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Talk me off the ledge (Race Promotion)

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Talk me off the ledge (Race Promotion)

Old 11-30-18, 05:40 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
hey, I applaud doge for thinking outside the box at least.
I mean... I mean... How can I say this nicely...

Making racing more like fondos because fondos are currently more successful has a primary problem of fondos already existing. So, @psimet should just hold some fondos for revenue.
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Old 11-30-18, 08:55 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
I mean... I mean... How can I say this nicely...

Making racing more like fondos because fondos are currently more successful has a primary problem of fondos already existing. So, @psimet should just hold some fondos for revenue.
Iím not even sure fondos (or gravel) are actually more popular than road racing.

There are way more road races and people signing up for road races in a calendar year than there are fondos and people signing up for them, I would bet.

For the last few years gravel is supposedly ďthe new thingĒ - but Iím not really seeing it.
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Old 12-01-18, 03:53 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
I mean... I mean... How can I say this nicely...

Making racing more like fondos because fondos are currently more successful has a primary problem of fondos already existing. So, @psimet should just hold some fondos for revenue.

Clearly, I don't disagree with you. But at least he cares enough to think about it. How many parents of juniors (never mind former juniors) are involved at all?
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Old 12-01-18, 09:21 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post


Iím not even sure fondos (or gravel) are actually more popular than road racing.
You didn't take my invite. I'm driving out with a few others to video and watch Rogers Cup tomorrow (junior is states away). No idea who will show up as I'm less connected now.
In the past there were more WC and nats stripes than any race I've seen.
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Old 12-02-18, 05:15 PM
  #55  
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Today we had the Cat 1 crit, Cat 1 road, collegiate crit national champions. No world tour guys this year.

Rogers Cup
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Old 12-02-18, 06:59 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post


Iím not even sure fondos (or gravel) are actually more popular than road racing.

There are way more road races and people signing up for road races in a calendar year than there are fondos and people signing up for them, I would bet.

For the last few years gravel is supposedly ďthe new thingĒ - but Iím not really seeing it.
Sorry, it's not even close, not even remotely close. I say this with anecdotal, first hand, and professional experience.

As a former racer myself it pains me to say this, but it's true: mass-start is the future of amateur road racing.
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Old 12-02-18, 07:23 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by DieterDrake View Post
Sorry, it's not even close, not even remotely close. I say this with anecdotal, first hand, and professional experience.

As a former racer myself it pains me to say this, but it's true: mass-start is the future of amateur road racing.
Do you have any data to back this up?
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Old 12-02-18, 07:43 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post


Do you have any data to back this up?
No, but I do have 15+ years promoting every size amateur sanctioned race (including the largest in US history) and watching the industry (sponsors, participants, promoters, municipalities, NGBs) follow the trend toward mass start with fondos, gravel, etc., etc., etc. I did look into it recently, though, and the number of sanctioned competitive events in 2018 is about 1/2 of 2012, for example. The number of USAC licensed officials is also about 1/2 vs, 2012-13. You can look this up for yourself, but there's no reasonable conclusion that can include the notion that fondos and gravel are not dominating the industry in 2018. They are. Period. The End. @gsteinb used to get upset at me for making these kinds of statements, but I think even he would agree with me (as he might believe he should have in 2013 or so ).

There are still regions where sanctioned racing does reasonably ok: New England, California, perhaps. Everywhere else it's seen a very dramatic fall in the last 5-6 years. (Non-sanctioned) fondos and gravel events have filled that vacuum and have been successful in recruiting new cyclists into the sport in the way that competitive racing did from 2004-2012 or so. Just look at the bikereg calendar if you think I am wrong. I am not, though.
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Old 12-02-18, 07:48 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by DieterDrake View Post
There are still regions where sanctioned racing does reasonably ok: .
I should have said "relatively ok". Those regions have seen dramatic declines as well, they just don't suck as much as compared to the rest of the country...
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Old 12-02-18, 08:16 PM
  #60  
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I've never done a fondo style road ride/race (have done a gravel ride and the death ride [start whenever the heck you want]). Do riders self select their starting positions in the field or does the talent get sorted as the ride shakes out? Sense on how sustainable the model is or how many races a promoter would need to put on to make it worth their time? USAC is setup for fondos? Can they incorporate licensed racing into their fondo program?
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Old 12-02-18, 08:41 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by hack View Post
Sense on how sustainable the model is or how many races a promoter would need to put on to make it worth their time? USAC is setup for fondos? Can they incorporate licensed racing into their fondo program?
Answers:
  1. 1 Mass start event is worth my time.
  2. Sort of, but they're about 5 year's late
  3. Why would any promoter do that? It's a deterrent for participation.

Last edited by DieterDrake; 12-03-18 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 12-03-18, 09:16 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by hack View Post
.... Do riders self select their starting positions in the field or does the talent get sorted as the ride shakes out? ...
Referring to the Rogers Cup link I put above.
The venue/s with hills help folks figure out where they are supposed to be. The stop lights help with that. This ride stops for every light - it is part of the tradition (and "rule"). This is a memorial ride. The riders start @8:00, stop for a pee and prayer about 8:45 (video start) and sort it out. If you look at this field ~150 field most know where those top 20 are. It's not like nationals where you may have 100 riders semi close in ability, but it works. There is a trophy (that few have seen) for the 35+, the 50+ and women as well as the overall cup. The groups just auto form. A masters racer, or woman will make the calculation if they want to be in the front group, or not. I've seen this thing about 20 years now, since about 1980. It works. Some years the finish is close, guessed. Some years there is a line, and some years the finish is a sign or intersection. If the results are disputed, it is discussed for hours, or weeks. In 2013 the winner was not there for the official start - (prayer and pee stop) and judges from as far as Oregon weighed in on the rightful trophy holder - he did not "win" - somehow - this works. Tradition is it is mostly the riders that do this ride that competes, but we have had a few WT pros and Olympians show.

This Rogers Cup (or Nosco - on Tues) ride/race will take a USAC down 70% - meaning, it is crazy to put on a USAC race that day as all the racers are on the ride.
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Old 12-03-18, 11:41 AM
  #63  
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In a sport where cheating is rampant, and folks regularly run lights on group rides (more or less dependent on region) a "race" where you have to stop at lights and obey traffic laws seems like a prescription for eventual conflict and disaster. Might as well take up one of those rogue fixie night races.
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Old 12-03-18, 12:12 PM
  #64  
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The SoCal Race scene is hanging on because of 2-3 promoters, but everything else is slowly dwindling. I'm not sure how many of those I'll do, since they're organized in a way that gives me a low chance to win. As a 45+ year old Cat 4, I either have to race Cat 1-4 40+, Cat 3-4 30+ or Cat 4. There used to be well attended Cat 4 40+ races, and they're still abundant in NCNCA but not so much down here (just UCLA and SLR). Once those races went away a lot of the average 40+ racers left as well.

I can see why the promoters got rid of it; on paper 30+ 3-4 covers the array better, but its become more of a pathway for 30 somethings to Cat 2 than a second tier Master's race. I don't think that's the only decision they've made that's negatively affected race turnout, just the one that affects me. I've heard issues about women's racing too. I completely understand they're in a bind and have to turn a profit by running the least amount of races as possible, but entering those races for me is just throwing money away since I have a very small chance to win.

Every promoter (and most racers) I've talked to gets stuck on top end competition and not sorting out races in a way where people feel like they can win. Many don't see an issue putting Cat 4's in with 1 because its not well attended but when those 4's get trounced don't expect them to come back.

Am I being childish for wanting to entering races and have them sorted out in a manner I feel like I at least have a puncher's chance? Maybe, but I'm not alone either.

Originally Posted by arai_speed View Post
I am in a club (Southern California) with about 300+ members.

Of that membership, only about 30 people race.

Of those 30, most race CX and MTB races with a few doing gravel events (the non-sanctioned fun/beer tent ones).

Of the 30, 6 people race road consistently (myself included).

From my vantage point, it's not the promoters fault, it's simply that people DON'T want to race road. I often hear "it's too fast", "it's too dangerous", "I don't have the fitness", "I have no interest in road racing".

I don't know how promoters or even those of us that are trying to recruit to our teams fight against that? Our club even gives reimbursement for races (partial) and we cover your kit as long as you meet certain requirements and volunteer a certain # of hours. Still, little to no interest.
Our team only has 3 out of about 20, and the other 2 are 3's. I didn't race with a teammate all last year, and unless we go to the State TT Champs, probably won't next year. The rest all do group rides and the shop is fine with that; because bike shops don't make money advertising at races, they make it in local group rides.

Last edited by furiousferret; 12-03-18 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 12-03-18, 04:38 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
In a sport where cheating is rampant, and folks regularly run lights on group rides (more or less dependent on region) a "race" where you have to stop at lights and obey traffic laws seems like a prescription for eventual conflict and disaster. Might as well take up one of those rogue fixie night races.
I'm not arguing about racing in general, or that ride in general (saw a guy hit an killed that ran it - I stopped, he ran the light and died). Just that "race" they obey the traffic laws. And it has been going on since 1976.

On the cheating. As I mentioned it is self-policed. Few who show up ride as a job, not that masters don't cheat, but the whole group kinda makes sure the win is legit.

I am not sure what causes this, but I have observed it for a long time when folks just like the sport.
I was official many years in adult soccer. The players would work our referee team. When it was just me - I made sure they knew they were saving money (on refs) and let me deal with the big stuff and they could take care of the little stuff I couldn't cover. Generally, they did just that with teammates policing teammates. They were not pros either, other than a few former ones, but playing was more important than winning.

Last edited by Doge; 12-03-18 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 12-03-18, 05:53 PM
  #66  
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Thousands of people pay lots of money to enter a Gran Fondo where they have virtually zero chance of winning (unless you happen to be the national champ or protour racer on that day). But if a promoter divides the races into categories so many more people have a chance of winning, and charges 1/2 the entry fee, then nobody will race unless they are one of those people with a winning chance. This is a good topic for a 'Hidden Brain' podcast.

Edit: I'm not trying to single you out furiousferret, I think a lot of people want to enter 'mostly' bike races where they have a chance to win. Just so happens that you wrote that feeling a few posts back.
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Old 12-04-18, 12:06 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
In a sport where cheating is rampant, and folks regularly run lights on group rides (more or less dependent on region) a "race" where you have to stop at lights and obey traffic laws seems like a prescription for eventual conflict and disaster. Might as well take up one of those rogue fixie night races.
...and just like that - Druber is out. We just lost one of our Illinois Cup races and our State TT. He's folding up the team and there's no one left to put them on.

After a ton of talk with our team and others i am seriously considering killing at least one and as many as 3 of my road races this spring. The racers just aren't there anymore.
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Old 12-04-18, 12:08 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by cmh View Post
Thousands of people pay lots of money to enter a Gran Fondo where they have virtually zero chance of winning (unless you happen to be the national champ or protour racer on that day). But if a promoter divides the races into categories so many more people have a chance of winning, and charges 1/2 the entry fee, then nobody will race unless they are one of those people with a winning chance. This is a good topic for a 'Hidden Brain' podcast.

Edit: I'm not trying to single you out furiousferret, I think a lot of people want to enter 'mostly' bike races where they have a chance to win. Just so happens that you wrote that feeling a few posts back.
Yeah but we have seen this rotation between competitive and non-competitive before. The non-competitive events get large then the actual athletes in them start to get a little bitter about the fact that someone who looks like me just "achieved" the same thing that they did. It makes them go and look for ways to actually compete.

As for gravel - we already have people around here going, "eh...it's getting too serious now. People are like training for it." Waiting for the "roadies ruined gravel" shirts. We have them for cross.
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Old 12-04-18, 04:43 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
...and just like that - Druber is out. We just lost one of our Illinois Cup races and our State TT. He's folding up the team and there's no one left to put them on.

After a ton of talk with our team and others i am seriously considering killing at least one and as many as 3 of my road races this spring. The racers just aren't there anymore.
More time at the lake? When you quit facebook you start losing touch with people. I'm like that guy in a movie who starts to disappear.
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Old 12-04-18, 04:44 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
Yeah but we have seen this rotation between competitive and non-competitive before. The non-competitive events get large then the actual athletes in them start to get a little bitter about the fact that someone who looks like me just "achieved" the same thing that they did. It makes them go and look for ways to actually compete.

As for gravel - we already have people around here going, "eh...it's getting too serious now. People are like training for it." Waiting for the "roadies ruined gravel" shirts. We have them for cross.
I remember in the early 90s when the guys who won mountain bike racers around here were ex-motocross guys who smoked.
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Old 12-04-18, 08:46 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by cmh View Post
Thousands of people pay lots of money to enter a Gran Fondo where they have virtually zero chance of winning (unless you happen to be the national champ or protour racer on that day). But if a promoter divides the races into categories so many more people have a chance of winning, and charges 1/2 the entry fee, then nobody will race unless they are one of those people with a winning chance. This is a good topic for a 'Hidden Brain' podcast.

Edit: I'm not trying to single you out furiousferret, I think a lot of people want to enter 'mostly' bike races where they have a chance to win. Just so happens that you wrote that feeling a few posts back.
For many, the Fondo is like a marathon - You do it to say you completed it. Yeah, there are lots of people competing to win the Boston or New York Marathon, but for probably 95 percent of the participants, they want that finishers medal. Fondos are the same. Most weekend warriors aren't going out and riding 100+ miles through the mountains every weekend - I certainly don't. But you organize such a ride and charge a fee and provide support, they now have an event to train for and attempt to complete. They can tell their friends, family, and coworkers that they did a race (it is a race) and finished.

Nothing wrong with that. And we should really stop looking down on that. More people on bikes benefits everyone, including the roadies who still race.

And there is a difference between lining up for a big event like a Fondo once or twice a year, where you don't have a chance of winning, and lining up at your weekly crit, and know you have no chance of winning. If you keep going out to crits and you keep being shuttled out the back, it's not fun. Even at the higher levels, people stop having fun being pack fodder. Take AaronMcD for example. He was crushing it in the 5s and 4s. He was super strong and competitive in the 3s. Now he is a 2, and from all of his reports, it sounds like he is basically pack fodder and isn't having as much fun as he used to. (Aaron, if I have that wrong, please feel free to correct me.)

Last edited by topflightpro; 12-04-18 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 12-04-18, 11:37 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
For many, the Fondo is like a marathon - You do it to say you completed it. Yeah, there are lots of people competing to win the Boston or New York Marathon, but for probably 95 percent of the participants, they want that finishers medal. Fondos are the same. Most weekend warriors aren't going out and riding 100+ miles through the mountains every weekend - I certainly don't. But you organize such a ride and charge a fee and provide support, they now have an event to train for and attempt to complete. They can tell their friends, family, and coworkers that they did a race (it is a race) and finished. (Aaron, if I have that wrong, please feel free to correct me.)

Nothing wrong with that. And we should really stop looking down on that. More people on bikes benefits everyone, including the roadies who still race.

And there is a difference between lining up for a big event like a Fondo once or twice a year, where you don't have a chance of winning, and lining up at your weekly crit, and know you have no chance of winning. If you keep going out to crits and you keep being shuttled out the back, it's not fun. Even at the higher levels, people stop having fun being pack fodder. Take AaronMcD for example. He was crushing it in the 5s and 4s. He was super strong and competitive in the 3s. Now he is a 2, and from all of his reports, it sounds like he is basically pack fodder and isn't having as much fun as he used to.
Perfectly-stated. Thank you.
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Old 12-04-18, 12:56 PM
  #73  
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I'd also be interested to see competitor data from USAC... with declining participation overall for road racing - lower # of events and entries, if there has been a resulting drop (normalized as a percentage) in the number of folks who are upgrading through the categories.

I'm wondering if for, let's say, every 500 new racers, there were XYZ category upgrades on an annual basis in 2005-2013. Now, the rate for 500 new racers, the % upgrading is lower. The standards for upgrading (i.e. number of points you need) hasn't changed. But the opportunity to score points have decreased.

Looking at that data, my guess is that with the reduction of races to earn upgrade points, the 4/5 categories will begin to become even larger as a percentage of racers. They'll be less racers at each event, but the number of upgrade points available drops with race size anyway...

You'll get an even bigger glut of 4/5 racers than in previous years. I'm not sure how this would affect people coming out to race again and again.

Taking it a bit further, if I were a promoter, and I had data showing that the 4/5's were going to become more and more numerous, why bother then putting on races for higher categories?
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Old 12-04-18, 01:20 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by cmh View Post
Thousands of people pay lots of money to enter a Gran Fondo where they have virtually zero chance of winning (unless you happen to be the national champ or protour racer on that day). But if a promoter divides the races into categories so many more people have a chance of winning, and charges 1/2 the entry fee, then nobody will race unless they are one of those people with a winning chance. This is a good topic for a 'Hidden Brain' podcast.

Edit: I'm not trying to single you out furiousferret, I think a lot of people want to enter 'mostly' bike races where they have a chance to win. Just so happens that you wrote that feeling a few posts back.
IMO, I think the fondo system can work and be competitive, with a corral system. Fast racers go first, next fastest, etc. Its done in Europe. Maybe its done here, I haven't done one before.

What @psimet said; the natural evolution of an endurance athlete is to train for fun, enter an event as a participant (marathon, tri, fondo) find they excel at it and then compete. Almost every racer starts out that way and goes up the ranks until they stall and hang it up.

Bike racing is a hard sport, and the races are designed to filter out the trash. If you're not the 10% winning, you're probably going to wash out at some point. With fewer races that filter is even greater. I watch Jr races where 3-5 kids don't have a shot, they get lapped, and no one has a problem with that. Same kid wins every week, same kids get lapped every week. By the end of the year, those kids just stop showing up.

Many of these races communities (specifically masters) the meta never changes; same people win every year. So racers just don't bother registering. More races help, but the promoters are losing money, so its a no win situation. The races are also dictated by the minority

Maybe this is all an SCNCA thing, we used to be the biggest district in the nation, now we are 3rd or 4th? In the few years I've raced, its become less communal and more tribal.
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Old 12-04-18, 01:51 PM
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I wish @DieterDrake just had a hill climb race up devil's kitchen!
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