait, wait. Reason like, "Why don't we just magically find a bunch of people willing to spend money watching amateurs race bikes?"
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Old 08-10-09, 07:57 AM
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it's hard enough to get people to show up for national level elite pro races in the US (even with no admission)

and you want to charge them?
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Old 08-10-09, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
It's amazing there are actually sponsors that pay to support our teams and races.
This is the part I have trouble figuring out. The ROI on a local team must be next to nothing. Several of our sponsors have other criteria for sponsoring us besides the return:

One racers dad is donating money.
Another racer is living large and likes being on the team and made himself a sponsor.
A couple others are just close connections that throw some money our way (tax write-off?)
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Old 08-10-09, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Scummer View Post

Pay 10$ to see cat4/5 hacks duke it out? Hilarious. Maybe, maybe the P/1/2 race if it's stacked with pro's.
Local football and baseball teams do it all the time. I raced Cat4/5 all week last week. Those had the highest attendance along with 2/3 races. By the time the Pros came out, more the half the crowd had gotten their fill after 3 hrs and gone home. To the general public there is not a huge difference in 25 mph and 29 mph. They are there for the hoopla and social scene.
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