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Big jumps in race participation.

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Big jumps in race participation.

Old 05-06-12, 08:11 AM
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Big jumps in race participation.

The first few years I raced, the local Tuesday night races only drew 15-20 racers per pack and so far this year, itís been more like 30-45. In the local weekend road races which usually have had 4/5 packs of around 30 racers have had 50+. Iím wondering if the sport is really growing that much or if this is just a regional jump in popularity.

There are new racers, but It mostly seems like a bunch of the occasional racers Iíve seen around for a few years have been showing up to more races, and more people from other parts of the northwest are traveling for racing. Iím kind of the same way; I usually only do 10-15 races per year and since the first races started a month ago, Iíve already done 10. Personally, I have my own reasons for racing more this year than usual that donít apply to most other people, so I have no idea why everyone is racing so much (donít get me wrong, I think itís great) Have any of you noticed this in your area?
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Old 05-06-12, 08:27 AM
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Yes. And they're strong, but not particularly bright.
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Old 05-06-12, 08:42 AM
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A couple possible factors: Slight economic recover = more disposable income for gas and registration. And, the warm winter has allowed folks that would usually be off the bike extra training time. Gotta get out and race to see how all that extra time on the bike paid off.
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Old 05-06-12, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by palesaint
A couple possible factors: Slight economic recover = more disposable income for gas and registration. And, the warm winter has allowed folks that would usually be off the bike extra training time. Gotta get out and race to see how all that extra time on the bike paid off.
I'm glad to see it, no matter is causing it: We all have more people to race with, promoters make more money and have more motivation to put on more races, and hopefully it's a sign the economic situation is looking up.... all good things.
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Old 05-06-12, 11:09 AM
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In SoCal the fields are slightly smaller compare to last year. Dana Point GP Cat 4 didnt even sell out. Compare to WA local fields are huge 75-100 and obviously most cat 5 races are sold out. I know quite a few cat 4 that stopped racing (especially crits) because the fields were always 100+ and just too dangerous.
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Old 05-06-12, 11:24 AM
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In Western WA our Cat 3 field is the biggest I've seen them, but from what I hear it goes in cycles.

We've been getting 70+ racers for local crits when they were ~40 last year. Lots of recent upgrades I guess.

And at the same time attendance in the 1/2's seems down on this side of the state.
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Old 05-07-12, 09:31 AM
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Here fields seem to be smaller this year, but stronger riders. Damnit.
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Old 05-07-12, 10:01 AM
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our grassroots participation is through the roof and our USAC numbers are mostly significantly up as well.
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Old 05-07-12, 11:12 AM
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I normally cry poverty re: promotion. This year was not one of those poverty years. Got over the cusp, which is about 300-320 riders a week, albeit for 3 of the 6 weeks (and no snow/ice day). I gave a massive discount for P123 second racers (i.e. the P123 was their second race - pay $7 for that race), also a discount to women (no day-of fee), and my normal heartbreak story entries/prizes (don't ask me, I hand them out without the racer requesting it). I increased the prize lists, paid out something like $3k on the last day (GC money plus daily prizes). I still made money so thank you everyone that supports the races.

However... this last Sunday there were two big road race things in the area (stage race, road race). One crit on a "standard" course. The crit's numbers were decimated. A real pity because I haven't raced since April 15th, and I won't race again until either Memorial Day weekend (and I'll be driving 3 hours to the race in NJ) or early June (Nutmeg). So many vacant crit type holes but three promoters stacked on the same week in the same area.

There are about 1500 racers in New England. Three local races... that's at least one too many.

I think breaking 70 weather records (in a good way) has something to do with it. Everyone was fit, everyone has been training like mad.

I also foresee a huge drop off in the summer, as those that trained all winter get totally burnt out by June.
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Old 05-09-12, 04:23 PM
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Seeing the same thing in BC. Similar jumps in participation numbers - and unlike CDR's theory, I know it can't be due to nice weather, because we haven't had any until this week.

I'm chalking it up to the fondo craze. There was always talk that there had to be spillover into racing at some point - I'm guessing that's finally showing itself.

Also, the 4's seem way more crashy this year. That may just be my perception tho, I don't have any data to base that on.
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Old 05-09-12, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing
I also foresee a huge drop off in the summer, as those that trained all winter get totally burnt out by June.
Which is why I'm taking the next two weekends off. I'm still on the fence about Somerville. It's either that or Stafford.
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Old 05-10-12, 07:49 PM
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I'll skip Stafford for a variety of reasons. Given the choice it'll be Somerville. With Junior we're capping the acceptable temperature/humidity a little lower than we would for just us. It's usually quite hot and if Junior is there then the Missus can't get super close to the road (for fear of getting mowed down by a crashing field). It would be nice if we could figure out a little setup for a tent/shade kind of thing (like off of the car). Setting up camp for the day would make things a lot easier on these longer trips.

I just hope I can train a bit more. The 1 ride a week isn't doing me any good. At least I'm fresh when I get on the bike.
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Old 05-10-12, 08:47 PM
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I understand your reasons and I have the same concerns.
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Old 05-10-12, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing
I just hope I can train a bit more. The 1 ride a week isn't doing me any good. At least I'm fresh when I get on the bike.
It kinda sucks when it's nice outside, but rollers/trainer is a good option. Let Mom get out of the house (or take a nap), get Jr. napping, then hop on the bike. You can almost always get a solid hour in that way. I've done it 3 times this week alone. Right after they were born, it was the only riding I got.
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Old 05-11-12, 05:56 AM
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I think I'm overcommitting my time. Even next week, when I am at home full time, I already have a list of things I want to get done. I'll have to learn how to manage things better. I was fantasizing this morning of being able to prepare breakfast for the three of us in 5 minutes. Normally I'm dreaming about sprinting faster or whatever but to dream about playing short order cook for the family... I woke up with a start.

As it is the Missus will try and get me to train but I'm just too exhausted. I've skipped all but one offered training times in the last two weeks, on my own volition. Last night and the night before, for example, I was passing out before I could get on the bike.

The races are good because there's an allotted time to ride.
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Old 05-11-12, 06:06 AM
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Rest first, then train.
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Old 05-11-12, 07:01 AM
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Yes that's been my operating mode. It's kind of a default mode - I can't train if I can't keep my eyes open.
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Old 05-11-12, 10:40 AM
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Our women's fields here seem huge this year, and people who have been around longer than me say it's been growing pretty steadily for the past 3 or 4 years. The fields are also stronger and more competitive than they used to be, and, reportedly, upgrading is harder.

Battenkill had two women's 4 fields of 75 each--last year I think there were 40 or so in one field, although there was a master's field, but I doubt there were more than 75 total. Interestingly, the 1/2 field was bigger than the 3s.

One of the local teams had 17 girls in the park race a few weeks ago
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