Tuesday Coffee Talk - No one is watching


Where are the fans?

This past Sunday Colorado was lucky enough to hold another run of the Koppenberg Race. The race was fairly well attended with about mid 500's in terms of registration and the pro's field had an good representation of elite riders in our area. The weather was great...hell it was perfect considering how the last 30 days had been in Colorado yet at is with many Colorado races few turned out to watch, less than 50 during the 3rd wave on the hill.

Why is it Flagstaff can pack on nearly 20,000 spectators and spend nearly a full day to watch a field go by once? Watching a pro level race like that is exciting as the race usually gets to take advantage of roads that would have never been opened up to normal racing. But is it that much better? It is better but a difference of 20,000 to 50 does not reflect the quality of racing Colorado has to offer crowds. But still few showed up, why?

"Cycling is a participation sport, if you like it you should be out racing it!" I agree with that statement but the total registration for the race did not exceed 5000 so again, where is the gap? That section of the hill could have been just as fun as any pro race with (at least) hundreds of fans, music, beer, and all that goes on with the energy of watching a great race. Sure their speed might have been a few mph slower than that what Lance Armstrong could have done had he done the Koppenberg in his "prime years" but does it matter? It's a beautiful day, on a epic race course, away from city regulations... this hill could and should be rockin!

This conversation can go in many directions but one thing I hear often on 303 is how crappy courses are and how expensive the registration fees are. We are partly to blame... and I am talking not only to the racers but ALL CYCLISTS. If we gave Colorado races 10% the love we gave the USAPro Challenge it would completely change the landscape of racing in Colorado. Imagine 2,000 fans on the Koppenberg hill! Get those numbers and the quality of the field (which is good) will go to awesome and probably double if not triple in size.

I leave you with this one request. In 2013 add this to your list of todo's
- If you are a racer - attend and watch one race (field) that you are not racing
- If you don't race - attend and watch one race (MTB, Road or Cross)
- Tell and cycling friend (who might not ever consider racing) to watch a great race (we have at least 1 great event a month (at least).

Tell us your opinion on this

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24 Comments

Why?

I'll admit I don't really understand the expectation that there should be spectators at amateur bike races. I live 1.5 miles from the ballfields in City Park, but I don't go watch amateur softball or baseball games on the weekend. I don't see any reason to expect the folks playing those games to come watch me race my bike up a dirt hill.

I think Kris is primarily

I think Kris is primarily talking about why other cyclists won't come watch. Frankly, I think that's a silly question. Why in the world would they? To think they should want to assumes an unrealistically high sense of importance of a bunch of low-to-mid level AMATEUR cyclists.

Yes!

Watching the pros with thousands of other cycling fans is much, much, much more interesting then watching a few amateurs ride up an empty dirt road! Like the difference between the Nuggets vs. 14ers vs. Y-Leauge. We have Pro Stage Race like Tour of Cali, ColoradoProSG vs. Gila (not many fans out) vs. local circuit/crit/road race/cross.
More fans out at the Juniors and Masters 4s groups... (ie Family out watching)

This was my first time

This was my first time attending Koppenberg (not my last). An early flat gave me the opportunity to watch the racing from the start/finish line. It was good racing and I too was disappointed that there weren't more people watching/cheering. It should be noted that the vendors/sponsors in the finishing area started closing down as soon as the third wave rolled out. What kind of message does this send to anyone who is still milling about? It reminded me of Longmont (2011?) when I decided half way though the race that I was going to have a BBQ sandwich after the finish...the vendor closed down during our race. We had a whole team looking to support this guy and he couldn't be bothered to stay the final 30 minutes for us to finish.

Lastly, and I'm not a prude, the start/finish music needs to be better screened. My family comes to a lot of races. If they had attended Kopp, my young children would have gotten an ear full of (insert four of the worst four letter words that the 303 spam filter won't allow me to post), crack, guns, and sticking it in. It seemed like every song was over-the-top explicit. I can't imagine the parents in the adjacent neighborhood, who might have been inclined to explore the area and find out what was going on, had any interest in bringing their kiddos around.

For what it's worth, watching

For what it's worth, watching Koppenberg on the hill a few years back was what inspired me to get back into racing after 5 years of sitting on the couch.

Now, with obligations being what they are, I have time to either race or watch, but not both. I'm guessing Without Limits would rather have my entry fee than the noise of my cowbell!

This is not all promoters job

The promoter needs to do their part in promoting the race, the rest is up to us. If the advertising budget for a race is $0 and no one shows up.... what did they expect.

Why does every cyclists and those who just own bikes show up at the USAPro but just a small % comes to see a great amateur race?

That is the point of all of this, Why does USAPro get so much attention and BRAC racing does not even come close

Everything is the Promoters

Everything is the Promoters job.

" Why does USAPro get so much attention."

I think we know the answer to that. USA PRO, Amgen, TdF spend millions of dollars. Cities that these races start/finish in PAY to have the race.

The top riders make millions. They have big busses and swag.

Look at NASCAR. Why watch cars turn left for hours? Cause there is millions of bucks spent, people have heros they want to see, ETC.

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