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Is amateur racing legit?

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Is amateur racing legit?

Old 10-16-18, 11:23 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Seems like most of the dopers caught by USADA are masters bike racers, so draw your own inference.
my inference is that doping is mostly self-regulated and expensive.
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Old 10-16-18, 12:42 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Bicycle races are incredibly expensive to put on, and they do not generate the participation numbers that running or triathlon events do. That's why you often don't get a t-shirt. I really wish that USAC had not stopped requiring all clubs to put on events, because there are a lot of people who have no clue how much work and cost is required to put on a race.

And you can look up USAC's finances online. They aren't rolling in it. A lot of the money that goes to USAC from racing fees goes to insurance coverage of racers. USAC pays out a lot to insure riders who are injured in crashes. Masters and Juniors nationals cover the costs of pro and elite nationals. (Pro Nationals loses money every year.)
We decided to test how far we could push as the LA this year when I came on board. it was our express intent to cull the results from all races to remove any "team" listing in the results that wasn't an actual dues paying USA Cycling team and to push back towards every team putting on a race in a year.

We ran into some legality issues and felt like there wasn't 100% support at the national level for us to do that so we modified it. We put out a public statement to all teams in Illinois that we expected them to put on or be listed as a supporting club on a permit within the year. We also hosted a webinar series that covered the meat and potatoes of how to actually put on a race. Finding venues, navigating the demands from the municipalities, etc. We ran through budgets/expenses for small races like mine as well as large races like the Glencoe Grand Prix (RIP).

We had a disappointing turnout but 1 step at a time. There is a national LA group at USA C that is trying to figure out what to do with clubs in the future.

Also - Indeed on the USA C finances and payouts for insurance. There was a racer who died during a race in St Louis last fall. There is a large settlement that is expected to come from that. DBH said he officially believes there will be a huge increase in insurance premiums for this next year (to the tune of millions).

A lot of the money that they operate with comes from the Foundation and from the USOC. Both of those organizations are focused on track performance. that can make things difficult.
...and yes - nationals for the US is a money losing endeavor.

As for not testing masters - I understand the logic but it's still cheating. There are national and world competitions at the Master's level. Until that changes it needs to be policed and tested. There will never be enough money in this sport to allow testing to become an actual deterrent but IMO that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
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Old 10-16-18, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Gotcha.

So, it's difficult to be competitive and move up to the pro ranks if you aren't rewarded for the efforts to make it worth your while. That makes sense. Lots of money involved in travelling, hardware, etc...
pros aren't even "rewarded" for the effort. The system of racing and racing professionally is just as broken as the bike shop industry. It has no option but to implode and bring this all to a head.

great quote I saw on FB link to an article about UCI equalizing payouts from an ex-Pro women's racer friend - can't find it again quickly but was basically like - I like it but where on earth does anyone expect the teams or promoters to get the money from? The riders will be expected to continue to bring their own sponsors to the team and then be paid their "salary" back from that sponsorship like they do on many teams now.

It's a stupid, stupid, stupid, broken system. if you aren't in it already then GTFO while you can.
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Old 10-16-18, 12:55 PM
  #29  
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While talking about doping though it's always fun to hear the other side too - if you're racing domestic pro/elite then you know of or have heard of Brandon Feehery. I got to watch him grow up racing around here and still spent way too much time with the whole Feehery family (whom I love deeply so that's tongue in cheek). His mother is on the board with me and went with me to Colorado. She was like, "Do you know how many times Brandon has been tested? It's ridiculous. You can't complain because then you look like you're hiding something, but it's such a colossal waste of money."

The results we know of have pretty much validated that. The concern isn't really with the domestic pros (although there are plenty who do dope), but with the masters. They have the need, desire, and the money to make it happen.

On the pro bit I have never known a pro who didn't already know who was and who wasn't doping. Still shocked about the day I sat at a UCI race talking to a friend who ended up winning that day (TT) as he watched the rest of the racers finish up. "He's doping....He is too.....He's clean....Oh he just smokes weed so I'm fine with that. He's clean.....He's clean too......that guy is a joke - soooo dirty".
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Old 10-16-18, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
As for not testing masters - I understand the logic but it's still cheating. There are national and world competitions at the Master's level. Until that changes it needs to be policed and tested. There will never be enough money in this sport to allow testing to become an actual deterrent but IMO that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

I hear you, but I still have a strong anarchist streak. A few years back when the whole ride clean thing started folks got really jacked up and beat their chests that things were changing. In both NYC and NJ a very big deal was made of it. In reality a handful of tests were done. Roughly 100,000 bikes crossed starting lines in the area that season. Based on the number of folks they caught I figure roughly 97% of the riders were doping.
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Old 10-16-18, 03:14 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post

On the boycott bit - I call that the great “Masters Bluff”. We had a couple of local teams imply the same thing. I believe they skipped the first year. Then they came back.

I have always seen it like this: I was putting on 3/5’s of our Illinois cup series - if they wanted to be the “best masters racer in Illinois” they had to show up. There aren’t enough actual races left to boycott - they’re only screwing themselves by missing one of the handful of races left on the calendar.

.....and finally and most importantly- racing a bicycle is an self-absorbed ego driven endeavor. They couldn’t stand NOT racing. As soon as the races happened they forgot there wasn’t a payout. Precedent set.

In reality there here is always a vocal minority of masters racers that get upset about no payouts. They are usually the ones that were winning those payouts. The rest of the field never cared (they didn’t win them anyway). So if you pull the payouts and the “top” guys don’t show then it gives the rest of the field a chance to win - which they love. Those top guys end up either coming back immediately (because they hate the idea that whatshisname won) or they become a footnote to amateur racing and we all move on.

Seriously there are no ends to the positives of eliminating them.

Oooooo.... and if they totally disappeared then you can move that time slot into having/adding a masters women’s race!
All of what you've written about this seems to make so much sense. I've brought this up with our BAR guy and my own team and no one's been game, but my team also loses 5-6k on a race or two a year, so I'm baffled by it.

One problem is that our BAR series points multipliers are tied directly to payout, so if you want races worth the most points, you have to put out the appropriate payout. Something that has to be addressed, but it's not an issue in mtn. biking or cyclocross, so not sure why it has to be one for road racing, either.

Think I'll speak up again this year.
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Old 10-16-18, 03:18 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
If you don't have something shiny for the hands or around the neck, and a few peanuts for a snack on the way home.........doesn't matter the amateur sport......if there's nothing on the line at all, people won't show up.
Our local Wed. night crits seem to have just as many (or more at times) participants than the weekend races, even though winning the p/1/2/3 race only gets you 50 bucks and 5th gets you 5 bucks. So payout doesn't seem to be a big factor there.

Rather, it's about winning at home in front of the "home crowd" of racers and the occasional spouse or child. I've even heard guys lament not winning a Wed. night race versus a weekend race because all of the local crowd are standing around watching.

People want to "win" group rides, too. There's always something on the line, even if it's just pride and a good parking lot story.
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Old 10-16-18, 03:23 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by TheKillerPenguin View Post
The time commitment being competitive in a p/1/2 field requires is much higher than the other categories. The fastest riders in the p/1/2 field might only be working part time so they can focus on making cycling the center of their universe. You get a mixture of actual pros and amateurs trying to go pro. That prize money comes in handy for both.
I feel bad for those guys.
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Old 10-16-18, 03:27 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Gotcha.

So, it's difficult to be competitive and move up to the pro ranks if you aren't rewarded for the efforts to make it worth your while. That makes sense. Lots of money involved in travelling, hardware, etc...
If you're over the age of 25 (even out of the U-23s) and still trying to be a pro, you're pretty delusional. There are, of course, some that have done it (Woods?), but they're far and few between. And then there are some others who have done it by essentially starting their own domestic "pro" team, but they're not "pro"for very long, and they're not pro as in making enough money to actually be a pro.

So I don't honestly think that the "pursuit of the pro life" is a legitimate reason for prize money in p/1/2 races. Especially with the massive demise of the pros racing in the U.S. anyway. Every PRT crit I watched had half a dozen or less "pros" in it. It's crazy.
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Old 10-16-18, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I feel bad for those guys.
I know a few! Happy dudes, but it's a cruel sport.
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Old 10-16-18, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by TheKillerPenguin View Post
I know a few! Happy dudes, but it's a cruel sport.
Indeed. But I guess you can say that about nearly anything. The street corners and bars in Nashville are filled with people trying to be the next American Idol or something. .

The pursuit of happiness, I guess.
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Old 10-16-18, 05:48 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Indeed. But I guess you can say that about nearly anything. The street corners and bars in Nashville are filled with people trying to be the next American Idol or something. .

The pursuit of happiness, I guess.

there's plenty of posts on ****** from actual doctors who are finally practicing but swimming in oceans of debt as well. Life is hard.
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Old 10-17-18, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Teamprovicycle View Post
im having a hard time mentally finding a reason to get excited for an event knowing im just going to spend cash to get really not much rewards , i mean i get a piece of paper and 4 free pins , but damn could i get a headband or a key chain...
Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
If you don't have something shiny for the hands or around the neck, and a few peanuts for a snack on the way home.........doesn't matter the amateur sport......if there's nothing on the line at all, people won't show up.
This isn't a participation sport. The point of a bike race is to win.

I can't understand why they pay anyone, 1/2 categories included.

I've spent maybe 30-50 grand on bike racing over the past few years. Bikes, bike parts, lots of gas, lots of entry fees, double the calories of a sedentary person,
I've spent well over 100 grand in time at my current pay rate. Maybe 200.

I've won 3 crits (cat 4, cat 4, cat 2/3), a circuit race (cat 3/4), a road race (cat 3), and a couple track nights (cat 4).

That amounts to me paying $30,000 for each win. Why oh why would anyone except the very top guys who win all the time care about a few hundred bucks payout? I got 3rd one time after a 60 mile break was caught by 5 guys. They gave me an envelope with $10 in it. If they gave me $500 it wouldn't outweigh being caught 10 minutes from the line, and that was cat 4.
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Old 10-17-18, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
This isn't a participation sport. The point of a bike race is to win.

I can't understand why they pay anyone, 1/2 categories included.

I've spent maybe 30-50 grand on bike racing over the past few years. Bikes, bike parts, lots of gas, lots of entry fees, double the calories of a sedentary person,
I've spent well over 100 grand in time at my current pay rate. Maybe 200.

I've won 3 crits (cat 4, cat 4, cat 2/3), a circuit race (cat 3/4), a road race (cat 3), and a couple track nights (cat 4).

That amounts to me paying $30,000 for each win. Why oh why would anyone except the very top guys who win all the time care about a few hundred bucks payout? I got 3rd one time after a 60 mile break was caught by 5 guys. They gave me an envelope with $10 in it. If they gave me $500 it wouldn't outweigh being caught 10 minutes from the line, and that was cat 4.
Yup. This. There are some that can make enough from traditional payouts to cover their entry costs throughout the year and sometimes even a little more but it never covers all the gear, etc.

It is is truly ridiculous when looked at and actually thought about.

I always made it a personal rule to make the lowest pay out at least was more than the entry price. Even then payouts were always my largest expense for a race (second to cops).

It is comon for a run of the mill crit to have $3k in payouts and only be paying $20-$30 for 3rd and only paying the top 3. For a race with overall expenditures and inputs being in the $7k total range... it’s not sustainable. This is with $30-$40 reg feels too.

Top thia off with trying to gwt someone new interrested in trying a race. “Yup that’s $25 to race for 25 minutes as a cat 5. Oh and you need a $15 1-day license as well. So $50 please and don’t come crying to me when you get pulled on the 3rd lap because you had no idea how fast it was and weren’t even remotely prepared. Thanks for the $50, get off my course and don’t let the door hit you in the ass.” - this just is ridiculous. Something has to change and the payouts is the thing that makes the most sense.

That said something like 58% of our licenses racers in Illinois are male and masters racers. I’ve watched CEO’s of $100M+ companies argue with each other after a race about their payout splits within the team. Ego. Self absorption. That is this sport to a T.

To the few who who are young and actually trying to make a go of it: I apologize. I wish we could figure this stuff out.
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Old 10-17-18, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
This isn't a participation sport. The point of a bike race is to win.

I can't understand why they pay anyone, 1/2 categories included.

I've spent maybe 30-50 grand on bike racing over the past few years. Bikes, bike parts, lots of gas, lots of entry fees, double the calories of a sedentary person,
I've spent well over 100 grand in time at my current pay rate. Maybe 200.

I've won 3 crits (cat 4, cat 4, cat 2/3), a circuit race (cat 3/4), a road race (cat 3), and a couple track nights (cat 4).

That amounts to me paying $30,000 for each win. Why oh why would anyone except the very top guys who win all the time care about a few hundred bucks payout? I got 3rd one time after a 60 mile break was caught by 5 guys. They gave me an envelope with $10 in it. If they gave me $500 it wouldn't outweigh being caught 10 minutes from the line, and that was cat 4.
Uhm, that’s the entire point of the prize. Goes to winners, not losers. This isn’t Ironman where everyone gets a medal for finishing.

Where do you think we’re advocating participation trophies? Nobody here is.

Also, those figures are outrageous. It’s $3k for an amazing race rig setup with all the kit you need and maybe $1k per year to do most any racing till your heart explodes.

Not sure what’s up with the hyperbole going on here.

Just say what you mean, you think the money is pointless.

I don’t think it is. It’s a fun incentive in lots of amateur sports and clubs. God forbid anyone have some fun.

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Old 10-17-18, 05:23 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post

Also, those figures are outrageous. It’s $3k for an amazing race rig setup with all the kit you need and maybe $1k per year to do most any racing till your heart explodes.
1k will get you 20 races in norcal. It's possible to race 70 times out here. 3k for a bike and wheels, ok if you're buying used or whatever, but how often are you washing that kit?

As much as he's overstating, you're understating.
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Old 10-17-18, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post


Uhm, that’s the entire point of the prize. Goes to winners, not losers. This isn’t Ironman where everyone gets a medal for finishing.

Where do you think we’re advocating participation trophies? Nobody here is.

Also, those figures are outrageous. It’s $3k for an amazing race rig setup with all the kit you need and maybe $1k per year to do most any racing till your heart explodes.

Not sure what’s up with the hyperbole going on here.

Just say what you mean, you think the money is pointless.

I don’t think it is. It’s a fun incentive in lots of amateur sports and clubs. God forbid anyone have some fun.

Bike: $2000
Tires, chains, repairs, components, cables, tubes, power meter, wheels: $1000
$45 per race x 60 races: $2700
160 miles per race at 28 mpg x $4 / gallon x 60 races: $1370
Wear and tear, lets say same as gas, $1370
7500 calories x 52 weeks x $4/1000 cal = $1560
kits: $600
Total: $10,600 per year

11 hours per week x 52 weeks at free time being worth $50 /hour = $28,600

6 wins per 5 years -- (10,600 + 28,600)*5/6 = $36,667 per win
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Old 10-17-18, 07:59 PM
  #43  
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If you're going to bill free time at 50/hr I'm going to bill the same for sleep and claim it as a business loss for taxes!
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Old 10-17-18, 09:29 PM
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When I started PSIMET I polled every rider I knew and then every racer I knew. I asked them how much they spent on cycling in the previous year. Everything. Kit, travel, hotels, parts, tires, entry fees, etc.

I found that almost everyone answered between $3k-$30k annually.

I asked because at the time I was keeping really specific personal financial records and I had seen that one year I spent close to $15k and was floored.

People don’t actually realize what they’re spending.

Regardless at the end end of the day - the payouts set up a system that is untenable. Everyone is free to disagree but if those disagreeing are only approaching the issue as a payout winner and never as a promoter or organizer or volunteer then you’ll have to excuse me if I sit in the corner and roll my eyes. We all have valid points of view and experience but I kind of feel like a climate change scientist talking to deniers.
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Old 10-18-18, 12:11 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
paging @Doge

...
I was paged...

When someone with both X and Y chromosomes can win women's worlds not cheating, then "cheating" is less of an issue to me than fairness (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/not-f...075054632.html ). We have TUEs, junior gears covered in pages of posts elsewhere (and locked threads) that deal with fairness. As cheating and not fairness was in the OP....


IMO: Most cheating in amateurs (this thread topic) comes in the restricted classes - women and masters. I am aware of several, and only in those groups.


There is little cheating in the open elite amateurs. And very little, on those thinking of moving to pro, although some juniors in Europe have been busted (parents fault).

The reason is not being a pro is a choice for many peak age males, and not being pro almost by definition put them out of the top 20%, and if they chose not to be pro, there is little reason to cheat. While masters and women in the top % of their class, while not pros, have that similar focus to pros. My guess on the physiology of it, is they are trying to be the best in their restricted class. Peak age males who are not pros are doing it for fun, and before cheating, they would choose to just go pro. Then they might cheat, but that is off topic for this thread.
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Old 10-18-18, 12:47 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post


Is “young guy” racing more significant? Does it matter more? Young amateur men is the most “important” demographic in bike racing? Or perhaps young men & women are the ones whose fields are important? I mean, here in the States we’re talking about amateur racers with essentially zero hope of turning pro, right? I’m just curious as to how you define in your mind whose races matter.

#askingforafriend

In as much as sports are rated on spectators, and sponsors, than those that can get them are more "important".
I think this concept of zero hope of being pro does not really fit this group. Young guys (male Cat 1 juniors, now not juniors) in that group, "chance" of being pro is more a choice than hope.
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Old 10-18-18, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by TheKillerPenguin View Post
I know a few! Happy dudes, but it's a cruel sport.

and even those people aren't really pro, or likely to be

when you look at the landscape of NY cycling over the past few decades who went to the world stage pro level

Mike McCarthy
Hincapie
Evie Stevens

there's a guy who lives in 'upstate ny' named Norton I think who rode for a domestic pro team.
Marc Gullickson was a hardcore cross rider, but basically got spanked when it came to world stage stuff

There are a host of masters in NYC who raced on pro teams in the 90s, but none of them really made anything of it in Europe. A few got caught for doping. Merlito Heredita won that late season PA Pro/1 UCI race (it's now the doylestown crit, instead of being a huge RR) which was a big deal until he got popped in the after race drug test for EPO. He's married to a racer that Psimet knows. Still hangs the winning poster in his shop, and most of NYC acts like the cheating never happened.

There was guy in the NY area who ended up on Chipotle because he knew the sponsor, and the contingency for the money was that he got put on the team. But he didn't start a single race with them. The following season he got on the champ-systems team which was basically created so a bunch of rider and older guys could live the dream of having a pro team. But they were a domestic crit squad (they might have gotten to race Philly) and while they might have had the budget one year to pay the guy who the series, but I forget. I knew the 'owners' and it basically broke up their friendship, cost a ton of money, and they had to deal with major prima donna issues once they started trying to recruit riders who could actually get anything done in those races. And again, those riders were racing domestic crits because they couldn't make it elsewhere. When you look at the number of guys who are racing the domestic crit circuit vs choosing another form of racing they could make it at, the number is very few.

Last edited by gsteinb; 10-18-18 at 04:57 AM.
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Old 10-18-18, 08:54 AM
  #48  
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Ooooo. Now I want to know. Guessing I might know but want to know. If it’s who I think she always says he’s a boyfriend. Never met him though.

Love race gossip that isnt tired out Chicago gossip.

Hopefully you guys read our buddy Event Services latest book. Just another tale about a bunch of people trying to make it happen. He came by the shop and was on the podcast. It was fun but we spent a lot of time reflecting on how desperate it all seems.

I have ave a coffee shop customer/regular who now refers to me as “mr negativity”. 🙄
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Old 10-18-18, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by psimet2001 View Post
ooooo. Now i want to know. Guessing i might know but want to know. If it’s who i think she always says he’s a boyfriend. Never met him though.

Love race gossip that isnt tired out chicago gossip.

Hopefully you guys read our buddy event services latest book. Just another tale about a bunch of people trying to make it happen. He came by the shop and was on the podcast. It was fun but we spent a lot of time reflecting on how desperate it all seems.

I have ave a coffee shop customer/regular who now refers to me as “mr negativity”. 🙄
pm
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Old 10-18-18, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
They did test at Masters Nationals. They had monitors following racers after almost every event, and I know several people who had to pee in a cup.

Sometimes, I wonder why bother with the Masters. Sure, they're the worst offenders, but does it really matter. It's masters racing.
You could say that about any level of amateur racing.
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