(Maybe should have published this on Tuesday when I wrote it. Seems less interesting now in light of the UCI/USAC fiasco going on)
We got what we asked for in New England. Lots and lots and lots of cx racing. So much racing that people are burnt out. Did we bring it on ourselves? 15 UCI events in New England, as many as 40 races, including a new phenomenon in New England, the midweek night race! We talk cx 7 days a week on twitter, facebook, the blogs, and via email. All the talk, all the action, all the options seems to have worn us down more than ever before.
Some people race a bunch during the summer, entering cx season after a brief break, or maybe without one at all. It's not surprising to see these people pulling the plug early on cx. But I am surprised at the die hards who've hung up the tubulars early or even reduced their racing schedule from years past. I suspect the total number of registrants this season was higher than previous years but it also seems the total number of races was greater.
We got what we asked for, but now racers are dialing it back, being more selective in when and where we spend our racing dollars. Big events that shelled out big dollars didn't draw enough to break even while smaller events had their greatest numbers to date (I think). What's the formula for success? Is it historic performance? location? timing? cost?
What needs to change, what needs to give in 2011 to sustain 40+ events? Nationals will be in January so people are calling for a longer racing season to support those who plan on attending. Given the current registration numbers for an event in mid December, it will be interesting to see how New England (and other regions) copes with stretching the race season through the holidays into the new year. Will the number of races in August decrease as events push back into late December and January or will the experiment of holding nationals in January leave most racers with a 3-4 week gap in their race schedule leading up to the main event? Will the overall attendance of Nationals drop due to the timing?
I don't know the answers. I do know I love gluing the tubulars, pinning on a number (not shoulder numbers, those are fucking pain in the ass), and putting myself deep into the red as often as I can with 15 or 150 other racers. Come winter time, after 20 cx races though, I love the mountain bike, long base mile rides, and not loading a bunch of gear in the car to spend an entire day for 45 minutes of racing.