I guess I didn’t know just how good I had it back during the Greenville Spring Series. I will admit I was complaining a bit about how the registration fees had climbed to around $30 for a single race. Well, things just got worse.
The POA Cycling Team went down to Blythewood last weekend to race. I sat out because it appeared that we would once again have a full stable of Masters 35+ riders. I didn’t really want to do the Cat 3 race all by myself. So I sat out saying, “You guys go have fun. I’m going to stay here and train for the Rock Hill race.”
Now I’m wishing I had gone. Turns out that not everyone participated in the Masters 35+ race and I could have helped the guys out (not that they needed my help!) Beyond that, I’ve gotten a look at the registration form for the Rock Hill Bicycle Club Classic. Yikes!
The temptation is pretty high to stay home again. What would it cost me to race the Saturday criterium? That is the only one I would be able to do. Though, just for the fun of it, I’ll list what it would cost to do both.
Criterium only: [(Total miles / MPG) * Price of gas] + (Registration + 2 meals)
We’re looking at – conservatively – $88.16 to go up to Rock Hill and race for 20 laps around Winthrop Lake. $50 of that amount is the registration fee. So, you can see, I wouldn’t be eating at the steak house!
So, let’s take a look at what it would cost to do both races. We’ll take to approaches. 1) Ride up and back on Saturday and then repeat that on Sunday. 2) Ride up and stay in a hotel.
Racing both days from home: (Criterium total) * 2 – However, I should note that this would mean a very early morning for me as the Cat. 3 race starts at around 8:30 AM. I’d have to drive 90+ miles to get there.
Racing both days from hotel: (Criterium total) + (Registration + 3 meals + hotel) I’m thinking that I could hole up in an Econo Lodge for around $40 using a membership discount. There will be an extra meal in there as well.
If I want to drive up on Saturday, race, drive home to sleep in my own bed before getting up and driving back up to Rock Hill, race, and then drive home; it is going to cost me $176.00.
If I decide to drive up Saturday, race, stay in a hotel so I can get up later to race, and then drive home; it is going to cost me $203.00.
Oooooo, I’m getting heart burn. Still, if the registration fees were what I paid to race in the Spring Series, we’d be looking at $58 to go up on Saturday night to race. That still is something to think about in today’s economy, but compared to $88 it just seems more reasonable.
I’ve talked with other racers and I’m hearing reactions from “They can take their registration fee and [fill in the blank here]” to “Well, they wouldn’t have such a high registration fee if people wouldn’t pay it.” A few of them are definitely planning on going up there — including members of my team. No one appears happy with it, but if you want to race….
I’m torn. I don’t feel like I have contributed much to the team so far this season. Seems like every time I decide to stay home I’m left wondering if I could have been a part of some cool results.
At the same time, $88 is a bit of cash to race 20 laps. Tax day is coming and unlike some folks who look forward to their refunds, I have to plan to pay the tax man. Things are a bit tight right now.
I guess it really comes down to this. If race organizers can charge a $50 registration fee and people show up to pay it, why not charge that amount? If racers stopped showing up, it might cause these fees to be reconsidered. That may mean that a venue might have to change or certain amenities or prizes would have to adjust. However, racing would be available to more people.
I don’t want to sound like a complainer. Maybe if my personal circumstances were different, I wouldn’t even think twice about it. Still, I think I’m saying something that a lot of people are thinking. I really do appreciate the folks who organize the races. For all I know, they are dipping into their own pockets to pull off these events and the registration fees aren’t enough at $50.
One thing I do know, if race registration fees continue to climb, I’m going to have to stop organized racing. Perhaps there are people out there willing to put down this kind of cash multiple weekends during the season, but I just can’t afford it. Cycling may be a sport outside my pay scale.