Tuesday Coffee Talk - Are road races going extinct?

This week's coffee talk focus's on the possible extinction of the road race from the Colorado cycling calendar. What can we do and how, if possible, can we change to adapt to our own version of climate change

Every year people can hear a low mantra chant by many cyclists, "more road races please, more road races please..." Obviously this higher being they are chanting to is not listening as the existence of RR on the Colorado racing calender is getting slimmer and slimmer year after year. Like the potential extinction of the Polar Bear due to global warming, there might not be much that can be done to change this trend unless something changes. Currently getting permits for RR are challenging as many counties like Boulder already have so many county events going on every weekend they need to limit it for the sake of the residents of the rural area. There are very high and rising costs of RR, ask Chris Grealish of DBCEvents he'll tell you the thousands of dollars he is forced to pay to off duty officer to manage every major intersection (20 years ago that wasn't required). Then you need a flood of volunteers, and in the end you have to hope for good weather as on bad day by Mother Nature can keep nearly 50% of the field away hence putting that race in the hole as had happened to the Boulder Roubaix years ago.

It's been ask before with polls on 303 how much you would be willing to pay and rising prices doesn't look like it is an option for many racers and the cost isn't going to drop even if the prize list was set to zero. The only logical option seems to go east like Deer Trail or restart Hugo RR but even that seems just like a band-aid to the problem.

Is it time to change to format of racing up some? Why does a crit/curcuit have to be just 45min or 60 min? What if we turned a curcuit into a RR by extending it to 2hr for longer circuit courses with fewer technical corners? Yes, this would eliminate categories or require combining categories which some would not find acceptable. But where do we go, can road cycling evolve a little and try something new? One can look at the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series to see where evolution has occurred and racers are voting with their registrations as that series is growing very well. One could say, those events are a alternative to a road race... at least it works for me.

Now that we can look past chip timing and who got 35th place in race x maybe we can talk about items that some say are core to what road cycling is all about road cycling, or at the least find ways to evolve into something new and fun to try out like the roadterium -;)

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85 Comments

"days of full Senior/Elite

"days of full Senior/Elite groups is long gone"

Question: are they long gone because there are no racers of that demographic, or because their needs are not being met by the existing race schedule? Arguably you would have more SM2 if they were split more often and able to race on their own without having to struggle against Tom Danielson and friends. Also collegiate racing was underserved for so long in this region by the ACA/USAC split that there was not much crossover in the past 15 years. You can see that in the lack of SM3, where in other regions this is one of the largest fields.

There are currently 4 versions of Cat 4 in the BRAC schedule. Is it really that there are that many Masters, or is it the same 20 guys doubling up for 2-3 (or more) races that they're eligible for, when the 22 year old Cat 2/3/4 guy doesn't have that luxury?

Barriers to Entry

I think a big pert of the problem is the barriers to entry to younger senior racers, be they perceived or real.

Real: Training takes a lot of time, effort & sacrifice. Racing is dangerous. Entry/license/membership fees and travel costs add up quickly. Most guys will not see a return on their investment (wins/podiums/upgrades, etc.).

Perceived: Relentless marketing hype by everybody looking to make a buck that you ABSOLUTELY NEED an expensive bike, an expensive set of wheels, fancy kit, a power meter and a coach in order to compete.

well, you know, if a new set

well, you know, if a new set of $1500 wheels will save you 2 watts worth of power at a given speed, which then enables you to finish 12th instead of 13th at the Deer Trail RR, then by all means you must get a pair. As for me, I plan to dominate the Cherry Creek TT series! Spare no expense, I say.

Steamboat SR

Corey, you are the man. Excellent race. I look forward to heading up there each year, so keep up the great work. I hope that you will retain this as a Stage Race rather than an Omnium. This is the only SR in Colorado (Dead Dog is great too, but it's in Wyoming ;-)), and it is a truly unique event that every racer in any category should try at least once.

Corey, All I can say is that

Corey,

All I can say is that I am terrible at hill climbing and I have little chance of finishing any better than last place but I keep coming to SSR becuase the race is promoted so well that I just want to be a part of it each year. Last year was brutal though. Good to hear the TT will be flatter this year. Thanks for all your hard work and I look forward to seeing you again this year!

SSSR

Corey,
Thanks for putting on a great race! I thought the race and categories last year were awesome! I don't think you will ever satisfy every racer in Colorado, and you will always hear from the ones that you don't. Colorado racers have no idea how good it is here.
I would love to see a return of the circuit race from 09 an 10, but certainly understand that you cant get a permit for that course.

Thanks for a great race.
Mike

Corey I agree 100% with all

Corey I agree 100% with all of your comments. The masters need to stop ruining the racing in this state with their incessant demands. There should be many more races such as steamboat all over colorado. The only thing holding this back is the racers themselves. Need more money for a road race...get more sponsors. The racers around here act like the problems promotors face here are exclusive to colorado, when in reality it's the same all over the country. The only reason we have so few road races here is that the racing community isn't willing to put forth the extra effort required.

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