Monday, November 23, 2009

Creeping Fees in Competitive Cycling: Part 2--Tour of the Battenkill Sets the Bar Higher Than Ever.

Race fees have been rising steadily over the last year. One of my main points when I tackled this topic this summer was that a promoter could only get away with raising race fees far above the average fee if they were offering a unique race experience. I sighted the Tour of the Battenkill as the primary example of such a race. I also noted that the promoter of Battenkill, Dieter Drake, was very likely to raise prices until he found the upper limit that racers were willing to pay.

Battenkill will cost $75 for lower category racers and $85 for cat 1/Pro and cat 2 (who have a separate race. Obviously, the fee is outrageously high. Normally, I'd blast the promoter and suggest that we all race somewhere else on that day. Realistically, most people I know will complain about the fee privately and then be the first to register for the race.

The icing on the cake is the lack of a prizelist. While few of us will finish in the money, we like to know that a portion of our race fee will be paid to the best riders in our race. Maybe this is an oversight, but the combination of the pieces of information makes me bridle.

Last year we all sat around our computers at a designated time waiting for Battenkill registration to open so that we wouldn't be shut out when the fields filled quickly. Some of us had plans that night and were shut out. Dieter Drake added fields to accommodate the demand. While some people spent time on a wait list, eventually, no one was shut out.

This year, I suggest that we have none of it. The races aren't going to fill. And even if they fill, Drake will do exactly what he did last year and open fields instead of leaving $75 a head on the table. Maybe if we wait a few weeks before registering, Drake will panic. Obviously, he won't lower the race fee this year, but he may think twice before raising the fee by more than 50% for 2011.

I'd like to say that I'm highly principled and that I'll stay home instead of paying the exorbitant race fee. I haven't decided if I will race yet. My decision will depend on my fitness in the late winter/early spring. If I feel like I am going to get dropped, I will stay home and do an epic ride locally instead of dropping all that money and driving 8+ hours to ride alone in upstate New York.

96 comments:

Adam Myerson said...

If I was in your shoes, I would stay home AND feel awesome about it. This is an easy choice.

RMM said...

The problem for us leisure racers, is that our friends will be racing Battenkill. And we all want to hang out with our friends.

While the choice should be easy, it isn't. I could just skip another race to justify the expense of Battenkill's race fee.

Billy said...

Active duty military race for free. Enlist and you're all set. Looks like they added transponders too, which likely is where a lot of the increase came from.
I'll probably still race, since placing well on this course turned into one of my big goals after crap luck this year.

gewilli said...

I'd rather save my $ and do D2R2 (far more epic). Or i hear maybe the Killington Stage Race will be making a come back.

I've been out there three years in a row now.

I am NOT going back this year. Not a chance.

Dieter said...

Hi Folks - I happened to stumble upon this...

'Very disappointing that Adam would say that (I paid for his team to race last year). I would have hoped he would have been a little more supportive...very disappointing. Perhaps he should stay home as well this year.

While I can't publish per-category prize lists yet, I have budgeted more than $10k in prize money for the 2010 Pro/Am. So, in addition to the free stuff we are planning to give to all riders this year, the money is going up ~30%.

I hope everyone realizes how expensive this race is to run! The event LOST LOTS of money last year and I vowed not to burden myself or the organization with this kind of liability again. Hence, the fee increase. I can argue strongly that the Battenkill provides an opportunity & experience unmatched in domestic racing. It comes at a very high cost, however.

rosey said...

Out

In fact, I am going to host a ride in which I pay others to join ME. Not $75 cuz I'm not that rich. Maybe like $1 or something.

matt said...

d2r2 is money well spent.

I'm going to pay for it by driving to JP and riding with Rosey all spring and summer for $1 per ride.

Adam Myerson said...

I'm sorry, Dieter, what?

1. I have no idea what arrangements you make with the team I race for. I'm a racer on the team. I'm not speaking on behalf of the team, and I would expect you to be able to separate my personal opinions from my employer.

2. If I disagree with the entry fee, are you suggesting I should put aside my personal opinions because the team I race for got some kind of hook up? That goes against everything I stand for.

3. We aren't discussing professional racing here. We're discussing amateur racing, and people who pay their own entry fees out of their own pockets. For the people who pay their own entry fees, $75 is 3-4 hours at their jobs. It's a week of groceries. It's real money, and I personally would not be able to afford it or justify it. Do not confuse pros with amateurs here. These people are your customers, and their telling you your entry fee is outrageous.

4. Many of the commenters here have organized races before. They know what it costs to put a race on. As amateurs, they also do not appreciate an exceptionally high entry fee when it goes to subsidizing prize lists for pros. The author here doesn't give a shit about what the pro prize list is. That's not part of the experience he's paying for as your customer.

No, you know exactly what you're doing here. You had a huge demand for your event, and you're raising the fee to correlate with that demand. You know perfectly well many people will scoff at this entry fee, and you had to expect resistance to it. It's exceptional and exorbitant. But people will stay pay it, and if you lose a few people who can't or won't pay, you'll find the balance and likely generate more income. Well done.

If I was an amateur, paying my own entry fees, I could not afford this, and would not, on principle, participate. If Battenkill lost lots of money last year, then you're doing something wrong. I'm not sure what it is about this entry fee increase that you think any of us should support, and I resent strongly that you would mention the pro team I race for as part of the discussion.

Battenkill is a very fun, very unique race. As a pro, it's a target of mine. As an amateur, it's not worth $75.

Dave said...

Wow, I really didn't sit on one side or another of this argument, I've helped run races before and I could see valid reasons for for and against a fee increase but based on Dieter's comment alone, I'm 100% out for next year and encourage everyone to skip Battenkill; he clearly doesn't get it.

Rosey, get your ride up on bike reg, I'm in... I may even pre-reg like 10 times.

RMM said...

Dieter:

Last year we had a conversation in the comments section of the hydrophobik blog (defunct) about your decision to have multiple lower category fields, I said pointed out that your decision was all about money. You told me that I "didn't get it."

Now you have raised the fee by 66% (which is no where near "~30%", check your math). I don't know what else you could do to prove that you are a price gouger.

Swag? Why would I want to pay $30 for a bunch of crap that will end up on the trunk of my car. If I wanted a race T shirt, I'd buy one. Forcing me to buy one as part of my race fee is just insulting and inconsiderate.

Timing chips? These merely cover up for officials/promoters' ineptitude at the finish line. They add no value to the racer's experience. In fact they are a huge hassle; just one more thing that we are responsible for. Furthermore, they are irrelevant in a sprint, as it is the front of the tire that determines the winner, not who gets an ankle monitor over the finish line first.

Adam has already laid out the arguments why I shouldn't support your race, but I want to reiterate one thing. Ametuer racers don't care what the pro payout is. In fact, most of us don't even care if there is a pro race at all (other than allowing our pro friends a chance to race).

Aside from all this, trying to bully a pro whose team was allowed a free entry last year is low class and underhanded. What, did you think that you were buying loyalty by comping an inflated race fee?

Get over yourself and your race and get a clue.

Dieter said...

I should have been more clear: I think it's disappointing that Adam hasn't made the connection between professional racing, pro teams and their sponsors, and amateur racers and the races in which they compete in the US, currently.

In any case, I didn't mean to create a long and drawn out discussion nor a heated debate. The race is fun, exciting, different and a race that many people look forward to each year. If it were boring, dull, and not very interesting it would be considerably less expensive to run. Racers will be the final arbiters as to its worth to their racing season. Its my hope that they continue to enjoy it for many, many years to come.

To offset the entry fee this year, we're giving away t-shirts, expo coupons, and anything else I can drag out of sponsors for the racer bags- all in an attempt to bring it back down to the level of last year's fee and more. We also have the Affiliate Sponsor Program: raise independent sponsorship for the event and your team races for free. It's the best I can do.

matt said...

"The race is fun, exciting, different and a race that many people look forward to each year. If it were boring, dull, and not very interesting it would be considerably less expensive to run."

What is it exactly about the dirt roads around Battenkill that make it more expensive to run a race on than the roads around any of the other 30 odd road races in NE? Car washes post-race for all follow vehicles? Wellies for volunteer staff? Even if the cost for neutral support was 10x normal for BR because of all the wheel changes that they do, it wouldn't justify the entry fee increase from $25 to $75.

I can think of plenty of fun, exciting and different races that don't cost $75.

Matt Simpson said...

Out - after reading the comments.

Dieter - you were called out by Myerson & Mike. Both made impactful statements; to which you never defended, but rather "the best I can do".

I have organized races before (although be it - running races) - I get the officials, timing, detail, food, etc, but frankly Adam and Mike nailed it. I am a lonely cat 3 or 35+ racer. I am a full time working husband, father to 3 young girls. I now live pay check to pay check, asking me to pony up $75; plus drive, plus hotel, plus food - nadda - ain't happening dude (excuse my slang of course).

To do yourself the favor, I suggest you post your balance sheet on the Batenkill web pge, show us what it costs to run this race (all costs - be transparent); show us the full prize list, show us what you need to make above & beyond to re-invest in 2011; then let us decide if you are being true to your word, or if Adam has it right (supply / demand). I suspect, Adam has it correct.

I am a fool if I decide to race, but I assure you, there is a ground swell locally amongst New England Bike racers, to boycott these hefty fees. Cut the t-shirt, coupon, etc crap - we DON'T care - like we need 1 more lame event t-shirt.

I can assure you; a response "best I can do" won't fly - bike racers in New England are smart. This could be the rise and fall of Batenkill.

So - just step up, justify in detail the $75; then let the smart bike racers make their own decision.

Perception is typically reality.

Best of luck - and please; this is not a personal attack on DD; rather a request to clarify and be transparent.

Dieter said...

Rather than that, I think it would be more constructive to offer sponsorship ideas so that I can use to reduce the Pro/Am entry fees. The costs are fixed and a function of the more than 300 volunteers, 50+ police officers, 65 pace and follow cars (food, gas, etc.), neutral support (multiple), site fees, prizelist, car/rider/event insurance, 25+ race officials and associated costs (hotel, food, travel, etc.), local donations (without which there is no race), and 1500+ racers on the road at the same time: 18 categories including cub juniors. This is in no way similar to any event in New England or New York.

The t-shirts are not crappy.

Dieter said...

oops - the shirts are not "lame". I have one one right now and it's very nice.

Colin R said...

Who cares about his fucking balance sheet? The promoter is going to put in a ridiculous amount of time to the race, if he's managed to turn a profit, good-for-fucking-him. He has no obligation to run the race as a non-profit venture so that you, the racer, can save money. You want to save money? Don't fucking go.

It's capitalism. He priced it at $75, and you, as a unique snowflake, get to make your own special decision about whether or not the race is worth $75 to you.

If you think $75 is an outrageous entry fee for a one-day event I hope you never do the Vermont 50, Mt Washington Hillclimb, any triathlon, or even a Verge double weekend.

That all being said, Dieter didn't do himself any favors going after Adam. But that shit doesn't matter. $75, take it or leave it.

rosey said...

Dieter,

At this point you are best served by letting the registration results determine whether or not Battenkill continues to thrive.

Don't make yourself look worse than you already have by reacting and not answering the criticisms that people here are presenting.

As Colin R just said, it's your race and you can run it as you want. It's our $75 and we can spend them as we want. I am choosing NOT to spend them in CNY but I bet there are still hundreds who will.

Dieter said...

Boy, I thought I did respond:

Is the race enormously expensive? Yes

Does Adam understand the relationship between domestic professional & amateur bicycle racing? No

Is the race different? Yes

Is the demand high? Yes

Are the t-shirts lame? No

Do we still live in a free country? Yes

If you decide not to come will you be missing a lot of fun that many of your friends and teammates will enjoy in your absence? Yes.

Be well.

Matt Simpson said...

Colin - you nailed it. I and hundreds are dumb enough to consider racing. Get a grip Colin, my balance sheet comment was meant as a point, not a request,..

Dude, I have directed many running races since 1999,..as stated, not a personal stomp on DD, just a point.

And yeah, I'll make my own fukn decision to race or not, given we (this includes you) are all douche bags in our opinions, I would be the first to thank DD for organizing.

Bet I race BK...in the end we are all right.

Dieter said...

I forgot to add -

Is Cambridge in Central New York (CNY)? No

Be well, again.

Dieter said...

the beer is on me should you come - 'worth the effort expended here in this open & frank discussion...

Adam Myerson said...

Dieter, you're making the terrible mistake of thinking you have the knowledge or experience to know what it is I do or don't understand.

I've been organizing bike races for 19 years. I've been racing in them for 23 years. I'm responsible for 14 UCI cyclo-cross events this season, and have literally 100's of grassroots race promotion efforts under my belt. I started the Tour of the Hilltowns, I co-founded NEBRA, i started the NCC, I spent 4 years on the UCI 'Cross Commission. Are you really going to tell me I don't understand the dynamics of race organization in the US?

Apparently, I understand the relationship between domestic pro and amateur racing better than you. I run a race weekend with a $35,000 budget that is run primarily on entry fees, and has very little sponsorship. I am dependent on my participant entry fees in order to cover the budget of my race. Sound familiar?

What I understand, and you don't seem to, is that there is a moral limit to how much underwriting of your professional event you can put on the backs of your amateur riders without a backlash from those riders. I could make the Cycle-Smart International a Category 1 UCI race instead of just a Cat. 2 race, and try to raise the entry fees up to the point where it matches the demand. My fields fill, we're pre-reg only, the race is really popular. I could definitely be charging higher entry fees and either increase my profit, or make my pro race higher profile.

In my opinion, that's putting the cart before the horse. You clearly can not afford your pro races, and instead of running pro races on SPONSORSHIP, sponsorship you obviously don't have, you're trying to underwrite it with amateur entry fees. This is out of order.

You're only showing your own disconnect with your customers when you say I don't get it. I get it perfectly well, and I simply think you're wrong. I agree with amateurs here who think $75 is not a good value for this race experience. If I was an amateur paying my own entry, and I'm sure I speak for all of them here, I'd much rather see a $50 entry fee and no big UCI pro race. The pro race is not what the amateurs should be paying for. It's what your sponsors should be paying for. Sponsors you apparently don't have, and clearly, understanding you don't have, either. Otherwise, you wouldn't be so surprised at the backlash you're seeing here. You should have anticipated it.

S Davis said...

The shirts DO look nice...

But the high fee has got me wondering if it wouldn't be just as "epic" an experience to rent a house, go out and ride the route or ride D2R2 (2 hours closer to home) on a different weekend with friends/teamates/whomever. I even came back out to Cambridge NY for the Balloon festival last summer because i was so impressed with the area. I have no aspirations of winning one of the four cat 4 "races". And with the PRo invitational on a different weekend i dont even get to watch the pros race for the purse that my entry fees would be supporting.

Im not saying that Battenkill isnt an amazing race, it is. But its a tough to balance the amazingness against all the things that $75 would buy me.

Whatever the costs on the promoter's end, the racers experience doesnt seem to be getting $50 better than last year. Although im sure there are a lot of folks who spent 30 minutes in the rain waiting for a neutral wheel who might be willing to pay the higher entry for neutral support that stayed behind them.

Brian said...
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Colin R said...

But the high fee has got me wondering if it wouldn't be just as "epic" an experience to rent a house, go out and ride the route or ride D2R2 (2 hours closer to home) on a different weekend with friends/teamates/whomever.

Every time someone equates a ride with friends to a race (and you're not the first in this thread, Seth), god kills a kitten.

Ryan said...

I've done the Cat 2 race the last two years, and yes, it has been pretty expensive.

But when I got to registration and saw the number of officials, volunteers and the incredible level of organization, I saw where the money was going.

I entered this race knowing that I was probably not going to see any prize money, but I was okay with that for the experience.

I think it just comes down to how people want to allocate funds - it's sort of like training and peaking and key events. When you're training, you focus on peaking for maybe two weekends a year, and they become your key events.

The same can be said with your racing budget - sure, you may only be able to use your funds for one big race - so maybe it's Fitchburg, maybe it's Battenkill, or maybe you save the money from Battenkill and do two crits in August.

Dieter isn't demanding that you pay this money. If the race has priced you out, that is certainly Dieter's loss, and you will not be coming.

Adam Myerson said...

@Ryan, those are all good points, and similar to Colin's post. But that's also the point Mike made in the blog post initially. He's saying that a $75 entry fee is outside of what he's willing to pay for this particular race experience. I agree with him.

The problem we seem to have here is that Dieter is somehow surprised or offended by the fact that he may now have priced people out, or that somehow we don't understand race organization if riders aren't happy to pay it.

Cosmo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

MR. ADAM -

Yeah.

I guess Mr. Dieter Drake should be ready to see a slight dip in registration numbers - but he has to be okay with that.

I think a New England promoter will probably stand to have a great event the same weekend as Battenkill, especially if he/she prices it around $25.

iworedettos said...

this is fucking awesome.

i've raced bk the last two years. last year was incredibly frustrating. the problems with the results notwithstanding, i just don't think it's possible to run a road race (on a great, unique course) with that many fields in one day. limit the number of fields. charge a reasonable fee. be happy that all fields will sell out. give the amateurs a great race with excellent support. give the pros a safe race. grow sustainably. don't charge $75 and expect no criticism after the b.s. dealt to the amateur fields in 2009.

i don't have any confidence that the race will be 66% better run in 2010. my friend (4x bk vet) and i are really on the fence, trending toward staying home. and we know it won't make any difference.

Cosmo said...

Yo Adam, I think you're great and imma let you finish, but I had one of the greatest anti-Roubaix rants of all time:

http://tr.im/FG5M

Dylan said...

i guess i see it from both sides of the fence.

- i actually hope dieter is able to turn a profit, he deserves to. race promotion shouldn't have to be a charity. jeez what do u guys want next?........ nationalized health care? (joke..haha)

-yes the prices are high and will make it difficult for some...myself included as i have a family and we live on essentially one income. BUT we all have the choice to pay the fee or not.

- i do agree that it is unfortunate for the amateurs to subsidize the cost of the pro race...especially when said race is held on an entirely different weekend. i understand logistical reasons but still kind of a bummer.

-no one should be complaining about timing chips...my ears are still ringing from hearing 200+ cat 4's complaining about why the hell they didnt know if they finished 76th or 81st...within the first 2 hours of the finish. lame.

- personally i think this is one of the coolest races all season.
-well run considering it's size.
-unique.
-challenging.

i will find a way to pay for it if need be. I would personally prefer to skip a few local races where i ride around a boring circuit for a few hours and save the money for this race.
i realize my goals may be different than others but, this race holds more value to me in a lot of different ways.

you all have good points and arguements....can't we all just get along?

so make up your minds, and find an alternative race that weekend or save your energy for meetinghouse rd.

dylan mcnicholas

AH said...

I run a regional Midwestern cat 1-2 team. I planned to take 4 or 5 guys to race Battenkill since I grew up not too far away and we can crash at my parents house for free. I always knew this would be a pricey weekend with gas from Indy to eastern NY and back, but free room and board would have made it kinda-sorta reasonable.

Unfortunately my team doesn't have the national exposure to get our Pro-1 fees comp'd, so I'll have to shell out $340 - 425 just for my guys to race. None of them will win. Hell, only 1 or 2 will place if they're REALLY lucky. But I want them to race so that they can get the exposure and experience of such a high caliber event.

But $85 a head? That's the friggin' breaking point for me. I'm doing back-of-the-envelope calculations for fees, gas, race food, etc., and thinking about how many other events I can send my guys to if we don't come to this race.

Battenkill will be a great race for the guys to do, but not for 5% of my team's annual budget.

Dieter said...

inquire within.

Peter said...

Sure... race fees aren't essential spending, we can all chose where to play, supply & demand can set the price, and Dieter should be able to get something for his efforts... but the point that's being missed by every one is that stuff doesn't have to be super expensive to be cool/fun/epic/etc... If you can't afford all that expensive stuff mentioned that goes into the race, then don't have it all... you don't need it to make the race run.

The cool part of the race is that you get to ride on fun roads that have been mapped out, there are some people at the dangerous corners, and a car to lead the way (and a few more details). Pretty simple. I did the race the first year and it was super fun without the big budget. You need to balance somewhere between riding around an industrial park for $10 and doing Battenkill for $85.

RMM said...

Dieter:

In some ways I appreciate that you are reacting to criticism by commenting here. But I have to point out that you have not addressed any of the concerns raised. Also, from a PR standpoint, you've really made yourself look like a major A-hole.

1. No offense, but YOU think the T shirt is cool. I wouldn't wear it. Its just a matter of personal taste.

2. Neutral Support was clearly overwhelmed last year. I had teammates and friends flat out of the lead group in their race and have to walk for miles before getting a wheel. Any comment?

3. Results. At $45 a head, you should have been able to get that right. Sure you had 1500 racers, but they each paid their fee...hire more officials.

4. No one denies you the right to profit. But under a capitalist system, inefficient businesses are weeded out and replaced with more efficient models. If you can't turn a profit at $45 a head and 1500+ racers, you are doing something seriously wrong. Raising fees may help you remain afloat this year, but it will not help you in the longterm, as a more organized/savvy promoter will just create a similar race right around the same time, charging less money. Golly, if fools are willing to pay $75 a head to race on dirt roads, I may quit my day job and get promoting.

5. Adam Myerson has earned the respect of almost the entire competitive cycling community because of his thoughtfulness and longterm commitment to growing the sport. Sure you promote a couple of races. Adam has been spending his own money to put on races since the early 1990's. Where were you in 1991? Insulting him just because he disagrees with you further demonstrates how little you know about the our community.

6. I never said that I wouldn't race. I merely said that I'd wait and see if the the fitness was there. If not, I will organize an epic ride or a Rapha-esque gentleman's race on the same day as your event.

7. Prize lists? You kind of dance around this. Any concrete comment?

8. Why do you need timing chips again? I don't want to see a spreadsheet, but it would seem that properly training your staff would be less expensive and more effective. Perhaps Adam would be willing to offer you some pointers.

9. Oh, and asking US to help YOU with sponsorship is ridiculous. If I wanted to chase sponsors, I'd do it to promote MY race.

JB said...

Dieter should probably stop talking if he wants anyone to come to his race. The more he says the dumber he sounds and looks to his potential sources of revenue. Trying to call out Myerson was pathetic.

If he wants to charge $75-$85 for a bike race then so be it, but I hope the New England cycling community has more sense than to allow a 62 mile race (of any caliber) to cost $75-$85.

RMM said...

JB:

Seriously. Dieter can call me names all day and no one will care but Adam? People respect him...and with good reason.

Dude could at least be polite.

Colin R said...

Results. At $45 a head, you should have been able to get that right. Sure you had 1500 racers, but they each paid their fee...hire more officials.

Ah, the delicious irony of you criticizing someone else's results, when a race your club co-promoted could only rank the top 10 in the 3/4 race this past weekend. What was the Shedd Park entry fee again?

dave andersen said...

I'm relatively new to cycling races but compared to marathons and Ironman tri's, cycling race fees are not that high. You are paying for the experience/privilege to compete. Perhaps like Ironman races, just the well-to-do will be racing often.

RMM said...

Colin R:

$20 for Shedd Park.

Also CB had nothing to do with any of the serious logistics, like money or results. We were merely free labor (course set up, break down, course upkeep, announcing)

Actually, I spoke to Mike Norton this last weekend. I asked him if I could "intern" with him at a race to see how he gets results up so quickly and accurately. He tentatively agreed to allow me to do that. Before I put on a race, I plan to make sure that I am ready to do a good job with all of the factors within my control.

Obviously stuff will go wrong. But accepting imperfection is easier when the race is local, run by friends/acquaintances and costs $20, than when it is far way, $75 and run by a prick.

More Bacon said...
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More Bacon said...

Really the biggest disappointment about the race this year is puting the pro race on a different weekend. Without all the local towns coming out to cheer and the vibe the entire weekend had of year's past, this will be a disappointment. I'm not sure the local support will be there for the amateurs as it was years past...

More Bacon said...

I should add, that if more bike races got this expensive, it wouldn't be long until I started training for triathlons. You guys ever see how much they pay for entry fees?

Hill Junkie said...

This is a repeat of the rantings in 2002 when Mt Washington reg fees tripled to $300. Many clammored for balance sheets of the beneficiary. Many promised to boycott the event. Many said it would destroy the grass roots spirit of hillclimb events. None of this happened. A couple years later, the crush of registrants at 6am (3am on west coast) brought Bikereg to its knees. The race went to $350 ($46 per mile!) this year in rough economic times. It still sold out, but not in 12 minutes. Supply and demand. If you have a unique product that people desire, it really would be foolish to not ask more for it. Could BK fees impact racing in general? Only if demand is high for road races in general. We still have hillclimbs that are relatively cheap because demand is not as high for them. Personally, I find it encouraging so many people are excited about BK. It can only be good for the sport.

Joe said...

What I've gathered so far from this whole back and forth is this:

Battenkill is not about giving an epic race to the lower ranks of cycling anymore (maybe it never was?). It is about being a major icon on the domestic pro scene. And as such, the lower ranks will now pay out the nose for it because lets get real => The only thing that makes this race any different than any other 62 mile long race that isn't on a circuit is the terrain.

It uses the same neutral support, the same officials, the same pasta to serve at the pre-registration party, the same school cafeteria to do your check-in or day of registration, the same barriers to block off the last 1K of the race, the same announcing equipment and the same volunteers (which last I checked were free, so why they were even brought up here is beyond me)......

Oh hey.......if I bring my own transponder and teeshirt, will I get a $30 discount?

jeff bramhall said...

When I saw the $75 entry for BK this year, I was gobsmacked for a minute, but realized that it's a great, unique race which will hopefully continue to be an icon in New England racing.

So, point-by-point:

Timing Chips - If used properly (as in how they would be used during a tri) to provide accurate results in extremely short order, would be a great addition to this race.

"Free" Shirts/Swag - I appreciate the sentiment of this, but think it's unnecessary. If the total cost of the stuff that goes into the racer's package is $10, I'd be happier just paying $65 for this race and going home as empty handed as I did this year. I'm sure most people would agree.

Assisting in Sponsorship - It is pretty bush league to ask your patrons to help like this. At the same time, I think the "free entry if you bring a volunteer" plan from a couple years ago would go over much better. I was the volunteer for my girlfriend's free entry a few years ago. Worked out great.


The options here are pretty limited for BK to be a top race on the national pro calendar and also have the huge amateur participation that it has. Without a title sponsor (TD Bank for instance), it falls on the amateurs to foot the bill so that Adam Myerson can line his wallet with a saved race entry (curse you, Adam) and the UCI required payouts. I know that Dieter's not making money off this, hopefully he will at least break even this year. Ultimately, I want Tour of the Battenkill to succeed for a multitude of reasons.

What I expect from BK and its new $75 entry are these things:
- Efficient, accurate results.
- Efficient, accurate staging procedures.
- Clear and simple processes for installing and removing timing chips (including volunteers near the finish line to help take the chips off and take care of the returns).

Things I don't need and aren't my business:
- BK Balance sheet.
- Knowledge of who had free entries (really poor form, Dieter).
- Knowledge of whether BK loses or makes money.

In a conversation with a coworker (and runner/triathlete) earlier today, he told me "I'm willing to pay for an Ironman sanctioned race because I know it will be run to a T." For him, that includes mile markers every mile of the run, water stations every mile with accurate clocks at each and someone taking the chip off his shoe at the finish. For $75, I expect very much the same out of Battenkill.


Last, my capcha for this was "zings" pretty appropriate.

Jeff Bramhall
(not the JB above)

RMM said...

Hill:

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the Mt Washington hill climb raise money for a charity?

If the profits go to a charity, that event isn't relevant to this debate...unless of course the organizer is taking a hefty salary...

Colin R said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the Mt Washington hill climb raise money for a charity?

If the profits go to a charity, that event isn't relevant to this debate


Wrong. Allow me to quote RMM himself, from his first post on entry fees:

"In my accounting, it does not matter whether the promoter makes money, breaks even or loses their shirt. What matters is whether I feel like I am getting a good value out of my race fee. At $35 a 45 minute race, I don't feel like I am."

You said it yourself, the balance sheets don't matter. Racer experience matters. I don't care what Mt Washington does with my money, the bottom line is that I don't want to race it badly enough to pay $350. And I do want to race Battenkill badly enough that I'll probably pay out $75 -- at least once.

If Battenkill was $200 and donated the extra $125 to the Foundation For Not Making An Ass Of Yourself Online (FFNMAAYO), it still costs me $200, which is all. that. matters.

If I really wanted to protect people from making saying stupid shit on the interweb, I'd donate money to FFNMAAYO my damn self.

RMM said...

Colin R:

Apparently I didn't explain myself well enough in regards to charity races.

Allow me to fill in the blanks.

With an event such as the Mt Washington Hill Climb, it is understood that part of the reason that you are paying so much money is to help out a charity. In this case a reasonable person can accept the disconnect between the pure monetary value of what is being offered and the "price"/donation that you are required to pay/make to participate in the event. Its sort of like those NPR mugs that you get when you make a $50 contribution to National Public Radio. The mug is worth $6, but you donate $50 to get one in order to help fund public radio.

While I have no interest in climbing Mt. Washington on a bicycle for $350, I DO give money to charity on a regular basis. So perhaps in the future, I will do the Mt Wash Hill Climb to both test myself AND donate to a worthy charity.

In the case of Battenkill, we are talking about capitalism pure and simple, so the only consideration is value vs. price.

If you are unable to understand this distinction, you lack the intellectual hardware to responsibly participate in this discussion.

dylan said...

RMM....it comes across as though you have a problem with the race making a profit? i assume you don't work for free, maybe im wrong..

i think this is one of the best races on the calender, and i applaud the folks that are putting in the effort to make it bigger and better.

it's easy to point out flaws in anything...it takes work to correct them.
everyone seems to have all the answer's......go do it better. simple right?

i personally could care less if this race has category racing or not....make it like univest, and have a cyclosportif ride on sat to generate some money.
either way this race will remain popular.

the promoter is providing a service/product...if you don't like it or the cost.....don't buy it!!! but attacking the guy online is really pathetic....if i was dieter i never would have given the time of day to this shit....if i where him i would eliminate all category racing next year....problem solved.

i can't even fathom having to deal with ungrateful, whiny cat 4's disillusioned with entitlement issues.

sure 75-85 dollars is a good chunk of money....but one would think he made it cost 400.00 the way everyone is freaking out.

skip a couple mind numbing shitty crits and a few beers here and there....and bam, you got the extra 35 dollars u need.

colin i need to stop following you all over the internet and i wouldn't get sucked into this shit.

Hill Junkie said...

RMM - sure, Mt Washington's net proceeds, a large amount, benefit a non-profit. What is relevant is competitors initially reacted in the same way and got over it. Nobody I know raises pledge money for Mt W. They pay out of pocket like any other race. They don't care where the money goes. Even if the privately owned Mt Washington Auto Road profited $200k, it would not influence my decision. I think Colin nailed it right on. 600 riders this year felt $350 was a good value.

RMM said...

Dylan:

Go reread the post.

I didn't initially "attack the guy online" or suggest that making a profit wasn't allowed. In fact, I indicated that I would likely race if I felt that my training was progressing well in the late winter.

Dieter started spewing venom at Myerson...and that started this shitstorm.

And it should be clear, if Dieter eliminated "category racing" he'd never be able to finance the pro races. His whole business model is predicated on plowing entry fees from lower category riders into the infrastructure. Similarly Verge would never work as a stand alone elite race, as the lower category entry fees pay for the UCI payout.

Adam Myerson said...

People should be forced to re-read every comment before they comment again.

The point here is not about a race organizer's right to charge whatever he feels the market will bear.

The point here is that Mike does not think this entry fee is worth the value. He then goes on to explain why he thinks it's not worth the value, and why he has an issue with outlying entry fees.

The debate started when Mr. Drake was taken aback that people might have a problem with that.

RMM said...

Hill:

Once a non profit is involved the algorithm and the arithmetic changes. People generally are required to raise $2500 to run the Boston Marathon or the PMC. Participants in these events are required to provide a valid credit card number which will be charged for any shortfall in fundraising.

Would you argue that participation in the PMC or the marathon are worth $2500 to the participants?

Would you view the PMC differently if it was a "for profit" event with the same fee/donation structure?

Colin R said...

In the case of Battenkill, we are talking about capitalism pure and simple, so the only consideration is value vs. price.


We are always talking about capitalism. The fact that your entry goes to a charity instead of a promoter is just another "value." My point is that that value is different to everybody, just like any other race experience. Some people think a 62 mile dirt road race for $75 is a great value; some people think a $350 hillclimb plus the warm fuzzies of Tin Mtn Conservation getting some money is a great value.

The PMC is no different. If you're passionate about fighting cancer, then the hassle of raising $2500 from your friends and doing a big group ride is worth the time and money. If you're rich and want to go on a huge group ride AND fight cancer, you put up the money yourself.

It's not worth $2500 to me (whether I get that money from my bank account or my friends), which is why I don't do it.

It's all the same. If the experience is worth more than the entry fee and other attendance costs, you do it. Otherwise you don't.

RMM said...

Colin R:

So I am unclear on this. Are you conceding the point or augmenting my argument?

Because "the warm fuzzies" definitely have value, as you say. And those feelings sort of muck up the simple math.

Back to my original point: if I feel like am going to finish outside the lead group, the race will not be a good value. If either me or a close friend (who I could help) has a real chance at a podium, the math changes and then I will consider doing the race.

dylan said...

i would be suprised if dieter was taken aback by people's frustration.
he had to know it was coming.....hence the fact that he "stumbled upon this" i might guess that he is monitoring the boards to see what degree of flame protection he should invest in.

it may have been a bad idea to try and call out adam by disclosing who was or wasn't "comp'd"...he probably just felt insulted and typed before he thought about it....whatever. regardless it has come to name calling and requests for someone's budget sheets.....just seems a little over the top......just a bike race afterall.

no.. RMM i do understand what you are saying about cost v.s. value and it raises a fair argument and something for folks to consider.

as for me, it could cost 100 and i think i would still justify it if i was footing the bill.

believe me..im not trying to argue, there are good cases for both sides...just trying to speak for the side that seems to have a little less support over here.

pvb said...

Debate club Varsity team!

RMM said...

Dylan:

Let's be clear that I never asked to see anyone's balance sheet.

As for my work life, I teach science to struggling teenagers. I don't work for free but I have chosen to accept smaller financial compensation package in exchange for being allowed to do work that I love.

Also, I don't begrudge you a contrary opinion. Thanks for adding a dissenting, disinterested (you have no stake in the race other than $85, the experience and results) and reasonable voice to the debate.

dylan said...

i was not accusing you of asking for the budget sheets.
it had been requested by someone else....i was just pointing it out as something that seemed unnecessary.

also... i commend you for doing what makes you happy and feels right....many folks just chase the $...it's too bad.

Colin R said...

So I am unclear on this. Are you conceding the point or augmenting my argument?


Your original comment was "If the profits go to a charity, that event isn't relevant to this debate"

I am only arguing that Mt Washington and other high-entry, unique races are relevant to the debate, because they force the racer to make a value judgement about the event just like Battenkill. The fact that PMC, Mt Washington, and the VT 50 sell well at exorbitant prices proves that a high price tag for a unique event is not without precedent.

Sure, I might not pay $2500 for PMC, or even $350 for Mt Washington, but I still have to get the money somehow. That's a cost, monetary or not. And HORDES of people are willing to pay it.

We are admittedly miles off-topic here, so I am done with this line of debate. If you want to keep arguing the relevancy of Mt Washington, you know my email.

RMM said...

Colin R:

If I were YOU, I'd race. You are still a cat 4 with no upgrade points. There is a good chance that you could win this race if you don't do anything stupid.

Anonymous said...

http://groups.google.com/group/mabra-uscf/browse_thread/thread/a11c6263b9a916ea

attetion is being paid all along the coast

nice work son

Anonymous said...

Basic premise is Battenkill 2 to 3 times more fun than any other race you do?
No.
It's a road race with some dirt sections in Eastern NY.
Epic? To some I guess. Been to all them but this is to much.Thought last year was the limit.

Dieter you seem like a good guy and sincerly hope you don't lose your shirt on this one. Rapid expansion in a poor economy is the death of any business.

JB said...

Why doesn't everyone just stop their bitching at this point and make their own decision on whether or not they want to race. I have my opinions and you all have yours, nothing anyone says at this point will change any of that. While this is easily the most amusing cycling/internet drama I've ever seen it's getting stupid.

JB
(Not Jeff Bramhall)

jw said...

so could we find out how much of the Pro/Am weekend's fees if any are going to cover the UCI race the next weekend? If my money is really just covering the expenses of one weekend and making it so the promoter isn't living in a box, I'm cool with it. Otherwise...

l said...

I have been racing for over 30 years and come from a family with a hall of fame cyclist. For one thing, all amateur fees seem to subsidize pro prize lists. Most of us, could care less about the pros who are at the race. Secondly, just look back 30-50 yrs ago when Junios was one of the largest fields. Why? Cycling has become so expensive with equipment, entry fees, and travel that the younger crowd is staying away. Now, the riders who support this sport are all middle aged and many are not working. A rise in entry fees is like the Gov't raising taxes. Eventually, you will kill the amateur racing and ppl won't show. Most riders could care less about the prize list but just want to race. Lower the entry fee to 1980's totals 8-10 bucks and low prizes

Anonymous said...

Wow lots of different views on this one, I guess I’ll give mine. I have raced the Battenkill every year from the beginning of it. The 1st year I raced as a cat5 this year I hope to race in the UCI race. I know this race is VARY expensive to put on but as Adam said if you didn’t make a profit last year you’re doing something wrong. The prize list is pathetic I was top 10 last year and didn’t even get my race fee back. I busted my ass all day almost bit it several times all to get $25. back. With that said this is a great race would like to see some warning signs on some of those off camber turns for safety. I hope the UCI race becomes a well established race in NE and wish you all the luck with it.

zack said...

I have nothing substantial to add, except that for some reason 3 or 4 years after doing Battenkill I am still on the damned email list getting updates no matter how many times I've emailed Dieter. The only thing more irritating that reading something by RMM is getting those damn Battenkill emails.

awonder said...

those e-mails are sent out via bikereg I think. bikereg has an unsubscribe thing now that you can use to take yourself off the list.

RMM said...

Zack:

It gratifies me that my writing and wit are slightly less irritating than unsolicited emails.

Glad to have you as a reader.

logic said...

if you are able to afford th sport of cycling to begin with consider yourself blessed...you are part of a small minority of people who can particiapte in such a great sport...the equipment is expensive and it costs money to race...but to complain about a race fee? seriously? is anyone complaining about how much a tire cost? or a new bike? i play golf and if i cant afford to pay the green fees at the fancier courses well then guess what i dont play there...but i dont go around complaining about the course because i think its overpriced...does anyone here ski?? lift tickets are rising yearly its another sport that only people who can afford it particiapate in...but there are always cheaper golf courses, cheaper ski mountains and cheaper races...pretty simple..i drive a civic because i cant afford bmws...the race will continue with or without the people who dont show because they cant affford it just as the golf courses will still be packed and the ski mountains still being used....but if your complaining about a race fee being too much for you then your life must be pretty good! enjoy!

iworedettos said...

it's. not. about. cost. of. entry.

once again, it's about value. is bk a good value at this cost? after the problems last year, i certainly didn't expect a 66.6% increase in reg fee. i expected a pretty public "sorry about the growing pains - we'll do better." instead i got a still higher fee (by $30) and i'm being told i get a cool tshirt. i question the value.

i wanted to go back for a third year. at this point i don't think i will. i'll do a local epic. that early in the season: watts is watts. i'll let the organizers iron out the kinks in 2010.

best,
mkg

marcelinyc said...

85$ for 3h race
4 hour drive each way
50$ gas
100 $ hotel
1 flat tire in mile 3 = priceless

Jonny Bold said...

I thought the fee last year was too high. I think it was $45. For me, the race is over 4 hours drive time each way. At least $75 worth of gas and a mandatory day out of work to drive out there on the Friday before. Add in eating out (luckily I have a friend with a place close by) and the event ends up costing me over $500 without a hotel room. I double flatted about halfway through the race. NEVER AGAIN!!! There are lots of things I'd rather do with a 3 day weekend and $500 worth of fun money.

Glad to hear lots of you comparing the time and money spent to D2R2. That was one of the best cycling experiences I've ever had. Some money was raised for a good cause, which leaves more of a "minty fresh breath" sort of taste in my mouth.

Colin is right.....If you don't want to pay $75 then don't. I won't.

If I was on the fence, which I'm not. Drake's comments to Adam would surely be enough to make me decide against going. Pretty tasteless for sure.

If we just go along with it, we're asking for more of the same from other promoters. Take a stand and boycott Battenkill.

(Not the JB above)

Jonny Bold said...

Oh ya......Seriously, who wants a T-shirt that represents a race you did. Why not write the race numbers on our flesh in indelible magic markers so we can all walk around in public later showing off our participation. I would honestly rather have a clean rag put in my race bag to wash the bike with after the race.

T-Shirts.....you gotta be friggen kidding me! Give them to the volunteers instead.

zencycle said...

Johnny, you stated that to go to this race will cost you over $500 bucks. If the entry fee were in the current norm of ~$30, it would still cost you over $450 to go to the race. Is a %10 increase in the total cost to you the _real_ reason you don't want to go?

The reason I'm still leaning towards going is just that. It's 3 hour drive for me. Worst case is that I'll take a 1/2 day off work and get a room close by the night before. That will result in a total cost for me of ~$400 to do the race. OK, lets see how much I spend if the entry fee is back to normal: ~$360

The reason I considered _not_ doing the race was the cluster fuck it turned out to be last year. No results for 5 days, people with flats getting passed by their wheel vans, the multiple fields for each category, it took me over an hour to find my wheel van to get my wheels, and my wheel van passed me when I got dropped about 1/2 way through....Let's face it, it wasn't Dieters best effort.

If I do go, and it turns out to be a fucking mess like last year, I won't be back.

Dieter has taken steps to avoid these problems by raising the entry fee, ostensibly to limit the number of entries while maintaining the cashflow. I don't see this as the wrong solution to the problem. If it helps build the quality of the event, fine.

Does that mean everyone else _must_ charge $75 for their events? no. the arguments about this being a 'trend' are completely bogus, or are they?.....The verge series cross races are $10 to $15 dollars more than non-series races. Are you getting what you pay for there? Seems to me Canton offered pretty much everything noho did, cheaper, and the money went to a good charity. Same for Sucker Brook. Funny how we aren't hearing about how a %40 increase in race fees for the verge series is an abomination, to the contrary, they're doing pretty good, consistently out drawing non-series races. I personally didn't get anything more out of the two verge races I did this year than the non-verge races. I probably won't do any verges series races again, but the entry fees are only a minor part of the reason.

In the end, the market will take care of this. If the increase in the fee means that much to you, then don't go. If enough people 'boycott' the event, I'm sure we'll see a change for 2011. I just hope that change isn't the event not happening.

Jonny Bold said...

Zenn, You make some excellent points. I was one of those riders that got passed up by the wheel vans and that sucked, then it rained. I was so turned off by the whole event last year and you described it well as a clusterfuck. The results are usually fine when JD handles things. I didn't include the 2 brand new tubulars I spent all week gluing up which were both on the 1st ride. That was another $200. So all those things went into my decision about not going to the race next year. I don't think Dieter thinks he'll cut down entries. I think he figures we'll all just pay it and he'll have huge cash flow. Last year he had 1600 racers. At $75 a head and $85 for a couple fields he'll collect over $120,000. Thats just way out of wack. I honestly do hope his race goes away, and it'll be a good example of how to ruin a good thing for years to come.

As for the Verge series it's hard for me to comment since it's been the vehicle to my greatest racing accomplishments. It's the best scene in the country in the Fall and that goes to my core a lot more than any one day race in NY will ever do. There's a real true effort by Adam and others to listen to they're athletes. Lots of that happens on the Yahoo neccs talk group. Usually in December after Natz there is a sounding board there and everything is adressed. We're lucky to have a good problem in New England Cross Racing. The fees went up 2 years ago and stayed the same this year (in my category). Master's numbers actually increased with the addition of the 45+ field. It seems like that was a good choice to add that and anyone that wants to race the 35s can still race down, like Kevin and I are doing. I feel like for $35 we get a good return for our money. A series with leader's jersies is way cooler than a 1 day race, and most of the races are closer than Battenkill, but it is after all the NEW ENGLAND series. The Verge races are a show. There is no other format as exciting that we have acess to. Richard Fries has a lot to do with that, as the races he's not at are simply not as exciting. The fees are still in line with lots of other races. To go to. $75 is clearly jumping the shark. I'd like to see the prize money go back up in the 35s at Verge, since we (master's) contribute the majority of the entry fees, but I'd like to see the series thrive first and foremost. I'm not too sure about forcing the cat2s into the PRO race though, they have to buy an expensive UCI lisence, and then pay $45 per race, and then race their butts off to not get pulled. I miss the B race, it was sort of the journeyman's race, and it feels like it's missing now. The 3s just doesn't feel the same, but thats just my meaningless opinion.

At any rate.....how did we get to talking about $400 - $500 for a single race where your chance of flatting is extremely high. Seems ridiculous, especially in these times. It's not a question of $360 vs. $400. It's the principle of allowing yourself to be taken advatage of. I'm not a fan of that!!!

I'll probably end up at Ninigrit for 2 races. The 2nd race will probably cost $10. I'll drive there in an hour and a half, bring my own food and use less than a tank of gas, and I'll support a promoter that isn't out to gouge me.

Anonymous said...

What a thread. In the on/off time I've taken to read this, I've:

wasted $120 of my employer's money
gotten 2 flats = $10 in tubes, $3 in CO2
subscribed to $30 in cycling magazines
spent $75 in gas going to a race & $30 in entry fees
bought $80 worth of winter road tires
spent $200 for my 2010 team kit


All this and I think I am a typical Masters rider. You people have WAY too much time on your hands to be complaining about what most people consider a great race. Sure, the entry fee is steep, but it's still a very small fraction of almost everyone's annual cycling budget. Get over it and find something else to whine about.

Doug said...

I will be at Ninigret trying to hang on Johny's wheel. I agree with him, BK is a great race but not at $75. I seem to remember lots of grumbling last year about course safety too. It was downright dangerous on some downhill sections with dirt off-camber corners last year. Spending $75 to flat or washout on an off-camber, dirt corner is not the way to start the season.

Rick G. said...

Dieter will get the $75 per rider. There is another event which makes me laugh every year that charges rediculus fees: Ironman. Ameteur racers that drop $450 for a race fee so that they can end up in a medical tent. Ironman Lake Placid sold out in 3 minutes a few years back. They made $1.2 Million in 3 minutes! People will pay........

RMM said...

Rick G:

Triathlon is an entirely different kind of event than a straight bicycle race. It is more complicated to run; insurance probably costs more. I don't have the expertise to comment on the value of a $450 Ironman.

But, saying the promoter "made" $1.2 million in 3 minutes is rather misleading. They took in $1.2 million which they will use to pay expenses. You could speculate about how much of this $1.2 million is profit, but surely not all of it is.

Rick G. said...

RMM: I agree that triathlon and cycling are completely different. The main point of the post is that people will pay steep fees and will not blink. know that $75 for ToB is quite steep. What concerns me more is that other promoters will see this and race fees are going to skyrocket. But nonetheless, we won't know how the $75 fee will be affect the race until registration opens. All we can do is wait and see I guess...

Anonymous said...

I refuse to race Batenkill and Jamestown. The entry fees are outrageous. I put on a cross race this year. $25 entry fee. 100% went to an organization in town. I wrote them a $2000 check. Everyone had a fun time. We need to get back to the time when races used to support clubs and causes; not some greedy promoter's wallet.

John Horton said...

The comments on this blog are remarkable, it's reassuring that the sport never seems to change. Although I can't honestly comment on the costs incurred by the ToB I can make a few legitimate comments based on many many years of promoting bicycle racing in New England. From the early 80's Zephyr Cycling promoted the Downtown Danbury Crit, some of you 55+ may remember. For the past 12or so years we have been promoting the Housatonic Hills Road Race. Road races and cyclo-cross have very little in common, except the bicyle, when it comes to promotion. Traffic control, lead vehicles, marshals, follow vehicles are essentially non-existent in CC. A $20 entry fee in CC or even a Crit is reasonable, I suppose, but absolutely unsustainable for a RR. In RR these costs and organizations are huge, and these very costs and organization have been increasing year by year. The towns want more police for traffic control, the police cost more as municipal budgets are strained and the customers (competitors) expect more each year, as you should. Being from the race culture as opposed to the promotion culture for the past 30 years we have focused on providing a quality race event for racers. Each year we learn and tweek the following year's event.
We started promoting races because as a sponsored team we were required to. Many years have passed since we were a sponsored team, but the driving desire to provide a super-quality venue has survived. And we're not adverse to earning a return on our time investment, but that's not the motivation. Races come and races go, that's the nature of the market and the underlying organizations. We've been fortunate, as you have cause you keep showing up each year, to have survived. The ToB may survive, it may not, but if it doesn't it falls on the promoter's shoulders not the participants.
As they've been known to say, thanks for listening.

matte said...

we are forgetting a very simple economic principle here:

supply and demand

this race fills in minutes 4mths before it even happens. it has more riders than any other race in america.

regardless of ToB's balance sheet, dieter has a product that is in demand and can rightfully charge what he wants for it...if it fills again this year, then plan on another increase next year.

if you don't like it, don't sign up....its up to you and no one is forcing you.

Anonymous said...

I'm in agreement with many of the previous thoughts. It's in the hands of each individual if he/she wants to participate. Sadly, I don't participate in triathlon due to the rising costs over the years, it seems cycling is taking the same route. I have just as much fun out on a "training day" with friends. I don't hold anything against capitalism, but I'd be more apt to support a race that has Adam as a promoter, or equally as thrilled to do a race that has Cam Horton as promoter! That being said, I've never raced Battenkill...its always been sold out. Maybe Battenkill will be the new ironman and reach prices up to $500 a pop...and still sell out! LOL! Not me...not wealthy enough to play.

Anonymous said...

The races that Adam and Camm hold are great, just not as popular as ToB. If a race isn't selling out at $30 per person it certainly isn't going to sell out at $75. Dieter has a race the people want to do. Look at registration this year...1400+ in 24 hours. Supply & Demand folks. ToB is pretty unique compared to the Industrial Park circut races all over the place (which I am thankful to have nonetheless).

Also, to all the people complaining about wheel support: BRING YOUR OWN CO2 AND SPARE(S). We all know that there is a very high probability of being on your own at this race. I had to change 2 flats last year, luckily I was smart enough to bring the saddle bag. Its worth the extra 1 pound of weight then having to sit on the side of the road all day...

RMM said...

Anon:

Obviously Dieter has a unique race. No one denies that. No one denies his right to charge whatever he pleases for a race fee. What we are questioning is twofold: First, is $75 for Battenkill (at its current low level of race support) a good value? Second, what will $75 race fees mean for the rest of competitive cycling?

The two above points have been belabored plenty above.

No one in their right mind would line up for Battenkill without 2 CO2 cartridges, 2 tubes and a 20 dollar bill.

But we can both agree that getting a timely wheel change will yield a much different result than fixing a flat on the side of the road.

At $75 a head, timely wheel changes should be the rule rather than the exception.

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