Tuesday Coffee Talk - Are road races going extinct?

This week's coffee talk focus's on the possible extinction of the road race from the Colorado cycling calendar. What can we do and how, if possible, can we change to adapt to our own version of climate change

Every year people can hear a low mantra chant by many cyclists, "more road races please, more road races please..." Obviously this higher being they are chanting to is not listening as the existence of RR on the Colorado racing calender is getting slimmer and slimmer year after year. Like the potential extinction of the Polar Bear due to global warming, there might not be much that can be done to change this trend unless something changes. Currently getting permits for RR are challenging as many counties like Boulder already have so many county events going on every weekend they need to limit it for the sake of the residents of the rural area. There are very high and rising costs of RR, ask Chris Grealish of DBCEvents he'll tell you the thousands of dollars he is forced to pay to off duty officer to manage every major intersection (20 years ago that wasn't required). Then you need a flood of volunteers, and in the end you have to hope for good weather as on bad day by Mother Nature can keep nearly 50% of the field away hence putting that race in the hole as had happened to the Boulder Roubaix years ago.

It's been ask before with polls on 303 how much you would be willing to pay and rising prices doesn't look like it is an option for many racers and the cost isn't going to drop even if the prize list was set to zero. The only logical option seems to go east like Deer Trail or restart Hugo RR but even that seems just like a band-aid to the problem.

Is it time to change to format of racing up some? Why does a crit/curcuit have to be just 45min or 60 min? What if we turned a curcuit into a RR by extending it to 2hr for longer circuit courses with fewer technical corners? Yes, this would eliminate categories or require combining categories which some would not find acceptable. But where do we go, can road cycling evolve a little and try something new? One can look at the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series to see where evolution has occurred and racers are voting with their registrations as that series is growing very well. One could say, those events are a alternative to a road race... at least it works for me.

Now that we can look past chip timing and who got 35th place in race x maybe we can talk about items that some say are core to what road cycling is all about road cycling, or at the least find ways to evolve into something new and fun to try out like the roadterium -;)

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85 Comments

Steamboat SR is Awesome

Corey does an excellent job with the Steamboat SR. It has to be the best out of the whole calendar.

Corey, thanks for your input on what it takes to put on a race and that just scratches the surface.

Good luck this year.

Racers that are looking for a great race need to put Steamboat on their calendar right now.

Moots supports this SR with evening beer and BBQ and factory tours. All included.

oh lord yes, the Masters

oh lord yes, the Masters special snowflake category boondoggle. I hesitated to bring it up yet again, but it is one of my major pet peeves with this region. Mainly because I am a 3 who gets to race against elite level pros in my category since promoters never have space in their schedules for us after allowing for all the Masters splits :P I would say for me this is the driving factor in whether I go to a road race or not: whether it has a 3 field. Hell all we're asking is a 30 second gap off the elite start just so we don't have to deal with them. Or offer us the option: 1/2/3 and 3/35+ or something. This is by far and away the primary reason women road racers quit road racing.

This is all excellent input, Corey and no slam on you. for the record I've always been a big fan of SSR and my husband and most of my team race it every year. I just can't handle the womens' fields out there (and I get it, it's a Catch 22 for you and not your fault that I'm old and kind of slow).

I made a bunch of suggestions at the Women's Summit to try to mitigate this (my primary one would be to combine or just do away with Masters' Women altogether in favor of more effective merit /category splits) but you get the idea.

Lots of master categories,

Lots of master categories, because there are a lot of Masters racers. Average age in USAC is over 40. Days of full Senior/Elite groups is long gone.

Look at Gila pre reg, 40+ group has been sold out for a while. Iron Horse sold out quick. A majority masters...

Actually Gila has a total of

Actually Gila has a total of two masters categories offered in which they combine everyone over 40 based on ability, not age. All 35+ racers race combined with the cat 3 or cat 4 open field, but they don't even get their own fields. Try that in Colorado and see the response. The fact that it sold out has to do with the quality of the event, especially given how many racers come in from outside of New Mexico. I am curious what was the last Colorado Pro-Am event with that kind of draw and attendance?

Scroll through the races on bikereg.com in other areas and find some events where you see fields such as the Masters 35+_3 or 45+_4 in any other region? Not saying what we do is wrong, but it is definitely unique to Colorado.

Masters - You can't run a

Masters - You can't run a race without the entry money from the beginner/intermediate masters. Years ago there used to be 100+ Men 1-2, 3s fields. Those days are long gone.
VeloPromo in Nor. California has a lot of races with Men 45+ 4/5. And sometimes those are split into seperate 45+ 4s, 45+ 5s if the numbers are out. http://www.velopromo.com/

*The sold out field at Tour of the Gila is the "Master Men B 40+/50+/60+* (Cat 3,4)"
They had 125 entries registered last month. No other field is above 20 yet.

I do agree that smaller races don't need to split out all the cats. Maybe have different grouping for travel races that get 300 or less riders.

Women - Not enough out there to make a difference in registration numbers. For 30 years they have always been 10% to 20% of a race day at most races.

BRAC demographics

Always a lot of talk here about number of master's categories versus senior and junior cats.
BRAC just put out the data on BRAC demographics. 76% of all BRAC members are over the age of 35 (ie MASTERS), which leaves 24% in the Senior AND Junior ranks.
This might be a Great reason why there are so many Master's categories!

Could a US Pro Cycling

Could a US Pro Cycling Challenge stage be used immediately (say 1 hr) after the Pro's pass the Amateurs start line (with a shorter distance)? Mass start like a Gran Fondo and use the High Speed cameras to determine cat & age group winners. May take awhile to sort it out but quicker race finish.

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