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Drop in XC race entrants


By hank - Posted on 15 July 2015

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Interesting article and a question I was asking myself.

http://flowmountainbike.com/features/the-soapbox...

I agree with all these points, but for me the cost ($100-$150 per race, plus the extras in petrol/ food/ broken bikes) was getting too much to enter every race and now I just pick and choose. Joining the events and having a race series like they had a few back I think is the key to getting the 100km XC races back on track.

My fave race experiences are Mont and this years multi stage Snowy Mountains race as they felt like I got the best value for money and had an extended time with my mates.

It is puzzling where all the numbers from 5 years ago have disappeared and sad to see events like Capital Punishment stop.

Well the RockyTrail events are still going very well, even the ones that are far away have been getting great numbers and increasing every year, I think it has a lot to do with how the event is run and how welcome you are made to feel at the events.

Obviously having Mondraker Austrlia doing tech support at the races helps too ...(shameless plug)

I reckon there are just as many racers as ever. They are just spread over more events.

Once you had the mont 24hr which sold out in hours with 3000 riders. And the Sydney 12hr that sold out 900 spots.

They were the only two options and you set aside those weekends as your race weekends. they were social catch ups as much as races.

Now there is an event almost every weekend, some times more than one. Lots of options mean riders are picking a choosing the ones that suit their budget, time frames, family commitments, fun rating

Most things go through a life cycle and MTB racing is no different. Growth, peaking, followed by decline is ro sone degree inevitable.

During this period it becomes a race to become the least cost producer, unless the producer can tweak the product to set off another growth phase by targeting a different market (eg younger demographic) or turning it into a different product altogether.

I hear complaints frequently from overseas racers and expats about the cost of entry fees here in Oz, usually of the oeder of 3 times what is charged overseas. One difference is likely to be the fact that most events in say the UK are hosted by local clubs (so I'm told), but maybe insurance costs here are a contributor too with NSW being litigation capital of the world.

Another factor may be the rise of road biking since Cadels win in the Tour de Pharmacy. Assuming stock on bike shop floors is representative of demand, the market has seemingly shifted a bit away from MTB in the mid to high end towards skinny tyres and drop bars. Roadie group rides can be a bit more social as its easier to ride two abreast.

Without some actual figures the whole debate's a bit meaningless. Are there actually fewer race entries occurring in aggregate, or are there the same number (or more) spread over a larger number of events?

Sure there seem to be fewer people at the events I go to, but that's purely anecdotal and doesn't really mean anything.

68% of all statistics are made up

For me the social aspect of it was a big part, as soon as that started to decline (for various reasons) then I guess my entries into as many events as I used to enter dropped off.. then also road bikes started to make an appearance in my stable.

I have said it before, but small things like changing events (that used to sell out super fast) from a Sunday to a Saturday effectively killed off the Saturday night social aspect of the race and thus a couple years later I don't actually know anyone that would bother to get up at 4am on a Saturday to get to a 7am race rego or bother with the hassle of getting out of Sydney on a Friday after work to race out and set up for a Saturday start? and when they did, we would do the race and then simply drive home leaving the event center like a ghost town a few hours after the race finished.

Events like the Fling are still going strong because its social social social, the whole town gets behind it and that adds to the festival like atmosphere, you can bring the family and they can have fun as well.

I used to do a lot of team racing. Starting a family has meant the weekends away with the boys racing are on hold for a while.
I now mainly do our local (WSMTB) club events and a couple of the bigger races (just did the RT 12hr). I'm not particularly fast but I go OK for an average bloke and really just race to see how fast I can go and to try to beat my mates.
One thing I've noticed is the disappearance of regular "teams" - like Stevens bikes, Jet racing, Onya bike, Alltrack, Bikeculture, Velosophy etc. These were the super fast guys that everyone was in awe of. There are still the odd fast team - Torq/Merida juniors for example or Quantum racing but there doesn't seem to be the top end turning out for team races anymore.
The prizes given for podiums have also become very poor. We used to get things like chains, cassettes, shifters, derailleurs, lights etc - with the value being well upward of the cost of the team entry. The last podium prize I got recently was a can of essentially bike WD40 - less that $10 worth of prize. Now, I don't race to get prizes - I just like to try to ride fast and have fun doing it - but I recon if you manage to get on the podium you should get close to the value of your entry back as a prize.
We also had a few very poor experiences with a certain race promoter (who's dealing ranged from disinterest to outright rudeness) and stopped doing their races for a whole year as a bit of a silent protest - talking to others around the traps, we weren't the only ones. It's not hard to simply be polite to people who are paying to compete in your races.

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