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  1. #1
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    State of Pro XC Racing In The U.S.

    Although it doesn't effect me directly, it is still sad to see this happen:

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/colo...-xct-cancelled

    Kind of ironic that the event in USA Cycling's home town can't succeed.

  2. #2
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    It's tough out there.

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    What's sad is they can't find a title sponsor when they're only $3200 in the hole. That's a lot of money out of pocket for a promoter, but for a corporation or big company it's nothing.

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    i think they have struggled some. the first year of the race was sort of a cluster. i didn't race the second year, but lots of non-pro riders struggled with the stage race only format (i was there supporting the wife, only had a couple rides under my belt after being broken most of the early part of the year).

    that is the race though. as far as sponsors go, things are indeed bleak. the industry is canibalizing itself and for one reason or another can't draw money from the outside. the athletes are having a hard time so it makes sense that the promoters struggle.

    i wish i could fix the problem, but i am just a little fish. Lance Armstrong has ties to the big dogs with billion dollar annual bonuses. those are the people that we need to make the sport really zing.
    Last edited by whybotherme; 02-23-2011 at 05:58 PM.
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    I'm one of the non-pros that wanted to race last year but could only get out there for one day. I was looking forward to at least watching after missing the Subaru cup in Wisconsin. All my riding buddies were at the Wisconsin race and talked about how fun it was to race and watch. The Colorado xct wasn't what I expected. First, I was disappointed with not being able to race in C-Springs because of the stage format then I was disappointed with the lack of spectators. Seemed like the crowd consisted of a couple family members and a few support people. I think the pizza fire truck had more of a following than the races. I stuck around to cheer on a local Wisconsin kid, took in the women's race, watch part of the men's race, and decided to leave to go ride. The ten days of great riding more than made up for not being able to race. Happy hour at the Breck Brewery didn't hurt either.

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    Not to derail the topic, but I think it's hard to examine the microcosm of XC racing without looking at the overall state of pro cycling in the US, which is not good.

    I don't know why the european models work better for cycling, but they do. More money, fans, and events - maybe intrinsic or maybe engineered.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lassiar
    Not to derail the topic, but I think it's hard to examine the microcosm of XC racing without looking at the overall state of pro cycling in the US, which is not good.

    I don't know why the european models work better for cycling, but they do. More money, fans, and events - maybe intrinsic or maybe engineered.
    Maybe cycling in general is more popular over there because of the gas prices? We might get there...

  8. #8
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    Bummer. Spectator sports that tons of people can relate to is where the money goes. Mtb just aint that unfortunately.

    Some day....maybe. Tons of people mtb, but what I see most of are weekend warriors with 6" travel all mountain bikes that don't even know that XC racing exists.

    Everyone rode XC rigs back on the 90s, so I think that more people could relate to the race scene back then. It wasn't a big scene back then either, but I don't recall big races getting cancelled.

    .02

  9. #9
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    Quote Originally Posted by letitsnow
    Maybe cycling in general is more popular over there because of the gas prices? We might get there...

    Cycling as a sport in general has a lot more history and respect in Europe compared to the US. Before Greg LeMond starting doing well over in France, rarely did the US tune into any race at all. The TdF is over 100 years old.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk
    Bummer. Spectator sports that tons of people can relate to is where the money goes. Mtb just aint that unfortunately.

    Some day....maybe. Tons of people mtb, but what I see most of are weekend warriors with 6" travel all mountain bikes that don't even know that XC racing exists.

    Everyone rode XC rigs back on the 90s, so I think that more people could relate to the race scene back then. It wasn't a big scene back then either, but I don't recall big races getting cancelled.

    .02
    Very true. We all only owned one or two bikes back then, and they both were XC's.
    But I was never into the crowd thing anyway. Just wanted to race my bike with my friends.
    Small or big event didn't matter. Now, it appears as though people want a show.
    I still like racing....
    Addicted to the dirt......with no hope for recovery.

  11. #11
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    As someone who has been involved in putting on many races, this cancellation doesn't really shock me, it's much like BUMP's Bump and Grind pulling out of the PRO-XCT last year. The expenses and hassles of having your race UCI/PRO-XCT for the relative handful of athletes that benefit from it just isn't worth the investment. You can get 90% of the attendance for 50% of the cost by just having an all amateur race with a non-UCI Pro class offered. In the end, who are you serving, the handful of pro's or the hundreds of amateurs your event draws?
    In a perfect world, you have both, and for the most part that takes deep pockets sponsorship from both inside and outside the cycling industry.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbscott
    As someone who has been involved in putting on many races, this cancellation doesn't really shock me, it's much like BUMP's Bump and Grind pulling out of the PRO-XCT last year. The expenses and hassles of having your race UCI/PRO-XCT for the relative handful of athletes that benefit from it just isn't worth the investment. You can get 90% of the attendance for 50% of the cost by just having an all amateur race with a non-UCI Pro class offered. In the end, who are you serving, the handful of pro's or the hundreds of amateurs your event draws?
    In a perfect world, you have both, and for the most part that takes deep pockets sponsorship from both inside and outside the cycling industry.
    I know USA Cycling is not flush with cash, but it seems like this is where they need to step in and help cover the cost of UCI classification. I also think the manufacturers with teams that benefit from the UCI classification should step it up as well.

    XC racing is just never going to be a huge spectator sport, so it will always be hard (but not impossible) to attract outside sponsors. However, with the huge increase in interest in endurance events and the large participation numbers at those events, there is certainly a growing potential audience. It seems to me that an interesting idea would be to pair and XC race with a large endurance event. You get the large number of participants and their large group of support crews as a captive audience for your XC race.

    I also think a multi-sport events like the Teva games makes sense for a pro level XC race. Again, you get a larger group for sponsors to reach out to.

    There has to be solutions to make this work, particularly at this time when mountain bike racing seems to be really growing. Locally we have three thriving weeknight race series within an hours drive. One long standing weekend race series with 15 or so races and a new weekend series with 4 events. We also have some relatively new endurance races that are very popular and fill up their spots quickly.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fishlips
    I know USA Cycling is not flush with cash, but it seems like this is where they need to step in and help cover the cost of UCI classification. I also think the manufacturers with teams that benefit from the UCI classification should step it up as well.

    XC racing is just never going to be a huge spectator sport, so it will always be hard (but not impossible) to attract outside sponsors. However, with the huge increase in interest in endurance events and the large participation numbers at those events, there is certainly a growing potential audience. It seems to me that an interesting idea would be to pair and XC race with a large endurance event. You get the large number of participants and their large group of support crews as a captive audience for your XC race. I also think a multi-sport events like the Teva games makes sense for a pro level XC race. Again, you get a larger group for sponsors to reach out to.

    There has to be solutions to make this work, particularly at this time when mountain bike racing seems to be really growing. Locally we have three thriving weeknight race series within an hours drive. One long standing weekend race series with 15 or so races and a new weekend series with 4 events. We also have some relatively new endurance races that are very popular and fill up their spots quickly.

    I am not sure how easy that would be to do, but I really like that idea. It makes sense IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk
    I am not sure how easy that would be to do, but I really like that idea. It makes sense IMO.
    It would definitely take the right venue and would still probably be difficult, but it may be one way to take advantage of the endurance surge.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fishlips
    It would definitely take the right venue and would still probably be difficult, but it may be one way to take advantage of the endurance surge.
    Perhaps the pros should get with the program and just start dominating the endurance events and shift away from the traditonal XC format.

    That would work IMO. Seems like the endurance scene in S. Cal. is a bit bigger than the XC scene.

    .02

  16. #16
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    Mountainbiking is more of a "doing" sport than a "watching" sport. I travelled to the Windham World Cup last summer on vacation, some friends and I making it our annual biking adventure. We stopped twice along the way up the East Coast to ride some cool trails, and spent a day sightseeing in NYC on the way up. Once there, we got to ride the course and my friend entered the amateur races, too much climbing for me. Watching the best mountainbikers in the world duke it out was fun, but 95% of the spectators were the other cyclists there, despite an advertising blitz, I don't think many folks came just to see what it was all about. Would I go again? Probably not. Even for a longtime rider/racer/promoter, it just wasn't that exciting to watch, and I don't care much for riding/racing at ski resort courses.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk
    Perhaps the pros should get with the program and just start dominating the endurance events and shift away from the traditonal XC format.

    That would work IMO. Seems like the endurance scene in S. Cal. is a bit bigger than the XC scene.

    .02
    there are a few races now that are starting to offer big purses. though they are few and far between. Whiskey 50 is going to have a huge pro female turnout, everyone is gunning for the big bucks! Allison's dreams were centered on XCO. we will see where that goes, but this is going to be a tough year with the injuries. maybe switch focus to marathon and longer races, she does like those a lot.

    i find it depressing that a promoter would say that doing the work to get the UCI points for the pros isn't worth it. i guess that is why we lost all the world cups in the usa.

    so stupid for anyone to blow all their hard earned money to try to reach the top of this sport. just dumping my money in the laps of promoters and manufacturers, my loss is their gain...
    Try to be good.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme
    only had a couple rides under my belt after being broken most of the early part of the year).as far as sponsors go, things are indeed bleak.
    big surprise there. it's people like you that drive sponsors away, you're not that great so quit trying to convince people you are.

  19. #19
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    Symptoms are not the problem

    MTB Racing is like a house of cards. The foundation is too sparse to support anything at the top for long. I think that looking longingly back at racing “back in the day” is misleading as well. The mass of people who might have been involved in have age past that kind of experience. That was just a statistical hump and now are feeling the toe of the bell curve.

    Adult racers are a rare breed at best. They represent a very small group of athletes and, as such, have no broad cultural support. Why would anybody sponsor something like that. Think of the traditional sports that are deep in the heart of Americans. Very many have played those games since kindergarten and continued on playgrounds and PE classes and after school as they grew up. Even fat old geezers played beer league softball. So it is no surprise that Budweiser advertises on baseball broadcasts.

    Atop that house of cards is the USAC. Its efforts focus on adult racers who somehow come up “through the ranks”. One must ask the question then: what are the “ranks”? The U23 program is comparatively small and then you have to ask the question: where the kids come from before that? The USAC Really focuses on the very best they can be found. If you talk to many of the top racers they seem to just have emerged by their own vigor until they got notice that a certain level. And there you have the real rub, athletes are not just found, at least not in numbers large enough for a healthy sustained culture.

    With the paucity of sponsorship we hear people talking about getting more spectators involved, another source of cash. Remote venues, aficionados who are really more doers than watchers, a sport that is notoriously hard to cover with cameras and we have a recipe that feeds to few.

    So absent large numbers of developed racers the top racers and the USAC are really funded from all the non-pros: one day pass racers, occasional racers, and what is probably a relatively smaller segment, dedicated non-pros. It can actually be seen as sort of a Ponzi scheme, where the top racers, and USAC employees (who work their butts off) have the most immediate access to the resources.

    And there you have it, no foundation, no cultural support, no sponsorship. And here in the choir of those of us who love this sport and actually needed to keep our lives straight, I see people looking for short-term answers. Suggestions for different kinds of races that might be currently popular like endurance races which seem to draw a lot of participants. The whole short-track style of racing was developed to try and draw larger crowds. I suspect that 4 Cross has similar roots. these do little to really broad support and bring in cash.

    European cycling is more successful because there is a culture there that supports it. The reasons for that are varied. The other sport that is big there is soccer, largely because huge number kids can play with one ball and that is very inexpensive. Baseball, football, and basketball hold the same kind of attraction with their financial simplicity. Cycling in the US, not so much.

    In the meantime we will tinker with short-term solutions which fundamentally pursue a small culture of devotees to raise more, watch more, and buy more. Yet on the horizon much closer than many people think or the seeds for greater cycling culture. It is a movement to develop cyclists for fun and victory at a much younger age. The future of cycling in the US is in High School mountain bike racing. It started in Northern California in the NorCal League which went on to found the SoCal League and has since become NICA, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association. Since its inception there is a new league in Colorado with two in the pipe, one in Texas and one in Washington. A league in Minnesota is in development and inquiries from all over the country flood the NICA offices.

    In California we have 1000 high school racers and counting. It is growing so fast that these leagues may need to split into smaller leagues. Anyone care to guess how many high school racers there will be in Colorado in three years? And when these guys show up at the championships they find the podium. Oh yeah, and guess where these kids will go after they graduate. These racers were going to collegiate programs and into the ranks of the U 23 USAC program. Maybe we should get them to send us a few bucks.

    This movement is the key to building a culture of cycling not just in developing the racers, the coaches, and support staff, but in developing sponsorships from large organizations. I know it may not do much for the needs we have now but who we are now and how we format our skills and transmit them to the upcoming generation will be key to the success of our sport.

    The greatest challenge is one of taking a community of independent, unbridled, freethinking, and self-taught athletes and helping them to understand that formulating and instructing is a reasonable way to develop cyclists. That means structure, rules, limitations, compromising, holding back and all sorts of things mountain bikers don't like to do. Yet the thing I hear most often when I talk to people about these high school programs is this: “I wish I had this when I was in high school.” Frankly, I wish I did too, especially at a time I just might have listened.

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    Amen on the need to focus on the junior riders. I am excited to see some effort to start a high school league in my state. I am anxious to help in whatever way I can. I have a 10 year old son that loves to ride and race and it would be great to see an established high school league for him to target.

  21. #21
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    The Colorado Springs XC race was also scheduled on the same weekend as the Bailey Hundo....a growing and popular 100 mile race west of Denver. Personally, when I put down money to enter an event, the length of course and fun-level always dictate where that money goes. I haven't done an XC event in just about 3 years. Mostly because the entry fees ($60+) plus license cost ($160) make it not worth it. Endurance races here in CO, UT, and other western states have been filling 350+ plus spots with online registration in less than 10 minutes. To my knowledge, I haven't heard of an XC event selling out. It is all about demand. Right now, in the USA....marathon and longer events are leading the charge.

    Still have a lot of respect for xc racing and the those that excel at it. It's a tough format. Just not for me anymore.

    Just my 2˘

    +1 for High School racing and promotion of the sport to that demographic.

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    mike...

    we all know that the future is in the juniors. i am glad that the program is taking off. i have offered some stuff to our local team.

    i see zach headed the opposite direction every now and then on my training rides. for whatever reason i never see him going the same way. i really hope he keeps up the good work, it is fun to see people that are locals do so well internationally.
    Try to be good.

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    One thing that frustrates me is the lack of support those that have been into biking offer to people interested, at least around here anyways. I'm a 20 year old college student, and with a few exceptions, most of the guys that ride around here turn to be stuck up. Unless you ride a $3000+ bike and have been riding for 5+ years, they won't listen to you. I personally have trained so hard this winter in hopes that in my first race in a few weeks I'll "earn my worth" so to speak. I used to race RC cars, and still fly RC planes as my other hobbies, and have never seen a niche so closed off to new blood.

  24. #24
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    It sounds like we are destined to see the marathon events being the races of the future nationally while the traditional XC events begin to fade away a bit.. With Leadville etc growing in such popularity, it only makes sense that that is where the sponsors will put their dollars and riders.

    Sounds good to me..

    I do hate paying as much as I have for a short race... I would rather be out in the trenches for longer than most XC races offer..

  25. #25
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    Endurance events will fallow the same misfortune as XC racing did. plain and simple BORING to watch and BORING to support. Yeah it is great for the riders, but where is the attraction for anyone to take a family to? Why would I just go to a place to watch some dude ride by and not see him again for 6 hours. I wouldn't. Promoters and companies just don't understand how to make this work. If I am said bike company and am asked to send some racers, bikes, or support to a race, my first thinking is whats in it for me? Sponsored riders are not buying my junk, who is seeing the advertisement? who am I selling to? I this economy and age of the 30-40 somethings with kids ranging in 3-13 years of age , we need to look toward our youth. events need to be fun, interesting to watch, and a reason for families and companies to support. $3200 for a company for good advertisement is child play, however who would see my product? events that stand out for me over the last 25 years would be the Cactus Cup, Sea Otter, and Mammoth. all events had stuff to do for riders, spectators and families. kids rides, kids races, nightrides, racing classes from fat, slow beginner (i raced it, came i 3rd ), to to notch racing. The racers and companies were also very assessable. We need to re think what we promote. High school racing is a great start, but what about younger? camps? for xc races you need to get the riders in front of the spectators more, if that means shorter laps, tighter course or whatever, we also need some true battles between riders, hatred, country vs country stuff. Racing has just become BORING.

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    I don't think it's a boring spectator thing, i mean come on, look at running races- track to cross country to road racing it's a huge sport with tons of money and participants at all levels..
    Get the kids in the sport young like with track, and cross country thats what i did i barely heard of cycling(early 80's) if cycling was an option i might have started much earlier, and to earn a scholarship..

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by KERKOVEJ
    To my knowledge, I haven't heard of an XC event selling out. It is all about demand.
    Iceman sells out here in MI every year. sold out last year in less than 24 hours (3,700 spots). Entry is march 1st at 10am.

  28. #28
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    The Downieville Downhill's XC race sells-out in moments.

    The Sea Otter XC race doesn't seem to sell-out per se but about 5 kajillion "racers" do it every year.

    Endurance Races at Boggs sell out.

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    mmm, I have been racing for many years (20 now I think), all over the place, euro, us, canada....at elite level and at local lever, world cup, world champs, and of course, lots of local races.

    I think the problem with the US races is the locations….ski resorts nearly all the time. Why not in town centers close to cities?

    Another problem I think is the size of your country. Difficult to run a national series of 6 races across the whole country, when you can drive from east-to-west of most euro countries in 2 hours.

    Why not forget about the national series and run district series instead….group states together, and have 8 district series…..all go towards an overall?

  30. #30
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    our sport life is in the jrs... we have to support them.. My local club supports a jr racing team.. im happy my money goes to help support them with bikes, races, and kits..

    I really dont care about the cost of a race and its length.. (im in the sport class and do it for fun) have hit the blocks twice last year which was a bonus.. at the end of the year I did start looking at longer races VT50 (which I did)-24 hrs of great glen.. Ill be doing those this year
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk
    I do hate paying as much as I have for a short race... I would rather be out in the trenches for longer than most XC races offer..
    i have the opposite opinion.

    short races, for me, usually have much closer racing. lead changes, real battles. look at cyclocross, much better racing (once i figured things out a bit, hopefully this year i will have money left to buy a CX bike instead of racing on my MTB). where as long races tend to have larger separation and less real racing, more just survival.

    we have a local event, Warrior's Society Vision Quest, that sells out in minutes. it is held on all the trails we train on every weekend. i did it but swore i would never do it again. it is a cool event , just not my cup o' tea.
    Try to be good.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryguy135
    One thing that frustrates me is the lack of support those that have been into biking offer to people interested, at least around here anyways. I'm a 20 year old college student, and with a few exceptions, most of the guys that ride around here turn to be stuck up. Unless you ride a $3000+ bike and have been riding for 5+ years, they won't listen to you. I personally have trained so hard this winter in hopes that in my first race in a few weeks I'll "earn my worth" so to speak. I used to race RC cars, and still fly RC planes as my other hobbies, and have never seen a niche so closed off to new blood.
    that sucks. where do you live? if you see us at a race come talk. i used to race for ProLine and Xray.
    Try to be good.

  33. #33
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    Quote Originally Posted by dapozer
    Endurance events will fallow the same misfortune as XC racing did. plain and simple BORING to watch and BORING to support. Yeah it is great for the riders, but where is the attraction for anyone to take a family to? Why would I just go to a place to watch some dude ride by and not see him again for 6 hours. I wouldn't. Promoters and companies just don't understand how to make this work. If I am said bike company and am asked to send some racers, bikes, or support to a race, my first thinking is whats in it for me? Sponsored riders are not buying my junk, who is seeing the advertisement? who am I selling to? I this economy and age of the 30-40 somethings with kids ranging in 3-13 years of age , we need to look toward our youth. events need to be fun, interesting to watch, and a reason for families and companies to support. $3200 for a company for good advertisement is child play, however who would see my product? events that stand out for me over the last 25 years would be the Cactus Cup, Sea Otter, and Mammoth. all events had stuff to do for riders, spectators and families. kids rides, kids races, nightrides, racing classes from fat, slow beginner (i raced it, came i 3rd ), to to notch racing. The racers and companies were also very assessable. We need to re think what we promote. High school racing is a great start, but what about younger? camps? for xc races you need to get the riders in front of the spectators more, if that means shorter laps, tighter course or whatever, we also need some true battles between riders, hatred, country vs country stuff. Racing has just become BORING.
    Maybe. I was just thinking about how much distance running has taken off in the US. Triathlons too. Endurance seems to be this new marker for toughness in many peoples' eyes. 12 and 24 hour events / Ride the Divide/ Leadville etc ec offer the same for mtb.

    When I talk to my friend or family outside of cycling, they are rarely that interested in a 25 mile XC race, but do want to hear all the details of marathon events.

    Distance is just more impressive to most onlookers. Having said that, maybe the general public would be more willing to get behind it. Marathon runners and Ironman/tri athletes definitely can relate to what we are going thru out there and there are millions of them it seems.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryguy135
    One thing that frustrates me is the lack of support those that have been into biking offer to people interested, at least around here anyways. I'm a 20 year old college student, and with a few exceptions, most of the guys that ride around here turn to be stuck up. Unless you ride a $3000+ bike and have been riding for 5+ years, they won't listen to you. I personally have trained so hard this winter in hopes that in my first race in a few weeks I'll "earn my worth" so to speak. I used to race RC cars, and still fly RC planes as my other hobbies, and have never seen a niche so closed off to new blood.
    Where are you located?

    I found the racers to be the most welcoming group of cyclists in my area. Granted I was already racing when I started talking to people and looking at teams, but it's not like I had an impressive race resume, and my entire stable of bikes is worth under $3000. Really, just showing up to races ready to compete seemed to be enough to make me "in."

    I changed teams recently, and found that my local university's team was not a group I really wanted to join. They seemed like a bunch of kids with scary bike handling skills and poorly-maintained Cervelos. Maybe if that's the only group you've looked at you should try riding with some of your local seniors' and masters' amateur teams. Any team is going to have its share of people on expensive bikes, certainly I'd have expensive bikes if I could afford them right now, but I think more experienced riders are a lot more interested in the athlete on top of the bike. Are you planning to do collegiate races?
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    So let me say I was the venue guy for this race--let me talk about the first year it was run as a UCI race. For both the Pro's and Amateurs the onsight registration was a cluster--the staff just wasn't prepared to handle the onslaught of unregistered folks that showed up. The Pro event actually went off rather smoothly with us having very few issues. The starter for the Amateur event mistakenly started large groups all together--that wasn't how it was planned--they were supposed to be started by category and age group with 30 seconds between each wave. This clearly was an issue. For the next year's UCI event USA Cycling forced us into an impossible date with a Mountain States Cup and a Winter Park events all on the same weekend--throw in Downieville for good measure and you quickly understand that the odds were against us at the get go. In order for us to compete for the amateurs I convinced Andy that we needed to be different and hence the stage race format was thought up. Now for the Pro's that was indeed a bonus--more prize money and UCI points. For the amateurs I knew right away that the stage race format wouldn't work for some but in order to make the race solvent we needed rider days and fewer riders paying for 3 events was better than more riders paying for 1 event. To be honest no one has convinced me yet (despite whatever Kelly Lusk said in cyclingnews.com) that we would've had the single day numbers to support the event any more than we had the multi day riders. And we'll never know. We ended up losing a significant amount of money on the event--but I will tell you this every bill was paid including the pro payout. For those who attended in 2010 we also corrected all the issues from the previous year--registration was smooth, starts were correct, etc. We did realize (after the fact) that we hadn't been treating our volunteers very well so that's something we'll be correcting this year. So for 2011 USA Cycling decided to not pay some of the UCI fees that they had in the past and then the UCI registered teams no longer have to pay entree fees created the majority of the budget deficit. We moved the venue to a more in town venue, Palmer Park, and which also helped with the budget. We did have a better date in 2011 with less conflicts but the Hundo is on the same weekend and that was a consideration. To be honest though I could have easily wrote a check for that amount for the deficit if I wanted, but in order for me personally to feel good about donating not only my time but money as well I have to feel like it's being appreciated. USA Cycling has never given me that impression--it seems like they think we need them when in reality it's just the opposite, they need the promoters to run these events. And let me be clear it's a pain the in ass dealing with the UCI and USA Cycling at this level--just ask any current UCI MTB promoter. Of course Andy had the final say on running the event but faced with an almost certain budget deficit and my unwillingness to work with USA Cycling he pulled the plug. So for this year Andy and I will run our local events at Palmer Park, Cheyenne Mtn State Park as well as Bear Creek Park so we'll have some great racing down here but one things for sure you won't need to have USA Cycling license to race in our events if I have anything to say about it. Fire away with the questions I'm more than happy to try and answer them.

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    The current format and concept is failing, costs to put on events are increasing, insurance is going through the roof, and there is limited money coming in. Competitor fees have to be raised to accommodate these increased fees, thus putting financial stress on the competitors and or "sponsors". This will limit the racers to pick races that are closer more important on so on, this means less racers, less money coming in, canceled races, bye bye mtb events. Now change this model to focus on the spectator, I know far fetched. Larger companies as well as small ones will spend more advertising $$$ to be in front of more people, This in turn will keep participant fees lower = more riders, and in turn = bigger winning purses for more categories. The event needs to be more of a carnival, fair, rodeo type thing. Bring people in who have minimal interest, show them what this is about, let them and their families have some fun and whola the next day the LBS wins with a couple bikes, goods out the door. it is a win win deal.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike
    The Downieville Downhill's XC race sells-out in moments.
    Not true. The stand-alone XC race rarely, if ever completely sells out. I know people the last few years who signed up just a few days prior. (It still gets a HUGE turnout though)

    It's the Downiveille All-Mountain race that sells out...which which is the XC+DH combined race. That sells out in like 30 seconds...
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme
    i have the opposite opinion.

    short races, for me, usually have much closer racing. lead changes, real battles. look at cyclocross, much better racing (once i figured things out a bit, hopefully this year i will have money left to buy a CX bike instead of racing on my MTB). where as long races tend to have larger separation and less real racing, more just survival.
    .
    I have the same opinion as you. And that's also why I got addicted to CX this year. Speaking of which, CX is also way more exciting for spectators to watch as well (i.e. they usually see the whole course and racers pass by their spot 6-8 times if not more in an hour long "A" level race, plus you have the whole fiasco with mud and barriers beer and just an overall more festive atmosphere than your typical MTB XC race which adds to the spectating).

    Plus CX races are typicall held in city parks that are much more accessible. Rather than driving hours and hours out in the sticks to some XC event. CX events can be held right in the middle of a city...across the street from a taquiera that sells beers...mmmm, beer.....
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    Thanks for your honesty. I live in the Springs and honestly I hope you guys do ditch USA Cycling, even though I renewed my license last week. I love the Winter Park series and there is no USA Cycling there and it doesn't seem like sandbagging is anymore of an issue. Thanks for putting on a race series in the Springs. Of all the places to race in the USA, Colorado Springs should have MTB racing. See you guys this summer.

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    Yeah USA Cycling! I am glad our local weekend series is a non-USA Cycling series so I don't have to buy a license. Unfortunately one of the races in the series is a national qualifier race, which I think means I would have to buy an annual license if I want to do that race. Hopefully I am wrong.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe90mccall

    I think the problem with the US races is the locations….ski resorts nearly all the time. Why not in town centers close to cities?
    I don't think any of the Pro XCT races are at ski resorts and haven't been at all. Bonelli and Fontana are both within an hour of an international airport. Sea Otter I have no idea have never flown around there, but it's a huge event. Mellow Johnny's isn't *too* far from Austin airport. I didn't get to WI last year, so can't speak to that one, but heard it was a hugely popular and well-run event, and Missoula is new this year.

    Nationals the last 2 years and I believe this year (Sun Valley afterall?) are at ski resorts.

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    I'm in the Kansas flatlands. Didn't mean to sidetrack the thread. There's only a small handful if guys to start with, and I'm the youngest by 15 years. Two of the guys have been incredibly helpful and friendly to me, but I've had
    A bike shop owner call me an idiot for asking for help on building a new bike. Talk about encouraging.

    No collegiate series around here. I'd love to try to get it started though.

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    I think promoters need t focus more on offering a fun and festive atmosphere to the racers and their families. The Wisconsin Offroad Series (WORS) is BOOMING and has been for years. They have 12 races, all on different race courses, and have huge turnouts (250-350 sport riders, 700+ total racers). Their Pro XCT race last year had tons of spectators and was really well received (and that race is literally in the middle of nowhere).

    They've got it really dialed in on how to get people to show up to the races (and on how to put on a fun and awesome event).

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces
    Not true. The stand-alone XC race rarely, if ever completely sells out. I know people the last few years who signed up just a few days prior. (It still gets a HUGE turnout though)

    It's the Downiveille All-Mountain race that sells out...which which is the XC+DH combined race. That sells out in like 30 seconds...
    Thank you for the correction. I apologize for the too-general reference to D'ville and the suggestion that it sells out in moments but rather 30 seconds.

  45. #45
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    The real problem with bike racing and like with

    motorcycle racing is the lack of real support from the people that make real money at it, the manufactures. Pro a real pro racer should have compensation, is like a freaking job or more to be able to race at that level. Also too many people getting nickel and dime stuff, that have no real shot at winning anything but they just hang around , is easy to see look at the finishing times. But giving away some much stuff to neo pros dilutes whats available for real pros and promoters.

    The promoter needs to at least break even, making actual money is a different story since I done promoting and actual event timing I can tell you that in a race of 400-700 racers depending on "your" sponsor you could break even.

    If you thing is easy or financial rewarding to put on a race give it a try, permits ,location and insurance will keep busy for a while.

    enough rambling.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by peabody
    big surprise there. it's people like you that drive sponsors away, you're not that great so quit trying to convince people you are.
    Wow. Bitter post.

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    The XC format will remain USA Cyclings focus, because it is tied to an Olympic discipline, USACycling has to push it. UCI points are critical for Olympic start spots.

    The problem is, every other olympic timed sport, athletes travel all over the world to get these points, Some US pros don't want to do this, therefore USA Cycling pushes promoters to have UCI status, which only benefits, maybe 10 potential riders, at best. Follow this by first year events becoming UCI sanctioned, this is a recipe for long term failure for the promoter. An event should grow in racer numbers and then think about adding UCI status. In the USA we tend to put the cart before the horse way too often. I know why this is, and the only way to make it better is for USACycling to be removed from the equation. (Who's with me?)


    Sponsors need value, and a good pitch. Race day spectators won't ever build a return, but, there are better ways.

    raceuscs.com is a non USA Cycling Sanctioned series, with multiple XC types races, with a strong sponsor base and a real Pro Purse. However, our main customer base is not Pro. So we have to create value for them, which is why there is no license required.

    This is a critical conversation for us to begin for the future of the sport. The future can't be about money, the future needs to be about keeping our talent on the dirt and off the road.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by stupidbike

    The problem is, every other olympic timed sport, athletes travel all over the world to get these points, Some US pros don't want to do this, therefore USA Cycling pushes promoters to have UCI status, which only benefits, maybe 10 potential riders, at best. Follow this by first year events becoming UCI sanctioned, this is a recipe for long term failure for the promoter. An event should grow in racer numbers and then think about adding UCI status. In the USA we tend to put the cart before the horse way too often. I know why this is, and the only way to make it better is for USACycling to be removed from the equation. (Who's with me?)

    This is a critical conversation for us to begin for the future of the sport. The future can't be about money, the future needs to be about keeping our talent on the dirt and off the road.
    I do agree about the 10 riders getting benefit but really with just a handful of Pro XCT events the points (I think the total first place points in the U.S. is 300 points this year) just really don't matter in the grand scheme of things. If USA Cycling really wanted to do this right you have to run a lot more events including stage races and one days from C1 through C3 and then the available points might actually mean something. Without doing that the whole Pro XCT thing is really a benefit to no-one, especially the promoters.

    I'm not sure if you were calling out our event as a first year. Actually it wasn't we had run a similar course at that Cheyenne Mtn State Park the year before, albeit with about 125 racers. Andy has been running events for about 20 years (I think he will hit a 100 races promoted this year) and I've been involved with the promotion side since 1996 and with Andy since 2007. We only stepped up to do a UCI event because at that time we thought it was important to support the olympic/world cup athletes and to be honest I didn't research the value of those UCI points until our second year and I was surprised.

    I do agree that USA Cycling (at least the MTB side of the house) brings little value to the whole mtb issue. They seem fixated only on the Pro's and really don't care about the amateur side except to being able to hold national events so they can gouge the promoter for whatever they can get out of them. As I stated below in another response we'll be running our events this year without USA Cycling and we'll see how it goes. I also think some of the current Pro XCT promoters aren't very happy with USA Cycling and it wouldn't surprise me to see them bail completely and run non-sanctioned events next year as well.

    And for the record I'm not completely anti USA Cycling--they actually have some real good folks working there just not on the MTB side of the house.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by stupidbike
    An event should grow in racer numbers and then think about adding UCI status. In the USA we tend to put the cart before the horse way too often. I know why this is, and the only way to make it better is for USACycling to be removed from the equation. (Who's with me?)
    Very forward thinking - you’ve got my vote.

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    [QUOTE=joe90mccall]I think the problem with the US races is the locations….ski resorts nearly all the time. Why not in town centers close to cities?

    Another problem I think is the size of your country. Difficult to run a national series of 6 races across the whole country, when you can drive from east-to-west of most euro countries in 2 hours.
    QUOTE]

    DING DING, I think this is one of the major issues. Population density. In Europe with a 6hr drive you can be in 3 countries over. For me in San Diego a 5hr drive will get me to AZ or Nevada....there just arn't enough people into Mountian Biking that live close enough together.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces
    Not true. The stand-alone XC race rarely, if ever completely sells out. I know people the last few years who signed up just a few days prior. (It still gets a HUGE turnout though)

    It's the Downiveille All-Mountain race that sells out...which which is the XC+DH combined race. That sells out in like 30 seconds...
    Yep, I really wish most races had a DH and XC combined class and scoring.

  52. #52
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    Not calling you out bena, i do not know the full history of your event, but, an event is very different from a promoter don't you think? A seasoned, successful promoter can fall flat with one venue/event.

    In any case, established to me means multiple years of growing attendance, community support and fun.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by stupidbike
    Not calling you out bena, i do not know the full history of your event, but, an event is very different from a promoter don't you think? A seasoned, successful promoter can fall flat with one venue/event.

    In any case, established to me means multiple years of growing attendance, community support and fun.
    Yup don't disagree that a promoter with a long history can still run an unsuccessful event. In our case as I've acknowledged we made some mistakes the first year we that we corrected in the second--but really the reason we were unsuccessful last year was the date forced upon us by USA Cycling. You only have so many amateur riders on the Front Range of Colorado and having 3 events wasn't (and still isn't) a smart thing to do. Our pro numbers were what we thought (even though Downieville was going on as well and being sandwiched between two other Nationals events in Colorado) but the amateur numbers were disappointing to say the least. Given a better date last year the event would've been successful IMO--maybe if USA Cycling had some real skin in the game they would've taken my concerns seriously last year and allowed us to run in June when there were no local conflicts. The MTB side of the house in USA Cycling is out of touch on what it takes to run a successful event for both the amateur and pro rider's--peace, sorry about the ramble.

    Got your established criteria--not quite what I would use but I understand where you are coming from.

    cheers, matt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fishlips
    Although it doesn't effect me directly, it is still sad to see this happen:

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/colo...-xct-cancelled

    Kind of ironic that the event in USA Cycling's home town can't succeed.
    Andy has started to open up about some of the things that went on with USA Cycling on his website. He's shared the race budget (www.sandcreeksports.com) so if you want to see the costs involved for running an event at this level it's open kimono. I especially like Steve Johnson telling Andy he was "a problem promoter" -- of course this isn't totally a surprise as Andy has been a bit critical of USA Cycling in the past (http://www.sandcreeksports.com/articles.htm) and it probably didn't help that I included Steve on an email to Andy calling out Kelly Lusk when I told Andy I wouldn't work with USA Cycling any longer after her responses in the www.cyclingnews.com article. Andy has included the correspondence between Kelly and the Pro XCT promoters that includes the actual dates as well.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryguy135
    One thing that frustrates me is the lack of support those that have been into biking offer to people interested, at least around here anyways. I'm a 20 year old college student, and with a few exceptions, most of the guys that ride around here turn to be stuck up. Unless you ride a $3000+ bike and have been riding for 5+ years, they won't listen to you. I personally have trained so hard this winter in hopes that in my first race in a few weeks I'll "earn my worth" so to speak. I used to race RC cars, and still fly RC planes as my other hobbies, and have never seen a niche so closed off to new blood.

    you clearly don't surf then do you

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    The lakes in Ks make that difficult...lol

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    Sand Creek International Pro XCT

    Andy Bohlmann here.

    I am the Race Director for the cancelled Sand Creek International Pro XCT UCI C2 race. Along with Matt Benassi my Venue Director, we organized the 2009 and 2010 Pro XCT races here in Colorado Springs, CO aloang with at least a dozen other races.

    Matt's posts on this forum are 100% accurate and everything we do and say can be backed up with the proper documentation. This is normal for us.

    I have added several additional items to document our postion with regards to USA Cycling and the cancellation of this great race. See www.sandcreeksports.com

    While not making the break even budget by about $3,000+ was the main factor, a converstaion with the USAC CEO on February 22 was the deciding thing. Nearly 100 USAC races organized and now this. So now, USAC looses another 10% of its mtb races in CO!

    So, Matt and I will still have some great racing this year! We've got a great technical course in Palmer Park, two Wednesday afternoon races, and a long XC course back at Cheyenne Mountain State Park. I'm worrking this week on nailing down a few venue details but nothing serious. And of course, our August 14 Colorado Senior Road Race Championship at the Air Force Academy!

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    UCI Cancellation Fee

    As of March 7th: The UCI race cancellation invoice for 185 EU ($258.50 USD) was received today!

    Should we pay or not pay? Vote by contacting us! Or, are you willing to contribute? Remember, 100% of your contribution will leave the country and end up in a Swiss bank account!

    Or, who wants a t shirt?

    Andy Bohlmann
    Sand Creek Sports,Inc.
    www.sandcreeksports.com

  59. #59
    I like to ride my bike.
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    That is BS, pure BS.
    I like bicycles. Bicycles make me happy. Riding them makes me even happier.
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  60. #60
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    I think for the most part in the US, the emphasis on racing has deminished in the US. I only say this because when I started racing in the 90's, every race I attended was full or damn close to being full. Now a days, with the exception of a few, races are drawing smaller and smaller crowds. Sponcors do not want to spend money when there attendance is so low but it doesn't matter to the sponcor because clearly they're doing ok otherwise they wouldn't have survived as long as they have. The only hope we have currently in bringing back some competitive cycling is through teaching younger generations. The people at NorCal high school cycling are on the right track.

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    USA Cycling Looses 20% of its Colorado Mtb Races

    With Sand Creek Sports in Colorado Springs no longer sanctioning with USA Cycling for 2011, USA Cycling is down by about 20% of its sanctioned mtb races over 2010 not counting the 2010 mtb Nationals.

    For a farily complete CO tentative mtb race calendar and the Sand Creek Sports schedule in Colorado Springs, please go to www.sandcreeksports.com

  62. #62
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    Christ, enough with the self promotion and USA Cycling/UCI bashing. It's not like you're an impartial player in this.

    We all understand you couldn't break even and had to pull the plug. Also, it's clear that USA cycling and you guys had some issues. No one's going to hold that against you (or at least they shouldn't). Do the classy thing and just leave it at that. No reason to air your dirty laundry here or shove it down people's throats.

    With that said, I'm saddened to see another UCI event being dropped in the USA for MTBing. It's really too bad that more promoters can't get it together for MTB racing in the USA (luckily we're blessed in our area with very well ran/promoted/sanctioned races). Especially for juniors/u23 racers looking to break in the MTB pro ranks or domestic rides wanting to compete in the Olympics.... UCI points are important. I know this was just a C2 event, but still.

    We have more UCI cyclocross races than any other country in the world and a LOT of C1 UCI CX races. The UCI MTB race in question was only a C2 event (lower payout, lower fees/etc).

    What's the differences going on between the two disciplines? While some of the bigger UCI cx races draw large crowds and 100+ field sizes for some of the cats.... I've been to plenty that had only a few hundred participants overall. Somehow they are able to make it work. I know a lot of that has to do with no monetary payouts to any class except the UCI divisions.

    The Wi MTB race series has several hundred people show up to every race. Their Pro XCT was considered the most popular last year. So, it can obviously be done. What's holding more locales/events back?
    Last edited by briscoelab; 03-09-2011 at 03:17 PM.

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    putting my money where my mouth is.

    spent my day on Sunday supporting a local High School MTB league race.

    currently hosting a U23 female at our home.

    it might not be much, but if we all do our best maybe we can keep things positive and moving forward.
    Try to be good.

  64. #64
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    Right on! Every little bit helps.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme
    putting my money where my mouth is.

    spent my day on Sunday supporting a local High School MTB league race.

    currently hosting a U23 female at our home.

    it might not be much, but if we all do our best maybe we can keep things positive and moving forward.
    Very cool. If you don't mind me asking, where do the students typically get the money from to purchase an expensive mtb bike? Shop deals? Donations? Parents?

    I love the idea, but I can just picture it now... a bunch of kids showing up with 1986 Huffy/Sledgehammer bikes that don't function and are dangerous to ride...

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk
    Very cool. If you don't mind me asking, where do the students typically get the money from to purchase an expensive mtb bike? Shop deals? Donations? Parents?

    I love the idea, but I can just picture it now... a bunch of kids showing up with 1986 Huffy/Sledgehammer bikes that don't function and are dangerous to ride...

    the kids at this race ranged from well seasoned XC racers with sponsorships etc. to kids on walmart bikes that had never ridden before.

    it was quite an experience to ride sweep. we spent most of our time riding with the new/unprepared, and we cheered the seasoned racers on as they lapped us.
    Try to be good.

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    I'd love to go watch the Pros race. I'd even spend money to do so, entrance fee/parking, food, t-shirts, etc. There are three races in the US Cup Triple Crown within 1.5 hrs of home. However, the Pros race on Saturday and I race on Sunday and can't justify a second day away from the family. I know there's scheduling issues, but I think they're missing an opportunity to have a ready-made fan base if the Pros raced on the same day and the amatures.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by stillhardtailing
    I'd love to go watch the Pros race. I'd even spend money to do so, entrance fee/parking, food, t-shirts, etc. There are three races in the US Cup Triple Crown within 1.5 hrs of home. However, the Pros race on Saturday and I race on Sunday and can't justify a second day away from the family. I know there's scheduling issues, but I think they're missing an opportunity to have a ready-made fan base if the Pros raced on the same day and the amatures.
    Bring the family? There are 2 big races tomorrow with a LOT of the top North American pro's both male and female. Back to back races and a big show. The Pro race tomorrow will be probably triple what the Triple Crown XC race was last March, on a great spectator-friendly course. There will be team trucks and likely opportunities to chat with the Pro's before and after, plus for those competing in the Triple Crown (not all are), the Super D race is Saturday afternoon/evening.

    If that doesn't work - keep in mind the Pro's are doing Short Track after the amateur racing on Sunday, so have the family come out to support and cheer you on, grab some Rubio's at the venue, then chill out and watch the pro's duke it out on the short course that is close to the venue.


  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by miss rides a lot
    Bring the family? There are 2 big races tomorrow with a LOT of the top North American pro's both male and female. Back to back races and a big show. The Pro race tomorrow will be probably triple what the Triple Crown XC race was last March, on a great spectator-friendly course. There will be team trucks and likely opportunities to chat with the Pro's before and after, plus for those competing in the Triple Crown (not all are), the Super D race is Saturday afternoon/evening.

    If that doesn't work - keep in mind the Pro's are doing Short Track after the amateur racing on Sunday, so have the family come out to support and cheer you on, grab some Rubio's at the venue, then chill out and watch the pro's duke it out on the short course that is close to the venue.

    The other three members of my family just aren't into it. I can bearly get them to come out and see me race, and with the super early starts this year maybe not at all. They do indulge my 10 days of racing per year and a reasonable, if not optimal, amount of training time though. This Saturday I'm coaching my sons basketball team in two games anyway.

    As far as Short Track, I'm a XC racer and really more interested in watching that event.

    Hope you get healthy and back out there ASAP.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by miss rides a lot
    Bring the family? There are 2 big races tomorrow with a LOT of the top North American pro's both male and female. Back to back races and a big show. The Pro race tomorrow will be probably triple what the Triple Crown XC race was last March, on a great spectator-friendly course. There will be team trucks and likely opportunities to chat with the Pro's before and after, plus for those competing in the Triple Crown (not all are), the Super D race is Saturday afternoon/evening.

    If that doesn't work - keep in mind the Pro's are doing Short Track after the amateur racing on Sunday, so have the family come out to support and cheer you on, grab some Rubio's at the venue, then chill out and watch the pro's duke it out on the short course that is close to the venue.

    The other three members of my family just aren't into it. I can barely get them to come out and see me race, and with the super early starts this year maybe not at all. They do indulge my 10 days of racing per year and a reasonable, if not optimal, amount of training time though. This Saturday I'm coaching my son’s basketball team in two games anyway.

    As far as Short Track, I'm a XC racer and really more interested in watching that event.

    Hope you get healthy and back out there ASAP.

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