Karl Etzel, founder of Ride424.com recently published an article on the subject of race fees. Specifically race fees and 24 hour events. It is a timely article given all the buzz going on in various cycling forums right now. I thought the article was well written, and brought up good points.
We all have different reasons that we race bikes. I love to compete. I love the thrill of lining up against other guys that have been out on the trails and roads with the soul purpose of beating me (and everyone else on the line). I love the friendships that evolve from this competition. In high school, when I played baseball, I’d sooner had punched my main rival in the face then talk to him about the game we just played. Not so in racing. More often than not I find myself talking and laughing about the race with guys that only minutes before I was busting my butt to try and defeat. I love the atmosphere. This is true of both one day events, such as the stellar Intermountain Cup which I have been racing for the last 4 years, and it is also true of 24 hour events. Really cool people race bikes, and when a lot of great people are in the same place at the same time and doing the same thing….good things happen.
These are the non-tangibles I consider part of the entry fee. However, I do think the cost for solo riders can and should come down. A solo racer should be required to pay about what every other individual is paying. In an event like The 24 Hours of Moab most people are paying between $125 and $140 to compete. Solo riders pay $330, Duo Pros pay $240. A reasonable fee for a solo (and a duo) would be in the $200 range. Now, I also realize that the Solo and the Duo Pro categories are the racers that are getting cash prizes, so I can understand the logic behind charging more. But like Jeff Kerkove said in the thread that got him banned–we dont need a lot of bells and whistles. I’d trade the midnight movies or live bands for a smaller race fee. After all, the people paying the fees–the racers–are not going to spend much time lounging around the start/finish area wondering when “All The Right Moves” is going to start.
In the end, this is a complex issue. Nobody wants to feel like they are getting worked over. Race organizers want to see a return on the time and money they spend to have an event. Racers don’t want to see thier hard earned money go down the tube on a race that stinks. We need each other, racers and promoters, to survive. Without the other we are both obsolete. Those on both sides of the fence that don’t grasp this concept are usually dispatched of quickly.
Thanks for reading. Ride Long, Ride Hard, Ride Fast.