Coffee Talk Tuesday - Return to Bare Bones Racing?

How do you want to race and by that I mean what are the check list of items you mentally go through before you decide to do a CX race or not? Over the past 12 months the hum of races getting too expense is starting to turn into a roar. Some are saying that bike racing, particular CX is starting to price itself out of existence. In what use to be a cutters style race where racers would cobble together second class parts and show up pretty much clueless to what cross was all about are now showing up with Carbon A and B bikes and are prepped with CX specific training given to them by their coaches. Is that evolution or is that elitism? In a recent poll we did we discovered that about 3/4's of the riders want bare bones racing with no prizes, no announcing, no extras, just a course, parking lot and less than $25 entry fee (after all late fee's and extras applied). That's not to say that big event racing should disappear it's just that within a month 3/4 of the races could be bare bones to keep the riders coming back. While that might not eliminate the carbon on course it should make your day just a little bit easier to swallow.

But lets belabor this for a moment, why is it that CX racers want bare bones races when the equivalent in the road scene is office park crits which are hated by many? And maybe these big events are not for the riders but for the growth of spectators. And what's wrong with the evolution of American Cyclocross with riders doing special training for the event or even consider themselves "just to be a cross racer" and nothing else?

Personally, I love the big show, but you gain a lot of practice in the little bare bone events and I hope neither go away but if I could change anything I'd make the big shows bigger and the bare bone events bare'er. Some promoters should accept that they are bare bones and make it cheap, cut all the extras out but have them often like on the weekdays like they do in Golden. And big event promoters, give me a show, let me get sucked into the dream of prizes and actual trophy I could get, maybe even a podium girl and spectators can be awed by the size and strength of the fields and vendors can get exposure from the crowds.

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8 Comments

yep, priced out for the most part

I've raced cross in the open cat for years here on the front range, and spent the better part of a decade helping a respected local promoter put on his events... when we started we were charging $20 with no late fees and making good money. Two licenses, and $40 local races have priced me out; I 'm bummed out that some local promoters think they should charge as much as Chris Grealish does for the Boulder Cup, and he has to fill out a UCI prize list! I still love the sport, but I have a family and don't have a sponsor, so $80 a weekend has pretty much limited me to a few events this year... I'd love to see our sport go back to the basics.

Another one priced out

I too have decided to pass on cyclocross racing this season. $100 in license fees (including chip) + $40-50 per race is just to much for one season of racing. Cross appealed to me because of the many ways is was different than road racing. If a bare-bones cyclocross series (like Racing Underground's winter "chilly cheeks" multi sport series) were ever developed, the total numbers would be large. I feel like if you can get someone onto a start line, the battle is won. Cross racing skills are best developed in a race setting, and racing 15+ times a year is how you get good. The few biggies are fun, but many of us want to throw down, drink a beer and go play with the kids the rest of the day. Cross is not marathon or Ironman where you just train for 6 months and have one big day.

Numbers by Race Cost

Numbers by Race Cost -

~ $15 Races
Kick It Cross TT - 217 (44 Juniors)

* $25 Races
Routine Leg Works - 272 (~33 Juniors)
School Yard Cross - 443 (~85 Juniors)

** $30
Blue Sky Cup - 454 (~60 Juniors)
BR Interlocken - 563 (~100 Juniors)
Frisco CX - 337 (No Juniors)
Cross the River - 97 (No Juniors)
Adrenalin CX - 379 (73 Juniors)
BR Valmont Park - 745 (133 Juniors)
Pikes Peak CX - 216 (41 Juniors)
*** $35
USPG Cup in Ft. Collins. ACA numbers seem off but they had around 500?

*** $40 Races
Boulder Cup - 733 (~85 Juniors)
Colo Cross Cup - 528 (~82 Juniors)

Still undecided

I don't know fellas, I really look forward to cx season but only race 1 a weekend due to family obligations so I could care less that it costs 40 bucks a race. I like the technology of the bikes, Larry yelling on the mic at you, and the overall atmosphere this style of racing brings. It's just fun. Cats 4's with fully loaded carbon rigs are a different conversation but overall I gotta say, I support the direction it's going. CX has just evolved to be the complete Winterish sport for cycling.

I can't believe you guys will

I can't believe you guys will spend thousands on a "Road Bike" maybe two, and spare wheels with tires for all conditions. Then be willing to ride it as hard as you can on a rough off road course in the mud and snow every weekend. Then you complain about a $40 race entry and paying for a racing license to support the sport you supposedly "Love". Come on guys, bike racing/riding has never been and will never be a poor mans sport. Quit being so cheap!!!

AMEN

Amen, to that. cycling is one of the cheapest sports to race, just look at running races and you're paying the same amount if not more for a 5k or 10K. Try and race a half or full marathon and you're upwards of $100+. If you can afford a bike and all the gear then you can afford to race. Maybe just don't race every weekend and pick the one's you want, there's too many races out there already just like there's too many 5k's out there, but come on let's get real and quit the grade school whining. Ohh... almost forgot this is 303 aka whiners blog