Endurance MTB race cost, how much is too much?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Endurance MTB race cost, how much is too much?

    So I just registered for my favorite race of the year and as I was about to check out I noticed the price had gone up a fair amount from last year. It was almost to the point that I didn't register for it. So I'll ask, is there a breaking point at which you would consider not signing up for a race purely because of the cost?

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  2. #2
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    It kind of depends on the race and how well it is put on, things like aid station offerings, pre / post meals, bike wash, "free" camping, and what not adds to the cost. I am more inclined to pay a little more for those things than I am for a race that doesn't have them. I am however more than happy to pay quite a bit more $ for a race that is a big loop as opposed to a few (or several) smaller laps, especially if it is well marked. It just takes so much more time and effort to put on a race that is something like that. Shenandoah 100 IMO is an excellent example of a race I am willing to pay a lot of, and that isn't just an entry fee but also time off work to travel, & travel expenses (I drive almost 1500 miles for that one) which are definitely more $ than the entry feel.

  3. #3
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    I think the WEMBO World 24hr has over cooked it this year with a basic entry fee of $270US for a soloist when you consider the WEMBO Euro 24hr Champs are $75US it looks to em like they're milking it for the Worlds

  4. #4
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    Iím glad this was brought up as Iíve been wondering about the increases in price.

    Obviously financial positions are different. But, In my case, itís hard to justify paying over $1.50 per mile. With all the added costs of travel (I live in FL so it 10 hours one way to Cohutta or any other mtns), lodging and meals, plus time away from work and family it really makes it hard justify such a large price tag.

    While I havenít done too many, they have always been impressively run events but, as I mentioned above, I think $1.50 per mile is about my limit. Especially if it were an old race with a new organizer...Iíll wait for the stories before I chance it. Down here we have the Hammerhead at Santos, which I have not raced in but itís only 45 minutes from my house. That is respectably priced at $75 for the 100.

    That said, I donít see prices going down, ever. So Iíll enjoy an occasional race every year or so and use them as motivation to stay in shape.


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  5. #5
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    without searching to the end of the internet to verify my insight, the most expensive 100 miler is probably leadville at $400ish now I believe.....and in the stage racing world BC Bike Race probably takes it with reg costing you $2500ish US, depending on the menu item you pick. These are North American races, other parts of the world may be more expensive.

    Interestingly, both of these races require a significant commitment many months (or a year) ahead of time.....and they both attract huge numbers at this price point and commitment level, FWIW.

    How much is too much is really a personal question, and for most driven by your level of income, etc.

    I have seen survey results from the NUE series of races. The most common competitor profile is a 40 year old male, of unknown skin color, with household incomes well over $100k.

  6. #6
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    BC bike race is clearly an outlier, and more of a bucket list type of race rather than your run of the mill 100 mile MTB race. I've also never understood the fascination with Leadville, not a true MTB race in my opinion as there is very little singletrack... But that is beside the point.

    I think being able to afford an endurance race and being willing to fork over $200+ for a hard day in the saddle are different. I still do it, but I keep wondering where people go from "yeah, that's not too bad of an entry fee" to "I'd love to but the price seems a little steep, I'll pass"

    I agree that having things like great aid stations, awesome course, happy volunteers are critical. But at some point having all the salted watermelon and energy gels in the world won't get people there if the cost is too much. And I'd be willing to bet that people would seriously consider not signing up for single day race (not 24 hour race, or stage race, but a race that takes place over the course of one day) once that cost is over $200.

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  7. #7
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    Valid points. I mostly race marathon distance but have done leadville, park city point 2 point and Breck Epic which are longer obviously. If a marathon race is more than $150 it better be damn good on all fronts and have a track record to back it up. I do find myself willing to pay a bit more for races that are more of a destination event, like P2P (destination for me at least). But even if P2P was local I would probably pay the long dollar because it is so damn good. Of the one day races I have done, that course/race is pretty close to the Gold Standard.

    Of all the races I have done in the 50 mile to 100 mile range, prices have varied from $60ish to $400ish....and none of them have I said "that race totally sucked"

  8. #8
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    I say about 1.00 per mile in general. The best way to accomplish this is buy transfers. I did lumberjack 100 for 25 and Marji Gesick 100 for 10. Transfers are a gamble but usually worth it.

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  9. #9
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    Arizona Endurance Series costs zip, nada.
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  10. #10
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Quote Originally Posted by life behind bars View Post
    Arizona Endurance Series costs zip, nada.
    And its amazing!!! Ive done the past 3, plan on a few more.

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLCpowderhound View Post
    I'd be willing to bet that people would seriously consider not signing up for single day race (not 24 hour race, or stage race, but a race that takes place over the course of one day) once that cost is over $200.
    I agree with you 100%. There is a large contingent of riders that will ultimately decide that paying that much to be non-competitive (mid pack and back) isnít worth it. You can ride most of the courses for free on every other day of the year.


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wgerow View Post
    Valid points. I mostly race marathon distance but have done leadville, park city point 2 point and Breck Epic which are longer obviously. If a marathon race is more than $150 it better be damn good on all fronts and have a track record to back it up. I do find myself willing to pay a bit more for races that are more of a destination event, like P2P (destination for me at least). But even if P2P was local I would probably pay the long dollar because it is so damn good. Of the one day races I have done, that course/race is pretty close to the Gold Standard.

    Of all the races I have done in the 50 mile to 100 mile range, prices have varied from $60ish to $400ish....and none of them have I said "that race totally sucked"
    I love P2P, oddly enough that is the race I'm referring to. I didn't intend to come here and disparage any race but was shocked to see that the price was $200 this year. Again, I signed up for it because I love the course and it's literally in my backyard, but it made me think about it. I don't remember exactly how much it cost last year, probably $180, and raising the price $20 is not a real big deal, but it feels like a bigger jump than $20 if that makes sense. Same reason why things cost $1.99 instead of $2. Virtually the same but optically it FEELS cheaper. I don't know...

    Normally that race is really hard to get into, it's sold out in under 3 minutes many times, but this year it took a few hours, I bet that was the reason.

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  13. #13
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    Aid stations and free food mean nothing to me. I race with my own supplies. I have no problem paying up, especially if it is well run. I understand what the expenses are.
    Some of my tri-guys I know claim races are around the $200 range. But a good tri will have to deal with lifeguard, traffic and first aid.
    What really disappoints me is if I enter a $2 or $200 race and the course isn't marked properly. I was in a $600 stage race and in 2 stages they had people off course because of inadequate marking.
    I am prepared to pay more for a race that is local enough I don't have to overnight.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLCpowderhound View Post
    I love P2P, oddly enough that is the race I'm referring to. I didn't intend to come here and disparage any race but was shocked to see that the price was $200 this year. Again, I signed up for it because I love the course and it's literally in my backyard, but it made me think about it. I don't remember exactly how much it cost last year, probably $180, and raising the price $20 is not a real big deal, but it feels like a bigger jump than $20 if that makes sense. Same reason why things cost $1.99 instead of $2. Virtually the same but optically it FEELS cheaper. I don't know...

    Normally that race is really hard to get into, it's sold out in under 3 minutes many times, but this year it took a few hours, I bet that was the reason.

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    Iím sure price has something to do with it, but Iíve also noticed heís increased the number of entrants the past few years. I also think there are so many good races out there and only so many weekends.

    I do as many as 12 endurance races a year, between the Rockies, Texas and the northeast. Personally P2P is worth $200 and maybe as much as $250 (fees, taxes, etc included) to me....itís really one of the best. Any more than that Iíd have to think pretty hard

    I notice a distinct difference in entry fees and experience provided between races that are run for profit with paid staff versus races that are more organic and primarily produced by volunteers that typically reinvest funds back into the community. Not that one is better than the other, but there is a difference, and the for profit events always cost more

  15. #15
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    i don't care so much about aid stations, honestly. i'm just gonna bring/eat my own stuff anyways....so don't see a point in how well they're stocked.

    the my two racing-via-aid station accounts are....
    a) they claimed in pre-race e-mails to have super well stocked aid stations with everything you could want, and i was like....great....i'll just go sans camelbak and save weight. turned out all they had were orange slices. i did 10hrs/100 miles on orange slices and 1/4 of a pb/j. not fun
    b) racing a ~64 via aid stations and water bottles....battling for top 10, and 1st SS. stopped ~20 miles in to reload real quick and they had stuff laid out to make sandwiches. aid station volunteer was really nice...."oh...nice work honey....here, let me make you a peanut butter and jelly while we refill your water bottle...." then she opens the peanut butter only to find the seal's still on the jar, has to try to get that off, while the other aid station worker is wondering what flavor scoops of gatoraid i'd like in my water bottle that's taking forever to fill. i'm just flabbergasted thinking, but not saying "Wtf.....i'm RACING, this is a RACE, i need to go....like 30 seconds ago....ahhhh!!!!!" pretty sure i ended up grabbing a few slices of bread and taking only water and pedaling on. ended up cramping, on the ground in agony at mile 50. finished, but wasn't pretty.

    after those two i try to do my own thing whenever possible.

    otherwise they probably gotta be over $150/$200 before i question whether spending the money's a good idea or not. especially considering most races are 200-400 miles away, meaning another $100+ in fuel round trip, sometimes a day off work. the additional costs can add up too. so then start to take the whole thing into account.....cost, course, promoter, travel....etc.

    signed up for an ironman though, that'll put things in perspective, holy hell. i think it was almost $800, plus insurance if you get hurt and can't make it, plus taxes. oh....and a plane ticket and accommodations, since they don't have one right down the street. it's gonna be close to $3000k for a day of racing by the time i'm done.

  16. #16
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    I just ponied up about $180 for SM100 (with insurance). Definitely the most I've spent on a bike race entry fee AND my 1st 100 miler.

    By the way, early entry discount runs out 3/4).
    Last edited by notso; 02-20-2018 at 07:26 AM. Reason: corrected date

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLCpowderhound View Post
    I love P2P...

    Normally that race is really hard to get into, it's sold out in under 3 minutes many times, but this year it took a few hours, I bet that was the reason.

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    But it still sold out quickly even with a price hike and more open slots. Supply & demand dictate how much a promoter can charge, plus the fact that P2P is about the best one-day race in the country; reputation is a big deal too.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdcadbiker View Post
    But it still sold out quickly even with a price hike and more open slots. Supply & demand dictate how much a promoter can charge, plus the fact that P2P is about the best one-day race in the country; reputation is a big deal too.
    Completely Agree! I absolutely love racing P2P, the trails are great and it is very well run. I don't believe that they added any slots from this year to last, I could be wrong though, if they did I'd be pretty surprised. I clearly thought it was worth the money as I registered for it. I guess I'm more curious what most people are willing to pay for that type of race.

  19. #19
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    If itís a race I want to do, then whatever the fee is, usually $100-150. Iíd probably pay up to $200-240, if the race was worth it, to me. I look at it this way, I go to NFL and MLB games, and like pit seats for concerts, and all of those things cost more than that, and I get much more out of a MTB race. YMMV...


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    BCBR is huge and expensive because it is a guaranteed fantastic XC trail experience every year. If you only get two weeks of vacation you want the best experience possible and it delivers that for many people. $2500 is pretty reasonable for a week long vacation during peak season. If the race is short I likely will not spend a lot unless the money is going to a cause that I like such as trail work, cancer, or ect.

  21. #21
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    I start to seriously question the price of a race if it is more than $200 for early bird pricing but like others said a lot of it depends on the course, volunteers/workers, aid stations, after race food and beer, and items you get in the packet. Not that I really value much of that stuff besides the course and volunteers but all of it costs money and it's a business for the organizer so they have to turn a profit.

    I also factor in who the organizer is and what they do for the mtb community. I'll happily cough up more money for the race if they're nice people doing good work.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLCpowderhound View Post
    So I just registered for my favorite race of the year and as I was about to check out I noticed the price had gone up a fair amount from last year. It was almost to the point that I didn't register for it. So I'll ask, is there a breaking point at which you would consider not signing up for a race purely because of the cost?

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    For me the breaking point is a cost/benefit equation, with a bunch of intangibles thrown in. More amenities, longer courses, and high quality courses help me justify higher prices. Large cash purses don't at all. Bikereg fees tacked on, instead of being included in the stated price the way every business except ticket master and airlines do it, earns serious demerits. All that said, I've picked local gran fondos over another mtb series several times because the epic per dollar ratio was higher. Also planning to skip an mtb race ridiculously close to home because $80 is too much for a one day XC, and especially when the short course is $40.

    Leadville is one where I was tempted to enter the lottery again, until I saw the fee. Way too much for a one day race IMO.
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  23. #23
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    I know several people who would like to participate in endurance racing, but the sticker shock keeps them away. It's hard to justify a 150 or 200 dollar race, lodging, meal afterwards, and travel cost when you do not make six figures.
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  24. #24
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod View Post
    I know several people who would like to participate in endurance racing, but the sticker shock keeps them away. It's hard to justify a 150 or 200 dollar race, lodging, meal afterwards, and travel cost when you do not make six figures.
    Definitely. I sold my house to live in a van just ti be able to afford all the races i want to. Its truly 20 grand a year if you want to do 10 or so races around the country.

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  25. #25
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    I also have a breaking point. I can't say exactly where it is tho. I consider things like onsite camping, post-race atmosphere, meals/beer, prizes... the other people who will show up to the event. SM 100 has always hit the mark, and if you know you're going to do it, just sign up early and save a bunch of money.

    If you want bang for the buck, it's hard to beat the Pisgah 111k. The winners finish in @7 hours, the aid stations are well stocked, the course is epic (Pisgah, duh), there's some mechanical assistance at the aids, and there's beer and burritos at the finish line. All that for $60, and plenty of nearby camping and hotels.

    Pisgah Productions | Pisgah National Forest | Pisgah 111k MTB Race

    If you want even more (or less) riding for the weekend, you can race the 55.5k the next day too ($40).

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    Show me something comparable anywhere else.

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  26. #26
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    Funny you should mention the Pisgah races. The boys were kicking this around on email this morning. Noticed the price is CHEAP......its' on the radar

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    This thread and forum have been incredibly helpful for me, I'm ready for a en endurance race and have looked through the various ones.

    Was about set on doing the Singletrack Three in Golden, BC this summer until I saw the price, over 800 bucks. Add hotel etc, no way am I in for about three or four hours of riding a day. Thinking that next year I have to trek down to Breckenridge and do that instead, better deal for the money.

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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by teamdicky View Post
    I also have a breaking point. I can't say exactly where it is tho. I consider things like onsite camping, post-race atmosphere, meals/beer, prizes... the other people who will show up to the event. SM 100 has always hit the mark, and if you know you're going to do it, just sign up early and save a bunch of money.

    If you want bang for the buck, it's hard to beat the Pisgah 111k. The winners finish in @7 hours, the aid stations are well stocked, the course is epic (Pisgah, duh), there's some mechanical assistance at the aids, and there's beer and burritos at the finish line. All that for $60, and plenty of nearby camping and hotels.

    Pisgah Productions | Pisgah National Forest | Pisgah 111k MTB Race

    If you want even more (or less) riding for the weekend, you can race the 55.5k the next day too ($40).

    Pisgah Productions | Pisgah National Forest | Pisgah 55.5k MTB / Running Race

    Show me something comparable anywhere else.

    Whoa! That has got to be the best bang for the buck anywhere. I've never ridden a supported endurance race for less than $95. Great deal.

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